View Full Version : Developing film no darkroom access

21-Jul-2016, 13:44
I have 2 rolls of Ilford 400 film BW film ready to be developed. I used to have access to my high school darkroom but I don't really have the ability to go back there. They are currently closed for the summer as well I have seen some kids do stupid things (pour things back into the wrong bottles...etc). I don't really trust that dark room anymore if I'm honest. Anyway I do not have a new darkroom to process my film in. I don't want to go give these to walgreens or CVS because I want the film back and I also want this done right. Is there any mail in you have used that you really liked and thought they knew what they were doing and any chance you got your film back?

Thanks! I really want to get these developed but I don't want them to be ruined.

Jim Noel
21-Jul-2016, 13:53
Why don't you get yourself a changing bag, a good tank with reels, developer and fixer and do them yourself?

21-Jul-2016, 13:58
Process one in Kansas.


Tim Meisburger
21-Jul-2016, 15:41
Yes, it sounds like you have already developed film. Even without a changing bag, you can load reels in a dark closet at night. Buy one tank, a bottle of developer, and either a bottle of fix, or if you are on a budget, a few pounds of sodium thiosulfate (hypo), and you can easily develop at home. Just get a cheap thermometer and adjust development times to the ambient temperature.

David Schaller
22-Jul-2016, 14:06
I developed in my bathroom and kitchen for years. I blacked out the bathroom window, and loaded the reels in there. I also did 8x10 in the bathtub. It makes you keep your bathroom clean! If you go through the darkroom thread, many people even print in the bathroom.

Curtis Nelson
22-Jul-2016, 15:37
I agree with the others about processing in your kitchen or bathroom. I did it that way for years. You just have to be careful to load the film in a completely dark place. Other than that, you can work in daylight.
If you post your location, there's a chance someone on the forum may live near you and can offer their darkroom.

Donald Qualls
23-Jul-2016, 06:47
I'll add a plus one here. For roll films, you can buy everything you need to process negatives at home (stainless daylight tank w/ 120 reel, thermometer and chemicals, changing bag optional) for not much more than processing a single roll with prints at a mail-in house.

Sodium thiosulfate is sold as a pool chemical, which makes it easier to get locally in some places (it's for reducing chlorine, but you have to watch out because sodium sulfite is sold for the same purpose -- the shape of the crystals will tell which, if you can get the store to open the canister), and it's much cheaper than rapid fixer, but for tabular or delta grain films in plain hypo, you must use a two-bath fix, or you won't fully fix the film. With the cost of thiosulfate crystals, I'd recommend using the fixer as a one-shot at half the standard strength and don't worry about sulfite.

Going a little further, you can make your own developer pretty cheaply, which helps cut down the cost of getting started. Caffenol requires nothing you can't buy in a grocery store (instant coffee crystals and laundry soda) and produces very nice results for both printing and scanning. The only thing you have to buy that's specific to photography is the tank and reel.

23-Jul-2016, 11:43
First, is this HP5+ or XP2? Both are Ilford ISO 400 films but the XP2 requires C-41 processing. Neither Walgreens nor CVS would handle non-C-41 film.

Second, where are you located? You might find a forum member willing to give you access to their darkroom and chemicals. Or an alternative community darkroom.

25-Jul-2016, 15:00
BEWARE... should you take the advice of those urging to get a daylight tank, developer and do-it-yourself, it is the "gateway drug" to putting together your own darkroom!!!:)