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A Guide to Home B&W Developing

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Tezzating View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tezzating Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 November 2012 at 18:58
Well I've given this a go.. firstly, as this thread started over four years ago the "climate" has changed a bit. There's not as much available out there, even online the pickings are a bit slim. I had to mix and match and do without some things but its still quite do-able. Do note I'm only developing the film, then digitizing with an Epson V500 scanner.

Chemical wise all I could get my hands on locally were:
- Ilford Ilfosol 3 solution (or powder Kodak TMAX Developer but that seemed messy)
- Kodak Pro Indicator Stop solution
- Ilford Rapid Fixer
- No wetting solution at all, but I'm assured some "is coming soon"

All three chemicals were $45

Equipment was eBay and laterally thinking at Walmart:
- Kindermann stainless developer tank + stainless 35mm spool $15 on eBay
- Pyrex measuring cup; 2 cup size $7
- Three latch-top mason jars, 500ml each $6
- No name kitchen dial thermometer (-20 to +100 c range) $8
- No name kitchen timer $10

Three clothes pins and a hook for hanging the film, free from home. So the total is $91 for everything and it should be enough to last for 30 rolls of film.
You can re-use the Stop & Fixer a few times you get a lot of mileage from even a small 500ml bottle.

The cool thing is the guys who work at the photography store grew up working in labs or working for the local newspaper so they had some cool and handy tips which I found very helpful.

- Stainless steel spool and tank. They really couldn't stress this enough for ease of use, longevity and easy cleaning.. on four separate occasions from two separate salesmen I got this lecture.
- Dont bother to use a squeegee once removing film from the tank, run the wet film between your fore & middle fingers (the meaty part). Its just as effective and far less likely to scratch if there's impurities.
- Developing temperatures can have a 1-2 degree variation either side without really effecting developing time.. Speaking of developing time, close enough is good enough here too

Finally here's my observations..

1. Kodak instructions are Gallons and Quarts, Ilford is ml/litres. I prefer Ilford cos I'm a metric sorta guy.
2. As it should turn out, the final mix ratio of Stop solution doesnt seem to be critical, neithers the exposure time.
3. My spool was a bit short to take an entire 36 shot roll if you only take the leader off.. so cut off the leader plus a frames worth. Its OK, thats the bad bit

All up the film body, two SR lens' and developing kit/chemicals comes to $156 total. After this the only expense is the film which is $5-8.. so pretty cheap and a good way to spend an afternoon.

Edited by Tezzating - 19 November 2012 at 19:03
A7M2, Zeiss 24-70/4, Sony G 70-200/4 Like my work? Visit my portfolio!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote r_sarvas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 November 2012 at 03:02

Has anyone tried the Caffenol developer method? I'm starting to feel wistful about film again and I was wondering if this might be a viable alternative commercial developing. My 7000i could use some exercise.
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polyglot View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote polyglot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 June 2012 at 07:26
You can achieve the same quality at home as a pro-lab though at $1.87 I'm not sure you'll beat their price - until they stop doing it. That cheap processing is possible only because there are/were labs doing hundreds of rolls of 135 per day and that consumer market is completely gone now due to digital; all that's left is the fine-art and amateur markets.

Here, it's $10 for C41 and $14 for E6 at a lab, vs $1 or $3 to run Fuji chems through my Jobo, a no-brainer. One lab here is $20 for B&W...

The CPE2 should be fine for everything with the possible exception of large format; it won't take the 3xxx "Expert" drums, which are nice to have for sheet film.

Spots and streaks are usually due to poor washing and/or old manky chemicals that never get changed over. In theory you can re-wash but if it's a colour film, you need to use the right stabilisers in the wash if you want the film to have any longevity.
C&C always welcome
on flickr
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Post Options Post Options   Quote AudioDoc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 June 2012 at 18:30

Thanks very much for posting this! Greatly appreciated! I'm about to finally get going with doing my own film processing. Purchased a small Jobo and tanks from Catlabs, the CPE-2 (Hopefully it will be good enough for my purposes). Your guides will be very useful to me. I'd already decided to start with B&W processing and I see that is your recommendation as well.

