B&W Reversal Success!

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by debeng, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. I recently had a go at trying black and white reversal, and I thought i'd post my results because the right information can be hard to find sometimes. I am by no way a good photographer or anything other than a newbie to this stuff, but I thought i'd have a go anyways.

    As you can see it's not perfect, but they are slides! They come out a little dark for my liking, but increasing the amount of time in the first developer should make it better.

    I had done two other rolls before this and they did come out as positives, but they were very hard to see. I used D-76 Stock for both the first and second developer on those.

    I'd also like to note that I done a constant agitation for pretty much all of the process and it definitely was a bad idea. This made for an uneven development. Next time i'll do an inversion and tap each minute instead. Not sure why I did it because I don't do constant agitation when I make my negatives and I've never had bad results with my negatives.

    If anyone can provide some input on what i'm doing, please do! I am definitely going to continue with this and I will post results here.
    I've heard you should put some sodium thiosulphate crystals in the first developer to make the highlights a little clearer, so I might try that in the future.

    This was my process for FP4+ @ 125 ISO

    First Developer for 6:30 (This should be longer)
    Stop (Tap water) for 2:00
    Bleach for 5:00
    Wash for 2:00
    Clearing for 2:00
    Wash for 1:00
    Re exposure under of 72 Watt incandescent lamp for 3:00 still in spool
    Second Developer for 4:00
    Stop for 2:00
    Fix for 3:30
    Wash (running water) for 5:00

    First developer was Ilford Multigrade 1+19 @ 20C
    Second developer was Ilford Multigrade 1+9

    Bleach is an equal two part solution
    Part A being 4g Potassium Permangenate in 1L water
    Part B being 50g Sodium Bisulphate in 1L Water

    Clearing was 25g Potassium Metabisulfite in 1L Water

    I hope someone who is wanting to do this will find this useful. Thanks for reading!
  2. What are you intending to do with them, scan them? mount and project? It's pretty cool that it works, seems more than worth the experiment.
  3. I was really just doing them for a bit of fun. I might end up mounting them to see what they look like when projected when I get them a bit lighter. I was very excited when I saw them coming off the spool! I definitively think it's worth giving a try if you enjoy doing this.
    carbon_dragon likes this.
  4. By all accounts the 2nd developer should be more vigorous than D-76. Dektol or similar should work.

    The process was fully described in 'The British Journal of Photography Almanac' from around 1963. I'd be surprised if the information and formulae weren't repeated somewhere online.

    The only time I've made B&W slides was by first taking normal negatives, and then contact printing them onto slow copying film in the darkroom. That method worked really well, and with a bit more exposure latitude than a direct reversal process can offer.
  5. Reminds me of yet another story. I had a project to do that required B&W slides. They turned out well, and a few days later I had them at my store for a reason I can't remember.

    That day a lady came in with a Carousel that she didn't know how to operate. She wanted me to test it so I put in some of my B&W slides. Maybe I shouldn't have done it, but when the image came up I told her, "mechanically it works fine, but your color tube is shot". As she believed what I said, I had to tell her the truth QUICKLY.
    In the end, we both got a good laugh.

    PS - I used Kodak's direct positive chemistry
    debeng likes this.
  6. AJG


    I've never done reversal B&W processing, but I did several projects printing on Kodak Fine Grain Release Positive film that worked quite well. I even selenium toned some of them, which also worked well. This is an interesting film in the camera--it is blue sensitive and is about ASA 3, so if you would like a 19th century look to your photographs from a 20th century 35 mm camera this lets you do it.
    debeng likes this.
  7. I've never done it either, though I used Agfa Scala once, just for the novelty.
  8. I did do B&W reversal processing a couple of times. Of course, nowadays all my post development work is digital and I just let the film scanner reverse the values. It' s easier unless darkroom work has some significant psychological 'tweak' from your past memories ;)
  9. Developing film doesn’t QUITE have the magic of watching a print appear in the Dektol. But it’s still a fun thing to see those negatives come out of the wash and Photo flo ready to hang up. There’s a little nostalgia there for me. This time I was reusing Technidol (for it’s 1 extra use at +1 minute) 2 days past the Kodak recommended deadline for keeping the used developer and it had turned a funny color too. But the magic still worked.

