View Full Version : Seems, it's time to move
Hello, last night I had idea of starting to develop BW film myself home. I've read overall process, though want to clarify - do really all I need is:
- room without light (may I use red lamp, remember from childhood or this is only needed when printing?)
- changing bag
- volume like deep plate for pouring chemicals out of tank???
- tap water
- exposed film, for sure
- clip for fastening film to dry
well, scissors and bottle opener are in each home already.
How much used set for development only (excl. chemicals) would go?
And another unclear issue is dumping chemicals. Some of them can be reused (pour off the tank into volume and then into "used" bottles not to mix with fresh). And after they get depleted, bring them to photolab for disposal?
Thank you in advance!
You don't need a darkroom for developing, just a changing bag and daylight tank.
My kit, which is pretty minimal, consists of:
- Changing bag.
- 35mm cassette opener.
- Paterson System 4 twin-reel daylight tank.
- 3x 600ml graduated measures (volume driven by tank capacity). You could get by with one.
- Big jug for supply of water at working temperature.
- Thermometer (basic liquid-in-glass).
- Syringes for measuring out chemicals.
- Chemicals (developer, fixer, wetting agent).
- Stopwatch (aka my mobile phone).
- Clips for drying.
- Squeegie (a luxury, really).
- Battered old calculator (from my school days :)) for working out development times for odd temperatures.
I tend to develop at most two rolls a day, so I bought an extra set of reels so that each set has at least one day to dry between uses.
I mix everything up for one-shot use, then it all goes down the drain.
A red (or green or orange) lamp is only permissible when printing or when handling ortho and unsensitized film. There are some ways and means to do very limited visual inspection in panchromatic film development by using desensitizers and/or special lighing. But I've never found anybody who claimed that he got any meaningful information out of visually inspecting anything smaller than 8x10" at that low a lighting level, so that type of thing is better left to the ULF guys.
For film development you need either a completely darkenable room, or a changing bag/tent. Personally I can make do with bags, but beginners should better go for a changing tent - it is already hard to load film without seeing it, doing so in a cramped space and with the bag wall getting in the way is even harder, until you have lots of routine.
Beyond that, the tank, two buckets (for clean water and waste), a good thermometer (accurate, but not neccessarily calibrated to absolute precision - you have to be able to repeat at the same temperature +/- 0.3°C, but don't need to adhere to absolute temperatures), a chem bottle to store mixed fixer in (no need for more, you'd better use one-shot developer), a set of beakers (size matching the tank, you'll need three or four so that you don't have to wash beakers in between), clips. Chemicals of course - start out with HC110 or Rodinal (or another similarily tame, all-purpose one-shot liquid developer) and liquid low-odor fixer.
All ready-mix developers may be dumped with your household waste water in dilution - and stop and flo are nothing other than salad brine and dishwashing water in any case. YMMV with fix - dumping it down the drain is usually permitted if you are directly on a large scale waste disposal plant, but if you have a septic tank or are on a small scale installation, you'll have to collect and dispose of it (as the silver content makes reprocessing of larger amounts profitable, it is not that hard to find places that take small batches for free if you bring them in - personally I drop it at a nearby radiologist).
This (http://chromogenic.net/develop) tutorial is great and pretty simple, too, "ingredients" wise.
About the only thing really toxic to micro-organisms in the soil is the silver that's disolved into the fixer. Pour your silver laden used fixer into a bucket and toss in some steel wool pads. Over a few days the more active iron atoms will go into solution and the silver percipitates out as a black sludge.The iron laden fixer you can run down the drain or pour it on your lawn. Let the black sludge accumulate. At some point you'll have enough so you won't have to GIVE it away. Dry it out on newspapers and sell it.
Oh, thanks all for fast replays. I'll need to sort it out and round up on purchases. I've dropped drinking coffee from this year, so this could be good replacement :)
Waste a couple of rolls of film learning to load the reels in daylight and then go for it!
I have found the 'AP' brand reels to be the best with there large tab's but also Stainless reels are easy to use, you just need to practice more. The Stainless reels and tanks are so much easier to clean.
I started developing film a couple of years ago and it got me so hooked I gave up using my digital kit, eventually I sold it all.
By the biggest changing bag you can find and then stick a cardboard box inside it. It’s a cheaper alternative to buying a Harrison Tent. Personally I use a Harrison tent and its $200 well spent but before you go that far make sure you enjoy and will continue to develop your own film.
So far I'm given developing tank and have tried to spool film with closed eyes. From chemicals most easy to get would be Tetenal Superfin (plain, liquid) and Tetenal Superfix Plus - from Net I see Superfin is old, stable product working well with most of films.
Some of Ilford developers also are available (DD-X and some more, can't remember), at double.
I use a changing bag, tank that can take 2 reels and a couple of glass jugs (which previously held cranberry juice) with drawn marks on the side to measure out my chemicals.
That's pretty much it. Use the bag to get the film on the reels, measure out my chemicals in the jugs, do the developing and then peg them up in the shower to dry.
Also, the developer I use is Ilfosol 3 (Ilford) and I use Ilford Rapid Fixer. I also use Ilford wetting agent just to make sure the film dries evenly.
DD-X is a good, convenient to use developer. A good choice.
I agree that Ilfosol and DDX are very good and easy to use. Don't forget Rodinal, which is easy to use but also flexible and extremely cheap.
You don't even need cassette opener. I used to open them with bottle opener, but now I use two pieces of film to get the end outside the cassette, it takes seconds and it's more elegant ;)
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