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Sandman 05-10-2012 11:24 AM

Developing film yourself
 
I know, I know - lots of questions. And the same disclaimer as before
- I'm a prosumer hobby photographer that just recently bought a used
Mamiya 645 Pro TL medium format camera with a 120 film back piece.

I have photographed analog in the past, but that was a long time ago,
and I'm relearning most of it now, albeith I haven't yet had delivery
of the actual film so I haven't been able to shoot any as of yet.

Still, a thought that keeps popping up is the possibility of
developing the film myself. My studio has a shower room adjacent to it
which could hold temporary gear for developing film I gather.

But, what exactly is it that I need? Considering that I may just want
to develop the negatives for scanning them in a flatbed scanner with a
MF 120-film insert (Epson V700 for instance) and not enlarge them unto
photo paper (although, that may be interesting later on).

Do you have any "developing film for dummies" links to share? The
basics, the tools and the process. I've found some through google, but
I'm curious to see if you may know of any better ones :)



--
Sandman[.net]

Martin Brown 05-10-2012 11:44 AM

Re: Developing film yourself
 
On 10/05/2012 12:24, Sandman wrote:
> I know, I know - lots of questions. And the same disclaimer as before
> - I'm a prosumer hobby photographer that just recently bought a used
> Mamiya 645 Pro TL medium format camera with a 120 film back piece.
>
> I have photographed analog in the past, but that was a long time ago,
> and I'm relearning most of it now, albeith I haven't yet had delivery
> of the actual film so I haven't been able to shoot any as of yet.
>
> Still, a thought that keeps popping up is the possibility of
> developing the film myself. My studio has a shower room adjacent to it
> which could hold temporary gear for developing film I gather.
>
> But, what exactly is it that I need? Considering that I may just want
> to develop the negatives for scanning them in a flatbed scanner with a
> MF 120-film insert (Epson V700 for instance) and not enlarge them unto
> photo paper (although, that may be interesting later on).
>
> Do you have any "developing film for dummies" links to share? The
> basics, the tools and the process. I've found some through google, but
> I'm curious to see if you may know of any better ones :)


Developing black & white silver halide film is easy enough at home
provided you can construct a truly dark darkroom. It just requires
paying a bit of attention to temperature control, making up solutions
and learning to load a developing spiral and tank in total darkness.

Colour is generally too much like hard work with much tighter
temperature control needed and altogether nastier chemistry.

--
Regards,
Martin Brown

Sandman 05-10-2012 11:49 AM

Re: Developing film yourself
 
In article <KSNqr.3781$GQ2.1733@newsfe12.iad>,
Martin Brown <|||newspam|||@nezumi.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> On 10/05/2012 12:24, Sandman wrote:
> > I know, I know - lots of questions. And the same disclaimer as before
> > - I'm a prosumer hobby photographer that just recently bought a used
> > Mamiya 645 Pro TL medium format camera with a 120 film back piece.
> >
> > I have photographed analog in the past, but that was a long time ago,
> > and I'm relearning most of it now, albeith I haven't yet had delivery
> > of the actual film so I haven't been able to shoot any as of yet.
> >
> > Still, a thought that keeps popping up is the possibility of
> > developing the film myself. My studio has a shower room adjacent to it
> > which could hold temporary gear for developing film I gather.
> >
> > But, what exactly is it that I need? Considering that I may just want
> > to develop the negatives for scanning them in a flatbed scanner with a
> > MF 120-film insert (Epson V700 for instance) and not enlarge them unto
> > photo paper (although, that may be interesting later on).
> >
> > Do you have any "developing film for dummies" links to share? The
> > basics, the tools and the process. I've found some through google, but
> > I'm curious to see if you may know of any better ones :)

>
> Developing black & white silver halide film is easy enough at home
> provided you can construct a truly dark darkroom. It just requires
> paying a bit of attention to temperature control, making up solutions
> and learning to load a developing spiral and tank in total darkness.
>
> Colour is generally too much like hard work with much tighter
> temperature control needed and altogether nastier chemistry.


