cabbiinc 6:01am, 7 September 2008
I think I am ready to try processing my own film. I dont have any equipment but I have the desire. 120 film is getting expensive to develop around here.

What do I need to just get it processed to scan?
I'd be most interested in black and white.
Is there any good sites that can walk me through it?
I will have a few rolls of film that wont matter if I screw them up.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
Amanda Tomlin PRO 10 years ago
Good for you for thinking of taking the plunge! I do all my own processing and there are several good threads concerning
equipment and so on.

Basically you need a tank for 120 film. Others will differ but for my money I think the plastic tanks are easier to deal with. The plastic reels are adjustable so can be used for lots of types of film.

Chemically you need developer--most common is D-76 and it is fine for most b&w needs.
Stop bath. There is only one kind.
Fixer. Ilford and Kodak both make good rapid fixer.
Photoflo or some type of wetting agent--not strictly necessary especially if you can do the final rinse in distilled water.

You will need a completely dark area in which to load the film. You can buy a dark bag for this or find a closet and block up any light leaks.

At first this whole process can take a couple of hours, and after a bit you will be able to do it in half an hour.

Here is a good site and a video: (most sites will take you through the process of loading 35mm film which is more difficult than 120)
illustrious side [deleted] 10 years ago
a resounding yes to your question. I've been developing film for about a year now, in my place, all you need is a kitchen sink. It has saved me untold amounts of dollars, gotten me more involved with my photography, and given me a real sense of satisfaction. Yes!
probable point [deleted] Posted 10 years ago. Edited by probable point (member) 10 years ago
Yes, yes and yes! You don't really need a darkroom to develop film just a scanner.
peel apart 10 years ago
Yes, it's super liberating too. It really frees you up to be more experimental and "loosen up."
cabbiinc 10 years ago
Thanks all, I have those sites bookmarked. Helps alot.
norm II PRO 10 years ago
By all means learn to do it. It's not all that complicated and gives you quality that the one hour labs will never be able to provide.
swsmithphotography PRO 10 years ago
you might also want to check this Flickr group out
Do IT Yourself Black & White
bDe gNas 10 years ago
Yes, definitely. You have a lot more control over what the negatives will look like once you choose a developer that you like. My favorites are Ilford DDX and Rodinal. For certain films like Efke 25 you should use a water rinse as opposed to a stop bath. The hardest part is just getting the film loaded on the reel using a changing bag, but with practice it gets easier. You'll love it. Enjoy!
Hi from Spain. In youtube you can see some videos about developing film.
obeychad 10 years ago
It's more difficult to make a good Mojito than process film. FWIW personally, I prefer plastic tanks to stainless. It's just easier to load the film for me. Others, I'm sure, prefer stainless. And maybe try something other than D-76 powder, it might be easier to mix liquid like Rodinal or HC110.
cabbiinc Posted 9 years ago. Edited by cabbiinc (member) 9 years ago
OK, so my enthusiasm comes and goes. I've got 3 kids and other excuses (read I'm a procrastinator) but this is where I'm at. I was at a going out of business sale and asked for the basics of getting started with black and white film. Here's what I have:

Paterson Tank, Super System 4 with 2 reels
2 gallon jugs
1 graduate, 1.5oz.
film changing bag
film clips

Kodak D-76 powder, 14.6oz. (makes 1 gallon?)
Kodak Fixer powder, 24.7oz. (makes 1 gallon?)
Kodak Hypo Cleaning Agent powder, 17.7oz. (makes 0.80 gallons or 4 gallons????????)
Kodak Professional indicator stop bath for film or paper liquid, 16fl oz. (makes 8 gallons with instructions for 1 gallon too)

Now, I've come to the conclusion that I'm lacking a few things.
A thermometer
Funnels maybe, the tank looks rather easy to pour into. Do I need funnels for anything else?
I have 4 chemicals and only 2 bottles (did they sell me 4 and my wife tossed 2 of them? hmmm) I was going to use some well rinsed milk jugs for the used chemicals but could I use them for the new chemicals?
Do I need beakers? A lab coat? Gloves? (not afraid to get my hands dirty but the kids...)

