15 Simple steps for Black & White Film Developing

Introduction

So you like the feel of the Black n White world, load your camera with a silver gelatin film, shoot to your hearts contend and now what next? Developing your own B&W film is not as daunting as many would envisage.

Black & white photography has been the domain of many photographers for ages until the invention of color film and lately the digital film. Very few craftsman today indulge in this silver gelatin craft….perhaps a dying trade.

This is a simple step by step approach to developing your own B&W film.

Equipment & Materials required


darkroom equipment

darkroom equipment

Equipment Required

  • changing bag – if do not have a darkroom
  • developing tank
  • measuring jugs – 3 nos. You can also use cut pet bottles.
  • thermometer
  • timer (watch)
  • scissors
  • stirrer – any drink stirrer will do
  • bottle opener
  • film squeegee – clean fingers will do
  • syringe – for measuring small amounts of developer film clips – office metal clips will do

Materials Required

  • film developer
  • stop bath – water can be use as a stop bath if you are not into zone system
  • film fixer
  • wetting agent – may not need if water marks do not affect you
  • Obviously you need a exposed film from a camera before this =p

1.Load all the necessary equipment inside the changing bag

Place the exposed film, developing tank, bottle opener and scissors inside the changing bag and zip it. Most changing bags come with 2 zips.

2.Remove the film from the canister

bw_dev2

Use the bottle opener and remove the cover of the film canister ... DO all these while inside the CHANGING BAG!!

4.Load the film

This process requires a bit of practice. Get a developed film and try to load the film reel in daylight until you are confident with the process, then you do it inside the changing bag.

This process requires a bit of practice. Get a developed film and try to load the film reel in daylight until you are confident with the process, then you do it inside the changing bag.

6.Load the film reel

Make sure the film is completely wound into the reel. Put the loaded film reel inside the developing tank and close the cover. You can now unzip the changing bag and take out the developing tank.

Make sure the film is completely wound into the reel. Put the loaded film reel inside the developing tank and close the cover. You can now unzip the changing bag and take out the developing tank.

8.Start the timer

When the desired temperature of the developing solution is reached, pour the developer into the developing tank

When the desired temperature of the developing solution is reached, pour the developer into the developing tank

Start the timer

Start the timer

10.End of Agitation

At the end of the agitation process, pour the chemicals back into the jug.

At the end of the agitation process, pour the chemicals back into the jug.

12.Wash with water

After fixing, the film is now developed. You need to wash off the remaining chemicals that are present in the film with water. Wash the film in clean running water for 5 minutes.

After fixing, the film is now developed. You need to wash off the remaining chemicals that are present in the film with water. Wash the film in clean running water for 5 minutes.

14.Dry the film

Carefully remove the film from the reel and hang it up to dry. Use the squeegee to remove excess water from the film and leave it to dry.

Carefully remove the film from the reel and hang it up to dry. Use the squeegee to remove excess water from the film and leave it to dry.

3.Cut off the film leader

Make a square cut off the film leader

Make a square cut off the film leader

5.Load the film reel

Pull the film leader lightly through the entrance of the reel. Once the film leader is inside the reel, twist the reel in both the clockwise and anticlockwise direction until the film is inside the reel.

Pull the film leader lightly through the entrance of the reel. Once the film leader is inside the reel, twist the reel in both the clockwise and anticlockwise direction until the film is inside the reel.

7.Mix the chemicals

Mix the chemicals according to instructions attached. The development, stop bath and fixing times/temperatures for your film are usually written on the instruction sheets which comes with the chemicals.  To arrive at the developing temperature, usually a water bath is required. Mix all the chemicals in the jugs and place the jugs inside a water bath (with ice for tropic climates and warm water for temperate climates).

Mix the chemicals according to instructions attached. The development, stop bath and fixing times/temperatures for your film are usually written on the instruction sheets which comes with the chemicals. To arrive at the developing temperature, usually a water bath is required. Mix all the chemicals in the jugs and place the jugs inside a water bath (with ice for tropic climates and warm water for temperate climates).

9.Agitation

There are various methods of agitating the chemicals inside the developing tank. The most common is by inversion. Initially the tank is agitated for the first 30 sec, then once every 5 sec for every half a minute until the desire development time is reached.

There are various methods of agitating the chemicals inside the developing tank. The most common is by inversion. Initially the tank is agitated for the first 30 sec, then once every 5 sec for every half a minute until the desire development time is reached.

11.Add Stop Bath & Fixer

After you have emptied the developer back into the jug, pour the stop-bath and repeat the agitation process. Do the same with the fixer.

After you have emptied the developer back into the jug, pour the stop-bath and repeat the agitation process. Do the same with the fixer.

13.Add Wetting Agent

After washing, you may wish the use a wetting agent to prevent drying streaks on the film before hanging it up to dry.

After washing, you may wish the use a wetting agent to prevent drying streaks on the film before hanging it up to dry.

15.Hang film to dry

Hang it in a dust free environment. Your bathroom will do. :)  Viola!! It's not as difficult as you think, isn't it? Hope you enjoy the process.

Hang it in a dust free environment. Your bathroom will do. 🙂 Viola!! It's not as difficult as you think, isn't it? Hope you enjoy the process.

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  3. Pingback: 15 Simple Steps for Black & White Film Developing

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