A question for the experienced developers

Discussion in 'Film Developing / Chemistry' started by tonyturley, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. tonyturley

    tonyturley FF Veteran

    242
    Mar 24, 2015
    Tony
    As I was walking our dog this afternoon, I encountered a neighbor preparing for the neighborhood yard sale this weekend. During the course of conversation, I mentioned I was always on the lookout for old film gear. "Oh, really?" was the response, with raised eyebrows. It turns out his wife's deceased brother was into photography, and she had kept some of his stuff since his death 40 years or so ago. They had it marked at $5 for everything, but refused my money when I tried to pay them. They just wanted to get rid of it. The list includes:

    Bogen Mini Precision Enlarger
    3 plastic tubs
    A bottle of Kodak Photo-Flo 200
    A bottle of Kodak film cleaner
    Assorted bulbs in red, green, yellow, and black
    A thermometer
    A Honeywell Auto/Strobanar 782 + strobe-eye remote sensor
    A packet of Kodak Polycontrast RapidRC paper
    A packet of Kodak Panalure paper
    Some sort of heavy metal frame labeled "Airequipt 4-way"
    A Kodak pamphlet titled "Basic Developing, Printing, Enlarging"

    I haven't had time to go through the booklet, but what else might I need to learn basic developing? I've never tried it before.

    TT


    DSC06883.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015
  2. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. FF Regular

    85
    Mar 24, 2015
    Larry
    If the paper is really 40 years old, you probably are going to get fog. I'd put the hardware to use -- enlarger, trays, easel, lens, clean off the condenser, etc. but get new chemistry and paper. Is the bulb in the enlarger working. You'll need that to project the negative onto the paper. And do you have a negative carrier? I looks like there probably is one.

    I'd definitely read through that book on basic printing. There are a lot of steps it would be easier to address if you had some information but had a question. It is not hard to make a basic print. After that, if you get the bug, you can make it as involved as you want. It's fun, and watching the latent image emerge from a sheet of paper in the chemistry is purely magical. Even after all these years, I find it deeply satisfying.

    Good luck. You may want to test the paper, but I'd factor new paper and chemistry into the initial budget.
     
  3. Mijo

    Mijo FF Regular

    43
    Mar 25, 2015
    San Francisco
    Mario
    The community darkroom that I use gets donations of old paper all of the time, which they let members use. I've used donated paper from time to time and my experience has been that the paper towards the middle of the pile tends to have less fog
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
  4. tonyturley

    tonyturley FF Veteran

    242
    Mar 24, 2015
    Tony
    Thanks for the replies. I happen to have a roll of partially exposed film that was in a camera I bought. I never had it developed because I was uncertain what might be on it, but my wife suggested I use it as a practice roll. Excellent idea. Time to get reading.

    TT
     
  5. jomerads

    jomerads FF Rookie

    12
    Sep 19, 2015
    John
    For Black and White film development: I would start with a tank and reel(s). Plastic is easier than metal. Easier to thread. Practice threading in the light with accidentally exposed to light film or old expired film pretending you could not see. Then practice also in the dark.

    Make a darkroom covering all the windows and door gaps with dark double layered cloth (I velcroed mine on the sides of the window) or use a changing bag (not too expensive on Ebay) to thread real exposed film.

    Buy chemicals, bottles and graduated cylinders. My favorites are: Rodinal and its equivalent (R09 etc.), Xtol, Ilford Ddx. I recommend using TF4 Fixer from Photographer's Formulary since it does not require an acid stop bath ( I have used odorless TF5 and Ilford Rapid Fix). And what you have already: Photoflo. Mix with proper dilutions (each chemical will have the recommended dilutions written on their labels).

    Use your tubs for your water bath. 20 C for the chemicals using your thermometer. If you are in an area with warm climate, use the lowest temperature near 20 C but shorten your time as compensation or use ice to lower to 20 C. Watch You tube videos on how to agitate.

    There is a Massive Development Chart in the web that recommends a specific time for a developer and film combination you are using. (Type in Massive Development Chart) There is also a temperature compensation algorithm there for temperatures that are not 20 C or if you are using a drum or a processor (that is other than hand agitation). Just do not go below 5 minutes of total developer agitation and you are golden. There are also Film-Developer recipes in the web showing the finished sample photo of the combination that can be googled.

