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01-12-2009, 09:05 AM   #1
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B&W Film processing: Chemical Question

Hi Folks,

I have all the equipment that I need to process and then print B&W film. (Thanks to a fantastic gift from my wife of the contents of a darkroom!)

I have been shooting with B&W film on and off for a few years and have left the processing to local lab, well a local b&w printing specialist who would process films for me and then I could use the facilities at work to print the pics.

So, this person has upped and moved to to a place about four hours away and I figure seeing as I have the tanks and reels etc i should go and just do it myself.

So can anyone give me a brief list of the chemicals required - i'm guessing developer, stop bath & fixer, but I'm reading about this now and coming across things like washing agent etc.

also, any recommendations for specific chemicals for fuji B&W (iso 100 & 400) film?

thanks all

eoin


Last edited by oinkely; 01-12-2009 at 09:25 AM.
01-12-2009, 09:20 AM   #2
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Hi,

I myself have just started processing my own black and white and have been having a great time with it.

The stuff that I have used with success so far with a variety of films, including fuji neopan SS, is Kodak D-76, Kodak professional fixer with hardening agent, and Kodak stop bath with indicator. Washing agents I've found are mostly to make sure you don't get hard water stains on your negatives during the drying process. Photo-flo is the most common it seems and is quite cheap. I've also found that doing your final few rinses in distilled water will also work quite well. My other choice is apparently slightly controversial but I have also used Jet-dry as a washing agent. Just a couple of drops (really just a couple) in the final rinse, let my negatives soak for a minute or so and then drain it off without letting it foam up.

Sounds like you've already got some experience here but just in case here are a few sites that I've found very helpful:

This one is a great quick write up on doing this on a budget, but its a good step by step walk through in my opinion - Flickr: Discussing Developing black and white film on a budget (ish) in I Shoot Film

This one is a database of processing times for a wide variety of films and developers - The Massive Dev Chart: B/W Film Development Times, Processing Data

Hopefully this helps out. So far I've only used the D-76 mostly diluted 1:1 and have had great results. It does a nice even job, but there are other developers out there that are a little more tailored to specific results it seems.
01-12-2009, 08:51 PM   #3
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Essentially, you'll only need a developer, stop bath and fixer, but some even do away with a stop bath altogether by washing away the developer with water. A stop bath is basically a weak acid (citric acid) and helps stop residual development, which helps with consistency.

The other chemicals are pretty much optional. A Hypo Clearing Agent reduce washing times. A wetting agent helps avoid water streaks when drying but just 2 or 3 drops of dish washing liquid in the final rinse works as well.

If you're not processing a lot, get a liquid developer like Kodak HC-110 or Ilford Ilfosol. Much easier to make a working solution with liquids rather than mixing and dissolving developer in powdered form.

If you're not sure how to start, here's a link from a friend's website
01-12-2009, 11:57 PM   #4
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Since you are in Ireland

FILM:
Developer: I prefer liquid concentrates, for long life HC110 or Rodinal (both are good for Neopan Acros100)
For low grain Ilford DDX (neopan 400+DDX is perfect!)
Ilfosol is an OK developer but shelf life is short and does not get along well with Neopoan 400

Stop: water is sufficient or white vinegar (1+4) in water

Fixer: Any rapid fixer will do, I'm using the Amaloco variety, but have used Ilford, Kodak, Sprint, etc
Hardener is not needed for the Neopans.

Dry Aid: to dry your negatives without streaks you either need to use a last rinse with distilled water (from Tesco) or a last rinse with Photoflo, Orbit, or Ethol LFN

For PAPER:
Developer Ethol LPD, Dektol, or any of the Ilfords

Stop: Diluted vinegar (1+4) or any commericla stop bath...preferrably odorless

Fixer: Rapid fixer, same concentrate as above BUT make a dilution for paper and one for film
Wash Aid: orbit bath or HCA
Toners are an option for the future....

BOOKS:
Tim Rudman's The Photographer's Master Printing Course

01-13-2009, 01:48 AM   #5
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Thanks to all for the replies.

I'll be off to the shops on thursday evening to stock up on some chemicals, might even have some home grown negs by the weekend!

i'll let you all know how my efforts work out.

cheers
01-15-2009, 12:18 AM   #6
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Kodak D-76. It's cheap. I find it's a good "baseline" developer - preserves the film's speed, moderate grain, moderate sharpness.

And, for the love of the deities, always check the Tech Pubs (Kodak's term) or whatever the factsheets are called of the film you're using from the manufacturer's website, though the Massive Dev Chart is also handy (though often only gives times for a temperature of 20 degrees C.)
01-15-2009, 12:28 AM   #7
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I've recently developed a few rolls (which I hope to scan) using Kodak T-MAX developer and generic stop bath / fixer for both 100 and 400 ISO film. The shots turned out very well, but I did have to wash each film carefully in order to avoid stains and other blemishes. The guy in the photo store recommended adding "Foto-Flo" when washing film - it seemed to help!

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01-15-2009, 02:00 AM   #8
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Photo-flo is OK, Edwal LFN is even better, but none of them are really necessary.
After washing the film rinse it with distilled water and then hang to dry
(I like to use an old salad-spinner for centrifuging/pre-drying)


QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I've recently developed a few rolls (which I hope to scan) using Kodak T-MAX developer and generic stop bath / fixer for both 100 and 400 ISO film. The shots turned out very well, but I did have to wash each film carefully in order to avoid stains and other blemishes. The guy in the photo store recommended adding "Foto-Flo" when washing film - it seemed to help!


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