View Full Version : Recommended books for reading up on developing film yourself

28-Oct-2012, 22:27

I plan to develop 120 or 4x5 film and scan the transparences. Could anyone recommend any good books to read on the subject, please?


Doug Howk
29-Oct-2012, 13:43
"Film Developers Cookbook" by Steve Anchell

29-Oct-2012, 13:47
Doug, I don't own that book but I think it only covers b+w, not color. Assuming nobob is actually referring to transparencies.

29-Oct-2012, 14:01
"Film Developers Cookbook" by Steve Anchell

I'd forget that book and get the "Darkroom Cookbook" 3rd Edition, Steve Anchell, it's far more accurate and amuch better written book, and has few errors and non of the Troopisms (from the co author of the Film Developing Cookbook). It's also far more up to date with excellent contributions from a few on this forum & APUG

Alongside or perhaps before that I'd get "Developing" Curt (Kurt) Jacobson, preferably the 18th Edition. Jacobson was refugee from Germany a photochemist who pioneered new colour processes after WWII, he was a Director of Pavelle, a company trhat eventually became Durst UK who made all the high end professional Durst equipment.


29-Oct-2012, 19:30
I wouldn't bother with cookbooks unless you want to make your own chemistry... and DIY chemistry for colour is a HUGE and complex task.

If you want to do photography instead of playing in a lab, just go buy a 5L Fuji E6 kit and use that. There's a very basic guide in the FAQ in my signature that gives you an idea of the equipment you'll need.

30-Oct-2012, 22:26
I use the Tetenal E6 kit to develop transparencies at home.. The booklet that comes with the kit explains the process, and the processing tanks I bought came with instructions on how to load film into them...

I tried once to do E6 without a rotary processor and my results were a little uneven and weird. I found a Jobo CPE2+ on ebay for around $400 AU with tanks, reels, bottles etc.. Since then I've done over 100 rolls of Velvia 50 (120) and maybe 40 sheets of 4x5 at home with no failures.. Its actually pretty straight forward and once you get the hang of it, you can have a chat with people and have a quite beer while you're going at it....

Lenny Eiger
31-Oct-2012, 11:14
I appreciate the desire to read. It's quite refreshing. I am always trying to get people to look at photography books to get some context about shooting. However, I think you need a friend who does photography to give you a tour. There are lots of little things and it would likely be easier to watch someone do it the first time. It's quite easy, but everything is difficult until you know how...

I don't know where you live, if you're on a remote island somewhere it may not be possible. However, meetup.com often has photography groups near you, there are schools, local photographers and the like. Almost all would all be happy to give you a tour of the darkroom...


31-Oct-2012, 17:52
Kodak Technical Pubs available on Kodak's website are an excellent and indispensable resource for developing E6 and C-41 films. I only use Kodak color chemistry.

Drew Bedo
7-Nov-2012, 09:12
"The Negative" By Ansel Adams

7-Nov-2012, 10:33
I also applaud the desire to read, but developing film is something that must also be seen in order to learn properly.
Have a friend show you, or look on youtube, there are a lot of videos explaining and demonstrating the film development process.
For scanning, I'd suggest the same thing.

John Kasaian
7-Nov-2012, 23:33
Check the links on the LF Homepage on the blue banner at the top of this page. Theres lots of good how to info there.

Brian Schall
9-Nov-2012, 09:40
Try and find a copy of Barry Thornton's ' Edge of Darkness'. I found it a fun book to read with a tremendous amount of info on taking, developing and printing B&W. You can look at his old website that is still up as a tribute to him: http://www.barrythornton.com/.

14-Nov-2012, 13:47
I do Color and Black and White.

I have a nikkor 4 reel (two 120 reels) tank that I use.

I just did two 4x5's yesterday. Easy Peasy....

I use Unicolor C41 kit from freestylephoto:


I put my 1 liter bottles of chems into an inexpensive tub of hot water:


A nice dial thermometer checks the temp (check the temp of the developer, not the tub water as
someone shows on youtube.....:


My Nikkor taped up with painters tape cause the blix is a messy process... let pressure
out after inversion:


The whole process is fairly simple, the only relatively important task is keeping the
developer at 102 degrees. A degree or two is not bad, and easy
to do cause you only spend 3.5 minutes in the developer.

I put 4x5 sheets into the nikkor tank, I think 400 bucks for a jobo is a waste of money!
two fit easily, and four can go in with hair ties around them.

Good Luck!!

19-Nov-2012, 04:47
I don't develop color - only B&W 120 and 4x5. You might want to check YouTube.

25-Nov-2012, 14:28
Hi NoBob- I've succesfully done C41 (very similar to JeffEgg2's method) using the Tetanal kits and used a fish tank thermometer to regulate & standardize temperature. At the risk of self-promotion, I did write a series of inexpensive laminated reference cards for various processes (10 total) including C41 that are available at both B&H and Freestyle Photo

BH: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/835918-REG/F295_29511_HISTORIC_PROCESS_QUICK_START.html