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04-08-2010, 11:10 AM   #1
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Need help with B&W negative film processing...

Hi everyone,

I recently bought a Pentax Super Program and have just about finished running a roll of Ilford Pan 400 through it to see if it needs some CLA. It looks great inside but you never know until a roll of film goes though it.

So I want to develop my negatives and bought myself a Paterson super system 4 with two reels (promotion with two reels for about $35 shipped which is pretty cheap in Poland). Now what developer should I use? I tried googling information but it just seems so scattered and not uniform. Just about every site has some different recommendations and different times. I would really appreciate some help and/or links.
I've never done this before, is there a developer that's a little more forgiving to beginners? Is there cost effective formulas, where you can use them more than once?

Thank you for all your help and time!

Theperception2008

04-08-2010, 12:26 PM   #2
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Back in the old days I used Microdol. It was noted for fine grain, but not for speed. With ISO 400 film that would be my first consideration. I don't know if that is still around, or if not what today's equivalent or improvement would be but I would give fine grain rendering high priority,
04-08-2010, 10:42 PM   #3
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simplicity

QuoteOriginally posted by theperception2008 Quote
...is there a developer that's a little more forgiving to beginners? Is there cost effective formulas, where you can use them more than once?
Google DIAFINE and explore the advice and data sheets there.

Perhaps Diafine is not the ideal for all, or even most, cases but it's certainly simple and being a two-part developer it's long lived and a good place to start. And a stop bath is somewhat optional for general use.

It's very forgiving on time and temperature so you don't have to learn everything at once but do a comprehensive test roll or two to determine how you want to adjust ISO.

Sort of like learning to drive with an automatic, rather than a manual, transmission. You can upgrade to the fancy stuff when you're comfortable with the processes.

H2
04-09-2010, 06:05 AM   #4
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Have to second Microdol. It's the developer I used after outgrowing D-76.
ting about developing any film is to develop the correct techniques. Learn to pay attention to temperatures and time. Start off with the right technniques and it will only benefit you in the long run. Start off with "forgiving" developers and you develop a careless attitude and will find it harder to use the "good stuff".

04-09-2010, 06:26 AM   #5
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Another thing to note is that there is a time/temperature scale and though you will get good results anywhere within the acceptable range I always found that I got the best results favoring the cooler temp/longer time end of the scale.
04-09-2010, 07:22 AM   #6
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My recommendation is simple: to start with, whatever is the easiest to mix, use, and obtain. In the beginning there's magic simply in developing an image. Later perhaps one becomes more discriminating and develops preferences and opinions... but the truth is, every developer does good things. When I re-started B&W developing, I bought Kodak T-Max developer as it seemed easy to use and dilute. I could have just as easily started with Ilford or any other - provided it came in a bottle and the mixing was something like 1:4 or 1:9.
04-09-2010, 09:40 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
Google DIAFINE and explore the advice and data sheets there.

Perhaps Diafine is not the ideal for all, or even most, cases but it's certainly simple and being a two-part developer it's long lived and a good place to start. And a stop bath is somewhat optional for general use.

It's very forgiving on time and temperature so you don't have to learn everything at once but do a comprehensive test roll or two to determine how you want to adjust ISO.

Sort of like learning to drive with an automatic, rather than a manual, transmission. You can upgrade to the fancy stuff when you're comfortable with the processes.

H2
It sounds very interesting and I will certainly check it out! I'm kinda leaning towards the Microdol right now. I am the type of person that regrets learning on an automatic first as I really love driving manual now.

QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
Back in the old days I used Microdol. It was noted for fine grain, but not for speed. With ISO 400 film that would be my first consideration. I don't know if that is still around, or if not what today's equivalent or improvement would be but I would give fine grain rendering high priority,
Noted, I would like my pictures to be of fine grain unless I'm shooting with 800 iso film for the grainy effect. Hmm...