I've seen the availability of quality processing become an ever greater problem and increasingly expensive at least for E6 and B&W. I've had to resort to sending film to Richard Photo Lab in Hollywood. C41 processing is cheap at Costco (I think about $1.87). Quality is Ok, but as with most mini labs, I find white spots and steaks, even with the local pro labs -- what are they doing to cause that? I'm hoping that eventually with practice I'll be able to do at least as good a job for lower cost than the pro labs and of course, on demand. That is, when I shoot a few rolls of B&W or E6 I will be able to process film ready for scanning rather than waiting for those films to be return from a lab in LA. Thanks again!


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polyglot View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote polyglot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 05:23
Long time no see here on dyxum as I've been shooting medium and large format - see on flickr including about 100 rolls shot on my honeymoon tour around eurasia.

For some reason, I got sick of answering the same questions over and over and wrote a FAQ for the APUG forum addressing a whole bunch of issues arising from home development; you can find it here. Includes troubleshooting instructions, colour-processing instructions, etc, notes on a couple of commonly-available films, guidance for shooting IR, etc.

For people doing wet printing at home, I've also published the design of an f/stop timer (i.e. logarithmic timer) for enlarger control.
C&C always welcome
on flickr
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Minoltista Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2011 at 19:22
Good post Bob J.

I want to give my 5 cents suggestions about shooting/developing film.

As the King Ansel Adams used to say you should expose for the shadow: without speaking about Zonal system I would suggest to every one to misure exposure in SPOT modality in a dark (Black) zone and underexpose this exposure by 2,5 or 3 EV (Don't have fear! :-) Trust about the good old Ansel!)

Than during development keep it also 40% more then the normal time.
This will help you to "create" whites zone whitout modify the shadows!
Adams used to say: N+1.

Oh my God: this is the worst way to explain Zonal System :-)
But I hope to help the people who don't want to read page and page and want to shoot.

Since I returned to shoot and print film I overdevelop of 40% my HP5+ Ilford Film using the Microphen Rivelator.
Results are great! :-)


Edited by Minoltista - 28 February 2011 at 19:26
I was, I'm, I'll be Minolta user!
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Peek View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 July 2010 at 13:38
For anyone interested, sorry mods if I'm being a bit naughty posting this here, I only do so as its film related.

I have a Durst M670 B&W enlarger that I need to sell on. The enlarger comes complete with:
*Rodenstock Rogonor 50 2.8 & Nikkor el 75 f4n enlarger lenses, the Nikkor is as new unused and with original box and the rogonor is also as new condition.
* 35mm & medium format difuser boxes.
* Paterson enlarger timer -I'll set this up to check its functioning correctly before sale.
*film carrier with masks.
* Grain enlarger (Paterson I think)

The m670 is a fantastic enlarger, comes with built in contrast control and is very easy to use giving fantastic results.

I'm selling as I need to make some space in my darkroom. The enlarger, and everythin included, is 3 years old. I have owned from new and it has remained in my darkroom since purchase. I've run less than 20 prints off it. I also have the original box in the attic.
As for price I'm not sure about what to ask for it. It all cost well over 600 gbp, so offers around the 300 gbp mark. If interested send me a pm and we'll see whats what
I will also be happy to provide images on request, I'll set it all up over the weekend and take some pics.
Also in reality this will most likely have to be a local pick up, but if you're willing to pay for courier thats no problem.

As these enlargers seem to nbo longer be available to buy new, grab yourself a bargain buy in mint condition.

Edited by Peek - 24 July 2010 at 14:22
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romke View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote romke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 June 2010 at 07:33
no, it's not there anymore. the only thing left is the Leitz enlarger board, more or less a collectors item
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ambiguousbubble Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 June 2010 at 23:18
are you still selling the durst enlarger?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote romke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2010 at 16:20
good to see all this interest in "ancient techniques"

for those interested: i still have some darkroom equipment left that can be sold at a very reasonable price (preferably within the benelux, since you will have to collect it):

Durst M805 color enlarger (up to 6x7 cm)
Schneider Componon S 50 & 80 mm
Paper dryer Ilford, up to a width of 40 cm, dries prints in about 20 seconds
Chrome/ferrotype mirror plates for "classic" glossy paper up to 14x20"
2x Ilford contact strip holders (35 mm, 6x6)
Wallner LMC100 timing/measuring unit with 3 memory modules
Leitz enlarger board 30x40 (heavy!!!)
various other little bits

all is in perfect working order

i prefer to sell it all together in one go.

if interested, please pm me

most stuff comes with the original userguides.

