New to film, do I have what I need?


TPF Noob!
Jul 3, 2011
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San Luis Obispo, CA
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As the title says, I'm new to developing my own film (b&w). I already have the developing tank (single roll) and 35mm reel, and I'm about to place an order with BH Photo for the following:
-stop bath
-measuring syringe and graduate (not sure what volumes I needed on these, 6 mL and 150 mL, respectively?)
-film squeegee

The folks at my local camera shop said that a plain old bottle opener will work to open the film canisters, and I was planning on just using string and paper clips to hang the film up to dry. Am I missing anything?

In case any of you are curious, I'm shooting with a Minolta X-700 with a Rokkor 50mm f/1.7 lens. Right now there's Kentmere 100 film in the camera and I have a roll or two of Ilford 100 to save until I have some practice developing.
I would get a 500ml and 150ml graduate, skip the syringe. You'll need a good thermometer. I use this one:

pHep 4 pH Tester, HI 98127 | HANNA Instruments USA

It also measures pH. Which is good in case you get into more advanced topics, but any darkroom thermometer would work.

I would also suggest you get a a plastic tub from target or walmart. I like to use a water bath to keep the temperature stable. Nothing too big, the kind you might use in the kitchen to wash vegetables work fine.

You're also missing photoflo or similar washing agent. This will help prevent water spots.
forgett the film squeegee. You will need some storage containers for the the fixer as it is mixed from concentrate and can be reused. ALso would recommend hc110 developer as it can be used as a one shot developer. Don't mix the whole bottle as it will oxides out.

go to ilford's website and check out their pdf files of developing negatives,
+1 on the hc110 as a one shot, unless you're shooting tmax film in which case tmax developer is better.

I found that photoflo didn't completely eliminate spotting, but that washing the film briefly in distilled water and wiping with a squeegee gave me no spots at all.
Skip the 150ml graduate and get a 250 or 500. You want a graduate that is at least the size of your tank. The syringe will help you measure photoflow. A good timer will help quite a bit. You can use a cheap kitchen timer, but find one that displays seconds or has a minute hand that sweeps. Digital timers that display only minutes are a PITA. Also, don forget negative sleeves.
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LPN is a better wetting agent (IMHO) and it comes with a dropper type cap. a few drops in distilled water works like a dream.
I don't think paper clips will be strong enough - not to mention heavy enough to pull the film straight. Get some real film clips. Wooden clothes pins at the very least.

I don't know what tank you got, but 150mL will not cover 1 roll of 35mm... You'll need a graduated cylinder at least 300mL. Also a bigger one for mixing fixer, stop, etc. 1000mL would be good. Good graduated cylinders are expensive... In my experience, the cheap ones are not very accurate. They're probably close enough though - just depends on how much of a perfectionist you are, lol.

Buy a few 10mL syringes (also good for measuring HC-110 or Rodinal - anything that you're going to be using very small quanties of). The numbers tend to wear off after a while, so you'll want extras.
The folks at my local camera shop said that a plain old bottle opener will work to open the film canisters

You won't need anything to open the film cartridges if you don't re-wind the film all the way back inside it. When you re-wind the film, as soon as you feel/hear the film release from the winder side, stop re-winding. This leaves a few inches of film leader sticking out from the cartridge. Just trim it square and then load it right onto the developing reel from the cartridge (in the dark of course).
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just an old fashion "church key " does the trick;)
Wow guys, you're much more helpful than when I asked about fixing a lens in the equipment section. Thanks!
not many repair folks hang on on forums ?
If you do wind it all the way into the can - a regular bottle opener does work fine though. I use one of the ones you get at the hardware store with a bottle opener on one side and a paint can opener on the other.

Shop Warner Paint Can Opener at

44 cents.

just an old fashion "church key " does the trick;)

LOL. This reminds me of my first photo class in college. A classmate barreled out of the loading room completely unaware that he somehow sliced his hand open with the can opener, and was bleeding everywhere.

Unaware that this was really just a fluke, I was SO that glad I chose medium format.

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