Developing Guide (For Black & White film)
Now put the negative onto the reel. You might want to simulate this beforehand with some developed/unused/sacrificial film. You can rotate the 2 halves of the reel, use your thumb to fix negative/rotate so the neg. moves inwards. Make sure you just touch the very edge of the negative. When finished cut off the film spool and put the reel back in the development tank and close it. Now your negative is safe and ready for development, time to mix some heavy cocktails.
Step 2. You have the choice between mixing 1 part concentrate +25 or +50 parts water. 1 + 25 is for a shorter developing time while 1+ 50 gives you finer grain and lasts longer.
Whatever you decide on, you have to mix enough to fill your developing tank. You can mix other concentrations and resulting times can vary. For example, a developing tank that takes up to 250ml. You start to calculate 250:26 = 9.6 ml concentrate + 240,4 ml water. etc..
The temperature is very important. You either know the temperature of your developer and the set time because you are an old pro at this OR you choose a temperature and just try to stick with it.
20° C seems to have a standard temperature developing time of 7.5 minutes. The whole temperature stuff is not as delicate for B&W as with C41 (colour negative) development, so don’t worry too much.
Mix your developer. Perhaps start with the concentrate and use the fill-up water to clean the measure at the same time. (It’s recommended to keep temperatures constant during the whole process that’s where the bucket comes in handy. Try to reach a bit above than 20°, let´s say 20.5° and take all the water you need from this bucket. Put the bottles/containers in the bucket to keep them constantly at the same temperature)
Mix the fixer, 1+7 resulting in the same amount as developer. Keep it in another bottle/container and remember where you have put the developer and fixer – best to mark the bottles/containers. If you mix them up, the images on the negative will never ever appear.
You should now be ready for developing. Prepare your chronometer, concentrate and start.
Step 3. Fill the pour spout of the development tank with developer and close it. Now comes the metaphysical part of it. I guess everybody does this in a different way and there is no right way of doing it. You have to turn the tank over and back again, then tap it on a hard surface to prevent small bubbles of air sticking on the film. This should make sure that the developer really covers the whole surface. Repeat this procedure for the first minute, then it´s time for a little rest... Wait for another minute and repeat the agitation/smashing 2-3times, wait for another minute...tap..etc. until you have reached the final developing time.
Step 4. Open the pouring spout and decant the developer and fill in the so-called stop bath. Clear water (watch the temperature!) is just fine for that, water the film for 1-3 minutes and pour it out. The water should have stopped the chemical process by now.
Step 5. Add fixer and agitate again for 3-5 mins.
Step 6. Again, after pouring out the fixer, use a water bath. Fill it in, turn over + back once, tap the tank and change the water, agitate the fresh water a bit longer and change again, and so on and so on until you loose your temper. Use loads of water to help to wash the last unwanted chemical molecules away.
Step 7. Take the reel out of the tank and fill it with water for one last time. The very final bath should contain some "wetting agent", it´s pretty cheap but for the first try you can use some rinsing agent/washing-up liquid. So add a dash of Palmolive or Persil or Fairy and allow the negative to get plenty of it.
Take out the reel, try to get rid of the water on the negative, open reel and hang your negative somewhere dust-free. It takes some time to dry completely, make sure you don´t have any waterdrops on the surface.
(btw, there is a method of wiping off water by pulling the whole neg in-between your fingers, sure, you get rid of drops, but touching negatives? when they are still wet? Yeah not so much)
Some more or less essential tips:
- NEVER EVER DISPOSE OF CHEMICALS IN THE SINK!!! Film developer is hazardous waste and can harm human and animal life, the environment, our mother Earth.
- NEVER EVER DISPOSE OF CHEMICALS ON YOUR BYSTANDERS’ BODIES. Film developer is hazardous waste and will definitely harm you. Also try to avoid skin contact with the developer.
- Think and concentrate while working through the process. The first part is essential, the rest is easy.
- Don´t mix up chemicals, stay clean, the world will still turn but your negative might be destroyed.
- Don´t panic!
KIND OF INTERESTING FOR SOME
- Do research on this topic, you will find loads of interesting stuff out there. (This article is meant to be a guide, and by no means is there any warranty coverage option on this page)
- There are special chemicals and loads of stuff for every step related to this topic. Decide what you really need. And some can manage with less than the minimum equipment.
- The use of demineralised water can be useful when living in an area with "hard water" (as it can leave ugly stains). Some say using cooking water before usage might help.
- If you lack a decent chronometer, load up your mp3-player with songs long enough for each step, this adds some entertainment too.
- Tell us your experience, tips and hints and we can certainly add to this site with upmost credit and thanks to you!
-Lastly, Arndt would like to thank Mandi, fellow Lomographer, and Lomographic Society International for some of the great film developing tips!
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