Taking first steps in developing the film

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M-88

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Good day

Looks like it is time for me to get my hands dirty. I have a proper ID-11 developer, but stop bath consists of white vinegar solution and fixer is also homemade with Theo Sulphate or Thiosulfate of Sodium. Before I start, I have some questions to minimize catastrophic failure:

1. Pre-soaking. What does this step involve? I just pour plain water into tank with film and agitate it? Or is there some magic ritual involved? And why do I even do that?

2. Stop bath. Do I need to agitate while doing this, or I just pour in, wait some time and pour out?

3.1. Fixer. Do I need to agitate it and if yes, then with what frequency?
3.2. Fixer. Is there some set time for fixing, or I just need to take the film out and see if the base is clear already?
3.3. Fixer. Does film speed have anything to do with fixing time, or it will be same for, let's say, ISO 100 and ISO 400 films?
3.4. Fixer. Do I filter the fixer solution for storage/re-use, or do I just pour it down the drain and use a new batch for every roll?

4. Rinsing. Do I rinse after each step (dev, stop, fix) ?

These are all very basic questions but answers vary from thread to threat, from article to article.
 

mpirie

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1. Pre-soak is clean water at the correct processing temperature, normally used to remove anti-halation coating from the film and should be agitated. How much and how often is up to you.
2. Yes, agitate smoothly and constantly during the minute or so. This is used to stop the development action and protect the fixer.
3.1 Yes, decide on your own agitation scheme.
3.2 Fix for twice the clearing time. So start off with 5 minutes in the correct dilution of fixer, then open the tank. If the film's still milky, then continue with fixing.
3.3 No. Fixing is purely the removal of undeveloped silver. So film speed is not normally a major factor in fixing time.
3.4 You can, but if it gets to the point where it needs filtered, then best replace it. Fixer can be used over and over again......so keep an eye on the clearing times.....they will tell you when the fixer is exhausting.
4. No. If you're using a stop bath then the only rinsing you need to do is after fixing. Start with 10 minutes of rinsing or look up the Ilford method of filling the tank, agitating then replacing it several times.

Best bit of advice though, is work out how you want to approach agitation/times/dilutions/temperatures etc and stick to it........be consistent.

Mike
 

Huub

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1. Pre-soaking. What does this step involve? I just pour plain water into tank with film and agitate it? Or is there some magic ritual involved? And why do I even do that?
Skip this step. It is not recommended by most film makers, unles you are planning on tray developing with sheet film. In that case it prevents sheets from sticking to each other.

2. Stop bath. Do I need to agitate while doing this, or I just pour in, wait some time and pour out?
You do need to agitate a few times, say every 15 sec. You should delute the household vinager 1+4, but you could use a plain water bath as well.

3.1. Fixer. Do I need to agitate it and if yes, then with what frequency?
Yes, you need to agitate, more or less in the same way as when developing.

3.2. Fixer. Is there some set time for fixing, or I just need to take the film out and see if the base is clear already?
When using 35mm film: take a few cm of the leader and drop that in the fix. Measure the time it takes to clear. Double this time when fixing your film.

3.3. Fixer. Does film speed have anything to do with fixing time, or it will be same for, let's say, ISO 100 and ISO 400 films?
No, it is not related to film speed, but T-grain films like the kodak Tmax films and the Ilford delta films take a longer fixing time. Doubling the clearing time of the filmleader is a good way to measure fixing time and will take account of this.

3.4. Fixer. Do I filter the fixer solution for storage/re-use, or do I just pour it down the drain and use a new batch for every roll?
You can store and reuse fixer without filtering, but fixer has limited capacity. There are testing solutions available to check for this. An other way to check is measuring the clearing time again and when it is about double of the original time, you should replace it. Spend fixer contains silver and should be disposed off in a different way then pooring it down the drain.

4. Rinsing. Do I rinse after each step (dev, stop, fix) ?
No, only after fixing. The Ilford site has a good manual how to rinse a film properly without using too much water.

A last step should be a bath with some photoflo or similar product, so the films dries evenly. Depending on the quality of your tap water it should be deluted by deminaralized water to avoid drying marks on the film.
 
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M-88

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Thanks a lot for comprehensive responses. I'll come back if I have more questions.
 

rpavich

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Thanks a lot for comprehensive responses. I'll come back if I have more questions.
I use this method of rinsing (I think it's the Ilford way mentioned above)

Fill tank and agitate 10 times
Dump.
Fill tank and agitate 20 times
Dump.
Fill tank and agitate 30 times
Dump.
Fill tank and agitate 40 times.
Dump.

