How to develop your own B&W photos


waileong

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I send my B+W negs to ColourLab Photo for development. Although the exposure generally looks ok (except for when I screwed up), my 400 pix seem a little grainy when enlarged to 8x12 or 10x15-- more than I would expect, from what I read about how "fine grained" Delta 400 or Tri-X is supposed to be, and how today's 400 film is much better than the 100 films of yesteryear.

So my question is, can the grain be caused by less than optimal development of the negs, even by a pro lab?

Does anyone have any experience where slight variations in the development process (eg wrong dilution of chemicals, insufficient agitation, etc) caused more grain than usual?

And if I were to do the development myself, would it be better?


Wai Leong
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sfhuang

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developing the negs yourself (depending on your skill and experience) will certainly be better than sending them to the labs. Most labs re-use their chemicals (for economical reasons - after all they are charging you just $3-$4 per roll) and this definitely affects the final result.
 

sequitur

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i don't send b&w to labs coz of inconsistency. no point. you got to experiment the stuff yourself and then you'll find a good timing for your negs.

bad development can lead to different grains. i'm happy with my grains.. they look nearly non-existent even at ei1600.

for me now i'm constantly overdeveloping my stuff and my results are pretty acceptable so i'm okay with that.



as for pulling the film..

lol just to try !!

i don't have a roller to roll bulks..
 

kyouiku

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regarding about your problems this are the few things which you may want to know.
I process and develop my own picture and enlarge to 12 by 16 no such problem at all. By the way their ASA 400 film sulks. I would highly recommend the below film only. Their Delta ASA 100 and ASA 50 for Illford. Agfa ASA 50 solid. Kodak Tmax 100 but I still prefer Fuji Black and White. Fine Grain. Some of the shop they reuse the acid which is quite true. I have black mark them so now adays I do myself. But really have to bear with the smell. For fine grain papaer you can try the Impact RC Grade 2 paper . Not so hard. Number higher get harder picture. But certain picture need grade 4 cause it look stunning. Want to know more can email me I dun mind sharing.
 

sequitur

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hmm i'm updating a timing here.

after doing a few rolls on 1/100 EI1600 @ 24 mins, i still found the result pretty undesirable. tried 1+50 @ 13.5 mins instead and am pretty pleased with the results. this is really extreme in terms of contrast but it'll bring out the beauty of the tri-x tone. you'll lose a lot of shadow detail, so don't try this method if you're looking for shadow detail.

(1+50 @ 13.5 translates to 1+100 @ 27mins.. but i'm not sure if the effect will be the same... i'm using 1+50 coz it's faster, that's all.)
 

Bee Hedge

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Yes. I couldn't agree more. This is an excellent tip. BTW, do u guys and gals know of a good place (that you'll recommend) for B + W film development. I'm a newbie here! Sorry for hijacking this thread
 

sumball

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Hi SS or other experts here, I shall add HCA and leave it for 5mins (i know it is optional) before I wash the negative by rinsing it with water right? Is this HCA re-usable?

Thanks.
 

sequitur

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sumball said:
Hi SS or other experts here, I shall add HCA and leave it for 5mins (i know it is optional) before I wash the negative by rinsing it with water right? Is this HCA re-usable?

Thanks.

i'm no expert, but adding HCA gives cleaner negatives.. i think.

anyway yes more or less all the steps in SS's tutorial (though the method was developed by PB) is correct. the timings are up to you to experiment to obtain your desired timing.

fixer and HCA are re-usable - i think there're instructions on how long you can store and re-use them.. 3 months ? i'm not sure but i think i've kept mine for very long and re-used a lot. ;p


oh.. rinse with water and a wetting agent. anyway wetting agent is what.. $9 ? and you'll only use a few drops per roll, so no point scrimping on it.
 

sequitur

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Bee Hedge said:
Yes. I couldn't agree more. This is an excellent tip. BTW, do u guys and gals know of a good place (that you'll recommend) for B + W film development. I'm a newbie here! Sorry for hijacking this thread

bee hedge - the best place will be your home ! :)

do try it out it's really fun..
 

sumball

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sequitur said:
i'm no expert, but adding HCA gives cleaner negatives.. i think.

anyway yes more or less all the steps in SS's tutorial (though the method was developed by PB) is correct. the timings are up to you to experiment to obtain your desired timing.

fixer and HCA are re-usable - i think there're instructions on how long you can store and re-use them.. 3 months ? i'm not sure but i think i've kept mine for very long and re-used a lot. ;p


oh.. rinse with water and a wetting agent. anyway wetting agent is what.. $9 ? and you'll only use a few drops per roll, so no point scrimping on it.

