How to Develop Black and White Film.

1 – Dilute the chemicals. Most photographic chemicals come in concentrate form, which needs to be mixed with water. You are going to use the graduated cylinder to measure the chemicals and water, and the gallon jugs to store them.
2 – The Developer – 1:3 Chemical to water mix. That is, 1 part developer to 3 parts water. This gives you a “stock” solution. Fill one gallon jug with this stock solution. The stock solution will be diluted more before using it on the film. When you dilute the stock solution, you will have a “working” solution.
3 – The Stop Bath – 1:63 Chemical to water mix. Mix the stop bath and water together and store in a gallon jug. This is a working solution.
4 – The Fixer – 1:4 Chemical to water mix. Mix the fixer and water together and store in a gallon jug. This is also a working solution.

5 – Hypo-Clearing Agent – Mix the full packet (4.4oz) with 1.25 gallons of water. This chemical comes as a powder, and you need to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed. Store in a gallon jug.

6 – Once the chemicals have been mixed and stored in the gallon jugs, you need to bring them to the correct temperature. Fill a large sink (like your kitchen sink) with water that is 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). Use the thermometer to get the correct temperature. This is very important. Now put your gallon jugs of chemicals in the sink, floating in the water. These chemicals must be 20 degrees Celsius when you use them. You are going to put them in 68 degree water because the temperature of the water is going to drop a bit while bringing the chemicals to the correct temperature. You really must be very accurate when it comes to the chemical temperatures. More than 1 degree above or 1 degree below 20 degrees can have a big effect on the film. Remember, the final chemical temperature you want is 20 degrees, and you are soaking the chemicals in 68 degree water because the gallon jugs will sit in the water for at least 30 minutes, and the water temperature will drop a couple degrees during that time.
7 – Pop open the film canister, remove the film, load the film onto the film reel, and place the reel inside the developing tank. This must be in complete darkness. No light whatsoever. No red safety lights either. Take the scissors, bottle opener, film canister, film reel, and developing tank into a dust free room that you can make light-tight. For the moment, you can have the room lights turned on.
8 – Place the tools out in front of you, possibly on a desk. You’re going to be loading the film onto the reel in complete darkness, so make sure you lay the tools out in a way that you can find them in the dark.
9 – Turn off the lights. Use the bottle opener to pop the bottom off the film canister, which should be very easy. While only touching the film negative from the edges, pull the film out of the canister. The film will be taped to the center film spool. Make sure you cut it off right at the base of the spool or you’ll be cutting through your pictures. Also cut the tip off the film (the odd shaped piece that sticks out of the canister when you first buy the film) so that it’s flat. You only need to cut about 1 inch off the tip
10 – Spool the film onto the film reel. While not touching the surface of the negative, slide the negative into the opening of the reel. Slide about 4 inches of film into the reel. Start walking the film onto the reel by twisting one side of the reel back and forth. To be clear on this, keep your left hand steady, and with your right hand twist the right side of the reel forward, then bring it back. Continue doing this until all the film is loaded onto the reel
11 – Place the reel inside the developing tank, and screw the lid onto the tank. The tank is now light-tight, and you can turn on the lights. Even though the developing tank has a hole in the top for pouring in the chemicals, it is in fact light-tight. Pour water into the tank, let stand for 1 minute, this is called pre-wetting and will make the film swell up and accept the developer solution. pour out the water
12 – Bring the developing tank to the sink where you have the chemical jugs floating in water. Check the developer chemical with the thermometer. If it’s at 20 degrees Celsius, then you are ready to go. If it is higher than 20 degrees, then keep checking every 10 minutes until it’s ready. If it is below 20 degrees, add some hot water to the sink the gallon jugs are floating in. Pour 1 ounce of the stock developing solution into the graduated cylinder and then add 7 ounces of 20 degrees Celsius water to that. You are making a “working” solution by using a 1:7 chemical to water ratio. To recap, you made a stock solution of the developing chemical by using a 1:3 chemical concentrate to water ratio, and then mixed that stock solution with a 1:7 working chemical to water ratio.
13 – With stopwatch in hand, pour the working developer into the hole in the top of the developing tank. Do this very quickly and start the stopwatch as soon as you’ve poured all the developer into the tank. Smack the developing tank on a counter a few times to dislodge any bubbles that might be clinging on to the film. Agitate the tank for 30 seconds. Do this by swirling the tank around. You are going to leave the film in the developer for as many minutes is appropriate for your film type ( check the mas dev chart). Agitate the film for 5 seconds every 30 seconds. Agitation is very important. Do not neglect to agitate the developing tank. The developing chemicals become exhausted very shortly after coming in contact with the film. The agitation ensures that fresh chemicals are touching the film. However, this exhaustion of the chemicals is an important part of the process. Over-agitating can give negative results or positive results. It depends on the “look” you are going for. Too much agitation increases the contrast in the image but often you will damage the film and see sprocket marks if you have over agitated. If you want more contrast consider push processing.
