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10-27-2008, 02:06 PM   #1
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Film chemical/developing question/problem

So....my girlfriend picked up an old Canon SLR and I wanted to help her get some cheap film, so I reccomended she order some of the cheap film from BH. So she took my advice and ordered some of the cheapest color and black and white 35mm film they have.

The issue she just ran in to is that Walmart claims the black and white film "uses a chemical usually used by people intheir own developing place and we don't have it, but Ritz might." Ritz wants $8 to develop a roll of film.....and I am told that their chemicals are old.

I believe this is the film:
Link to BH

Can you explain to me why Walmart can't develop this?

Any Pentaxians in the Orlando, Fl area who have a darkroom who'd let me and my girlfriend use it to develop her film? We'd pay for chemicals used....

Thanks anyone who can help me!

10-27-2008, 02:42 PM   #2
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Places like Wal-Mart can't process it (on site, anyway) because B&W film requires different chemistry from colour print film.
The price of used developing equipment is pretty much in freefall, and the skill set required to process B&W film is kind of equivalent to chewing gum and walking at the same time.
I'd bet if you checked around your market area, you will find people willing to let developing equipment go at fire sale prices, just to be rid of it.
10-27-2008, 03:01 PM   #3
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Hi Jah,

I actually got a bit of a lesson learned on this over the weekend. I picked up a PZ-1 off of ebay and put a roll of tri-x through it to give it a test run to make sure there weren't any issues. Called Walgreens to see if they coiuld develop B&W film and specifically Tri-X. They said "Sure!" so admittedly surprised I headed down there and dropped it off. Well, needless to say when I came back an hour later to see how my test shots came out I got gulps and blank stares and was handed a completely transparent 24exp negative strip.

Here's the deal. One-Hour film processors can only handle C41 grade film. C41 is the most common color film processing. Most B&W films can not be developed in these chemicals - they will literally strip the negatives bare.

There are however a couple C41 B&W films available; they're not "true" B&W film but actually greyscale color film, for lack of a better term. These are that I know (now) of:
Kodak BW300CN
Ilford XP-2 Super
10-27-2008, 03:06 PM   #4
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You're in for a fun and relatively inexpensive hobby if you follow up on this, though it takes a little time to learn.

There are abundant online guides if you look around -- I'm sure someone can provide a link. Or you can do what I did to learn: take a photography class and run with it from there.

10-27-2008, 03:54 PM   #5
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www.APUG.org
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10-27-2008, 04:18 PM   #6
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If you don't want to go thru all the trouble of processing and printing your own B&W and don't mind sepia prints from your local one hour then use T-Max/BW*CN film.

That same film processed can later on be printed from a pro lab who prints on B&W paper. Use either the Kodak or Fujifilm sites to find a pro lab in your area.

If you intend to do it yourself, not only will you have to learn a bunch of stuff, you'll also have to invest in some equipment for processing and printing.

*edit* The BW400CN emulsion can produce true B&W prints from your local one hour, fujifilm neopan400cn is their equivalent.

Last edited by Clicker; 10-27-2008 at 04:32 PM.
10-27-2008, 05:56 PM   #7
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If you want to get your own darkroom equipment, Craigslist is a good place to look.
10-27-2008, 05:58 PM   #8
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The simplest thing to do would be to find a few photography clubs in your area and ask if any of their member would develop your roll for you when they happen to be developing. A lot of clubs still have member that roll up the short sleeves and work the dark magic. I still have all my old B&W darkroom gear but have not had it in use for over 15 years, can not sell it, hell can not even give it away. There is a ton of it out there for free if you want to get into developing (just takes too much time, although it was fun in its day) I had several people that I would develop film for. You can do it with a film change bag, single reel and tank, some developer, stop, & fix. You do not need a darkroom to develop film. once you have the film on the reel & inside the tank you can work outside the bag for all the fun wet stuff.

Good Luck,

QuoteOriginally posted by JahJahwarrior Quote
So....my girlfriend picked up an old Canon SLR and I wanted to help her get some cheap film, so I reccomended she order some of the cheap film from BH. So she took my advice and ordered some of the cheapest color and black and white 35mm film they have.

The issue she just ran in to is that Walmart claims the black and white film "uses a chemical usually used by people intheir own developing place and we don't have it, but Ritz might." Ritz wants $8 to develop a roll of film.....and I am told that their chemicals are old.

I believe this is the film:
Link to BH

Can you explain to me why Walmart can't develop this?

Any Pentaxians in the Orlando, Fl area who have a darkroom who'd let me and my girlfriend use it to develop her film? We'd pay for chemicals used....

Thanks anyone who can help me!


10-27-2008, 07:13 PM   #9
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Just to give you an idea...

Cost of having my film processed by a lab: about $15-$20.

Advantages: No hassle, negs come back flat, cut and sleeved, and chances are it's done perfectly.

Disadvantages: No control over the myriad variables that can make each roll of film unique - choice of developer, dev time, agitation, fixer. Pushing film costs extra. Hell, they mightn't even vary the dev time to suit the film/developer combo. Staff at AllChromes are snobby ******s. Expensive, comparatively speaking, prints may cost extra. And I hope you like TMAX dev - because, chances are, that's only what they'll use. Roller transport may scratch negs, which is even worse considering what you're paying. There's no fun in doing this. To get the negs (which all Kodak Prolabs automatically scan [and store!] anyway) scanned will probably cost another $5. None of the places that do BW around here are open weekends. As mentioned by Venturi, there's a good chance that the people behind the counter mightn't have the slightest clue, and have been wilfully misled ("Look, kid, we can do pretty much every film here, ok, as we're unaware of anything other than colour negative."

