New to B&W Developing

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by ben_clark|4, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. I just got a developing tank for Christmas, but I need all the other
    supplies and such to use. Does anyone know where in the Fort
    Collins, Colorado area I can purchase these items, and also... does
    anyone have recomendations on what sort of developers, stop baths,
    etc. I should get?
    Thank you,
  2. Hi Ben! My son is Benjamin Clark! He lives in Milwaukee.
    Check out B&H for photo needs or Freestyle Photography.
    Here's a link to each:
    B & H Darkroom Stuff
    Freestyle Photo
    You'll need a credit or debit card. But the stuff you need would be delivered right to your front door! Neat!
    Keep looking over this web site as a lot of folks are here to help you.
    My best to you Ben & welcome to the photography world!
  3. Although I am not familiar with where to purchase your supplies in Fort Collins, I think the following site will help in relation to developers, stop baths etc.

    Ilford - Processing your first black & white film

    Take a look around the site as they have full descriptions on all their products. Good luck!
  4. Ben -

    What you decide to use (developers especially) will depend upon the type of film you shoot
    with and how you shoot. Kodak's D76 and Agfa's Rodinal are great starting points for
    developers if you've never done this before. Water works well for stop baths. Ilford
    Rapidfix and Kodak Rapid Fix are both good. You'll need a hypoclear (I use Kodak), and a
    Photo-flo or equivalent to properly clean/clear your film (do not use photo flo in a Jobo
    tank, you'll gum up the reels).

    Other stuff: Plastic bottles to hold your stock chemicals, clips to hold your film on a
    drying line (or clothes pins work fine), graduated cylinders to measure and mix the
    chemicals, a timer, thermometers for the chemicals, a pair of scissors and a bottle opener
    (church key type) if you're doing 35mm. Sleeves for your negatives, and lots of running

    I'm sure I've forgotten something, but it's a start.

  5. And check previous thread started by Nathan about "Cutting negatives in the dark." You'll
    save yourself a lot of trouble.

    Check this site:

    " "

    for developement times and other informations. Great site.

    I just started processing myself a couple of weeks ago. It's real fun, but keep at it. You
    might waste a couple of rolls at the beginning. What I did is purchase a few rolls of 12
    exposures films (mostly HP5.) You'll finish them quickly (I know you will be in a hurry to
    process them) and if you goof it won't be too bad.

    Welcome to the old-school photographers club. B&W film is still hard to beat.
  6. It's a bit of a haul, but if you are in Denver soon visit Denver Pro Photo at Alameda and Cherokee. They have a better selection than anyone else around here and generally better prices, often competetive with mail order. I would suggest a good starting developer to be HC110 from Kodak. It is kind of challenging to measure, but not that bad once you get the hang of it, plus it is cheap and the concentrate lasts a really long time. Do a search for HC110 here and you will find lots of info. I use Kodak stop bath, but anyone's stop will work. I recommend using a rapid fixer such as Ilford's or Kodak's and a clearing agent such as perma wash or Kodak Hypo Clearing Agent.

    Oh, and don't forget to have fun!
  7. Argh! I was trying to dig up Dante Stella's Guerilla Darkroom articles but his web site is in serious hurt:-(
    Look at the processing and printing notes from Large Format Photography main page. If you're doing darkroom work, I see Large Format for you in the future. Trust your feelings, Luke.
  8. Ahhhh------ Alameda & Cherokee, the place of me youth. Well, the neighborhood, anyhoo. My, that was so long ago. Good advice, all around. Black and white, or any film developing and printing supplies are getting really hard to purchase locally. I rely heavily on B&H. Since they have changed their shipping rates, it's even better. Of course, where I now reside in Wyoming, you don't stand a chance without at least a couple hundred mile trip.
  9. Ben, be nice to yourself.....Sacrifice a roll of film for practicing loading your tank. First in the light and then in the dark. Make the first couple rolls you develop yourself images you shoot around your house and neighborhood, not something you must print for someone else. Choose a film, developer and fixer...and then stay with them until you have a good handle on things. Too many variables will trip you up. Enjoy the process successes and don't become discouraged by the occasional failures.
  10. Ben:
    Welcome to the wonderful world of B&W film!

    Lots of good advice on here. About the only think I can add that might be helpful is to obtain a photographic gray scale and include it in every shot you take for the first couple of rolls. A gray scale (there are several and it doesn't matter which one you use), has a "pure" white and a "pure" black. It's really helpful when evalating your negatives to see if these came out right. You can use this information to adjust developing conditions - and later printing conditions. It will save you a lot of grief and frustration.

    Search around on this site, there's lots of good information here - but remember you are the only one who can decide what you like.

