Photography Matters Ep 11 – An Overview of Developing Your Own Black and White Film at Home

 
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A lot of people are enjoying shooting film again, some for the first time. Film is becoming more and more popular with each year that passes. Film sales keep going up.

But one thing that does seem to hinder people from wanting to get into that medium is the cost of having your film developed. In this episode I want to share my thoughts and go over the process I use to develop my own black and white film at home. It’s so much easier than most people think. I actually enjoy the process and it can really help you keep the costs down. Enjoy the show!

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The Process I Use for Developing ACROS Pushed to 400

This is the process I use to develop Fujifilm Neopan 100 ACROS B&W film, both at box speed (which I hardly ever use) and for when the film is pushed to 400 (which I pretty much always do).

The process described below pretty much follows what Matt does, except I’ve adjusted the times for ACROS film as suggested by the Massive Dev Chart: http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php

I recommend picking up the Massive Dev app for your mobile device. This times each step of the process for you and lets you know when to change to the next step.

You can get that app in iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/massive-dev-chart-timer/id402405770?mt=8

or Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.digitaltruth.mdc&hl=en

Disclaimer

Please note that I am in no way an expert on developing film. I’ve only been doing it for a little less than three years. This is just my method I use based on Matt Day’s info and the Massive Dev Chart, so use at your own risk (there really isn’t any), but this is what I do to produce the ACROS film shots you see in my Instagram feed.

Loading the Film into the Paterson Tank

(again, check out Matt’s video if you’re not already familiar with this method)

This method requires that you have a dark/changing bag or completely a dark light-sealed room to load your film on to a Paterson developing tank. You’ll need to open your 35mm film canister with a bottle opener and load the film onto a spool that goes into the Paterson tank. You have to do all this without being able to see what you’re doing, so you have to be able to do it by feel.

Developing the Film

PreWash

  • 1 minute pre wash in water, agitate for the full minute

Develop

  • Kodak HC-110 (dilution B, 1 part developer + 31 parts water) 20°C/68°F
  • 5:30 for box speed 100
  • 10 minutes when pushed to 400
  • agitate for first full minute, then for 10 seconds every minute
  • tap the tank against the table top a couple times after each agitation to remove bubbles
  • after development time is up, dump the developer out of the tank.

Stop Bath

  • 1 minute in water, agitate for the full minute
  • after 1 minute dump the water out of the tank

Fixer

  • Photographers’ Formulary TF-4 Archival Rapid Fixer (dilution 1 part fixer + 4 parts water)
  • 5 minutes
  • agitate for first full minute, then for 10 seconds every minute
  • tap the tank against the table top a couple times after each agitation to remove bubbles
  • at the end of 5 min. return the Fixer to a dark container, you can reuse it at least 15-20 times.

Final Wash

  • 10 minutes in Water.
  • First fill the Paterson tank and dump twice to rinse the fixer out.
  • Then fill the canister one more time and then let the water continuously run for 10 minutes into the Paterson tank. (very small stream just to keep some movement in the tank)
  • after 10 min. dump the water out of the tank.

Soap Rinse

  • Kodak Professional Photo-Flo 200
  • add enough water into the tank to cover the spool of film and maybe a half inch more on top
  • add a cap full of Photo-Flo into the tank and agitate for 1-2 minutes.

Hang Negatives to Dry

  • once rinse is done pour it out over a sponge lined tong so that the sponges are soaked, then wring out the excess water from the sponges.
  • remove the film from the spool and put a clip on one end and hold on to it firmly with one hand while using the tongs to remove excess soap from the film. Probably just need to do this twice.
  • hang the film up (I do this over the bath tub with a wire loop I’ve attached to the curtain rod)

I usually let the film dry for a couple hours. This may very based on where you live and how humid it is there. Sometimes if I develop the film late at night I’ll let them hang overnight. This usually works fine, but it does give more opportunity for dust to gather on the film so you may have to do more dust removal in post.

Check Out Matt’s Video

For a visual demonstration of this method I recommend you watch Matt Day’s tutorial video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/8I41UExVJWI

Anyway, that’s the basic process. Have fun!

39 episodes available. A new episode about every 3 days .