The "How I Develop Film" thread

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by terri, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks to Matt Needham for the thread suggestion. :thumbup:

    Okay, fellow darkroom enthusiasts….we all come into this with varying levels of experience and expertise. Some of us are better at asking questions than answering them. ;)

    In an effort to address everyone’s style, let’s use this thread for film developing issues only. How you develop, different developers you’ve tried, associated times, temperatures – share your knowledge!

    And we’d love to see results posted, good or bad.

    Have at it!
     
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  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Diafine 2-bath developer is the most recent addition to my inventory of darkroom chems.

    Pros:
    speed boost for most conventional grain films
    makes low contrast negs
    fast and easy to use
    lasts a very long time
    inexpensive to use
    okay to use at higher temperatures

    Cons:
    can't alter development to adjust tones, contrast, etc...
    when shooting in low contrast lighting the negs can be too low contrast

    I like to use it with Tri-X ( TX-400 ) and HP5 for hand held, low light shooting. I also use it with my Widelux film ( usually FP4 and HP5 ) to help deal with the crazy contrast variations I can get over the entire angle of view.

    1) Get the film on the reels, and in the tank. I normally use a 64 oz stainless steel developing tank; it holds 4 120 reels plus a 35mm reel, or 8 35mm reels. I only load 3 of the 120 reels or 6 of the 35mm reels. I think I get more even development if I leave a little room for the chems to slosh around in, than if I fill the tank to the brim.

    2) Measure out Diafine solution A, Diafine solution B, a water rinse, fixer, wash water, hypo clear ( if you are using it ), and photo-flo. I temp everything to the room temperature of the Diafine, fixer, etc...

    3) No pre-wet. Pour Diafine solution A into the tank. I do 2 tank flips once a minute for agitiation. 4 min total. Pour Diafine A back into jug.

    4) Pour Diafine solution B into the tank. Same agitation for 4 minutes. Pour Diafine B back into jug.

    5) Water rinse with constant agitation for 30 sec. Dump.

    6) Fix according to your fixer's instructions. I use TF-4 fixer; 5 min with 5 or 6 wrist twists of agitation every 30 sec or so. No hypo-clear is recommended with TF-4.

    7) Wash with water. Constant agitation for 30 sec. Dump and refill. I do 6 or 7 fills. During one of the last refills I allow the film to sit submerged for about 2 min.

    8) Photo-flo with constant agitation for 30 sec. Squeegee film with my fingers (probably not good advice, but it works for me). Hang to dry with clothes pin for weight.

    Diafine isn't right for every project, but it's cheap, easy to use, and long lasting, so it's worth trying out.
     
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  3. Marctwo

    Marctwo TPF Noob!

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    It seems that when people talk about film developing, it should be taken for granted that they are specifically refering to B&W film.

    I've only done C-41 colour but it sounds pretty similar to B&W apart from temperature and chemicals. Is there any degree of cross-compatibillity between chemicals? No idea!

    Anyway, I thought colour should be rep'ed so although I have little experience, here are a few spec's that I've been using (successfully).

    I've only used Jessops C-41 kit. It's a two bath kit - ie. developer (contains diamine???) and a combined bleach/fix solution.

    1. Fill a bowl with hot water and put your solution bottles in to warm up. If you need to mix fresh chemicals then use warm water to do so as they will take less time to come to temperature. The longer it takes to warm the chemicals, the more the water will cool so to end up with the ideal 40 degrees you'll need to start with warmer water.

    2. Load your films, drop the loaded dev tank into the bowl and wait for water/chemicals to come to temperature. When the temperature is balanced, your developer should be slightly cooler than the water. Only test the water and developer temperature to avoid cross-contamination with the blix.

    Once your at the required temperature, the rest is basically a combination of the above and following the kit instructions. However, there are a few 'rules of thumb' that I follow:

    a. Knock 10 sec's off your developing time. I allow an extra 5 sec's for pouring the developer and I empty the developer 15 sec's early to allow time for the rinse to go in; This gives a net adjustment of -10 sec's between starting to fill and starting to empty.

    b. Tap the dev tank three times on a hard surface to dislodge any trapped air bubbles when you put the developer in.

    c. Don't panic. Do everything in a smooth, relaxed manner. This will help to build consistancy. I agitate with 5 smooth turns every minute which takes about 10 sec's.

    d. Once you start, you can't stop so make sure you have a planned reaction to any possible interuption.

    e. I squeege with my fingers too. I think my thumb and index finger were designed with this job in mind. :)
     
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  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I intentionally left out the "BW" in the thread subject because I hoped someone would talk about C41 or E6.

    The chems are different, although once I accidentally processed some C41 BW with the standard BW method and chems; it was bulk rolled, and I forgot to label it properly. ;) The negs were thin, but printable.
     
  5. Marctwo

    Marctwo TPF Noob!

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    Aw shucks! I'm going to have to try that myself now - just to see it. :D
     
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  6. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Both C41 and E6 films are actually black and white to start with, the colour being put in during processing.
    Both film are called 'tri-pack', being 3 b&w films in one.
    Each film consists of three b&w film layers, each layer sensitised to either red, blue or green light.
    Both films are initially processed using a standard b&w developer to produce a silver mask for each layer.
    Other chemicals are included that contain 'colour-couplers' which produce the different colours in each layer.
    The silver masks are then bleached out.
    E6 differs in that the first development is followed by chemical fogging and a second development to get a 'negative' of the negative (in effect a positive) and this positive acts as the mask for colour development.
    Because it works on a positive the colours are reversed to make a colour positive, hence 'colour reversal'.
    There is some degree of 'compatibility' between colour films and b&w chemistry in that the silver will be processed but, because of the structure of the film, the 'negs' are very low contrast even though they may appear quite dense.
    B&w films may be processed using colour chemicals, but again the results are far from satisfactory (and will be b&w) and are best avoided.
    C41 may be succesfully processed as E6 and vice-versa and can produce some interesting results. This is because they share the same basic chemistry and both have colour-couplers present.
     
  7. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Cool stuff... keep 'em coming!
     
  8. Marctwo

    Marctwo TPF Noob!

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    That's great food for thought, Hertz (but I'm bound to cook it wrong :) ).

    Does this basically mean that slide film processed as C41 will produce negatives and print film processed as E6 will produce positives?
     
  9. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Processing slide film as C41 produces negs but with slightly odd colours. The effect can be interesting.
    To be honest I couldn't tell you what you would get processing colour neg in E6. Theoretically you would get a positive but you must remember that neg film has a dark yellow base. You filter this out when printing but if you process it as tranny then the effect would be like looking at the world through a bottle of Lucozade.
    There is no way to remove the dye.
    By and large cross-processing is something most people do once out of curiosity and then don't bother again.
     
  10. Marctwo

    Marctwo TPF Noob!

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    Well, I'll certainly be trying some E6 as C41 - it'll be interesting to see what Vuescan can make of it. ;)
     
  11. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    That is sort of the point of this thread. To show the different ways different photographers develop their film. One person's methods and techniques may not be right for the next person, but I think it's good to hear how others do it. We get so many posts asking "how do I develop film?" that I wanted to demonstrate there is no one right way, and maybe pick up some tidbits of info here and there. You can't go into too much detail (meaning we want to hear all the details ;) ).
     
  12. duelinthedeep

    duelinthedeep TPF Noob!

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    is the developer for color film any different from b&w film?
    when developing color film, does the developer stay in as long as it would with b&w film?
    is it a different developer and time with slide?
     

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