    So much easier to just take the card out of my camera and plug it into my computer though!
  10. I'm curious on where your bleach recipe came from.

    I've been wanting to try this for a while, and had planned to follow the published Ilford process


    Of note is that, like you, they use a permanganate bleach, but mix it with sulfuric acid. Even though I handle concentrations up to 18M regularly, I admit that I'm not particularly fond of using it in the darkroom. Sodium bisulfate sounds a lot "nicer" than sulfuric acid.
  11. I found the bleach recipe from here: Black and White Reversal I had to use it because I live in Australia and sulphuric acid is kinda hard for me to get. On my second try I left the bleach in for an extra minute and it made the emulsion kinda weak. So I'm not sure how other films will fare with the bleach.
  12. I also done my first printing the other day! (I've only done about 10 rolls of film ever including the 3 I did in this experiment) Watching a print appear sure does have a magic to it. I am fascinated with the process of film photography.
  13. Very nice!
    Is there an alternative for Sodium Bisulfate for the bleach?
    Would any of these do? : Sodium bisulfite, potasium phospahte , sodium phosphate+ citrate? Any?

  14. Thanks :)

    I'm not sure you can use any of those. I know you can use sulphuric acid instead if you can get it, sometimes used in drain cleaner and in battery acid. Sodium bisulphate is easy to get and cheap (for me at least) and is commonly used as a pool PH decreaser. I think you can even buy it on ebay. Just have a look at the MSDS for the one you find, mine showed 92% - 100% purity.
  15. for bleach, I use a half strength solution of potassium dichromate and acid for twice as long. I dont like having the emulsion come off the substrate. Also, you should look at going with a chemical fogging over a light re-exposure. makes life a lot easier
  16. Yeah! It's sold in pool stores as 'Dry Acid' . I assume bleach is once used and then discarded, right?
    Very nice formula! I'm gonna try it soon!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  17. Yeah I discard the bleach afterwards, it lasts less than a day after the two parts are mixed. Post your results, i'll be interested to see!

    Yeah I thought of doing that, what do you recommend to use as a fogging chemical? With FP4+ the emulsion seems to be fine with 5 minutes in permangenate bleach but I tried 6 minutes on my second try and it was weak.
  18. UPDATE:

    I tried 10 minutes for the first developer and it turned out much better! I'll upload some scans later tomorrow. But my process was still not perfect. I have some dark spots on the film strip, I'm thinking there were a few bubbles in the first developer.
  19. [​IMG]

    I haven't got the best scanner but it still sort of shows the film. You can see the dark spots from bubbles in the first developer. The film is also not as sharp as it would normally be, I presume it's the multigrade paper developer I am using. It makes for a high grain.
  20. Can't believe it's already been a year since I posted this! But I wanted to update this with results that worked much much better. [​IMG]
    Those steps create much clearer positive pictures from what I was trying in the beginnning! For a paper developer it actually makes for quite a good image projected (my scanner is not the best and makes it look bad). Well with my eyes anyway, i'm not that much of a photographer! That last step is not needed, i've heard people say the film will slowly turn dark over time if you dont fix the film in the end. But the multigrade developer is so strong that I think any undeveloped silver that was there would have been developed anyways. The film strips i've done over a year ago without the fixer have not turned dark yet. I can't quite remember completely but I think those black spots were caused by bubbles in the first developer and a good pre-wash fixed it.

    I recommend doing a black and white reversal at least once (its surprisingly easy), I learnt a lot from it and it is really fun in the process. Pulling it out after the first stop bath and watching it develop the rest of the way in a clear container is really a sight to see! Pretty cool seeing all you need is one cheap developer and a few chemicals you can buy from bunnings!
    eb_kidd likes this.

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