Chemicals needed

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by katie_barnes|1, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. Hi

    I have searched the forums and I'm still confused - sorry!

    I was a photography student and I am just about to set up my own darkroom and
    am getting confused about the chemicals and was hoping you could help me if you
    don't mind..?

    I just want a basic (easy to understand) knowledge of exactly what the
    chemicals are called for developing the film in the tank, and the ones used in
    the 3 trays in the darkroom, and how to set them all up.

    It's something I never really took note of and kind of took for granted it was
    all there waiting on me!

    Sorry and Thanks for any help you can give me.

    Kind Regards

  2. Katie, I can help you with the film developing. You need Developer, Stop Bath, Fixer, Hypo Wash and finally wetting agent. If you are starting out, I would stick with a general developer from Kodak, or Ilford, which is what I use (Id-11), get a rapid fixer from Kodak of Ilford, but there are many different types.
  3. Katie -

    Sean has covered the film developing side. For print developing you need
    - developer (Ilford multigrade, Dektol, etc)
    - stop (Indicator stop from Kodak, Ilford or Sprint, etc)
    - fix (I suggest Ilford or Sprint rapid fix, etc)
    - rinse
    - hypo clear - (Kodak or Sprint HCA, PermaWash, etc)

    You need four trays - one each for developer, stop, fix and rinse. Let the prints accumulate in the rinse tray until the printing session is over, dump the developer, stop and fix, and then rinse out one of those trays for the hypoclear. Actually you only need hypoclear if you are printing on fiber base paper; it can be skipped if you are using RC paper.
  4. Hello Katie,

    here's what you need for a starting point

    Good luck, Stefan
  5. Hi,

    With non-hardening fixers (like Ilford Rapid Fixer) you will have no need of hypo clearing agents.

    I am just beginning also and I use the following chemicals:

    For film: Developer= Kodak Xtol; Stop Bath= Fomacitro; Fixer= Ilford Rapid Fixer; Wetting agent= Tetenal Mirasol.

    For prints: developer= Ilford Universal; Stop Bath= Fomacitro; Fixer= Ilford Rapid Fixer.

    Some people use water as a stop bath, but I think it is better to use it, because you can have a better control of the end of developing time. You can use Ilford Universal developer too develop films and paper but that is a compromise option. Your best option is to use a film developer.

    Good luck and best regards.
  6. I read here that many advise a powder based filmdeveloper, I would not do this, I rather advice a Liquid based filmdeveloper. I find powder too much of a hassle to begin with, I started with ID11 from Ilford and it made me almost quit developing myself untill I found out there are liquids too. Especially when a newbie starts developing powder gives too much things to worry about while liquids are simply get your water on the right temperature, mix it with the liquid in the right quantity and go while powders often work with things like stockdilution and so on.

    Try something like T-max developer or Ilfosol S for filmdeveloper instead of ID11 or Xtol.
  7. T-Max or DD-X would be OK for a liquid, as they have good keeping properties, but keep well away from Ilfosol-S. The latter has a notorious reputation for losing activity soon after opening the container. It is due to be replaced sometime next year with Ilfosol-3.
  8. A recommended wetting agent is to use about 8 drops of dish detergent in about 8 oz of water. It does the job as well as any purchased wetting agent and is much less expensive. Just use it the way you use any other wetting agent.

    I prefer powdered chemicals as they are very easy to store and mix. When I started there were no liquid chemicals. If you follow the directions mixing them is very easy but you have to RTFI.
  9. For getting started with film development, take a look here:
  10. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe another important thing to make note of as a beginner is that the chemicals used to develop film and those used to develop paper are both the same nominally; but when they are mixed, those for film and those for paper will have different chemical-to-water ratios. I believe the ratio will also depend upon the brand you are using. So, developer for film will be more/less diluted than developer for paper, etc.
  11. Hello Megan,
    developers for film and paper are different. They may work vice versa but it's not the perfect choice. The Ilford pages have been recommended to give advice and check the product line. But you are right with fixer - it's the same for film and paper only with different ratios.

  12. Things Not Previously covered:
    Get a permanent marker and mark any beaker, measureing cup, funnel, or other container or utinsel that resembles your cooking utinsels "Photo Use Only".
    Get a jug for each chemical that you plan to use from a stock solution and write the type of chemical and mix date on the jug with the permanent marker. Wash the jugs with hot water before the first use and between each batch of the chemical that you mix.
    The fixer for film will work for paper However if you mix a stock fixer mix one jug for film and one for paper. Fixer can be reused many times without problems. I use Xtol and mix fresh fixer when I mix fresh Xtol and I use the Xtol 1:1 or 1:2.
    For mixing powder chemicals get a plastic bucket with a flat bottom, no ridges, 1 1/2 times the volume that you will mix.(1 galon chemical=1 1/2 galon bucket). Use a stiring rod 1/4 to 3/8 inches diamater with a flat end. Follow package directions, pour the powder slowly into the water that is close to the maximun temperature listed for the chemical so that it will disolve faster with continous stiring. When the powder appears to be disolved allow the mixture to stand and observe the bottom of the bucket. Any large undisolved particles will settle to the bottom quickly. Use the stiring rod to crush them then stir some more. Xtol is a two part mix so make sure that the first part is fully disolved before adding the second part. Mix Developer first, wash the bucket with warm or hot water then mix the stop bath if using a stock solution, wash the bucket, mix the fixer, wash the bucket then the Hypo clearing agent if used. Wash all utinsels in soap and water and rince when finished and store in a dry dust free palce. If mixing paper and film chemicals form powder, mix the film chemicals first followed by the paper chemicals in order of use -developer -stop bath -fixer -hypo clearing.
    Get a good quality Photo Thermometer. I like the dial type with a 1 1/2 inch dial but a 2 inch will be fine as larger may get knocked off a counter and damage it. If you drop a dial thermometer check it against another known good thermometer as a fall from 3 to 4 feet can cause a 20 to 40 difference in reading which is more than enough to throw processing times off enough to cause bad results.
  13. With some films, household detergent is harmful, probably the effect of an additive. I have had it peel the gelatin off, more than once. I don't know if it harms prints or not -- never tried it.
    A small bottle of pure wetting agent (like Edwal LFN) is inexpensive and lasts a long time, since you use only a drop or two in a quart of water. Detergent is worth a try, but test it on a film you don't mind losing before committing to it.
  14. Megan, film andpaper developer are normzlly quite different. Paper developer doesn't isn't as concerned about grain as film is. I use Dektol for prints and with a few exceptions you don't want to use that on film. Makes it grainy. all the rest of the chemicals are or can be the same. For film you might want to use something like rodinal, hc110, Microdol, or any other of a bunch of film developers.

    Charles, I don't think it a good idea to mark the jugs themselves. You might want to change chemicals. Use a label and use permanent marker on the labels.cover the labels with clear packing tape to water proof them.

    David, I'm not saying to use household detergent. Dish liquid is mild and won't harm film or paper. It was recommended on one of the web sites and I don't remember where but I used it before when I was processing. It does a good job. A32ounce bottle costs about $1.00 and should last for about 5 years or so. Maybe longer. When I think of household detergent I think of 409 or mr clean, etc and those are too potent.


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