    Good Luck and Happy New Year!
  11. After developing my own B/W film for about a year, when I think back about what I SHOULD have bought in the first place, I realize I bought a lot of things I shouldn't have and didn't buy some things I should have. If I were giving advice now, I'd recommend the following to get started:

    1. Developing tank (You've got that one locked it sounds like!)
    2. Hydrogen Peroxide (These bottles are EXACTLY the same as the photo chemical storage bottles you might buy from say, B&H. The major difference being, rather than paying $1.49 for them from B&H, I can buy a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide from my local Wal-Mart for $.69. Just make sure you wash the bottle THOROUGHLY. And don't buy the glass bottle's simply not accurate for modern chemicals.)
    3. Feeding syringe (I use this to measure HC-110 concentrate)
    4. Funnels (I find that having 2 keeps me from having to work like a madman to get the funnel washed quickly before the next chemical has to be run through it.)
    5. DISTILLED WATER (At Wal-Mart, you can buy these in boxes of 3. It's cheap, so don't hesitate to buy lots. You WILL use it.)
    6. Cheap wire hanger and wooden springed clothespins (This is my drying method: Hang the negs from a hook I have in the ceiling in my bathroom. Wooden clothespins are plenty heavy to keep the negs straight. Furthermore, what a terrible waste it was for me to buy a film squeegee. Wait until that first speck of dust gets embedded in it and runs a nice scratch straight down the middle of your strip. I've gone to the 2-finger squeegee and not only have I ended up with much better results than the film squeegee method...I haven't scratched a strip yet!)

    As far as chemicals go:

    (NOTE: The main reason I use distilled water is that a) tap water never touches my film and b) my apartment keeps all my chemicals right at 70degF. My distilled water is stored in the same place. Thus, I never have a tempurature variance between my chemicals.)

    -> Developer: If I had to pick one, it would be HC-110. It keeps forever, gives consistent results, and the dilution can be modified to change the outcome. I wouldn't recommend trying more than one developer right off the bat, but if you're going to try more than one anyway, make it Diafine.

    -> Stop bath: Distilled water constantly agitated for 30 seconds.

    -> Fixer: Photographer's Formulary TF-4. I still get irritated when I realize that I went through about three other fixers before getting to TF-4. Save yourself the trouble and just use TF-4 straight away. It's fast, consistent, and gentle on your film.

    -> Wash: Distilled water. I use the Ilford 5-10-20 method and add in a 40 for (probably pointless) reassurance.

    -> Final: Photo-Flo. I use an empty distilled water gallon bottle and premix a gallon at a time of Photo-Flo. When it's time for the final rinse, i pour in just enough to cover the film. I found that because of the small amount required, mixing it just before use was costing me about twice the Photo-Flo I really needed as I was mixing a full liter when I often only needed roughly 400mL.

    The only other thing I wish I'd thought about was STORAGE PAGES: BUY MORE THAN YOU NEED. There's nothing like having to worry yourself to death because you didn't realize you were about to run out of pages and have had to store your negatives in unfavorable conditions until you can get more.

    I have a large rubbermaid tub that I store all my developing goodies in and find that it keeps my cat from licking the bottles and my girlfriend from fussing about 'those ugly brown bottles' being in plain view.

    I think I've about covered it. If there's anything else I can help with, let me know.
  12. Welcome to a unique group: people who think there is something to photography besides digital.

    A word about chemistry: developers have a pH greater than 7 (i.e., they are basic). Most fixers (with the exception of products like TF-4) are acidic. The purpose of stop bath is to "stop" the developer from further reacting from the film. In the process, the surface of the film become acidic (pH less than 7). If you use plain water as a stop bath and then use an acid fixer (such as Ilford's Rapid Fix, a very good product), you run the risk of local discoloration of the film. Many people use Kodak's indicator stop bath, which is acetic acid with a dye which changes color when the bath has expired. The dye change is not entirely accurate, so a better alternative (and a cheaper one) would be to use undiluted regular white vinegar (5% acidity) as a stop bath; this should be used once and thrown away.

    If you use Ilford's fixers, be aware that they do not contain a hardening agent. Most films do not need one; a very few, such as Efke, do. If you use an Ilford fixer, you can wash the film by a 3 step inversion process: pour out the fixer, and fill the tank with distilled water at about the temperature of the fixer. Invert 5 times, and pour it out. Refill the tank with distilled water, invert 10 times, and pour it out. Refill the tank with distilled water, invert 20 times, and pour it out. The result is sufficient for all but archival permanence, and you may then give the film a quick bath in a rinse aid, and hang it up to dry.

    IF you want to dispense with an acidic stop bath, TF-4 will let you do so. It is a basic fixer, and you only need a distilled water rinse between the developer and the TF-4 (in fact, if you did use an acidic stop bath, the TF-4 would be inactivated and would not work)

    Good shooting, and good developing.

    /s/ David Beal ** Memories Preserved Photography, LLC
  13. David,

    One ammendment to your archival washing process.

    It is essential that you must wait 5 minutes between your inversion and dump cycles. Diffusion is pretty important during the wash process and that 5 minute soak time gives that mechanism time with which to work.
  14. the way i do it:
    develop(with D-76 or Lauder Formula 76): per film box instructions at 1:1 mix, agitate 5 seconds every 30 seconds
    stop: water or acid stop bath for 30 seconds, agitate constantly
    fix: I use Lauder's rapid hardening fix, 3 minutes for regular films like Tri-X, 5 minutes for films like T-Max. Agitate 5 seconds every 30 seconds.
    hypo-clear: i use Lauder's hypo clear, mix at 1:3, 1-2 minutes with constant agitation
    rinse: 5-10 minutes with a flow of water
    photo-flo and dry:3 drops of Photo-Flo to the tank, agitate for a few seconds, then use a Photowipe cut into a strip to dry the film. Hang up to dry.

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