14 – When the stopwatch has reached 10 seconds from the end of your time, start pouring the developer out of the top of the tank and into the sink drain. Do not take the lid off the developing tank.
15 – For the stop bath you can use water at 20 degrees Celsius. Pour the water in the canister agitate for a couple seconds and pour out, repeat 4 times. Or, alternatively you can use the stop bath chemical. With stopwatch in hand, quickly pour the stop bath into the top of the developing tank until the tank is full. There is no need to dilute the stop bath more, so you can pour straight from the gallon jug. Start the stopwatch when you’ve filled the tank up. Once again, smack the tank against a counter a couple times to dislodge any bubbles. You are going to leave the film in the stop bath for 1 1/2 minutes. The purpose of the stop bath is to neutralize any remaining developer left on the film, and arrest the developing process.
16 – When the stopwatch has reached 1 minute and 20 seconds, start pouring the stop bath out. Some stop bath solutions, like the Kodak Indicator Stop Bath, can be re-used. If this is the chemical you are using, then pour the stop bath back into the gallon jug for later use. The word “indicator” in Kodak Indicator Stop Bath means the chemical indicates when it is no longer any good. The chemical, when mixed with water, is yellow. As long as the stop bath remains yellow in color, it is good to use.
17 – Next, pour the fixer into tank until it is full. Assuming your fixer is prediluted, there is no need to dilute the fixer more, so you can pour straight from the gallon jug. Start the stopwatch once the tank is full. You are going to leave the film in the fixing solution for 6 minutes, as few as 4 for rapid fixer. Smack the tank against the counter to dislodge any bubbles. Agitate the film for 3 seconds every 30 seconds. Some people don’t agitate during the fixing process. It is safe to open the tank completely after 3 minutes.
18 – Once the stopwatch has reached 6 minutes, pour the fixer out of the tank. Do not re-use the fixer. You can now unscrew the top of the developing tank and expose the film negative to light. Once the film has been “fixed”, it is no longer light sensitive. The rest of the process is done with the lid of the developing tank off.
19 – Pour the hypo-clearing agent into the tank (with the lid off). There is no need to dilute the hypo-clearing agent more, so you can pour straight from the gallon jug. Smack the tank against the counter to dislodge any bubbles. You are going to leave the film in the hypo-clearing agent for 1 1/2 minutes. You can agitate the film a little bit if you like.
20 – While the film is in the hypo-clearing agent, start running some water and bring the running water to 20 degrees Celsius. After 1 1/2 minutes, dump out the hypo-clearing agent. Do not re-use this chemical. Put the developing tank under the running water. It’s time to wash all the chemicals off the film. You are going to leave the film under the running water for 10 minutes. The water should fill up the developing tank and overflow. Let it overflow. Every couple of minutes, dump out the water and let the tank fill back up with fresh running water. You want to keep fresh 20-degree water pouring into the developing tank. This final washing part of the process is very important. Ten minutes is the minimum time to wash the film, but you can do it longer. It is also important that you are washing the film with 20 degree water. Using hotter or colder water can affect the final picture.
21 – After the 10 minutes is up, lift the film reel out of the tank and lightly shake off any remaining water. Turn the reel clockwise (could be counter-clockwise, depends on how you’re holding the reel, so try them both) until the top half of the reel comes apart from the lower half of the reel. Now use one of the film clips and clip it onto the end of the film negative. Some clips have small “hooks” on them. You can run the hooks through the square holes running down the sides of the film, and thus avoid puncturing the film negative. By lifting up the clip, pull the film up out of the reel. If everything went well, you should see your pictures on the negative. Clip the other film clip onto the bottom of the negative. This will act as a weight. Hang the negative up to dry in a room temperature, dust free room. Leave the negative to dry for at least 2 hours.
22 – That’s it! You’re all done. You can now take the negatives to a store and have prints made, make your own prints, or scan the negatives and order prints online.

Similar post:  Video – How to Develop Black and White Film.

3 responses to “How to Develop Black and White Film.

  1. Pingback: Developing Black and White Film Part 1: Equipment «

  2. Did you know we don’t have a film or camera store in this Indiana that I’m aware of. They destroyed the old one hour photo kiosk on Washington Street. Do you have any 35mm triax 400 or kentmere b/w/ film. I’m looking for 24, 36, and 48 exposures.

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