Edited by romke - 30 March 2010 at 16:20
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Post Options Post Options   Quote badjak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2010 at 13:58
nice walktrhrough! 2 adds, maybe link to the main page http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php instead of only the d-76 results, and a small tip when not using a changing bag, maybe its obvious, but waiting till after dark and turning off all lights in the house will minimize the remaining lightleaks of your bathroom/closet/basement.
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Peek View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 November 2009 at 14:25
Basic guide to developing your own black & white films.

Firstly the equipment needed. I will list the gear that I use personally, feel free to experiment though as I use
pretty basic, but hard wearing, equipment; most of which is the same stuff I learnt developing with at college.

A darkroom or a film changing bag
Paterson 35 developing tank- Holds 1x35mm
Paterson universal developing tank- Holds 2x35mm or 1 120
3x 1 litre measuring jugs- Calibrated With units in ml.
1x 45 ml measuring cylinder- For measuring the undiluted chemicals.
Liquid thermometer- I use an old school glas thermometer, there are also digital thermometers available.
Timer/clock- Pretty much up to personal choice. There are darkroom clocks available, I use my wristwatch.
Film washer- You can buy special film washers, I simply use an old Paterson dev tank and a funnel.
Film squeegee- For clearing off any excess fluid before drying.
Somewhere to dry your films- You can go all out and buy a special film drying cabinet...
I simply hang my films to dry in my darkroom, and have in the past used my living room, bathroom and bedroom for drying. Basically
any room that is clean, and you can be sure will not be disturbed by human traffic; dust is the main thing to be thinking about here,
and keeping this in mind I have not ever had a problem with dust covered films.

Method- This is how I learnt, and as far as I can see it's the easiest way to go about things.
The basic outline:
1. Transfer film to spool & developing tank in dark room/bag
2. Add Developing fluid to Dev tank, and agitate once a mintue for the legnth of time alotted.
3. Poor dev fluid from tank and add stop bath, agitating continualy for 30-60 seconds.
4. Poor stop bath from tank and add Fixer, agitating one every 1-2 minutes for 10-15 minutes.
5. Remove film on spool from dev tank for washing.
6. Add wetting agent, rinse and dry.

Developing a film can seem quite a daunting process, well thats how I felt to start with, but it realy isn't once you know how it works.
The first thing you will need to do, before any of the chemistry stuff, is learn to load a film onto a spool. The easiest way to do this
is to take a cheap roll of unexposed film, any will do, and wind the film so its inside the film canister, then take a bottle opener and
pop the bottom off the canister so you can remove the spool.
Now, once you have released the film from the canister, comes the fidly bit. On the developing spool you'll see that there's a tapered
channel that spirals down the inside to the center spindal, this is where the film sits. You will also notice, by looking at where the
spiral starts, that there is a lip on each side of the sinside of the spool, with a ball bearing on either side of the spiral to grip
film; this is where we will insert the film. Next take the leader tab between thumb and forefinger -emulsion side down- and making sure
the two small lips on the spool are aligned with each other, pull the film under one of the lips until the sprocket holes along the
edge of the film have been gripped by the ball bearings; it may sound complicated, but once you have it in front of you you will soon
figure it out. Once the film is gripped by the bearings you can start to feed it onto the spool, this is done by twisting the sides
of the spool backwards and forwards; the spools have a rachet mechanism to allow this. Keep doing this until all the film is on the
spool; the film is usualy attached to its spindal with wither a small bit of masking tape or by a small tab inserted into the spindle;
snip this with a pair of scisors.
And thats it, repeat until you feel adept enough to move onto the next stage.... doing it in the dark!
Seriously though, once you've done it a few times, doing it in the dark isn't that hard to do, you learn, to a degree, to see with
your fingers. It took me about an hour of playing about with it before I could do it with my eyes shut, including putting the tank back
together, although its still a good idea to pracice plenty once in the dark before trying it with the real thing.
Another thing to hit upon is that it makes everything a good deal easier when loading films in the pitch black if you have everything
laid out in front of you before you turn the light off; there's nothing worse than scrabbling about in the dark looking for bits of
your dev tank!
I should mention a little about dev tanks. They're constructed to create a light trap within the cylinder so you can add and remove
chemicals without any light leakage. You have the main cylinder, the spool which sits on a spindle which when placed into the drum all
sits in the middle, and a second spindle which goes inside the first and protrudes into the lid; the lid simply being the top part to
the tank, with a cap to allow the transfer of chemicals. Once together it should all be nice and tight fitting.

