Let's Talk Film - Developing for Newbs

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by two40, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. two40

    two40 Member

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    After searching around for a local place with reasonable prices to develop my traditional b&w film I realised it really is a dead service. Only a handful of places in Sydney, a city of millions, can do it for you and it's certainly not cheap. Prices range from $8 for a direct drop off to $12 for a delivery service at your local photographic store (if they offer it). This is for developing negatives only.

    It made sense to buy my own gear to develop my film. After the first couple of dozen rolls this gear will have paid for itself. But it's more than just the money. I think there will be a closer relationship with the photos you develop.

    Can't wait to destroy a few rolls and eventually learn how to develop properly.

    I'm asking for any tips you might have. I know there are a few of you on here that do your own developing so please lend a hand. I also know I'm not the only one thinking about developing my own stuff so I'm sure this thread will come in handy to others.


    Gear

    Basically you will need 3 things. Should be able to pick this up for around $100 on the cheap or you can spend a bit more and support your local which is what I did.

    Tank/reels
    Black bag or a dark room
    Chemicals

    The rest can be done on the cheap from stuff around the home.

    Jugs for chemical work solutions
    Measuring cups
    Thermometer
    Large sink
    Scissors
    Can opener


    Method

    From here on in you need to follow instructions according to the chemicals you are using. The process looks simple but requires practise so I would advise to use test film initially.

    Here are a few resources:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu0Ul_wsYO8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAoQt5wLGjs&feature=related

    http://www.wikihow.com/Develop-Black-and-White-Film
    http://www.photogs.com/bwworld/bwfilmdev.html
    http://www.darkroomsource.net/tech-bw-film.shtml


    Here's what I bought today. Price came to $240 with student discount. I went a bit all out with some of the stuff so don't fret, it can be done for much cheaper.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Katunka89

    Katunka89 Member

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    Measure twice, make sure all the dilutions are correct. Time accurately, adjust for temperature. I use the massive dev chart: http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.html which has worked well for me so far. The hardest bit for me was loading the reels, may help to practice with a test roll. Although 35mm is a lot easier to load than 120. You may want to wear gloves when handling the film.
    My technique for wetting agent is let it sit for a minute then pour out, make sure you tap it to stop bubbles from forming on the negs.
    Make sure you hang it somewhere relatively dust free (ie shower is a good place).

    Ask as many questions as you need from as many sources as you can get your hands on.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2008
  3. ehor

    ehor Member

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    Nice one.

    I developed when I was in highschool but that was over 10 years ago :D
    Just earlier this week I bought a used development kit on eBay for $26 so will keep an eye on this thread to help jog my memory.

    We used to practice putting film on to the reel with dummy film. Then when we got better were instructed to do it under the desk and then eventually in the bag/darkroom.

    Might pay to get used to putting dummy film on to the reel so you don't end up putting your fingers all over the film.
     
  4. onrelas

    onrelas Member

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    I'm glad you posted this thread mate, i've been thinking about doing this for a while now. Had a bit of experience with it at school, but i froget most of the technical side of things.
    I'll be keeping an eye on this thread for sure.
    cheers
     
  5. djjc

    djjc Member

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    Great thread :). Keep us posted with your findings and successes. My local has an awesome stock of all thats needed, but its the unknown thats stopping me atm.
     
  6. SilverRayne

    SilverRayne Member

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    Just wondering if anyone has felt that the c41 b&w films have made shooting actual b&w negs almost redundant (not including specialty stuff, like high iso, low iso - pan, etc)
     
  7. Katunka89

    Katunka89 Member

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    Nah not really. It's a very different look, I prefer the look of silver halide B+W to C41. That and it's very cheap to process silver B+W yourself, definitely cheaper than paying for C41 processing.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    two40

    two40 Member

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    C-41 costs me $4 a roll for negs only. Even at that price after two dozen rolls your own gear will pay for itself, you'll have better knowledge and take more pride in your work I believe.

    One of the biggest costs, which has surprised me, is the plastic sleeves for neg storage. My scanner does 6 at a time and I shoot 36 rolls so I need a 6*7 sleeve with ring binder holes. Best price I've found is (I think) $99 for a hundred. I guess it's not that expensive at a dollar per roll but that initial cost seems like it is considering you can get all dev gear for that same price. If anyone can get me a discount on this stuff please contact me via pm. Cheers :)
     
  9. SilverRayne

    SilverRayne Member

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    cost me $2.
     
  10. ehor

    ehor Member

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    where at mate?
     
  11. SilverRayne

    SilverRayne Member

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    kmart.

    though I haven't been there for a year now. Maybe it went up?
     
  12. wrobel

    wrobel Member

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    Try http://www.albox.com.au/ 100 sleeves about $48
     
  13. OP
    OP
    two40

    two40 Member

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    Excellent. Thank you. :)
     
  14. ehor

    ehor Member

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    Do those neg sleeves just fit inside a normal ring binder folder?
    Or would I need a 'special' sized one?
     
  15. OP
    OP
    two40

    two40 Member

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    depends which one ehor. in my case the 6*7 ones will not so you need a special big one or they will hang out the side.
     
  16. ehor

    ehor Member

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    ahhh ok.
    read your blog, seems like you got a few vintage cams too :thumbup:
     
  17. peewee82

    peewee82 Member

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    With C41 B&W vs Traditional B&W. If you're someone who is going to scan everything and bring them into photoshop anyway, then I think that just about makes C41 B&W redundant, rather than Traditional. You're going to get basically the same result as scanning colour neg and converting it to b&w later. Traditional B&W is a completely different emulsion and reaction, and the development produces different effects too. Also, not too many people print traditionally in colour anymore, whereas printing your own B&W traditionally is still prevalent and gives you the best results imaginable for B&W by a loooong shot!
     
  18. peewee82

    peewee82 Member

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    The initial development when you first pour the developer into the tank is about the most critical part, but often one might have trouble getting the lid of the tank on or perhaps one is using a large tank that takes a while to fill up and while the film on the spiral at the top is waiting for its developer, the film at the bottom of the tank is already developing.

    Therefore, I find it good practice to wash the film first. Fill the tank with water and let it sit for a minute or so. When you tip out the water and put in the developer, it will not start developing instantly, but rather will take about until you've finished pouring in the developer and got your lid secure, which is ideal! Then you can start your accurate timing.

    What's also useful about rinsing your film first is that some films (Tmax for example - and probably the worst culprit) have some pretty purple or blue colours on them. One way to get rid of this is Fix for a longer time (some recommend twice as long for Tmax). It's not the end of the world to be left with a film with a purple tinge to it, as it's not going to translate to a silver print or a monochrome scan, but it's nicer to get the monochrome film you hoped for. Anyway I blabber. If you rinse a film that has this colour on it, the water you tip out will be a dark blue or purple. It makes you really feel this step is worthwhile when you see this! Haha.
     
  19. OP
    OP
    two40

    two40 Member

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    that's brilliant. i've never read that anywhere so far. will definitely try that as i actually have been worried about getting that lid on. i have a 3 reel tank but will likely do 2 at a time or even just the one for the first couple of times.

    im doing my first one this coming long weekend. :thumbup:
     
  20. peewee82

    peewee82 Member

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    Yah if you're not sure they're gonna turn out perfect, best to just do one at a time for starters. Word of advice, load ALL the reels into the tank even if you do one. That keeps your film at the bottom so it stays in the chemicals. Otherwise a single reel can wander up when you agitate and sit out the chemicals.
     

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