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04-24-2009, 07:30 AM   #1
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Crazy to Do My Own Negatives Only?

I had a brainstorm yesterday. Instead of the hassle of sending off or dropping off my Tri-X film for processing, it seems like for about $75 I can get the tank, chemicals, etc. do do my own negatives. I plan to scan the negatives in a slide scanner I own. I don't plan to get into prints and enlargers, just develop the negatives and scan them for further use.

35 years ago I regularly developed my own BW film and hopefully can remember what I used to know.

Is there anything wrong with this plan?

04-24-2009, 07:40 AM   #2
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If there is then I'm "wrong" too.
I developed my first roll last night - TMAX400 in HC110 - and am scanning them in right now as I peruse the mornings posts and get my caffeine transfusion.
04-24-2009, 07:47 AM   #3
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I ordered the Adorama developer that is the equivalent of D76 1:1...maybe I'll have to experiment to see what I prefer.

I guess I'm thinking "How hard could it be?" Loading the reel is the hard part and I already know how to do that. It was prints that always messed me up. Now we have good film scanners....
04-24-2009, 07:51 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by lawsonstone Quote
I had a brainstorm yesterday. Instead of the hassle of sending off or dropping off my Tri-X film for processing, it seems like for about $75 I can get the tank, chemicals, etc. do do my own negatives. I plan to scan the negatives in a slide scanner I own. I don't plan to get into prints and enlargers, just develop the negatives and scan them for further use.

35 years ago I regularly developed my own BW film and hopefully can remember what I used to know.

Is there anything wrong with this plan?
If you value controlling your results, then processing your own film is the way to go.

04-24-2009, 08:07 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lawsonstone Quote
35 years ago I regularly developed my own BW film and hopefully can remember what I used to know.
You'll remember. I took a 30 year hiatus from it also, but it all came back at the first whiff of sodium thiosulphate..
04-24-2009, 08:14 AM   #6
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i am interested in doing processing too, but can't convince myself that it's worth it to scan everything myself. if i'm gonna pay someone to do quick scans, might as well pay them to process.
04-24-2009, 08:17 AM   #7
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The hardest part for me (it was my FIRST roll ever) was making a straight cut of the film leader whilst in the changing bag.
04-24-2009, 08:20 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
i am interested in doing processing too, but can't convince myself that it's worth it to scan everything myself. if i'm gonna pay someone to do quick scans, might as well pay them to process.
If I were paying someone to do hi-res scans I'd probably let them process the film too, and make a proof sheet for me while they're at it. But the cost of good hi-res scans is sooo dang high. The local pro lab here gets $3 per frame for 3600PPI.

04-24-2009, 08:27 AM   #9
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I already own a nice film scanner, Minolta something or other, so I think doing my own negatives will be the ticket.
04-24-2009, 09:50 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venturi Quote
If there is then I'm "wrong" too.
I developed my first roll last night - TMAX400 in HC110 - and am scanning them in right now as I peruse the mornings posts and get my caffeine transfusion.
Years ago I used HC110 almost exclusively with Tri-X and Plus-X, Panatomic-X films. I liked it's ease of use. I'd think that you can set yourself up to develop b/w pretty much on the cheap. I'm amazed at the people that are moving back to film, especially for b/w work. Maybe if more of us start seeing the light on film we can keep Kodak in business, what do you think?

JimH
04-24-2009, 10:19 AM   #11
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For what it's worth, I find Tri-X much easier to load onto a stainless spool than any Ilford films, as the film base is thicker and doesn't buckle at much. However, Kodak films seem to be heavier on the anti-halation layer, so you might need to fix it on the longer side of things to make sure there's no purple cast left over.

Scanning: Digital ICE doesn't work, so try to make sure negs are clean as possible. I scan in 24 bit colour .tiffs, then convert to greyscale afterwards. Of course leaving it colour makes for a 'warm' tinted scan.