So hopefully you will now have a tank loaded with a film, time for the chemicals.
When it comes to chemicals, there's one thing that's for sure, there's still a lot of choice out there. The developing process comes
in three stages, develope, stop and fix. So we'll start from the beiginning -always a good place in my opinion! Developing chemicals
pretty much all have their own qualities, whether it be how they affect the grain to tonality, contrast sharpness; you will learn as
you go on about which developers attributes suite your needs best. When I was studying photography, our lab was equipped with barrels
of premade developer at the right temperature, which whilst conveniant wasn't perfect as the developer wasn't up to much; being students
we all flocked to our local Jessops to buy in loads of Jessops pan 400 and Illford HP5, two films I remain warey of only for the results
obtained when deving with the premade developer; I had roll after roll of shots which looked drab and flat with no contrast.
For my first attempts at developing at home I visited my local Jessops and they suggested I try a bottle of Ilfosol S developer, and
I noticed the improvement straight away. Another Ilford developer I still use is Ilfotech LC29 which has the added bonus that you can
use one batch more than once due to its high concentration, although I neverr wanted to push it past two devs just to be safe. Kodak
T-max developer has also given me good results.
Then, about two years ago, I stumbled across a developer called Champion Promicrol. This developer is fantastic! I've yet to see a
bad result from this developer, and having developed many rolls of hp5 for others using it, it has restored my faith in the film.
Added to the great results it gives, a 1 litre bottle sells for under L5 which is a real bargain to boot.

Mixing the developer.
Depending on what film you use, you will need to mix the developer accordingly. Using Promicrol to develope a roll of Delta 100 pro
you have 2 otions of dilution ratios, either 1+9 or 1+14. So say your tank requires 360ml to cover one roll of film on its spool, you
would divide the 360 by either 10 (1+9) or 15 (1+14) with the one part being developer. Now depending on what concentration you use,
you will have to adjust the developing time also, more dilution equaling more time. When it comes to working out what dilution/time is
required for the film you are using, the best resource out there is to be found at www.digitaltruth.com which has a comprehensive list
of films and developers to select from; take a look and you will see how easy it is to work out, select you film from the drop down
menu and next your developer then click on search.
Also to be remembered is that on the inside of some film cartons you can also find developing info, although this tends to be relative
to the brand ie ilford developers are listed with ilford films.
The last thing to keep in mind is that most developers work best at 20c, and as such nearly all developing tables work on that assumption;
although you can work at diferent temps, the wamer you go means the less time is needed for developing and it can also affect the grain
along with other elements of your negative.

Anyway, thats enough of developers, I'm sure others would have other suggestions in this regard, but these are the ones which have
stuck with me over the past 7 years.
Next comes the stop bath followed fixer. With the importance obviously lieing with the developer, stop and fixer aren't as much of a worry.
As long as they do the job then fair enough. When it comes to stop I mostly use Ilfostop, and likewise for the fixer I use Ilford
rapid fixer. They both do what it says on the bottle and thats all you can ask.
Like developing fluid, its best to work with stop and fixer at around 20c as this is the optimum temperature, any cooler or warmer
will affect the process in the same way as with deveoper, either lengthening or shortening the working time of the chemical. As a general
rule of thumb, using the dilution ratios listed on the bottles, I will agitate the film in stop for 30-60 secs and fix the film for
10-15 minutes. Making sure the stop has had time to work is essential, as is fixing, but I find that just leaving the bfilm to fix for
that time is more than adequate; you can't over fix a film.