QuoteOriginally posted by graphicgr8s Quote
Have to second Microdol. It's the developer I used after outgrowing D-76.
ting about developing any film is to develop the correct techniques. Learn to pay attention to temperatures and time. Start off with the right technniques and it will only benefit you in the long run. Start off with "forgiving" developers and you develop a careless attitude and will find it harder to use the "good stuff".
I was thinking about this too. I don't want to be sloppy with my technique...

QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
Another thing to note is that there is a time/temperature scale and though you will get good results anywhere within the acceptable range I always found that I got the best results favoring the cooler temp/longer time end of the scale.
I will keep this in mind when I go shopping for developer and stop bath solutions.

QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
My recommendation is simple: to start with, whatever is the easiest to mix, use, and obtain. In the beginning there's magic simply in developing an image. Later perhaps one becomes more discriminating and develops preferences and opinions... but the truth is, every developer does good things. When I re-started B&W developing, I bought Kodak T-Max developer as it seemed easy to use and dilute. I could have just as easily started with Ilford or any other - provided it came in a bottle and the mixing was something like 1:4 or 1:9.
Being in Poland, I am going to have a hard time finding stuff since I don't speak that much Polish in general, and talking about photography stuff is even more technical than my skills allow me!

I have a Paterson tank, what eles should I get to develop my negatives?

Thank you everyone for your time!
04-09-2010, 10:27 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by theperception2008 Quote
Being in Poland, I am going to have a hard time finding stuff since I don't speak that much Polish in general, and talking about photography stuff is even more technical than my skills allow me!

I have a Paterson tank, what eles should I get to develop my negatives?

Thank you everyone for your time!
Always glad to get another convert

As you're in Poland, I'd say do this: find a camera store, get them to help you. Short of that, look for any developer they have, in a bottle, concentrated, where the instructions say 1:4 or 1:9 dilution. The reason I say this is that you can use a regular measuring cup in a pinch to get working solution (if you're off on the exact dilution a bit, it really doesn't matter much). There may be European brands available, there are many clones of known developers around!

You'll need a measuring cup or beaker that's big enough for the amount your tank needs (usually this info is somewhere on the tank itself). And a thermometer helps, so you know what temperature your soup is.

Stop bath isn't critical, you can use water or water with a dollop of white vinegar.

You'll need fixer, again, go with what's convenient and available locally. Usually you mix working solution into a 1 liter bottle, and reuse it for at least a dozen films - 20 maybe - the bottle will tell you. A small funnel helps to pour the fixer back in the bottle.

You'll need a couple of clothes pins and a place to hang the film to dry - bathroom works.

And a dark place to load the film into the reel... scissors and a bottle opener

04-09-2010, 11:00 AM   #9
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To add a little to Nesster's post, Get a junk roll of film or two to practice loading the spools with. First practice lights on, eyes open, so you can see what you are doing. Then lights on, eyes shut because you need to be able to do this blind. When you get the film bound up in the spool, inspect what is going on and how to correct it. If you can put a changing bag, you can do this anywhere you are comfortable.

Take the bottle opener, and open the film canister from the bottom (opposite where the spool sticks out).

Pull the film spool out and cut the shaped leader off. Try not to have any holes in the edge of the film (from the sprocket holes).

Start the film on the developing reel. Use your left thumb to keep the film from backing off while you advance with your right hand (if you're right handed). Let the film come off of the spool naturally, don't unravel it first.

When you get to the end, grab the film and tear the tape holding it to the spool (or cut it).

If you're doing only one roll, put it in the can first and then put the empty spool on top of it. The film is developed by washing the developer past the film by inverting the tank.

Follow the instructions for developer and film with respect to inversion interval (how often you invert the tank) and number of times. Once you've fixed the film, you can open the tank.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned is Hypo-Clear. This will greatly reduce wash times. It is the step taken after the fixer (and rinse).

Good luck..

