Processing of b&w negs

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by 0llym, Aug 2, 2003.

  1. 0llym

    0llym Member

    Jul 24, 2003

    I was wondering if anyone can tell me whats involved in processing of B&W negs ? Im not interested in the actual printing, just developing the negs. I understand that you can do it with something the size of a flask.

    I dont have room for a darkroom at the moment, but i would like to do as much as i can myself, so I want to process the negatives and then give them to a friend to develop in his darkroom.

    Any info ?

  2. RAP

    RAP Member

    Nov 28, 2002
    4x5 Format

    What format are you working with? I will assume it is 35mm since you sound very new to Fine Art Photography. Processing film is just like following a recipe, easier then baking a cake. If you can do that, you will be a wiz at it.

    You will need a tank, some reels, two plastic containers, one for your developer, the other for you fixer, thermometer, a light tight room, or a changing bag, bottle opener. Most of this can be purchased from a local photography store, or go to and search there. I recommend you buy all equipment new. Used reels and tanks may have been dropped and will bend or warp, making them useless. A Kodak glass thermometer is a good one to start with. Get a 2 reel 35mm tank and 2 reels to start with.

    A changing bag is essentail if you do not have a darkroom since it will allow you to load the reels in total darkness. The smallest size will be fine for your needs.

    I personally use stainless steel tanks and reels. I recommend you practice first with a dummy roll of film you don't care about, loading the reels first in daylight then in the changing bag. Practice until you know by feel, without looking, that the film is loaded properly. It is a little difficult at first, but once you master stainless steel tanks and reels. it's like riding a 2 wheel bike.

    Chemestry I recommend to start with is Kodak D76 for developer, and Kodak Fixer (the powder form), and Photo-Flo which is a wetting agent so your negatives dry smooth and clean. They are easy to mix and give good results and can be bought in half gallon sizes.

    You can also take a photo course at your local community college, or find someone teaching with a beginners workshop or adult ed. There are plenty of beginners books out there, The Zone VI Workshop, by Fred Picker is very helpful. Start at your local library and pick up a few beginners books.

    Welcome to B&W photography, it is an addiction that will improve your health.
  3. ann

    ann Subscriber

    Sep 10, 2002
    To avoid taking up a lot of space here, check Kodak's web site, or Agfa's. THey have directions as well as THe New York school of photography has some very specific infomation about how to develop negatives.
  4. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

    Dec 28, 2002
    Rotterdam, T
    Multi Format
    I'd advise to practice a bit with an old strip of film. Putting them into the reel I mean.

    For any film/developer combination: (Massive Development Chart)