You can find a lot of videos on youtube that show you how to develop B&W film.

My only other tip is to check the manufacturer's spec sheet for development times. Getting them from others or off of the Web or some other place sometimes isn't accurate and you will have a poorly developed roll on your hands.
 
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M-88

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I use this method of rinsing (I think it's the Ilford way mentioned above)

Fill tank and agitate 10 times
Dump.
Fill tank and agitate 20 times
Dump.
Fill tank and agitate 30 times
Dump.
Fill tank and agitate 40 times.
Dump.
That's a lot. Keeping the water heated within 5 degrees of developing temperature must be fun.

My only other tip is to check the manufacturer's spec sheet for development times. Getting them from others or off of the Web or some other place sometimes isn't accurate and you will have a poorly developed roll on your hands.
I figured that much when I was trying to determine which dilution to use. Thankfully my sacrifice rolls are Kentmere 100 and its sheet was kind enough to include not only several developers from Ilford, but also D76 labeled as "non-ilford developer". Keeping 20 degrees Celsius for 11.5 minutes must also be fun.
 

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Pre-soak is an american concept. Not known over here.
 

AgX

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I processed my first film after once being shown by a friend in his bathroom.
I also started bulk-loading without any information at all from my 4th film onwards, without any darkroom.

Things are much less complicated than often reported.
 

rpavich

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That's a lot. Keeping the water heated within 5 degrees of developing temperature must be fun.

I don't heat or try to adjust the water temp.
I just develop at room temp so that the temp is always correct and won't fluctuate. Go buy a couple of gallons of cheap water and store them and use them at room temperature. You'll never have to worry about heating or cooling, just refill the jugs with tap water when they are empty...always room temp.

Each film manufacturer has tables that show how much more or less time you develop based on the temp or your water and chemicals.
 
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M-88

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I processed my first film after once being shown by a friend in his bathroom.
I also started bulk-loading without any information at all from my 4th film onwards, without any darkroom.

Things are much less complicated than often reported.
I suppose I could ask my father to help me, but things were different in USSR, I think some things changed and some advanced a little.

I don't heat or try to adjust the water temp.
I just develop at room temp so that the temp is always correct and won't fluctuate. Go buy a couple of gallons of cheap water and store them and use them at room temperature. You'll never have to worry about heating or cooling, just refill the jugs with tap water when they are empty...always room temp.

Each film manufacturer has tables that show how much more or less time you develop based on the temp or your water and chemicals.

So this one here actually works and I can go as low as 16 degrees (average temp of my stored water)?

lbZInLc.jpg
 

AgX

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Try to get an old textbook. Also manufacturers as Ilford and Kodak have/had basic information available.

Agitation with an inverting tank would be swinging the tank in an underarm movement upside-down and back again.Just that, in defined rhythm. No shaking!
Agitation at developer is more critical than with other baths.
 
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M-88

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Try to get an old textbook. Also manufacturers as Ilford and Kodak have/had basic information available.

Agitation with an inverting tank would be swinging the tank in an underarm movement upside-down and back again.Just that, in defined rhythm. No shaking!
Agitation at developer is more critical than with other baths.

I have something like this, it has a hole on top so no inversion, there's a handle which I need to stick in the middle and rotate it in order to agitate:

Z9L7BfV.jpg
 

AgX

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I suppose I could ask my father to help me, but things were different in USSR, I think some things changed and some advanced a little.

Nothing changed. Except maybe your father had a tank were agitation was applied not by inverting, but twisting the reel with the tank in upright position.
 
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hi m-88
make sure when you pre soak your film you tap the container to dis-lodge airbubbles that might be on your film.
do this same tap the film/wack the tank on the sink after you agitate your film in the developer too ( lazy 8's )...
regarding fix agitation -- do it 1 full minute and 10 seconds every minute after that ( just like how you agitate your developer )

old school hypo you are using takes longer to fix than speed fixer
so keep that in mind .. there might be a table somewhere that suggests starting times
but you can figure it out easily by taking the film leader you clipped off before you
spooled your film ... and with the lights on time how long it takes to "clear to film base" your total fix time will be 2x that time ....

john

ps. you don't even need stop bath, but can do a few water rinses between dev+fix if you want, i haven't used stop bath since the 1980s..
pps. you might look into getting henry horenstein's book its found cheap on amazon and worth every penny.
 

