Developing film without a dark room?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by gryffinwings, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. gryffinwings

    gryffinwings No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am thinking about eventually building a dark room around a shed one day as I do not have a ton of room in my house, California Houses are small. Is it possible to develop without a darkroom? I am a complete film developing newbie, so I don't even know what is possible or even recommended for equipment for people that don't have the real estate for a dedicated dark room.

    I currently shoot both c41 and black and white, for now only in 35mm, but I will eventually be shooting 4x5 when I get a lens and film backs for my Crown Graphic.

    What I hear is black and white developing is the easiest to start with.

    Recommendations to good youtube videos or websites would be excellent. Also if you don't mind recommending some budget oriented equipment or what chemicals are good, I would greatly appreciate it.


     
  2. gryffinwings

    gryffinwings No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I just realized there is a developing forum, I will peruse that section as well, please move this post there since that seems to be the more appropriate place to ask my questions.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I've developed film off and on since the 1970's,at home, without a "real" darkroom. First, one needs a 100% light-proof, totally dark area, to load the film into the "daylight film developing tank". This totally dark area can be a window-less room with the door completely blocked off from any and all light, or with the user sitting under a blanket, or with the film and tank shielded from light inside using something like a zipped up, thick jacket. Similar to a jacket is a changing bag, a zipper-closure bag, often double thickness black fabric, with two elasticized sleeves. You load up the changing bag with film,can opener,scissors, and the developing tank and reel,and open the canister with the can opener, trim the film leader end with scissors, load the reel with film,use the scissors to trim the film end, and then put the loaded reel into the tank, cap the tank, and you're ready to develop the film--in full room light! Now, tearing the film end from the spool? That can and often does cause static mini-lightning-like sparks! Seriously!

    B&W film developing is pretty easy, and temperature control is not nearly as critical nor as difficult, as with C-41 color.

    Basically, one needs Kodak HC-110 film developer concentrate, a 1-ounce or 2-ounce graduated cylinder, a 16-ounce measuring cup, a stirring stick, some bottles (dark, 40-ounce beer bottles can be used) to store stop bath and fixe. Kodak Indicator Stop Bath is good (vinegar or water can be substituted),a stopwatch or timer or clock, and some Ilford brand ready-to-use Fixer. A decent,accurate thermometer that reads from 65 to 80 degrees Farenheit is VERY nice to have. Scissors, can opener, two-reel 35mm developing tank and two reels. Some clothes pins, a shower curtain rod, and one drop of liquid dish soap to one gallon of water to make a PhotoFlow final-final rinse agent. NOT really a lot is needed...

    Freestyle Photo's last traditional,printed catalog is available as a free PDF...look through it for a terrific education in what's what for film and darkroom and printing supplies,products,etc.

    https://www.freestylephoto.biz/static/pdf/catalogs/freestyle_catalog.pdf
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
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  4. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Yep: Dark area to transfer the film to a canister, then the souping is done in normal room lighting. Even with a 'real' darkroom, that's how it's done (unless you tray develop). It sounds complicated until you actually do it, then it seems 'stupid-easy'.
     
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  5. gryffinwings

    gryffinwings No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for the information, is there any difference between different brands of chemicals? I've seen Kodak, Ilford, Rodinal. I've seen a post that hinted that rodinal might be better than ilford chemicals, but no idea.

    Do different black and white films have different developing instructions or is it all the same?
     
  6. gryffinwings

    gryffinwings No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks, I just want to make sure I do it right, have the right chemicals, so I can have some good results.
     
  7. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    B&W film is very very forgiving. Just grab a roll of 24 frames, take some 'test' images (nothing you'd call a keeper), and have at it. If nothing else, you'll test the light seals in the camera at the same time, plus somewhat verify your shutter speeds and aperture are accurate.

    Let's see:
    Dark bag (or indoor enclosed room) to transfer film to reel. (For a while I used a bathroom at night. Turned off the lights, stuffed a towel under the door, and put a towel over the sink. I did that because I have a skylight in there and I was getting a little light from nearby street light)
    Reel(s)
    Canister
    Measuring cup(s)
    Developer
    Stop bath (optional)
    Fixer
    Thermometer
    Scissors
    Can opener (to open film canister)
    Watch or clock with second hand, or a film developing app (that's what I use... beeps to remind me to agitate).
    Something like what Darrel suggests: clothes pins to hand up film to dry, photoflo (I use JetDry), and an extra shower curtain rod in the bathtub.
    A luxury item would be a film squeegee to prevent water marks when the water drops evaporates off the film.

    For about $125, you can get yourself everything you need. Less if you aren't in a hurry and can possibly find some of the stuff used (ie, camera clubs, Craigslist). Heck, sometimes I've seen entire darkrooms for free! You'd need to chemicals, but free gear is always a deal!
     
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  8. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Great advice above.

    If I can process 50-100 rolls by hand a month in my little apartment I'm sure you can do it as well.
     
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  9. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Many people start with using the vendor "recommended" chemistry ... TMAX films with TMAX chemistry ... etc. Eventually it becomes a personal preference after experimenting with different developers.
    Vendors make datasheets with technical information on developing their particular films or using their chemicals.
    Developing times will differ with different chemicals.
    example: DELTA 100 PROFESSIONAL Sheet Film
    or http://imaging.kodakalaris.com/sites/uat/files/wysiwyg/pro/chemistry/j78.pdf
     
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  10. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  11. Zaphod2319

    Zaphod2319 TPF Noob!

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    I think one item that is making color development of film much easier is the sous vide heaters. Black and white is more forgiving on the temp, but 68 degrees is also pretty close to what temp we keep our homes. You are not working at a temp much different than the ambient air in a home. With color film you maintain 102 degrees. With a sous vide you can keep a bin of water at a constant 102 with your chemicals in the water. I bought a VonShef sous vide from Amazon for $40. A video on how simple the set up is to keep your developing temps dead on.

     
  12. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    I wouldn't be interested in souping color any more unless it's K-14.
     

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