Oh, I didn't realize there was a difference, so you would recommend
that color film should be developed in a dedicated company?


--
Sandman[.net]

J. Clarke 05-10-2012 12:42 PM

Re: Developing film yourself
 
In article <mr-819900.13493310052012@News.Individual.NET>,
mr@sandman.net says...
>
> In article <KSNqr.3781$GQ2.1733@newsfe12.iad>,
> Martin Brown <|||newspam|||@nezumi.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
> > On 10/05/2012 12:24, Sandman wrote:
> > > I know, I know - lots of questions. And the same disclaimer as before
> > > - I'm a prosumer hobby photographer that just recently bought a used
> > > Mamiya 645 Pro TL medium format camera with a 120 film back piece.
> > >
> > > I have photographed analog in the past, but that was a long time ago,
> > > and I'm relearning most of it now, albeith I haven't yet had delivery
> > > of the actual film so I haven't been able to shoot any as of yet.
> > >
> > > Still, a thought that keeps popping up is the possibility of
> > > developing the film myself. My studio has a shower room adjacent to it
> > > which could hold temporary gear for developing film I gather.
> > >
> > > But, what exactly is it that I need? Considering that I may just want
> > > to develop the negatives for scanning them in a flatbed scanner with a
> > > MF 120-film insert (Epson V700 for instance) and not enlarge them unto
> > > photo paper (although, that may be interesting later on).
> > >
> > > Do you have any "developing film for dummies" links to share? The
> > > basics, the tools and the process. I've found some through google, but
> > > I'm curious to see if you may know of any better ones :)

> >
> > Developing black & white silver halide film is easy enough at home
> > provided you can construct a truly dark darkroom. It just requires
> > paying a bit of attention to temperature control, making up solutions
> > and learning to load a developing spiral and tank in total darkness.
> >
> > Colour is generally too much like hard work with much tighter
> > temperature control needed and altogether nastier chemistry.

>
> Oh, I didn't realize there was a difference, so you would recommend
> that color film should be developed in a dedicated company?


Generally yes, although once you're set up for blacka and white, you can
get a Tetenal C-41 chemistry kit for about 20 bucks, so you might want
to give it a try and see if you like it.



Sandman 05-10-2012 01:07 PM

Re: Developing film yourself
 
In article <MPG.2a1581be45ffc53198a5f3@hamster.jcbsbsdomain.l ocal>,
"J. Clarke" <jclarkeusenet@cox.net> wrote:

> > > Colour is generally too much like hard work with much tighter
> > > temperature control needed and altogether nastier chemistry.

> >
> > Oh, I didn't realize there was a difference, so you would recommend
> > that color film should be developed in a dedicated company?

>
> Generally yes, although once you're set up for blacka and white, you can
> get a Tetenal C-41 chemistry kit for about 20 bucks, so you might want
> to give it a try and see if you like it.


Gotcha! Thanks for the input :)


--
Sandman[.net]

David Dyer-Bennet 05-10-2012 02:57 PM

Re: Developing film yourself
 
Sandman <mr@sandman.net> writes:

> I know, I know - lots of questions. And the same disclaimer as before
> - I'm a prosumer hobby photographer that just recently bought a used
> Mamiya 645 Pro TL medium format camera with a 120 film back piece.
>
> I have photographed analog in the past, but that was a long time ago,
> and I'm relearning most of it now, albeith I haven't yet had delivery
> of the actual film so I haven't been able to shoot any as of yet.
>
> Still, a thought that keeps popping up is the possibility of
> developing the film myself. My studio has a shower room adjacent to it
> which could hold temporary gear for developing film I gather.
>
> But, what exactly is it that I need? Considering that I may just want
> to develop the negatives for scanning them in a flatbed scanner with a
> MF 120-film insert (Epson V700 for instance) and not enlarge them unto
> photo paper (although, that may be interesting later on).


The big divide is B&W vs. color.