Washing the film & drying.
So you've developed the film, agitating the tank by twisting it from left to right about 10 times once a minute. You've then poored out the
developer and added the stop bath, agitating by twisting or rolling the tank for 30-60 secs. Then you've poored out the stop, getting as much
out asposible, and added the fixer, agitating 5-10 times once every minute or 2. Next you need to wash the developed film. There are plenty
of film washers out there, varying in cost, but I have made a simple one using an old single film developing tank. Basicaly how it works is
that once the film has been fixed, I remove the central spindle, leaving the film spool on its holder, and placing these into the old tank,
insert a funnel into the center and place under a cold tap running slowly which allows the water to gently bubble up through the film spool
washing any residue from the film. I leave the film like this for 20-30 mins before adding a little drop of washing agent to the water in the
tank, Ilford Ilfotol is as good as any for this, dipping the spool to make sure the washing agent mixes and washes over the film and then
using a squeegy to remove any excess fluid from the film.
Then comes the drying. I'm lucky enough to have a pantry which I use as a, all be it tiny, darkroom. It also comes in handy for me to hang
films to dry in. Surprisingly it only takes about an hour and a half to dry a film, I close the door and leave the light on which creates a
dry enough atmosphere. As mentioned before though, back when I didn't have the luxury of a dark room, I have at times hung films from curtain
rails, chandeliers and door frames. Basicaly what is needed is a warm, dry and dust free space that you feel safe enough to leave your films
to dry in without being disturbed.
And once your film is dry, simply carefully cut into strips 6 frames in legnth and store in a negative sleeve and folder.

And there we have it! I'm sure that there are some who would string me up for my apparent disregard of proper dark room technique. But at
the end of the day it works. Once you start, and experiance that first buzz of seeing your images through from taking the shot to printing
or scanning from the film which you yourself developed, you'll be hooked!
P.S. Sorry about the text format, I tried to align it but no joy.

Edited by Peek - 24 July 2010 at 13:37
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LECHER View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LECHER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 December 2008 at 07:08
Here is a list of stuff for sale.....

Minolta Color Systems Enlarger

Minolta Color Enlarger with Mod I for B&W and Mod III for Color Prints
24mm X 36mm Light-box with 35mm Negative Carrier and 35mm Slide Carrier
6 X 7 Light-box with 6 X 6 Negative Carrier for Medium Format Printing
Minolta Enlarger Power Unit
Dimensions are 40 high (tower) by 22 long by 20 wide (Easel)
Rodenstock Rodagon      35mm F/4.0 lens
Rodenstock Rodagon      50mm F/2.8 lens
Rodenstock Rodagon      80mm F/5.6 lens
Rodenstock Trinar          75mm F/4.5 lens
Nikon El-Nikkor          50mm F/2.8 lens
Yankee Anastigmat     75mm F/3.5 lens
7.5 X 9.5          Print Easel
11 X 14          Print Easel
Uniroller 352          Drum Roller
Unicolor 8 X 10     Chemical Drum for developing Prints
Beseler 11 X 14     Chemical Drum for developing Prints
Spiratone Model 200      Enlarger Timer
Paterson Super System 4 Film Developing tank with 3-35mm Reels
Fuji FDB-105          Dark Film Box with Glove openings
2-8 X 10          Dark Room Paper Safe Trays
Dark Room Lights
Printing Guides and Books as well as Gels

Edited by LECHER - 03 December 2008 at 08:39
From the Mind of LECHER.

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LECHER View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LECHER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2008 at 23:12
I have some extra development equipment as well as an extra light proof box for sale, if someone is interested. I even have an extra enlarger and it is a Minolta.   PM me.


Edited by LECHER - 02 December 2008 at 23:14
From the Mind of LECHER.

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