12-step bathroom-sink-darkroom program
this is my set-up for processing black and white negatives at home. usually i would just scan the negatives on a cheapo flatbed scanner as my "proof" prints. the processing part is quick and cheap, and you don't have to worry about the lab scratching up your film. here're the steps:
1. fill the water bottle (a) with cold tap water and stick the thermometer (b) in it. try to get it to 68F. you may have to add hot water or ice cube depending on the weather.
2. load the negative onto the reel/tank (c) inside the changing bag (d). if you're using 35mm film you'll need a bottle opener to open the cannister inside the bag (or in complete darkness). this is often the trickiest part. you can practice with a spare roll of negatives. some people prefer the plastic type which may be easier to roll. but i find the metal ones pretty easy to work with and are durable.
3. used the syringe measurer (e) to mix the right mount of developer (f) in the graduated plastic beaker cup (g). I use kodak's hc-110 developer and use it "one shot" only -- i mix up just enough for each tank and use it only once. a bottle of this can probably process about 18 rolls of 120 or 30 rolls of 35mm film.
4. agitate the tank periodically, for a period of time based on the type of film you're using and the temperature of the water. i use a cheapo sports stopwatch (h) to time this. you don't have to stop and restart it, but just let it run for the total amount of time you need to develope, and just agitate it at the 30 second or 1 minute marks.
5. dump out the developer and fill with clean tap water that's near the same temperature as what you used to develope. agitate the tank with the clean water for about 30 seconds. repeat again with new water. the film is done developing at this point.
6. meaure out enough of the pre-mixed fixer (i) in the graduated beaker cup (g). you can probably pour it directly into the tank but it's safer this way. pour the measured amount of fixer from the beaker into the tank. agitate the fixer periodically for an amount of time specified for your film (anywhere from 2 minutes to 6 minutes).
7. pour the fixer from the tank (c) back into the gallon jar (i). the fixer can be reused. i think a gallon can fix maybe 100 rolls of film. but basically you watch to see if the amount of time to "clear" the film has increased by a certain amount, say 30% or 50% from when it was new. most cities have places to take used fixer to. i usually take it to our local public darkroom. it's a bad idea to dump it in the sink because it contains the silver from the fixed negatives.
8. open the tank and check out the film! look to make sure the fixer has made the unexposed portion of the film (sprockets for example) clear. if it looks cloudy you can fix the film some more. this can be done with the light on.
9. rince the film under the faucet, with the reel inside the tank for about a minute. again try to make the water to be near room temperature. you don't want very hot or very cold water.
After step 9 your film is processed. The rest of the steps are all about washing any excess fixer off of the film, so it won't fade out when you donate your negatives to the smithsonian... :-) if you don't care how long the negative would last you can just hang it up to dry after this step.
10) mix up some perma wash (j) in the graduated beaker, and pour into the tank. agitate for about a minute and dump out the liquid. by the way, you should rinse the plastic beaker thoroughly between uses. i just have one but some people use one for each type of chemical. i haven't found that i need more than one though.
11. open the tank and rinse it under the faucet as in step 9, for a minute or so.
12. pour all the water out of the tank, and fill it with distilled water (not shown). put 2 to 4 drops of kodak photo-flo (k) in the tank and swish the water around a bit to make sure it's mixed in. i rotate the reel i