10 steps for processing film

Be­gin­ners’ guide for processing black and white film at home

Amateur Photographer - - Technique | Home Processing -

1 Be­fore you start (in light)

Un­til the film is de­vel­oped it can­not be ex­posed to light. Make your workspace light tight or use a chang­ing bag (be­gin­ners may find th­ese slightly awk­ward to use at first).

2 Prepa­ra­tion (in light)

Processing a film re­quires sev­eral steps, so get your equip­ment and work space pre­pared and or­gan­ised – es­pe­cially for the parts that take place in dark­ness.

3 Mix­ing your chem­i­cals (in light)

Find the re­quired vol­umes and tem­per­a­ture (nor­mally 20°C), and then mix your devel­oper, stop bath and fixer so­lu­tions into la­belled con­tain­ers.

4 Open­ing the cas­sette (in dark­ness)

In a light-sealed room (or in a chang­ing bag) open the film cas­sette with your end cap re­mover (or film re­triever) and find and cut the film’s leader.

5 Load­ing the spi­ral (in dark­ness)

Lo­cate the lugs on the spi­ral and hold­ing the end of the film, pull it onto the spi­ral be­tween the lugs. Hold one side of the spi­ral while ro­tat­ing the other back and forth un­til the film is loaded.

6 Load the de­vel­op­ment tank (in dark­ness)

Cut the film from the spool and give the spi­ral a cou­ple more twists to en­sure it is fully loaded. Place the spi­ral into the devel­oper tank and screw on the top.

7 De­vel­op­ment (in light)

Pour your pre­pared devel­oper so­lu­tion into the tank and in­vert/ag­i­tate fol­low­ing the rec­om­mended times and guide­lines pro­vided by the film man­u­fac­turer.

8 Stop bath and fixer (in light)

Empty the devel­oper so­lu­tion and re­peat the process with the pre­pared stop bath and, fi­nally, with the fixer. You now need to wash and re­move the resid­ual chem­i­cals.

9 Wash (in light)

For an eco­nom­i­cal wash fill the tank with clean water (at 20°C) and do five in­ver­sions. Re­peat x10 in­ver­sions, re­peat x20, and fi­nally x5 (adding a drop of wet­ting agent for the fi­nal set).

10 Rinse and pre­pare for dry­ing (in light)

Open the tank and re­move the film from the spi­ral. Hang with your pegs at ei­ther end and re­move ex­cess water with a squeegee. Leave it to dry some­where clean and dust-free.

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