First Film and Developer (Yes, I know, I've asked a million questions)

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by elemental, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    3
    And this should be the last. I hope.

    Anyway, between KD5NRH's encouragement about developing one's own film and my frustrations with C-41 film like Kodak 400CN (which is definitely inclusive of the fact that it's costing me $10+ per roll all tallied), I've decided to go for it. Unfortunately, the decisions are a little more complicated than I thought. I am going to D.C. on an end-of-the-year work trip next week, and will be bringing some real black and white film with me to show my commitment (because I will not under any circumstances pay someone $15 to develop a 24 exposure roll of film).

    My first thought was to get Neopan 400 because it's cheap. Then I wondered about Tri-X and D-76, since this is supposed to be a classic combo. Then again, T-Max concentrated liquid seems so much easier to use- is that a good match for Tri-X? With my head spinning (and not much time left to order), I called B&H and asked the film guy what he recommended for a beginner, something basic and forgiving. His opinion was that they're all pretty much compatible (and apparently all deveoper chemistry is ripped off of Kodak anyway) and that anything should work fine for learning as long as it isn't "too funky." This, of course, was not the decisive advice I wanted.

    My current thinking is to order a few rolls of HP5, a few rolls of Neopan, and a few rolls of Fomapan (it just looks like fun), since I already have one shot roll and one fresh roll of Tri-X lying around. I could put them all through a standard developer (D-76 maybe?) and then maybe have some ideas for next time I need film?

    Please share your insights on a good setup to get started in DIY black and white, and thank you or your help with my many questions.
     
  2. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    In a darkroom far, far away...
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Keep it simple. For 120 I use TMX. For 35mm I use Neopan 400. For 4x5 I use Arista. So I have a process for each format. I use HC110 Dilution 'B' (1:31). Easy to use. Lots of film/dev times and data on digital truth. Hit the Massive Dev Chart link in my sig. Pick a film and a dev and keep it there for starters. Then branch out once you get the hang of it. Don't want to be thinking 5.5 minutes when you need to develop for 7.
     
  3. randerson07

    randerson07 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Pingree Grove, Illinois
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I was just recently in the same boat as you. If you takes Chris's advice and check the massive dev chart you will see that most films and developers will work with each other but your results will vary.

    One suggestion that I failed to fallow is to not get powder chemicals, they are a pain in the arse and you have to mix up the whole batch at once to get them right. With liquid chems you can mix a batch each time you develop.

    I currently have some used Stop and Fixer pre mixed to be able to do one roll in storage containers. Then because im a moran and didnt take good advice I have a gallon of Developer that I have to lug around.

    I would get whats readily available in liquid form, and seems to work, via the massive chart, with the typs of film you want.

    When I was deciding on what films I wanted to use, I did searches on flickr for the film type, it works really well every film I searched for had boatloads of results. You could even search for the film type and developer and usually get some hits.
     
  4. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    In a darkroom far, far away...
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Everyone is going to have their own suggestions for developer but I would suggest HC110 for three reasons. First, it's easy to get, anyone that sells chems should have some on hand or close by. Second, it's not the only one out there but enough people have used it that, as indicated on the Massive Dev Chart, there is lots of data for combinations with various films. Third, there are multiple dilutions documented in these combinations as well. You may choose another but this is a good starting point. Easy to handle with a good shelf life. Reusable to a point and also handy for one-shot processing.
     
  5. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    3
    GREAT advice.

    After finding B&H closed this afternoon and waiting on hold 20 minutes with Adorama (to see if they could get film here by Wednesday by UPS Ground), I decided to try to find some film locally. It turns out that almost no one around here carries anything other than 400CN (you can get it developed at Wal-Mart! Yes, I know. . .). A Ritz had one roll of T-Max 400, and a place called "The Film Center" told me they don't carry black and white film because "no one uses that anymore- it's all digital now." I asked for clarification that this was indeed The Film Center and that they did not carry any black and white film. The clerk did not find it nearly as funny as I did. I finally tracked down a store with "like twenty" rolls of T-Max 400. At first I figured I'd settle but wished for Tri-X, but after checking out Flickr I changed my mind- the "modern" look of T-Max (especially 100) seems better suited for all-around work than Tri-X, at least in my mind. I'll be picking up a few rolls tomorrow (I still have a Tri-X roll lying around), and ordering some HC110 or T-Max developer next week and having it shipped back home so it'll be ready for me.

    Now if I didn't have to pay $7 a roll. . . .
     
  6. randerson07

    randerson07 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Pingree Grove, Illinois
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Call Freestyle photo they may offer to ship 2nd day or something, and they are on the west coast and probably still open. They have some good deals going.
    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/e_main.php

    Also are their any Meijers stores near you? they sell Tmax 100 and 400 and they are all on clearance for half price, $2 a roll right now. Actually all Kodak films are half price at all Meijers.
     
  7. KD5NRH

    KD5NRH TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Stephenville TX
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    TMax dev will probably be the easiest to work with in a small area. If you have the storage space for 5L of stock solution, ID11 powder is cheaper, and can be reused, but if you're going to be using T-Max film, I'd just stock up on the T-Max developer for now, since it will work for nearly any film.

    As for the differences in the films, a lot of it is personal preference; if you play with Neopan, Tri-X, T-Max and the various Ilford BW films out there, you'll likely settle into two or three that you use all the time for different things, and keep a couple rolls of some others around in case you spot something that would be perfect for them.
     
  8. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Messages:
    4,263
    Likes Received:
    189
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    jsut something to think about.

    trix is a very forgiving film, the tmax films are finky, so in my beginning class i suggest staying away from them and to use trix or hp5+ which will allow for a lot of those beginning learning curves.
     
  9. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    In a darkroom far, far away...
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I have no problems with TMax. Been using it for a few months regularly. Just my personal experiences.
     
  10. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Messages:
    4,263
    Likes Received:
    189
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    i didn't say one would have problems rather they are very finky with little lattidue for serious exposure errors.

    it is nice you have not have those issues
     
  11. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    In a darkroom far, far away...
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    That's OK. TMax and HC110 is my first film/dev combo. Haven't branched out much yet. Lack the resources and time to really experiment yet. I am getting some Neopan 400 ready to process in HC. Efke 25 and Arista.edu 100 4x5 sheets aren't gonna be far behind. I just wish I could print.
     
  12. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    3
    I had a great conversation with a Freestyle rep over the weekend. I decided that the T-Max will be fine, and went out to get a few rolls for my trip (at $7 a roll - ugh). It may not be the perfect film for what I'm doing, but it's black and white film, and who knows, I may like it. Talking to the Freestyle rep was really encouraging - those people are genuinely excited about shooting film.

    Anyway, I'm ordering my chemicals tomorrow, and wanted some last-minute feedback on my choices:

    Developer: Clayton F76+ (D-76 like tones in a liquid package)
    Stop Bath: Silvergrain (because I would like to minimize my exposure to ridiculous chemicals)
    Fixer: Kentmere liquid rapid fixer with hardener
    Wash: Silvergrain

    I specifically asked the Freestlye people if the Sillvergrain chemicals were producing good results, and they seem to not be any quality sacrifice at all. It's not like I'm using Simple Green as developer or anything.

    I also ordered the 20 roll pack of Arista II 400 film, which is apparently the last of the Agfa APX 400. For $1.25 a roll, I won't even feel bad when I ruin half of them,. and APX 400 seems t6o be a well-liked film.

    One (more) question: Do I need Photo-Flo or a similar product? I have easy access to well-filtered water, and could just use this. Will that negate the need for Photo-Flo, or am I missing the point?
     

Share This Page