Film Processing – A Few Thoughts

Stainless steel film reel for 35mm film

Image via Wikipedia

Hi All,

Last week I processed my first roll of B&W film, here are a few notes on the process:

The initial dry run with the processing reel went ok, took a little getting used to, did a few test loadings to get rid of any stupid errors. I’m not very dextrous so I had to work out the easiest way for me to do it.

In the dark bag – surprised by just how little room you get in a dark bag once you have the film, the reel, the changing tank and the canister opener. Also made the error of not trimming the film leader off when the canister was open. This meant it was a bit of a faff loading the film on the reel in a sweaty dark bag when you cant see what you are doing.. After 10 minutes of playing around I managed to load the reel and reassemble the developing tank.

Measuring the chemicals was easy, 300ml of developer, 600ml stop (in this case fresh water) and another 300ml of fixer. The 1+3 mix of ID-11 developer needed 20 minutes to develop the HP5 400 film i’d been using, because I was a little impatient I started developing when the developer was at 24 degrees rather than the recommended 20 degrees. This cut the development time to 7 minutes (which I wasn’t too bothered about).

Agitation was constant for the first minute and a half, then dropping to one or two times a minute for the remainder. The tank was tapped every 15/20 seconds to release any trapped air bubbles.

After the 7 minutes, the developer was dumped and the first 300ml of clean water was poured in, this was constantly agitated and tapped. After a minute, this was poured away and the second 300ml was poured it. The agitation and tapping was repeated for this second minute, then the water was drained away.

Fixing was just as easy, once the chemical was poured in it was another 8 minutes, with agitation and tapping for the first minute. Once the time was up, the fixer was poured back into its bottle for another use.

As development was now finished, the tank was disassembled and the reel was  popped in the wash for 20 minutes. Excess water was removed and it was hung in the drying cabinet.


The next day..

I popped in to work early to collect the now dried negatives, on quick inspection I was very happy with the way they turned out. There were a few little kinks in the film (that would have happened during my ham fisted attempts at loading the film) and a few drying marks on the film (probably due to just using plain water for the wash with no wetting agents).

I also managed to mis-load the film in the camera in the first place (completely my own fault, but i’m still learning!) so i’d lost the first shot on the roll anyway.

Overall i’m very happy with the way the negatives came out, despite some classic mistakes I’ve got a lot of usable negatives for darkroom practice over the coming weeks.




2 thoughts on “Film Processing – A Few Thoughts

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