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Thread: Help with developing B&W film please

  1. #1

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    Help with developing B&W film please

    In a few weeks, I'm going to try my hand at developing some HP5+ with a Mod54 in a Paterson tank.

    I'll be using Ilford ID11 Black & White Powder Film Developer, Ilford 1905162 Ilfotol Netzm, ILFORD ILFOSTOP, Ilford 1984253 Rapid Fixer and Adox ADONAL / Rodinal.

    The videos on the Mod54 website are useful, and there are quite a few YouTube videos on film development, but does anyone have any videos in particular to recommend?

    Apart from the Darkroom Cookbook, are there any other good books to read on the subject?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    JoeV's Avatar
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    Re: Help with developing B&W film please

    I'm assuming you'll be choosing either ID11 or Adonal as the developer; or are you going to do multiple batches to test both developers?

    ~Joe
    The photograph and the thing being photographed are not the same thing.

  3. #3

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    Re: Help with developing B&W film please

    It's easy to develop film, however I would strongly recommend shooting some duplicates.
    Develop only 1 at a time until you find something that works for you.
    Much like changing the exposure with your camera you can change the effect on the film with different times, temperatures, concentration, and I read somewhere earlier today even your water supply.

    One thing I've just started doing is writing the film, lens (including f-stop and compensation) filter, developer, and concentration used on some sleeves and placing my extra negatives in them as a sample and for future reference.

  4. #4

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    Re: Help with developing B&W film please

    I plan to start with the ID11 and plan to shoot duplicates. Am thinking to try the Adonal later.

    Point taken about developing one at a time, but the thing is that's going to be quite wasteful on developer in the Mod54, isn't it?

    I don't have any trays for the rest of the process. Once finished with the developer and take out the negatives, is there a substitute for trays I can use?

    I watched a video in which the photographer uses an aquarium heater to heat a water bath to warm up the chemicals. Is there any other way to get the developer to the correct temperature?

  5. #5

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    Re: Help with developing B&W film please

    About the getting the temperature right, I got some ideas from http://photo.net/black-and-white-pho...g-forum/00aoAM

  6. #6

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    Re: Help with developing B&W film please

    Quote Originally Posted by NoBob View Post
    I plan to start with the ID11 and plan to shoot duplicates. Am thinking to try the Adonal later.

    Point taken about developing one at a time, but the thing is that's going to be quite wasteful on developer in the Mod54, isn't it?

    I don't have any trays for the rest of the process. Once finished with the developer and take out the negatives, is there a substitute for trays I can use?

    I watched a video in which the photographer uses an aquarium heater to heat a water bath to warm up the chemicals. Is there any other way to get the developer to the correct temperature?
    Don't take the negatives out of the tank with the lights on until you've stopped and fixed! You'll fog them and ruin them otherwise. I tray develop and turn on the room lights halfway through the fix. Theoretically, you could expose the film to dim light after the development has been completely stopped by the stop bath, but too much light and you'll end up with a bit of fog... I wouldn't risk it.

    About "one-at-a-time" in your Mod54: You can save and reuse your developer (and stop and fix for that matter) for a few more sheets. However, with each sheet the developer will lose a bit of activity. There's a published capacity for the developer and guidelines somewhere for adding a bit of time when reusing. That said, I would likely not reuse it more than a time or two. Even so, there's a risk of inconsistency. One-shot in batches is going to be the best as far as that goes.

    So, you may want to shoot some tests along with a couple of scenes you want and include that all in one batch of at least four sheets (four is not too much of a developer waste).

    Of course, I assume you've read up on doing tests to arrive at your personal film speed and development time. If not, start with manufacturers' recommendations and adjust as you go. Use box film speed or a bit slower (2/3-stop is a good "insurance" factor) and recommended development times. As you collect negatives, adjust your personal E.I. as needed (Not enough shadow detail? Rate your film slower. More shadow detail than you need? Rate your film faster) and adjust your developing time to give you the contrast you need (more overall contrast = longer development and vice-versa). If you feel the need to develop sheets to specific contrasts for the subject, you'll need to master the Zone System or BTZS or another of the exposure/development systems.

    Best,

    Doremus

  7. #7
    Tim Meisburger's Avatar
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    Re: Help with developing B&W film please

    There are two schools of thought on temperature control. One is to either heat or cool your chemicals to 68 degrees, and then maintain everything at that temperature throughout the process. The second is to bring everything to ambient temperature, then adjust developing time using a temperature conversion chart like that available on the Ilford website. I use the latter method because its a hell of a lot easier for me, but I have little doubt that for repeatability and precision the first method is preferable.

  8. #8

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    Re: Help with developing B&W film please

    Bob,
    As Doremus said, you don't take the sheets out of the container until your done the full process.

    Start by pouring the developer into your Paterson? Tank as quick as you can without making a mess.
    Agitate, and time this process. Drain the developer out quickly into a clean container.
    The developer will continue working until adding the Stop Bath (I use water) so this time must stay consistent.
    I usually pour out this process after 20 seconds or so, then pour the fixer straight in. Some film seems to require more time in the fixer, so you'll have to do some testing here too.
    Then rinse the film off in your Paterson.
    After the initial rinse I usually transfer the negatives over to a tray to free up my daylight tank and continue the rinse.

    It is very important that you have all the fixer residue cleaned from the tank before loading more film.
    If I'm processing more sheets I dry it with clean paper towel.

    One final bit of advice.
    Both Stop Bath and Fixer work with a little developer in them.
    However Developer is pretty much ruined with anything else mixed in.
    So try your best not to cross contaminate them.

  9. #9

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    Re: Help with developing B&W film please

    Thanks for all the advice.

    I was reading this PDF from Ilford: http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/200629163442455.pdf

    For example, on page 2 under Process Summary, it says ILFORD ILFOTEC DDX (developer diluted 1+4), 12 minutes at 20C/68F

    It doesn't say what to do during those 12 minutes. Is that leave it to stand, or agitate the tank slowly to get a constant flow of developer, for 12 minutes?

  10. #10

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    Re: Help with developing B&W film please

    It assumes you are using roll film in tanks so you would agitate.

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