View Full Version : Developing old film with HC110

19-May-2013, 14:36
I have some 5x7 film from the late 30's I shot earlier today, really, really thick stuff, almost about the thickness of 3 modern day 4x5 sheets stacked on top of one another. As usual when shooting old stuff I compensated 3 stops. I'm going to tray develop a sheet tonight in HC-110. Whats a good dilution to start with? I'll probably go with dilution "B" unless somebody suggests a better one?

And also I've never developed by inspection before. I have the Kodak green safelight, so what exactly do I look for?

Gary L. Quay
19-May-2013, 16:16
If you haven't shot all of it, do a test exposure. Expose a sheet to a 18% gray card at Zone 5. Cut the sheet into at least 5 strips, and develop each for a different amount of time. I recently came across some glass plates that were shot sometime between the 1920s and 1930s, and I used HC-110 Dilution 'B' for 2.5 minutes. Those old emulsions develop fast. Maybe your's won't be quite as fast, since it's not on a glass plate.

One of the things you're likely to run up against is very low contrast. I wouldn't use a dilution that has any possibility of lowering contrast. 'B' should be fine.

I tried a green safelight when I developed the plates, but it didn't help. Since the film isn't cleared by the fixer, all you would be likely to see are the densest areas (unless your eyesight is better than mine). I don't have a lot of experience with developing be inspection, but I believe that you are looking the green light to not pass through the densest areas. It takes practice to know exactly what to look for. The film test would a much better tool, however.

Good luck!

20-May-2013, 12:25

After I exposed the film I cut the negative up into 6 strips and make some notches in each one from 1 to 6. I tray developed in HC-110 dilution B. Using my night vision goggles I watched an image appear on the film in the tray, I could just make out the trees, after 1:30 I transferred out the strip with one notch into the water stop and then the fixer, at 3 minutes the one with 2 notches followed, until the strip with 6 notches came out at 9 minutes.

Overall the negative was very flat and lacked contrast almost looks as if it was overexposed. This was exposing at ASA 50 (the film was originally ASA 250) Looks like 6 minutes gives the best image, so I'll take another sheet and meter and shoot it as ASA 100 and develop it in HC110/B for 6 minutes at 20 degrees and hopefully they would give me a good scannable neg.

Gary L. Quay
25-May-2013, 16:11
Please post the results. I'd love to see what you come up with.