Check out my flickr gallery for examples over the winter, though most of the scans are from HP5+
04-24-2009, 10:41 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venturi Quote
If I were paying someone to do hi-res scans I'd probably let them process the film too, and make a proof sheet for me while they're at it. But the cost of good hi-res scans is sooo dang high. The local pro lab here gets $3 per frame for 3600PPI.
QuoteOriginally posted by lawsonstone Quote
I already own a nice film scanner, Minolta something or other, so I think doing my own negatives will be the ticket.
personally, to me it's not the lab or whether you have a nice scanner or not. the labs i go to scan a roll for $5. not the greatest scans, but it's basically like getting a contact print and stuff i can put online. if the pictures is OMG awesome then i'll spend time to scan it myself.

the issue is the time spent scanning can be used for many many better things.
04-24-2009, 10:53 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimH Quote
Years ago I used HC110 almost exclusively with Tri-X and Plus-X, Panatomic-X films. I liked it's ease of use. I'd think that you can set yourself up to develop b/w pretty much on the cheap. I'm amazed at the people that are moving back to film, especially for b/w work. Maybe if more of us start seeing the light on film we can keep Kodak in business, what do you think?

JimH
It went really smooth last night considering I'd never attempted it before. And yes, please everyone shoot Kodak Film! My stock portfolio will thank you!

QuoteOriginally posted by CSoars Quote
For what it's worth, I find Tri-X much easier to load onto a stainless spool than any Ilford films, as the film base is thicker and doesn't buckle at much. However, Kodak films seem to be heavier on the anti-halation layer, so you might need to fix it on the longer side of things to make sure there's no purple cast left over.

Scanning: Digital ICE doesn't work, so try to make sure negs are clean as possible. I scan in 24 bit colour .tiffs, then convert to greyscale afterwards. Of course leaving it colour makes for a 'warm' tinted scan.

Check out my flickr gallery for examples over the winter, though most of the scans are from HP5+
I definitely should have fixed longer. I went 5min with Kodafix and there's a bit of purple left in the negs.
04-24-2009, 11:04 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by CSoars Quote
For what it's worth, I find Tri-X much easier to load onto a stainless spool than any Ilford films, as the film base is thicker and doesn't buckle at much. However, Kodak films seem to be heavier on the anti-halation layer, so you might need to fix it on the longer side of things to make sure there's no purple cast left over.
I'm going to order my first roll of Tri-X hopefully today. I can say that HP5+ is pretty thick...definitely thicker than C41 films (of which I've handled thousands, literally, when I used to work in a lab).

What is a good "base" time to fix Tri-X? HP5+ is around 4-4.5min for me.
QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
personally, to me it's not the lab or whether you have a nice scanner or not. the labs i go to scan a roll for $5. not the greatest scans, but it's basically like getting a contact print and stuff i can put online. if the pictures is OMG awesome then i'll spend time to scan it myself.

the issue is the time spent scanning can be used for many many better things.
Once again...here we have time vs money (also replying to the OP ).

Scanning sucks, yes...definitely. For the price of doing it yourself, however, you sacrifice lots of time but it can be extremely cheap. And let's be honest...if we are in "that much of a hurry" would we be using manual cams and film in the first place? Chemicals/tank/grad cylinders/scanner/etc cost me right around $200. Rolling your own film can make it even cheaper. It takes something like $1-1.50 off the "street" price of a manufacturer-rolled film like HP5+.

Doing the math:
HP5+ 24exp roll from Freestyle = $3.49
HP5+ 100ft roll = $45
~24 rolls of 24exp rolls can be made from the big roll (if I can do math? I hate numbers)
$free film canisters
$free bulk roller
= less than $2/roll if self-rolled



Also want to add a tip for anyone thinking about home-devving...my house is always about 70 degrees F...give or take...so the chems are always around 20C since they're out of the sun and on the floor (heat rises, 'member? ). I get a gallon jug, fill it with ~22C water, and use that since it will get colder as it sits. Not wet n wild...nice and clean in the bathtub. No submersion needed Of course measure them first if compensation is needed
04-24-2009, 11:09 AM   #15
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I don't let anyone else do my negs if at all practicable. Back home, I would take em to SBI or a now-defunct place called Subtech if I couldn't do the volume or needed proofs fast: they would do a nice job. Printing, to be honest, I always considered a chore, but as soon as I contrive a little drainage around what's supposed to be my darkroom and clean it up *again,* I'll just be doing that, myself, as well.
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