    To start: 1)With or without a Prewash then 2) Developer, 3)Stop, 4) Fix, 5) Wash and then 6)PhotoFlo. 7) Hang to dry. Also maybe start with a forgiving film such as Ilford HP5 plus (this film Ilford does not recommend a prewash).

    I hope this helps.

    John S.

    (Oh by the way, color negative film development is even simpler/easier).
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. tonyturley

    tonyturley FF Veteran

    242
    Mar 24, 2015
    Tony
    Thanks for that detailed message, John.

    Tony
     
  7. jomerads

    jomerads FF Rookie

    12
    Sep 19, 2015
    John
    Anytime Tony. I know I am new here. I am willing to help. Any questions you have I am willing to answer.

    I started the same way. My wife found an advertised darkroom bundle in the paper. I bought a storage locker filled with darkroom equipment for $300 (not free) 15 years ago. I augmented it of course. The paper I got that was expired then (bromide Kodak papers) I still can produce an acceptable image today.
     
  8. tonyturley

    tonyturley FF Veteran

    242
    Mar 24, 2015
    Tony
    I appreciate that, John. I'm fairly new here, too, having just started using film again early this year. I still use digital, but I'm really enjoying my work with film, too. I have too much invested in digital to just dump it all, but film definitely has qualities unique to that format.

    TT
     
  9. Mijo

    Mijo FF Regular

    43
    Mar 25, 2015
    San Francisco
    Mario
    That's not been my experience with developing color film, I took a class at Rayko (in SF) last year and found it to be much more difficult than developing black and white film. Temperature control is way more critical when it comes to developing color negatives. Also for the class, all of the students had to supply their own respirators. I would not even consider trying to develop color negatives at home, it's difficult enough in a controlled environment like a class. Color printing is also difficult and Rayko has done away with their traditional color printing class completely.
     
  10. jomerads

    jomerads FF Rookie

    12
    Sep 19, 2015
    John
    First, let me try and defend what I said about color negative development; that it is easier/simpler.

    Simpler: How many choices of developers, times and dilutions do you have in black and white? For Rodinal alone: you can stand, semi-stand, standard: with 1+25, 1+50, 1+75 dilutions, etc. That is with one developer alone. Then there are different film-developer combinations.

    With color negative development: you have essentially one developer, at one temperature 38 C/100.4 F, at one time: 3 minutes and 15 seconds. It does not matter if you have Agfa 200 Vista, Kodak 400 or Fuji Xtra. They all go in the same soup. Simple.

    Easier: Because there are color kits that are still available. I use the Unicolor kit from freestylephoto.biz. It used to be the Tetanal C41 Press kit. It only has 6 steps. Prewash or Preheat, Developer, BlixFix, Wash and Stabilize. The Stabilize step is Color's version of Photoflo.
    So essentially it has 2 major steps and one step that has to be maintained at strict 38 C. I think it is doable to maintain the color developer at 38 C for 3 minutes 15 seconds. Even the other steps can be maintained at 38 C: Prewash, Blix Fix and Wash. Try it out with water in bottles in a small tub bath. I microwave water at 50-60 C (carefully) and titrate my bath water temperature using this. Need more heat=add more microwaved water.

    It is actually harder for me to maintain 20 C than to maintain 38 C. You can argue that Black and White need not be so exact in terms of temperature. It is for me though. I maintain the processing at the beginning temperature: be it 21 C or 21.5 C. I do it with ice in drinking bottles that I placed in the freezer. I think it is easier to heat water than to freeze it.

    Now for the safety issue: You are absolutely right. If a certain process scares you health-wise be it Color Negative Development or Black and White Development. Do not do it. I will not persuade you to do it. A lot of things can go wrong; when you are dealing with chemicals there are risks. What if you are allergic to Thiosulfate or the smell of the acid bath induces you to have an Asthma attack. Each chemical needs to be respected and given full latitude. If you feel that you want to take the risk, minimize that risk by taking the precautions: rubber gloves, goggles, N65 mask when mixing powdered chemicals. Mix and work in a well ventilated room or even outside to minimize inhaling these things.

