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03-05-2019, 07:35 PM   #1
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Film developing 101

Can someone explain to me like I'm five what I need to develop my film? I'm looking at getting a stainless dev tank with stainless rollers (that much I know) but what else do I get? I know there's a litany of chemicals I need. What are they, and how do I use them?

Instead of getting all of the equipment to make my own prints, I am planning on just getting a negative scanner and going from there. Are there any recommendations for scanners?

03-05-2019, 08:15 PM   #2
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I'm moving your thread to Film Processing, as I feel you'll get more responses there. It's a broad field, with different options for chemicals for different film types.
03-05-2019, 08:25 PM   #3
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Thank you. I had no idea that thread existed.
03-05-2019, 08:26 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by bikehead90 Quote
Thank you. I had no idea that thread existed.
The forum has many dark alleys!

03-05-2019, 10:21 PM - 4 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by bikehead90 Quote
Can someone explain to me like I'm five what I need to develop my film? I'm looking at getting a stainless dev tank with stainless rollers (that much I know) but what else do I get? I know there's a litany of chemicals I need. What are they, and how do I use them?

Instead of getting all of the equipment to make my own prints, I am planning on just getting a negative scanner and going from there. Are there any recommendations for scanners?
You don't need a SS tank, a plastic developing tank will do (that's what I've been using for 50 years). You don't need a "litany" of chemicals. In short, minimum required is: changing bag, developing tank, two chemicals (developer and fixer; you can use water for a stop bath); thermometer; timer (I use an app on my cell phone); a film-hanging clip is handy but can also use some wooden clothes pins (I do for the bottom); something to scan the negs if you don't want to wet-print (I use a Plustek Opticfilm 8200i 35mm film scanner and recommend it highly, great quality and affordable. I got mine from B&H photo, very satisfied with them as a supplier). I leave out common household items, like scissors, spoons, measuring cups, bottles, etc. This shows you the setup I use; what I'm using today is a little modified from these pictures, but you'll get the idea:

Developing B&W film | Flickr

Here are two simple guides:

You should develop your own black-and-white film. Here?s how. | Popular Science
Develop Film at Home! A Step-by-Step Guide | B&H Explora

Ilford has some excellent tutorials; here are their introductory guides, but hunt around on their website for more. They also have a short video guide.
https://www.ilfordphoto.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Processing-your-fi...white-film.pdf
Beginners Guide to Processing Film - Ilford Photo

Finally, there is a basic Kodak guide, and lots more Kodak information you can find by googling:
http://imaging.kodakalaris.com/sites/prod/files/files/resources/AJ-3.pdf

Some specific things I use: small changing bag from Adorama; old V-8 Spash juice bottles to hold working solutions; Kodak HC-110 developer, diluted from concentrate as a one-shot developer; Ilford Rapid Fixer; water or water with a little vinegar for stop bath. I use tap water for everything except the last two water wash baths which I do in distilled water to minimize spots when drying (I use the "Ilford wash method" of repeated batch wash steps instead of running water wash). I develop at whatever my room temperature happens to be (doesn't have to be 20C = 68F, anything in the 68 - 75F range will work fine as long as you adjust your developing time accordingly). The night before developing I fill two empty plastic gallon milk jugs with tap water and leave them in my kitchen to equilibrate to room temperature (for making working solutions, pre-wash the film, and for final washes), along with a gallon bottle of distilled water (I only use a couple cups of that per roll). Use the "Massive Developing Chart" on the web to guide you in film/developer times.