Alright, thanks sequitur.... think I am almost ready to develop my very own B&W film soon...

One more questin here which is if I follow SS steps, I dun have to care abt the temp right?

Interesting.... :bsmilie: :bsmilie:
 

CaeSiuM

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sequitur said:
i'm no expert, but adding HCA gives cleaner negatives.. i think.

anyway yes more or less all the steps in SS's tutorial (though the method was developed by PB) is correct. the timings are up to you to experiment to obtain your desired timing.

fixer and HCA are re-usable - i think there're instructions on how long you can store and re-use them.. 3 months ? i'm not sure but i think i've kept mine for very long and re-used a lot. ;p


oh.. rinse with water and a wetting agent. anyway wetting agent is what.. $9 ? and you'll only use a few drops per roll, so no point scrimping on it.
The HCA is used to shorten washing time by "removing" traces of fixer on the negative so that the washing time will be cut short. It is totally optional like the stop bath.

A good alternative to using the HCA will be to use the fill-and-dump method where you open the lid of the developing tank, put it under the sink, fill it up with water, pump the reel up and down a few times, dump the water and repeat the cycle for 10 times or so. Saves water and time and also a safer method than running water through the tank under a faucet and let it overflow.

P.S. Citric acid can be used a stop bath too and doesn't give out much harmful fumes as opposed to weak acetic acid.
 

CaeSiuM

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sumball said:
Alright, thanks sequitur.... think I am almost ready to develop my very own B&W film soon...

One more questin here which is if I follow SS steps, I dun have to care abt the temp right?

Interesting.... :bsmilie: :bsmilie:
Developing time shortens when temperature increases. So the timing for 27°c, 28°c, 29°c and 30°c are all different. The tap water these days are usually around 30°c!
 

sequitur

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okay thanks caesium for the clarification on the HCA.


i know it's to remove the fixer but not exactly sure the proper end-result of that.



as for the developing time - yes 27-30 degrees is a lot of difference, but if you use the method SS described which is 1/100 dilution, chances are the results will not differ too much. i usually do my processing at night when temperatures are not that high (usually) so i've been able to get reasonable results. there is a curve somewhere out there regarding how temperature differences affect development time.. i believe near the 27-30 degrees part the curve is more gentle than steep.. but to play safe - with 1/100 dilution the differences are only slightly visible when you alter development time by at least 1 minute.. in fact in my few tests the results look quite equal when i changed the timings from 22 to 24 mins.
 

sumball

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Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

Thanks all for advises.... I think I cant use SS' method liao cos my developer is not HC-110. Mine is Ilford IlfoS with dilution of 1+9 or 1+14.

I think I have to get a themormetre to keep the temp constant at 20 deg C liao :(
 

sequitur

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yes
it's safer to use at 20deg coz the development time is much slower compared to 27deg... and there's data on timings easily available for the recommended dilutions at 20deg to 24 deg. beyond that is a lot of guesswork.



hc-110 is available at CP though if you're interested. about $10-$15 a bottle ? and using the method above you can easily get 20++ rolls done with one bottle.
 

mervlam

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StreetShooter said:
Yes, forgot to mention that 500ml is for only one roll. For two rolls, double the amount. Thanks for pointing that out. In fact, for 120 format film, you need at least 750ml (I use 1000ml).
Regarding the amount of liquid to use, usually it's marked at the bottom of the developing tank the amount to use for

1) 135 - 1 reel
2) 135 - 2 reels
3) 120 - 1 reel
 

mervlam

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sumball said:
Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

Thanks all for advises.... I think I cant use SS' method liao cos my developer is not HC-110. Mine is Ilford IlfoS with dilution of 1+9 or 1+14.

I think I have to get a themormetre to keep the temp constant at 20 deg C liao :(
Hello,

it's good to invest in a thermometer for darkroom work.

As for using different kind of developers, use follow the instructions for dilution.
 

sumball

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mervlam said:
Hello,

it's good to invest in a thermometer for darkroom work.

As for using different kind of developers, use follow the instructions for dilution.
Yes, already got my thermometer from Uncle Nelson... Wasnt able to get it else where at neighbourhood... Only those digital body thermometer that range from 32 to 42 i think... ;p
 

sumball

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mervlam said:
Regarding the amount of liquid to use, usually it's marked at the bottom of the developing tank the amount to use for

1) 135 - 1 reel
2) 135 - 2 reels
3) 120 - 1 reel
Ok, My tank capacity is 650ml. When I develop 1 roll of film, do I have to put in both reels and fill the tank with 650ml of chemical? Or can I just put in one reel with 325ml of chemical?

Thanks in advance.