    Of course it is by comfort level. I probably would not want to do PMK (Pyro) development but there are people who do because the images you get with them are breathtaking (I guess literally).

    Here is a link for Easier and Simpler: Developing colour film is not as hard as you think - Japan Camera Hunter

    Peace

    John S.
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  11. eteless

    eteless New to FF

    2
    Aug 30, 2015
    I actually use Pyrocat primarily as my main developer as it stores well and is pretty forgiving, I no longer use d76/ID11 as I get huge migraines if I get any on my skin at all and often just for being around it (I always wear gloves).

    I agree that safety is important, only use what you're comfortable with.
     
  12. Mijo

    Mijo FF Regular

    43
    Mar 25, 2015
    San Francisco
    Mario
    John S - I appreciate the time you took to further explain your position, I better understand your statement now.
     
  13. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. FF Regular

    85
    Mar 24, 2015
    Larry
    As you can see, no one agrees on this topic either. It's very personal. I will add my voice to oppose the received wisdom that plastic reels are easier to load. I used them for their so-called easy of use and hated them. Switching to stell made loading so much easier. So like so much else, if the advice you take doesn't work, there are almost certainly other ways to go about it.

    As for the variety of black and white developers: choose a good mulit-purpose developer and stick with it until you have some experience under you belt. Otherwise you'll be blaming your errors on this or that developer. Stay with a simple formula while you learn the basics. If you develop good technique at the start, you can go one to complicate things as much as your heart desires.
     
  14. I'll second everything Lawrence said. I struggled with plastic reels; but after getting up the nerve to try stainless, I couldn't believe how much easier it was. If you do try stainless, spend a little extra and get a Hewes reel. They're the best (and easiest).

    For a first developer, I recommend Diafine. It's not really picky about temperature, timing is simple, and it lasts forever.
     
  15. jomerads

    jomerads FF Rookie

    12
    Sep 19, 2015
    John
    I always have trouble attaching the film to the steel reels. Maybe the springs in mine have lost their flexibility being stored for a long time. Do you guys have tips to doing this? Maybe cut the film end to a triangular point as well?

    For some processes though you have no choice but to use plastic; like the Jobo or the Patterson tanks.

    John S.
     
  16. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. FF Regular

    85
    Mar 24, 2015
    Larry
    BromV's suggestion to buy Hewe's reels is now probably the best way forward. You just cannot start those things wrong; they have prongs for the first couple of sprocket holes instead or clips. Everything is nice and straight from the get-go. I'm not on a crusade to get people to switch to steel reels if plastic works for them. I just found steel infinitely easier to deal with; you are not compelled to advance an entire length of film ahead of the current position into the reel -- where I found it invariably got caught on something. It's different strokes for different folks. And at the beginning, a bit of "if it works don't fix it."
     
  17. tonyturley

    tonyturley FF Veteran

    242
    Mar 24, 2015
    Tony
    Thanks to all who've contributed their thoughts. I'm still debating whether home developing is something I want to pursue. Until I'm certain, I'm going to continue to send my film away for processing.

    TT
     
  18. MAubrey

    MAubrey FF Regular

    55
    May 19, 2015
    Mike Aubrey
    Lazy (i.e. simple & easy) home developing black & white:

    Paterson Super System 4 Tank & reels
    Diafine developer (no worries about temperature control or timing)
    TF5 Fixer

    That's all I used when I started developing at home. It's simple, doesn't requiring much effort and its hard to mess up.

    You can read more about it here: http://www.blackandwhitefineart.net/2011/01/diafine/
     
  19. tonyturley

    tonyturley FF Veteran

    242
    Mar 24, 2015
    Tony
    Thanks Mike.
     
Loading...
Similar Threads Forum Date
The bible on all things film development Film Developing / Chemistry Aug 8, 2017
I found this make of developer tank even better than the Paterson Film Developing / Chemistry Jul 26, 2017
Stand Development Film Developing / Chemistry Jun 8, 2017
This is an awesome film/ developer chart? Film Developing / Chemistry May 31, 2017