There are strong arguments for developing B&W films yourself. The range
of developers available gives you lots of options, and varying
developing procedures gives you useful control over what you're doing.

The arguments for developing color films yourself are much much much
smaller. The color processes are designed for automated equipment, and
depend on rather precise temperature control. And there isn't nearly as
much flexibility and variety, there's less benefit available.

B&W is simple; you need a tank and reels, some measuring graduates of
suitable size, a dishpan for the water bath (not strictly necessary, but
some temp control is quite desirable), chemicals, and a place to hang
the film to dry.

Plan to expend at least two rolls of film in practicing loading the tank
*before risking a real roll*. Do it in the light until you understand
it, then do it in the dark until you're comfortable with it in the dark.

Oh, the big religious choice in tank and reel systems is "plastic
vs. stainless steel". The good plastic tanks and reels work fine, and
are easier to load if everything goes well. It is *absolutely
essential* that the reels be *absolutely* dry when you load them, or the
film will bind and you'll be stuck. For low-volume recreational use
this isn't much of a problem (if you're doing multiple batches in a day,
it IS).

When I was doing B&W as my main film and processing it all myself, it
was a *serious* problem, and I learned to load onto stainless steel
reels. That was quicker, once learned, and also didn't have the abrupt
failure conditions with a drop of water left on the metal. I didn't
have a fully dark room (dark enough for printing, but not dark enough
for film), so I loaded tanks in a "changing bag"; which meant that on a
hot day my hands got sweaty, and I could have the "film gets damp and
sticky" problems even if my reels were dry when I started. For
occasional recreational use, a changing bag is nearly certainly the best
approach for you, too. Getting a room "film dark" is HARD.

Also the modern, good, plastic tanks and reels hadn't been invented when
I started doing darkroom work.
--
David Dyer-Bennet, dd-b@dd-b.net; http://dd-b.net/
Snapshots: http://dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/data/
Photos: http://dd-b.net/photography/gallery/
Dragaera: http://dragaera.info

nospam 05-10-2012 07:26 PM

Re: Developing film yourself
 
In article <KSNqr.3781$GQ2.1733@newsfe12.iad>, Martin Brown
<|||newspam|||@nezumi.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> > Do you have any "developing film for dummies" links to share? The
> > basics, the tools and the process. I've found some through google, but
> > I'm curious to see if you may know of any better ones :)

>
> Developing black & white silver halide film is easy enough at home
> provided you can construct a truly dark darkroom. It just requires
> paying a bit of attention to temperature control, making up solutions
> and learning to load a developing spiral and tank in total darkness.


a darkroom is not needed for film developing. all that's needed is a
changing bag and a developing tank.

put the film and tank into the changing bag, insert your arms, then
load the tank and cover it. once that's done, the rest can be done in
ordinary room light.

> Colour is generally too much like hard work with much tighter
> temperature control needed and altogether nastier chemistry.


definitely.

nospam 05-10-2012 07:26 PM

Re: Developing film yourself
 
In article <mr-819900.13493310052012@News.Individual.NET>, Sandman
<mr@sandman.net> wrote:

> > Colour is generally too much like hard work with much tighter
> > temperature control needed and altogether nastier chemistry.

>
> Oh, I didn't realize there was a difference, so you would recommend
> that color film should be developed in a dedicated company?


absolutely.

don't even think about colour film developing until you're comfortable
with b/w film developing.

J. Clarke 05-10-2012 09:18 PM

Re: Developing film yourself
 
In article <ylfkaa1gf5i3.fsf@dd-b.net>, dd-b@dd-b.net says...
>
> Sandman <mr@sandman.net> writes:
>
> > I know, I know - lots of questions. And the same disclaimer as before
> > - I'm a prosumer hobby photographer that just recently bought a used
> > Mamiya 645 Pro TL medium format camera with a 120 film back piece.
> >
> > I have photographed analog in the past, but that was a long time ago,
> > and I'm relearning most of it now, albeith I haven't yet had delivery
> > of the actual film so I haven't been able to shoot any as of yet.
> >
> > Still, a thought that keeps popping up is the possibility of
> > developing the film myself. My studio has a shower room adjacent to it
> > which could hold temporary gear for developing film I gather.
> >
> > But, what exactly is it that I need? Considering that I may just want
> > to develop the negatives for scanning them in a flatbed scanner with a
> > MF 120-film insert (Epson V700 for instance) and not enlarge them unto
> > photo paper (although, that may be interesting later on).