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The Ilford instructions you show and the Ilford site has good information about processing film.

pentaxuser
 
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M-88

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hi m-88
make sure when you pre soak your film you tap the container to dis-lodge airbubbles that might be on your film.
do this same tap the film/wack the tank on the sink after you agitate your film in the developer too ( lazy 8's )...
regarding fix agitation -- do it 1 full minute and 10 seconds every minute after that ( just like how you agitate your developer )

old school hypo you are using takes longer to fix than speed fixer
so keep that in mind .. there might be a table somewhere that suggests starting times
but you can figure it out easily by taking the film leader you clipped off before you
spooled your film ... and with the lights on time how long it takes to "clear to film base" your total fix time will be 2x that time ....

john

ps. you don't even need stop bath, but can do a few water rinses between dev+fix if you want, i haven't used stop bath since the 1980s..
pps. you might look into getting henry horenstein's book its found cheap on amazon and worth every penny.

Hello! I indeed must keep in mind that tapping thing. I don't want any bubbles, I've read enough posts about artifacts on developed film. It's alright if thiosulfate takes longer than rapid fixer, I have nowhere to hurry, can develop in the evening, after work and leave it for the night to dry. I bought 1 kilo of that powder with difficult name for around 2.5$ here, it'll make enough fixer to last for whole year, in several batches. Much more than I need since I shoot monochrome mostly in winter.



The Ilford instructions you show and the Ilford site has good information about processing film.

pentaxuser
I agree. But I'm still more of a Kodak guy to be honest.

(digital)pentaxuser and Olympususer.
 

MattKing

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I have something like this, it has a hole on top so no inversion, there's a handle which I need to stick in the middle and rotate it in order to agitate:

Z9L7BfV.jpg
With these sorts of tanks it is a good idea to add some "figure 8" agitation. By this I mean sliding the tank around on the surface it is resting on in a "figure 8" motion.
If you use this type of agitation in place of or alternating with the twisting development, it will increase the randomness of the agitation, which is the goal.
In a perfect world, the chemicals tumble randomly around the film or the film tumbles through the chemicals randomly.
There is a satisfying "gurgling" sound when you agitate well.
 

AgX

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The Ilford instructions you show and the Ilford site has good information about processing film.
I checked today and could not find again those basic informations. As with other issues I consider their new site a mess.
 
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M-88

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With these sorts of tanks it is a good idea to add some "figure 8" agitation. By this I mean sliding the tank around on the surface it is resting on in a "figure 8" motion.
If you use this type of agitation in place of or alternating with the twisting development, it will increase the randomness of the agitation, which is the goal.
In a perfect world, the chemicals tumble randomly around the film or the film tumbles through the chemicals randomly.
There is a satisfying "gurgling" sound when you agitate well.
That is an interesting technique. But how do I control amount of agitation? I mean, too much agitation can wash the whole film, right?
 

Anon Ymous

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... It's alright if thiosulfate takes longer than rapid fixer, I have nowhere to hurry, can develop in the evening, after work and leave it for the night to dry. I bought 1 kilo of that powder with difficult name for around 2.5$ here, it'll make enough fixer to last for whole year, in several batches...
It will work alright, but sodium thiosulfate alone in solution will not keep well. It keeps about a day or so if I recall correctly. In order to prolong it's life, you need to add some sodium metabisulfite.
 
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M-88

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It will work alright, but sodium thiosulfate alone in solution will not keep well. It keeps about a day or so if I recall correctly. In order to prolong it's life, you need to add some sodium metabisulfite.
I didn't know that! Thanks for the heads up
 

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That is an interesting technique. But how do I control amount of agitation? I mean, too much agitation can wash the whole film, right?
Too much agitation can increase contrast and have other undesired effects on the film. Same for too little agitation.

I usually follow the manufacturer's recommended agitation times and frequency, but here's a good video that shows the technique, and might answer some questions for you: http://crawfordphotoschool.com/film/index.php
Chris has a lot of good information on his site.
 

AgX

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That is an interesting technique. But how do I control amount of agitation? I mean, too much agitation can wash the whole film, right?

With an inverting agitation you just would repeat the twisting every 5 seconds. Too strong agitation as in shaking like a bar mixer would likely produce foam which if too much of it would be produced will hamper even development.

The degree of agitation has some effect of the development, but actually agitating is just to ensure all the stuff at the film suface is constantly exchanged by fresh solution. In this context one always should apply the same agitationis to. Too much agitation will not harm the film itself.
 
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