does the developer temperatures really make a difference?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by daniel_morelos, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. I am doing a project for my B&W photography class and i need to find out if the temperature of the developer actually makes a difference in the way the film is developed? any feed back would be appreciated! THANKS
  2. This recent thread in the film and processing fourm should answer your question(s):
    Short answer is yes. Chemical reactions occur faster at warmer temperatures and slow down or stop completely at colder ones.
  3. Yes. A very general and approximate rule of thumb in chemistry is that a 10degC increase in temperature doubles the rate of a reaction (= halves the time). The development of film is a chemical reaction.
  4. Try reading the instruction sheet for the developer. Or shoot 36 frames of the same subject, constant lighting and exposure, cut the film into 4 to 6 pieces in the dark and develop each piece for the same time and agitation at different temps.
  5. within a moderate range says 65-75 degrees as long as a time temperature chart is followed. the results will be accepinle. B&W films are not tolerant of high temeratured
    unless that are c-41 films that normally are processed at about 100 deg f.
    rapit changes in temerature can cause some films to "reticulate" or cause wrinklres in the emulsion
    mild reticulation is sometimes mistaken for grain.
    also developers stored in a very cool enviroment can have crustals form and the developer may not work properly. as far as developers acting differently and the low and high ends of the normal working range., I cannot say..
  6. Higher temp = shorter development time. Cooler temp = longer dev time.
  7. I am very, very particular about keeping film developer at exactly 68f. The stop, fixer and wash should also be as close to 68 as practical...the print temps are not quite so fussy, but, 68 is a good starting point, with a degree or two latitude in printing..I find this ensures consistency...
  8. It certainly does matter. Take a look at the time/temperature graphs on any developer datasheet.
    You'll find that even a small change in temperature can make a significant difference in time.
    - Leigh
  9. wow thanks for the responses guys! i really appreciate it! is there any place i could actually find like the actually times for different temperatures in development? i am not sure how i am going to present this case!
  10. They didn't teach you this most basic fact of development in your class? Who's doing the teaching, an animatronic puppet?
  11. is there any place i could actually find like the actually times for different temperatures in development?​
    Of course. It's on every developer data sheet.
    Just Google HC-110 datasheet or Rodinal datasheet or D-76 datasheet or whatever developer you want.
    Or try substituting the word instructions for data sheet.
    Also put PDF in the search terms, since that's what you want.
    - Leigh
  12. They didn't teach you this most basic fact of development in your class? Who's doing the teaching, an animatronic puppet?​
    Probably someone who has only used digital cameras...
  13. Even before the popularity of digital cameras, probably 2% of photographers knew anything about developer temperatures.
  14. They didn't teach you this most basic fact of development in your class? Who's doing the teaching, an animatronic puppet?​
    Leave the OP alone. He was honest enough to ask a simple question. Perhaps the OP has only just started their course. We were all beginners once, remember?
  15. You can also go to and find the pages for Tri-X, Tmax, etc., and they have the technical data sheets for each film. The data sheets include the time-temperature development charts for each type of film for several developers.
  16. Hi Daniel,
    My take is, you want to test the effects of temperature yourself.
    OK - you need to make some test material.
    The idea is to plan and make a test target, shoot numerous copies taking care that they are all identical in every way.
    Process the test material at different temperatures taking care that everything is identical except temperature.
    Evaluate the processed -fixed - dried film for differences.
    As to the test target:
    You can place balls of colored yarn in a basket and use this as a test target. You can cut squares out of construction paper and paste each over the squares of an ordinary checkerboard. You can make a table-top scene using toys or dolls. The objects being different colors will photograph as various shades of gray.
    Expose several rolls; check the boxes to make sure all have the same emulsion number so all will process up the same.
    If the test is not carried out speedily, allow the exposed film to stand at room temperature for about 72 hours and then freeze. This procedure eliminates latent image shifting. Process at your leisure, remove film from freezer and allow to come to room temperature before developing.
    To evaluate, place on a light table and examine by eye. You can make contract prints or enlargements making sure all prints are exposed and developed identically.
    You can also take the processed films to a local one-hour photo shop. They will have an instrument called a densitometer that reads the amount of blacking (density) and assigns a numeral value. You can plot a graph of the numerical density that results. Take care to read each test at the exact same location.
    Best of luck,
    P.S. This will be a good learning experience.
  17. Download and print the compensation chart from Ilford
    I always have at least one around the place as the water temp varies hugely here just south of the tropic of Capricorn.
  18. I am doing a project for my B&W photography class and i need to find out if the temperature of the developer actually makes a difference in the way the film is developed? any feed back would be appreciated! THANKS​
    Developing film is a chemical reaction. Developing film is not exempt from the laws that govern the universe. This is not a question about photography. This is a question about basic chemistry. I'm not sure what country you are from but this is why I am alarmed by the basic science knowledge Americans have when compared to our peers around the world. You cannot store medication, bake a cake, or develop film without having some idea about the temperature that the reaction will be taking place at.