Cost of devving my own: About $0.60 - $1.00.

Advantages: Cheap, once initial outlay for gear is made, fun, gives infinite control over how they turn out - choose whatever developer you want, what time, how you shoot it, how you fix it. You get the film immediately, and can dev whenever you want. Don't have to put up with lab staff who think it's cute you think you know how to take a picture. You can control how the negs are looked after - if there's a scratch or dust, it's you own fault, but at least you didn't waste the equivalent of a cafe breakfast on them. You get the film developed whenever you damn well want.

Disadvantages: There's a learning curve that'll probably never go away, unless you're easily pleased - "From now on, I shoot this film, at this speed, in this developer, and I pray that it shall never be discontinued nor tweaked in anyway. For ever and ever, amen." Initial outlay can be expensive, and the equipment is getting harder and harder to find. Chemicals are a bit suss. Flatmates will drink from the containers you mix them in. You generally have to be pretty precise in everything. And finding out what works for you won't be cheap or easy (hint: keep a diary of what you do.)
10-28-2008, 06:39 AM   #10
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Actually prinitng is the most expensive part.
in 10x15 cm (4x6 in) paper is about 0.1/sheet so printing 36 exp would cost something like $4
If you are going to scan it the cost goes down, and if you learn to print only a few and evaluate your negatives then it also goes down.

QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
Just to give you an idea...

Cost of having my film processed by a lab: about $15-$20.

Advantages: No hassle, negs come back flat, cut and sleeved, and chances are it's done perfectly.

Disadvantages: No control over the myriad variables that can make each roll of film unique - choice of developer, dev time, agitation, fixer. Pushing film costs extra. Hell, they mightn't even vary the dev time to suit the film/developer combo. Staff at AllChromes are snobby ******s. Expensive, comparatively speaking, prints may cost extra. And I hope you like TMAX dev - because, chances are, that's only what they'll use. Roller transport may scratch negs, which is even worse considering what you're paying. There's no fun in doing this. To get the negs (which all Kodak Prolabs automatically scan [and store!] anyway) scanned will probably cost another $5. None of the places that do BW around here are open weekends. As mentioned by Venturi, there's a good chance that the people behind the counter mightn't have the slightest clue, and have been wilfully misled ("Look, kid, we can do pretty much every film here, ok, as we're unaware of anything other than colour negative."

Cost of devving my own: About $0.60 - $1.00.

Advantages: Cheap, once initial outlay for gear is made, fun, gives infinite control over how they turn out - choose whatever developer you want, what time, how you shoot it, how you fix it. You get the film immediately, and can dev whenever you want. Don't have to put up with lab staff who think it's cute you think you know how to take a picture. You can control how the negs are looked after - if there's a scratch or dust, it's you own fault, but at least you didn't waste the equivalent of a cafe breakfast on them. You get the film developed whenever you damn well want.

Disadvantages: There's a learning curve that'll probably never go away, unless you're easily pleased - "From now on, I shoot this film, at this speed, in this developer, and I pray that it shall never be discontinued nor tweaked in anyway. For ever and ever, amen." Initial outlay can be expensive, and the equipment is getting harder and harder to find. Chemicals are a bit suss. Flatmates will drink from the containers you mix them in. You generally have to be pretty precise in everything. And finding out what works for you won't be cheap or easy (hint: keep a diary of what you do.)
10-28-2008, 02:32 PM   #11
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You don't need a darkroom to develop the film, only to print.
The chemicals and equipment for developing B&W film are cheap and relatively safe.
Used darkroom equipment is getting cheaper.
10-29-2008, 01:16 AM   #12
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Used darkroom equipment is dirt cheap....
in 2001 I paid $100 for an enlarger (Bogen) with extras in the US and I was very happy.
this year I got 2 enlargers for free with extras
Just look in craiglist, or your local equivalent

QuoteOriginally posted by flifishun Quote
You don't need a darkroom to develop the film, only to print.
The chemicals and equipment for developing B&W film are cheap and relatively safe.
Used darkroom equipment is getting cheaper.
10-29-2008, 11:31 AM   #13
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Try this

dwaynesphoto.com

Also check out your local schools/colleges . They might have a club that you can join with reasonable fee .
10-29-2008, 05:55 PM   #14
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If you're thinking about souping your own, just get some Diafine and be done with it. It's the only developer I use these days, because there's no reason for me to use anything else. No fussing over time and temps, and because it's a two part compensating developer you can eyeball the exposure and get away with it most of the time. Cheap as hell too since you just reuse it over and over.

And if you want to "test" a new film to see what works best, just do this:

Shoot a high contrast (harsh sun and shadows) scene at rated speed, -1 stop, -2 stop, +1 stop, +2 stop

Do the same for a low contrast and a medium contrast one.

You've spent 15 frames. Have some fun with the rest, then soup the roll in Diafine (time and temp doesn't matter since it develops to exhaustion). Figure out what looks best and you have a good idea of what exposure works best for what type of scene.

Cost? $15 for Diafine, $5-8 for fixer. $20-30 for a decent tank+reel, $5 for a couple of brown gallon jugs, $10-15 for a changing bag. $2 or so for a roll of film to 'learn' it. Then you're good, as long as you plan to scan (Diafine scans wonderfully). If you're going to print, you have to fork out another couple hundred or so for the gear and enough paper to get going.

Last edited by pingflood; 10-29-2008 at 06:03 PM.
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