Is there anything obvious that I'm missing?

kuyman 9 years ago

Funnels are helpful, but I usually work without them. You can pour out of the tank into something like a pot pretty easily. From there you can throw it away or put it back in the original bottle. That's generally how I do it (Except for D-76, I usually just keep it in the pot and develop three or four rolls at batch then toss the stuff. I have no less than 20 bags of powdered gallon size mix).

I keep all my stuff in milk jugs or gallon size Tropicana Orange Juice bottles. They seal surprisingly tightly, actually, and they can keep full the same length of time as a specially made bottle.

You probably don't need beakers. I use them because I have them, but honestly, your measurements aren't going to be that important. A graduated cylinder is probably a good plan though- it's great that you've got one. You might want to pick up another. Actually, just stealing a measuring cup works just as well.

I'm sixteen and my little sister and I have both been exposed to lots of photo chemicals - I'm not really that careful when developing film. The black and white chemicals are fairly innocuous. Fixer just smells bad, it's actually just going to make you a little sick if you drink it ;). Developer wouldn't be good to eat, but it's not going to hurt to get on your hands. As long as you mop up anything you may spill, it's not going to hurt anyone, especially not in small amounts.

A lab coat seems unnecessary. You're probably not going to spill it on yourself; even if you did, washing it should get it out. Color chemicals, though, will ruin your clothes. That's personal experience talking ;)

As far as temperature maintainable goes, my experience says that four degrees off is just about a stop. Given the forgiving nature of almost all B&W films (except Efke and similar), I'd say you can estimate 68 degrees within half a stop of accuracy. It's cool- too cold to swim in, but too warm to drink ;).

I understand your problems with enthusiasm. Everything comes in waves. One month I shot over fifty rolls of film. Another month I only shot three. Whatever gets you through the night! That being said, developing your own film is really rewarding. And cheap. And cheap is good.

Everything sounds good to go to me!
cabbiinc 9 years ago
Very cool. Thanks

Oddly enough, I do actually have a lab coat.
cabbiinc Posted 9 years ago. Edited by cabbiinc (member) 9 years ago
Question. When I mix the chemicals as per the instructions on the bag is that considered a 1:1 mix? Page 6 shows D-76 for T-max 100 film (what I currently have sitting here) @ 65 degrees f either 7.5 or 11 minutes.

Or would the 1:1 be to dilute that mixed solution down 1 part solution, 1 part water?
kuyman 9 years ago
No, mixing it by directions on the bag is "stock". 1:1 is one part water, one part developer. With D-76, it does give you a little smaller grain, in my experience.

I love D-76.
kuyman 9 years ago
And I would suggest tying the lab coat backwards and using it as a cape. That's just me, though ;)
cabbiinc 9 years ago
Yeah, after I typed that and it sunk in for a few minutes it clicked. You just confirmed for me. Mixed solution is now what everyone's calling straight, mixing that with equal parts water is 1:1.

Hmm, now where did I put that lab coat?
inetjoker PRO 9 years ago
I put the changing bag on my head and talk like Darth Vader.
cabbiinc 9 years ago
Thanks for all of the help guys :D
Mt Rainier at 55
terrific eyes [deleted] 9 years ago
I was gonna add, if you really wanna make processing at home alot easier you might look into getting a Jobo processor. You can usually pick them up fairly cheap on ebay. 9 years ago
I second darwinfoto09's opinion on the Jobo processors, especially the Autolabs help a lot with color development, as the processing time is much longer than in BW. All my pics are developed by myself.
[ Noktor-Matic ] 9 years ago
do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

note a jobo ATL1000 will set you back an arm or a leg
you're looking roughly at the price of a new midrange DSLR for one
then to add to that you've got the cost of chemicals.
chemical collection etc.
so in the end it still will cost you alot
but in the end it will be worth it
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