I'm now allowed to use the uni's darkroom!


Been spending a lot of time on here!
Aug 29, 2010
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I went to a shot course yesterday. A little guide showing where the chemicals are, how to treat them, how to clean equipment and the procedure of developing a black and white film, as well as printing. In the 4 hours I were there, I didn't learn anything other than the "procedure".

I can't wait to start playing around in there. The chemicals were a bit old, and the paper gave really, really flat results, but I can get paper for myself.

Anyways, it's gonna be awesome. So peaceful to work in total darkness. Just me and the film.
I had four undeveloped films at my hands, so I went down today to try and develop them. It all went better than expected. I developed all films in Rodinal (1+25), used water as stop and fixed with some Ilford thing I don't remember the name of. They came out pretty neat, looks pretty good. Probably not perfect by any standard, but I've got details where I think I want them.

Only, one film came out pretty transparent. A Rollei retro 400. It was much brighter than the others, I could much more easily see through it. And some of the exposures on it was messed up, but I assume that's some used error from my side when taking them.
I had lots of fun. Loading the films onto the reel becomes easier with each try.

One question, though. I did this in four separate "turns", meaning developed the four films one by one. I've got equipment that fits more than one film, but they require different times in the developed. Could I do this all in one go, or ought I develop them separately as I did? Oh, and my Kodak Tri-X makes the developed black...is it still usable for other films afterward?

Thanks :)
A Rollei retro 400. It was much brighter than the others, I could much more easily see through it. And some of the exposures on it was messed up, but I assume that's some used error from my side when taking them.
It took me 5 rolls to get Rollei Retro 400S looking good. The times suggested on the box were way off for me...
Interesting. I thought maybe too long in fix was the problem...
They are under exposed and have little density, that is why you can see through them.

It is not a good thing to develop different films with different times at the same time. There are developers that will allow one to do this as the time is standard for everything. Google Diafine.

That developer at that ratio loses "punch" , was the rolli the last roll developed, which if it was didn't help the exposure issue.

I would use the 1:25 as a one shot developer.
It eas third. The fourth did look fine, but I'm not used to evaluate a negative's quality.
Sometimes if the times are within 30 seconds of each other, I'll just split the difference and do both at the same time.

The developer changing colors is pretty normal for some films. It's from the dye coming off the film. I usually presoak/wash it to prevent that. Not often for 35mm (usually doesn't seem to need it), but always for 120.

Efke is blue when it goes in (and the wash water is blue if you do a presoak), but it turns HC-110 (which is normally yellow) magenta if you don't presoak.

I don't worry about it too much except for C-41 though. Not sure if it actually does anything to the developer, but I don't want to risk it. C-41 is the only developer I reuse.

I have had issues when not presoaking 120 film... On some films, there is SOOO much dye that it prevents the developer from working. I found that out the hard way, lol. Didn't presoak, and the middle of the strip was completely blank. Did another roll, presoaking/washing first, same developer same time, and it was fine.

Every time I see the title of this thread, 'now' looks like 'not' at first... :lol:
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lol, sorry about the title confusing you :lol:

Anyway, here are some pics of the negatives. I've cut them into rows of six, and put them into my "archive". Take a look at the very transparent one, as well as the quite dark one at the end. That one have been laying out in the snow for a few days. I found it again (LOL), and thought I'd develop it to see if it's usable. These pics may be so bad you're not able to tell me anything from them :)


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The darkrooms in colleges that I have been to are mostly used by the students to smoke weed in. Not sure why other than the fact that they have pretty good ventilation.
I'm studying at Norway's smallest university (when it comes to number of students, around 4200), and there apparently are very few interested in developing and printing themselves. It's basically just the person in charge of the darkroom that uses it. And now I will be using it. I've looked through the log, and going 20 visits back we're almost in 2010. One thing that is awesome, though, is the uni paper negative archive with thousands of negatives from from 70-->. Looking through that would be cool.
your metering is bouncing all over the place.

The negatives that look black are seriously overexposed and maybe even over developed, it is hard to tell without seeing them first hand.

Are the negatives with the organge mask black and white film, the type that need to be processed in c-41 chemistry? Or, are they color negatives that you processed? And if so, in what?

The ilford black and white appears to be cloudy in places, meaning the fixer is past using. re fix in fresh stuff and rewash.
The Delta 400, is this another c-41 film?
The first three strips on the second group are under exposed.

With beginners, it is common to have exposures all over the place. Leaning to meter properly is a skill that takes some time.
The orange is due to the iphone, I believe. It's not like this in real life.

As for the exposures, how hard can it be to get those right? I mean. I look at the meter. It may say "ev 15". I adjust aperture and shutter speed until "15" is matched on the lens, and I take the shot. I'm really hoping I'm not messing up the exposures, as that is the easy part. If anything, maybe the meter is inaccurate? It's an old camera. However, when I'm out in direct sunlight, I get readings of something like 17, which should fit pretty good with the common charts.
I'd bet it's poor developing rather than my exposures, but who knows, maybe I'm just messing things up in camera.

All of these films are supposed to be traditional black and white films, meant for developing in black and white chemistry. The Delta 400 is, and the Kodak Tri-X should also be. Else I'm very misinformed!

About the fixer, I think it may be a little old, as there's a silver mirror on the inside of the bottle.

btw, everything is processed in Rodinal 1+25. Water as stop and fixed in some Ilford fixer thing :)
Congrats on getting inside the darkroom! :cheer: You are entering a domain where you will be (by turns) thrilled, frustrated, excited, proud, distraught, impatient - and ultimately humbled. You will fill your Learning Bin (aka the trash can) with your efforts! :mrgreen: But, don't let that stop you. The darkroom is still the heart & soul of photography for many of us.

I'm glad you mentioned you shot that one picture of your negatives with your iphone - that orange tinge was kind of baffling. Aside from that, I agree with Ann's assessments. Look closely at your first shot and the second column of strips - the top three are clearly much thinner than the others. Why do you think that might be? Question: have you done any contact printing yet? If not, definitely start to include getting a contact print in your darkroom workflow, once your negs are completely dry. When you line them up like this and get a basic print, you will quickly see what is going to be worth enlarging and what's not.

Another question: are you keeping an exposure log? It's one of the fastest tools you can use to teach yourself proper exposure, frame by frame. You can sit down with your negatives, with your contact sheet, AND with your exposure log to see what worked.

As for the exposures, how hard can it be to get those right?
Oh, honey - really? :razz: That single question only spawned a few thousand books on the subject. I like Henry Horenstein's books, but Ansel Adams had his opinions, too. ;) You know I'm teasing you, I hope - but I think just these first few rolls are showing you that there's a lot we can learn, and the best thing to do is practice, practice, practice. Not to mention being aware of what your equipment is doing, and of course you're right to question your meter. There are lots of variables to consider when we look at our results.

That's why a beautifully wet, perfect B&W print pulled from the wash is such a joy. :)
Your camera's meter has both wide-area and spot metering; it's possible that the camera is set to SPOT mode, which can easily,easily deliver terrible underexposures--or horrific overexposures! I see six strips that are badly underexposed, and on the bottom right hand page, six strips that look terribly overexposed. How about the PX625 mercury battery type your Olympus C35 needs??? Do you have the exact, right battery? Exposure determination can be, uhhhh, tricky sometimes...

ANYWAY, HOW WONDERFUL!!! Darkroom film developing is fun, and a really nice thing to know how to do. I hope you have a lot of fun with this!

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