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A Guide to Home B&W Developing

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bonneville View Drop Down
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Joined: 19 May 2007
Country: United Kingdom
Location: East Midlands
Status: Offline
Posts: 2250
Post Options Post Options   Quote bonneville Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 January 2022 at 15:20
Right. 2022 and this morning was a very good morning as I bit the bullet and, having just finished a roll of 36 Ilford HP5plus in the M2 I was determined to give the Lab-Box its first film of mine.

Since I bought it (eBay) virtually unused last year I have read some very mixed reviews and I was in no hurry to be disappointed! But a theme that came through from many of the positive comments was that it is essential to read and follow the instructions and practice with a sacrificial roll first. And they are quite right, as my first few dry runs would have cost me the film. Initially I had assembled the spool back-to-front which means the mechanism is unable to draw the film on to the spool. After addressing that the clip that pulls the film out of the cassette let go of the film and I can now see how important it is to fully squeeze the clip to actually perforate the film.

After I had a few problem free dry runs I loaded the HP5+ without a hitch. Assembled the chemistry set and set to work. There are two options for agitation during the process; continuous and intermittent. Intermittent requires a greater volume of developer so I decided to go for continuous. The Lab-Box comes with a turning knob for turning the reel but my kit came with the optional crank handle, which was just as well as six minute sessions turning the reel with the knob would have been a pain.

Developing with my Paterson tank requires 400ml of developer, stop and fix and my jugs and tubes are all marked up for that, and the routine works well. However the Lab-Box, when using continuous agitation, only requires 300ml which meant a recalculation of chemical to water and remarking of the vessels. It was okay but I intend to get a new set of beakers and jugs so I have dedicated kit for each system.

Once I loaded the developer and started the timer there was no turning back! After the final wash I held my breath and unrolled the film, and it looks fine. It is in the airing cupboard drying and later I shall digitise the negatives, but without close scrutiny all looks well. Even if the images are rubbish that will be down to me and my handling of a fully manual, sans light-meter, Leica.

I see the first few frames are from the Bob and Brian mini-meet at Duxford last year and I took my time completing the film, but the reason for this sage is to give my vote for the Lab-Box which, IMHO, is much better than a dark bag and Patterson tank.
 



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