>
> The big divide is B&W vs. color.
>
> There are strong arguments for developing B&W films yourself. The range
> of developers available gives you lots of options, and varying
> developing procedures gives you useful control over what you're doing.
>
> The arguments for developing color films yourself are much much much
> smaller. The color processes are designed for automated equipment, and
> depend on rather precise temperature control. And there isn't nearly as
> much flexibility and variety, there's less benefit available.
>
> B&W is simple; you need a tank and reels, some measuring graduates of
> suitable size, a dishpan for the water bath (not strictly necessary, but
> some temp control is quite desirable), chemicals, and a place to hang
> the film to dry.
>
> Plan to expend at least two rolls of film in practicing loading the tank
> *before risking a real roll*. Do it in the light until you understand
> it, then do it in the dark until you're comfortable with it in the dark.
>
> Oh, the big religious choice in tank and reel systems is "plastic
> vs. stainless steel". The good plastic tanks and reels work fine, and
> are easier to load if everything goes well. It is *absolutely
> essential* that the reels be *absolutely* dry when you load them, or the
> film will bind and you'll be stuck. For low-volume recreational use
> this isn't much of a problem (if you're doing multiple batches in a day,
> it IS).
>
> When I was doing B&W as my main film and processing it all myself, it
> was a *serious* problem, and I learned to load onto stainless steel
> reels. That was quicker, once learned, and also didn't have the abrupt
> failure conditions with a drop of water left on the metal. I didn't
> have a fully dark room (dark enough for printing, but not dark enough
> for film), so I loaded tanks in a "changing bag"; which meant that on a
> hot day my hands got sweaty, and I could have the "film gets damp and
> sticky" problems even if my reels were dry when I started. For
> occasional recreational use, a changing bag is nearly certainly the best
> approach for you, too. Getting a room "film dark" is HARD.


Depends on where you're located. I didn't have any problem when I was
teenager. Lived way out in the country--turn all the lights out at 11
PM on a moonless night and it was dark enough.

David Dyer-Bennet 05-10-2012 09:40 PM

Re: Developing film yourself
 
George Kerby <ghost_topper@hotmail.com> writes:

> On 5/10/12 9:57 AM, in article ylfkaa1gf5i3.fsf@dd-b.net, "David
> Dyer-Bennet" <dd-b@dd-b.net> wrote:


>> I didn't have a fully dark room (dark enough for printing, but not
>> dark enough for film), so I loaded tanks in a "changing bag"; which
>> meant that on a hot day my hands got sweaty, and I could have the
>> "film gets damp and sticky" problems even if my reels were dry when I
>> started. For occasional recreational use, a changing bag is nearly
>> certainly the best approach for you, too. Getting a room "film dark"
>> is HARD.

>
> You want problems? Try loading and unloading 8" x 10" film holders in one of
> those changing bags. Not THAT'S a fun thing to do without making "moons" (
> an artifact caused by flexing and bending a small area in the sheet when
> removing or loading it in the holder).


Ouch. I never went up to 8x10. I've loaded 4x5 holders fairly
recently, but those are easy, the film base is stiff enough it's easy to
avoid kinking it (I'm more familiar with the problem from handling large
prints, but of course the same thing happens to film).
--
David Dyer-Bennet, dd-b@dd-b.net; http://dd-b.net/
Snapshots: http://dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/data/
Photos: http://dd-b.net/photography/gallery/
Dragaera: http://dragaera.info


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