diy develop film and scan

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by godek, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. godek

    godek TPF Noob!

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    Is it worth it to invest in the equipment to do it yourself developing the film and scaninng yourself instead of using an online vendor?

    buy chemicals, timer, canister remover black box, scanner..etc.


     
  2. snowbear

    snowbear fuzzy-wuzzy Supporting Member

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    If you enjoy developing, yes.
     
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  3. Fred von den Berg

    Fred von den Berg No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For me it was worth it, yes. I got started a couple of years ago and for an initial investment of about €130 I got a Patterson tank, changing bag, timer, thermostat, measuring jug, prongs and clips, as well as a small amount of chemicals from a store in Berlin via the Internet. My scanner cost me an additional €60 at a local supermarket, so just under €200 in total to begin with. The process is very satisfying and lots of fun.
     
  4. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Developing and scanning yourself is rewarding but very time consuming. Black-n-White is fairly easy to do but color print (C-41) or slides (E-6) is tricky to get a consistent quality in development by hand and I say get a dedicated film scanner over a flatbed...... Professional 'enhanced' scan vs. DIY scan...
     
  5. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Film is much different than digital. The development type is as important as the film type. Developing, over time, can become individualize to maximize how the photographer exposes and prints. Scanning, somewhat removes one variable and replaces it with another. The complete photographer ... at one time or all the time, will master each segment of the photographic process and experience. Mastering developing and scanning/printing will make you a better photographer quicker than not developing and scanning/printing. Mastering development and scanning/printing may make you a better photographer overall.

    On the passion level, development and scanning is fulfilling as opposed to sending it out. (Monetarily ... check with an accountant.)
     
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  6. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    A 35mm (miniature) negative does not scan well on a general flatbed scanner. 120mm and larger scans much better on a general flatbed scanner. If you are serious/passionate about your hobby, a dedicated and expensive 35mm scanner is the ticket. (something like a Plustek.)
     
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  7. OldManJim

    OldManJim No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Monetary savings depend on your volume. If you only shoot a dozen or so rolls/year, probably not. However, if you shoot more, you could save $$ on B&W processing. Of course, if you want control over the image recoding process, developing yourself is a must. You can try different developers, different times, different temperatures, etc. to achieve the effects you like.

    No simple answer except for.....it depends.
     
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  8. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I prefer to develop myself. The cost to develop yourself is not significant and I enjoy the process and control. Scanning isn't that fun to me. You can figure around $15.00 per roll to develop,enhanced scan, CD, done by a professional lab such as The Darkroom.
     
  9. Light Guru

    Light Guru Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My personal opinion is you should not shoot film unless your willing to develop it yourself.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. john.margetts

    john.margetts No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Why? If it is colour, you have pretty much no say in the process and the end result will be the same no matter who processes it (assuming basic competence on the operator's part). For mono, there is more flexibility but once you have decided on developer most technicians will produce the same results.
     
  11. F5 Penguin

    F5 Penguin TPF Noob!

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    If you think it will be for you sure! Have a good think about it as it's kinda like people buying telescopes. Great fun first few times they take the scope out then the telescope gets put in storage the next decade. Of course then there are those who will be out in the darkness and freezing cold every even partially clear night!
    Developing can turn into a choir for some people while others love it as it takes time and it's still photography stuff you're doing isn't it.
    I'm planning on shooting film again and battling with all the possible ways I will handle my re-entry back to film myself.
     
  12. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In the past year I have gone from 0 (and by 0 i mean shooting digital on a NikonD3300) to almost all film, a fully operational dark room, a collection of enlargers and some "priceless" vintage film gear. Here are some thoughts in no particular order. For the record I have not tried home color processing yet so this is all in reference to B&W work.

    • When starting out with film its worth going to a lab. Most local labs provide solid value and good work. The in person aspect also help as many lab owners will offer printing advice which can be quite helpful. If you decide film is something that you like, want to keep working with and will be at for any measurable amount of time than its worth investing in some processing equipment.
    • The most important piece of advice I can offer is buy used frankly you may even be able to get stuff for free if you poke around in the right places. Labs are dumping stuff left and right these days and sometimes all you need to do is ask or intercept stuff on the way to the trash. I was able to get a few processing tanks on ebay for <$20 and the only other thing you need is a thermometer and some measuring cups. You can load the film in a windowless room or closet and save yourself the cost of a changing bag.
    • The cost: I like ilford stuff and use their products pretty much exclusively, the film is the film lab or not the price does not change. My standard process is DD-X these days and I can get 10 rolls of 120 out of a bottle since its not reusable. That puts be at ~$1.80 worth of developer a roll. The stop and fix are reusable so it lasts much longer lets say Im using another $0.70 cents worth for the roll putting me at $2.50 a roll for a process that most labs will charge anywhere from $5-$10 for. A clear savings already considering what I paid for the tanks I have now I broke even maybe 5 rolls in.
    • The time: There is a tangible aspect of time benefit here. At some point your time is worth something. Id say front to back a roll takes about 25 minutes to process (if you have a single roll tank. That includes load time and mix time as well. I like being part of the process so this does not bother me that much. If you shoot a lot of film it may be worth getting a multi roll tank.
    • Its fun...
    • Ultimately you have better control over the end product. Most big labs use one type of chemistry and cant/wont change for you as they use large machines to run the film. At home you can experiment with different developers, fixers, time, temperatures etc. In the end I have found the results to be far better.

    Scanners

    This is frankly a discussion on its own. But like the processing scanners can save you money in the long run especially if you shoot larger formats. You can get a decent scanner that can do 35mm/120mm for a fair price both new and used. Most labs charge an extra ~$10 a roll for scans, so if you get a $400 scanner and scan 40 rolls you have broken even. You also have the luxury of higher res scans, going back and scanning things a second time if need be, and scanning old negatives you may have lying around from years past.


    All in all I say do it. If your in the Philly/South Jersey/North Delaware area I'm happy to show you how to process BW film.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
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