Read the above, and I'll be happy to answer questions if you like. - Richard.
03-05-2019, 11:59 PM   #6
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Simply:

0. Take some photos
1. Load the film to the tank in the dark (using a very dark room or special bag designed for the purpose)
2. Use developer as per manufacturer instructions, then wash.
3. Use fixer as per manufacturer instructions.
4. Final wash film and hang to dry.
5. Scan or wet print your negatives.
6. Become addicted to developing and experiment with the above steps

Step 6 is optional...
03-06-2019, 12:31 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
The forum has many dark alleys!
So does photrio.com (previously known as APUG.org) lol
03-06-2019, 02:14 AM   #8
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I'm really happy with my Epsom V550 scanner. Although some people here swear by lightbox and camera scanning.
Also what I love is the process. It's quite relaxing and the excitement when it works out never abates. I've lost entire rolls through mistakes but it's part of the adventure.
I use the Massive Dev app which is available on Apple and Google and sets up timers depending on film type and chemicals used. It's not essential but takes away the guesswork.
The fastest way to learn about photography is to use film and shoot manually. It slows you down and there's absolutely no chimping. But make sure you have a notebook and record the setting for each shot. Although I must confess it's something I never do.

03-06-2019, 05:35 AM - 1 Like   #9
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I’ve always liked this video on developing

03-06-2019, 05:44 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpipg Quote
6. Become addicted to developing and experiment with the above stepsStep 6 is optional...
Nope. Addiction is inevitable if you do it a few times!

03-06-2019, 06:37 PM   #11
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My 2 cents, FWIW. If you are using the development time from the manufacture of the film developer, then follow the agitation profile for that developer. Not all developer agitation profiles are the same. An agitation profile affects the speed of the film and thus the development time.

So if, say, you use an agitation profile that is different enough from the one used to establish the film's normal development time, you can get different results. For example, the agitation profile given by Kodak for D-76 is much different than the one shown in that video for Rodinal. Just a FYI.
03-08-2019, 10:04 AM   #12
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Thank you all for the assistance. This is the only thing keeping me from enjoying my K1000 or ME Super more. Are there any “old guy” tips and tricks? I mean that not pejoratively, but rather “you might want to try X” or “I’ve found X to work better than Y because of Z.” While I was born during the film era, I didn’t start shooting until digital was just past its infancy. Even my mom (who introduced me to Pentax) never developed her own film, so I don’t really have anyone to glean knowledge from.
03-09-2019, 12:36 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by bikehead90 Quote
Thank you all for the assistance. This is the only thing keeping me from enjoying my K1000 or ME Super more. Are there any “old guy” tips and tricks? I mean that not pejoratively, but rather “you might want to try X” or “I’ve found X to work better than Y because of Z.” While I was born during the film era, I didn’t start shooting until digital was just past its infancy. Even my mom (who introduced me to Pentax) never developed her own film, so I don’t really have anyone to glean knowledge from.
First of all, don't get overwhelmed by all the options there are for film developing. B&W is simpler than color and requires fewer chemicals, so I'd start there.

Pick one film and one developer. Ilford HP5+ is a popular choice, it's a good film and forgiving of some errors in exposing and developing. D-76 is a very common developer; many people will claim (and obtain) better results with other developers, but D-76 is relatively inexpensive and you can buy it in solid form which you mix as needed. This saves $$.

Stay with whatever combination you pick until you can reliably predict the results from your development. Once you reach that level, you can then branch out, trying other developers, other temperatures, etc. I'd stay with the same film because you want to see what effect your experiments have.

If you want to see just how many variations there are out there, look at The Massive Development Chart. Don't let it blow your mind! By the way, you'll find a useful temperature chart in there for whatever film/developer combination you choose.

If all this sounds like it could take a while - it does. I've been doing this for more than 40 years and I'm still not done. There's always something else to try - that's what makes it fun.

Last edited by Jim70; 03-09-2019 at 12:40 PM. Reason: add link
03-09-2019, 12:44 PM   #14
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You don't even need to buy fancy chemicals. You can process film with Instant coffee (or even Guinness, 2 cans, one for the developer and one for St. Patrick), washing soda, and vitamin C. Stop bath is optional but you still need a fixer. Photo-Flo to prevent water spots.
03-09-2019, 12:46 PM   #15
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I’ve not used them for some time but I’ve got 120 and 35mm “Rondinax” Daylight loading tanks made by Agfa.
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