    Furthermore different films in different chemicals with different concentrations, and following different agitation routines are going to be affected by temperature to different extents. If you develop something like Fuji Acros in Rodinal 1:100 (3ml of Rodinal in 100mL of distilled water) you can probably get away with doing everything at room temperature 68 F to 72 F for 1 hour stand and get a nice negative to print from. I do this a lot myself. Just set the thermostat at your house at 68 and leave the chemicals out overnight. They will be 68 degrees in the morning. Before you warm your house up develop the film. I believe the Rodinal film reaction is exothermic so if I am doing a 1 hour stand development I like to start the soup off on the low end of the scale to allow for warming up. I have a thermometer but I don't use it anymore. This technique gets me good consistent results. Why change? Oh one other thing. If you are in the US you can buy distilled water fairly cheaply. I leave a gallon container of it out with my chemicals overnight so that they are all 68 F in the morning. I use that water to mix with Rodinal. If you are using tap water just leave it out in a sealed container and it will be room temp in the morning. I rinse with tap water. I just make sure the tap water is a little cool to touch.
    By the way developing in the fall, winter of spring is easy. It gets cool overnight so turning down the heat to keep the house 68 degrees is easy. Summer is tricky. Air conditioning down to 68 degrees for hours doesn't seem very environmentally responsible or economical. It sort of defeats the purpose of developing your own film if you are spending a bunch of money on AC.
    As others have suggested follow the manufactures data sheets and then tweak the process to your liking. In fact why take anyone's word for it? As another poster suggested shoot a roll of film and develop portions of it at different temperatures and see what the results are. It could be a fun little experiment. Okay maybe not too much fun.
    Leave the OP alone. He was honest enough to ask a simple question. Perhaps the OP has only just started their course. We were all beginners once, remember?​
    This is true but some of the snarky comments were funny. When I started developing at home I actually settled on stand developing because it was so easy. I didn't have to mix up gallons of powdered developer. I didn't have to use any particular care in storing Rodinal. I just cap it and store the bottle in a dark cupboard in a climate controlled room. I don't have to monkey around with chemical temps. Just set the thermostat and develop in the morning. No ice, no heated water. Everything room temperature.
  19. Two situations where temperature makes less difference is in true 2-part developers and long term stand developing. In both cases, it is developer exhaustion that stops development, not removing film at a specified time.
  20. The best book on this subject and one I suggest to students is The Film Developing Cookbook (Darkroom Cookbook, Vol. 2) by Steve
    Anchell and Bill Troop. You can get an e-copy on Amazon.
  21. Active developers such as Kodak's HC110 show a large difference. Diafine, a two step develper, can actually be used over a range of temperature without showing a change in image density.
  22. I was a Navy Photographer for 8 years stationed aboard several ships with darkrooms. The temperature was so varied from one area to another IE: Phillipine Islands to freezing ice and snow in Korea that I had a "temperature contolled cabinet that had water circulating around the development trays constantly to maintain a temperature of 70 deg F. all the time regardless of ambients. It was critical to keep the temp within 2 degrees to assure proper developing time.
    If we didn't refrigerate the cooling water in areas like the Phillipines at very high temps it could actually strip the emulsion right off the film.
    Yes, temperatures are relative to development times.
  23. Y'all forget what it's like to be young and in school. All these lectures! I am betting the OP asked this question knowing the likely answer but hoping against hope because he has no way of actually measuring the temperature. If that's the case, Daniel, I don't know how much time you have or if you have a Paypal account and an eBay account but you can get a great old Kodak process thermometer on eBay for a couple of dollars. If that's not happening, you can also try this one: I've had good luck with that.
    Finally, you can (as noted above) avoid the whole temperature problem using stand development. Buy a bottle of Rodinal, use it at 1:100 dilution, in cool water (see below) insert your b/w film (works great on 100 ISO Fuji Acros and 400 ISO TMax and Tri-X and HP5+), agitate for 30 seconds, tap the tank a couple of times to loosen any bubbles from the film surface, let it sit for an hour to an hour/15 minutes, with one additional agitation of 30 seconds halfway through. It works splendidly for most films but you do lose some of the grays, meaning it's a kind of a less nuanced look. After an hour, drain, rinse (without opening the tank!) for one minute, drain, add fixer, agitate 10 seconds for each minute for four or five minutes, drain the fixer back into its bottle (its reusable, for a while) rinse again for about five minutes, or seven, continual rinsing that is, then open it up (now it's safe), fill it with water, put in like one tiny drop of of that spot-clearing fluid people put in their dishwashers, maybe two drops, swish it a bit, let it sit for sixty seconds, swish again, pour it out, remove film (wear latex gloves here) and hang it to dry with a large binder clip on the bottom to keep it from curling.
    Agitation: this is gentle. You pick up your tank, turn it so all the bottom liquid will have to go to the top, revolve, turn it back upright. This takes about two seconds, so if you count to five you've likely done ten seconds, to fifteen, you've done thirty seconds. Of course, watches are good for this.
    Cool water: 68F/20C water on your wrist feels cool, with a slight bite of cold. Fully cold once your your faucet gets its coldest will be just a bit above 50F, maybe 55F. That feels quite cold on your wrist. 68F feels much more comfortable but should have no tangible warmth. Cool with a slight bite of cold.
    Carry on with joy. It's all about seeing the world framed and newly revealed.
  24. Yes! It matters! Most film developers will recommend development times for different film, usually included with the packaging.
    Also...although the temperature of the stop/fix/wash is not as important, do not put film processed at warm temperatures in cold stop/fix/wash as this could result in an increased appearance of grain due to reticulation (shrinking of emulsion) which is (often) not desired. So try to keep all the following chemicals within a few degrees of the dev.

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