(hope you're enjoying that Super Program )

04-09-2010, 11:39 AM   #10
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I used to use Ilford Perceptol. Ilford Microdol and ID-11 also work well. Dave
04-13-2010, 11:03 PM   #11
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find out what you can get your hands on and post 'em up. We'll then suggest which one should suit best!

Also, some general stuff... most people use one-shot developers for convienience and consistancy. The concentrate you buy is diluted just before using it (Just the amount you wish to mix, not the whole bottle!!) and then discarded. You can buy powdered developers (D-76, XTOL) but these require you to mix the whole lot and store in bottles. You usually dilute these as well (1:1 to 1:3) but they generally have a much more limited shelf life. Generally more suited to someone going through quite a bit of film.

As mentioned above, fixer can be reused. Just keep track of the number of films you've put through it. Just be conservative in the number of uses. If it says 20 films per litre, turf it after 15. You can also fix the leader offcut (in the light) and check it's still working.
04-14-2010, 11:13 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by HGMonaro Quote
find out what you can get your hands on and post 'em up. We'll then suggest which one should suit best!

Also, some general stuff... most people use one-shot developers for convienience and consistancy. The concentrate you buy is diluted just before using it (Just the amount you wish to mix, not the whole bottle!!) and then discarded. You can buy powdered developers (D-76, XTOL) but these require you to mix the whole lot and store in bottles. You usually dilute these as well (1:1 to 1:3) but they generally have a much more limited shelf life. Generally more suited to someone going through quite a bit of film.

As mentioned above, fixer can be reused. Just keep track of the number of films you've put through it. Just be conservative in the number of uses. If it says 20 films per litre, turf it after 15. You can also fix the leader offcut (in the light) and check it's still working.
Okay will do!! I have a junk roll of film now. I improperly loaded my camera, but was too scared to check if it was loaded correctly and I ended up developing a blank roll :-( oh well. I had it developed locally, but now I'll just do it my self :-).

I found some Ilford ID-11. People say it's like HC-110. The local price seems decent enough so I'll go with that for a developer, and for stop bath, I'm going ILFORD ILFOSTOP, and for fixer I'm going with ILFORD RAPID FIXER.

Am I missing any other essential chemicals? Should I go with a different company? thank you once again for all your help!
04-14-2010, 01:32 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by theperception2008 Quote
Okay will do!! I have a junk roll of film now. I improperly loaded my camera, but was too scared to check if it was loaded correctly and I ended up developing a blank roll :-( oh well. I had it developed locally, but now I'll just do it my self :-).

I found some Ilford ID-11. People say it's like HC-110. The local price seems decent enough so I'll go with that for a developer, and for stop bath, I'm going ILFORD ILFOSTOP, and for fixer I'm going with ILFORD RAPID FIXER.

Am I missing any other essential chemicals? Should I go with a different company? thank you once again for all your help!
Hate when that happens. Just for future reference, if the rewind knob on the left is turning as you advance the film, it's loaded properly

04-14-2010, 02:56 PM   #14
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Ilford ID-11 works well. I used it for both their regular and Delta emulsions.

Lots of good advice above. To add to JeffJS's advice about the rewind knob, you can also turn it clockwise to see if you can get rid of the slack in the roll. Just be careful not to roll the film back into the canister!

Also, while developing, be careful not to overagitate. I think there's a tendency among beginners to make sure it's agitated, and some folks do it too much. If you do, you'll wind up with grainier film than you should.

Good luck with the second roll!
04-15-2010, 04:05 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by grey goat Quote
Also, while developing, be careful not to overagitate. I think there's a tendency among beginners to make sure it's agitated, and some folks do it too much. If you do, you'll wind up with grainier film than you should.
Conversely, don't be too gentle either. You need to make sure the developer gets replenished at the film surface so it does need some action. Just don't try to mix a '007' Martini (shaken not stirred) as that will turn the developer into a foaming mess, which leads to bubbles on your film! Don't want that!

Ohh, forgot to add, read this http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/200621612182416.pdf
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