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Developing B&W Film

Andrew MILLER , Jun 29, 2009; 05:00 p.m.

Okie so iim gonna try developing my firts roll of film:

ILFORD HP5 PLUS 125 & 400 iso film
I am going to use the 125 first,

I am so confused on where to begin, i went out and bought myself a:
ILFOSOL 3 Film Developer
Rapid Fixer
Measuring Cup
Can Opener

So I know how to take out the film, one question though, can safelight be used while doing this?

Im stop on the developing part.
I diluted my chemicals I sure hope I did it right, i put 900ml of water and 100ml of devlop. to make a 1l jug
i made a .7l jug of fixer with 560ml water and 140ml f
i made a 3L Stop bath with 2l of of water and 300ml of SB

I can do it in light right? I read the back of my development sticker and it says a certain time, then my box fo my film says another.
Im going to stick with using this type of film so can somebody just please tell me how long do I develop for? how long do i put stop it? and how long do i put the fixer in after for this certain film.
after i put these three stages in, and rinse with water and hang up to dry.

Also last question, what temp should i keep everything at? I see it the tiem of develop matters on this, any ti[ps on hwo to keep the temp of the water n chemicals at 20 or 24, or what ever you recommend.


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Alan Marcus , Jun 29, 2009; 05:43 p.m.

These films are panchromatic meaning sensitive to all colors therefore best not to use a safelight. A dim green safelight is available but it is so feeble that mainly it might keep you from tripping over something. Practice removing the film from the cassette and loading it onto the reel with the lights on. Do this again and again until you are sure you can do this. It might require that you sacrifice several rolls this is true because after several practice runs the film will likely become deformed and impossible to load. Remove the film from the cassette and load it onto the reel in total darkness. Test the integrity of the total darkness by practicing with the lights out. To complete the process go through all the steps substituting water for the chemicals. You need to figure out how much fluid you will need to cover the film. The fluid lever must exceed the reel height. Fill the tank with water in the light to make this determination then measure the volume required. As to temperature, it is my advice to work at the temperature of the running water. Likely this will be above 20° C in the summer time. If the water coming out is say 26º C then go ahead and adjust your chemical to this temp. It is better if all chemicals and the wash water are nearly the same. The instruction sheet for the developer will have a time/temp chart. The chart will give the time based on temperature. Once the film is in the tank, turn on the lights. Pour in the pre-measured developer. Agitate continuously for 30 seconds. Set down the tank. Now agitate for 5 seconds every 30 seconds. At the end of the period pour out the chemicals into a bottle using a funnel. You can use running water as the stop. You can use a purchased stop bath. You can use water with an added teaspoon of vinegar per liter. It makes no difference. Time in the stop is not critical. As soon as the fluid has covered the film, agitate and discard. Now pour in the fixer. Agitate continually for one minute. Remove the tanks top and lift out the reel. Observe the film. Is it opaque or transparent? The film will soon turn transparent between frame and on the edges. Fix time is twice the time it takes to go from opaque to clear. Likely 5 minutes will be more than adequate. Wash 30 minutes in running water. If water availability is a problem shorten the wash time using a hypo clear solution. Add a drop of wetting agent like PhotoFlow or liquid detergent to the tanks allow to soak 30 seconds. Carefully remove film from reel and suspend with clip at both ends. Allow to air dry. Best of luck!

Stephen Lewis , Jun 29, 2009; 05:55 p.m.

NO you cannot use a safelight until the film is developed* (with certain tanks everything can be done in open daylight, including loading them...probably not yours however). The safelight is really for printing more than film developing. Once the film is in the tank, you can generally turn on your normal room lights if it is a daylight (lightproof) tank. I'm not sure what dilutions your chemicals call for, but your numbers add up for the developer and fixer...but not the stop bath (2L + 300ml do not equal 3 L).
If your film or developer has specific instructions...a good starting point is to follow them exactly, including the temperature and agitation schedule. Development times generally decrease dramatically with increases from the recommended temperature and vice versa. Try to nail the temperature for best results in terms of density, contrast and grain.
Typically, the stop bath is around 30 seconds. The timing for the fixer and subsequent rinsing should be shown on the package...it varies among manufacturers typically between 4-10 minutes fixing, and 10-30 minutes rinsing. If you use Photo-flo to reduce treaking while dryingh your film...the immersion time is about 30 sec. Drying time should be hanging with slight weight on the bottom for at least an hour for the emulsion to harden. DON'T touch it afterwards...handle the negatives only by the edges with clean hands or dust free cotton gloves.
Good luck and enjoy the results.

Robert Budding , Jun 29, 2009; 06:04 p.m.

Where are you located? If possible, it's best to have someone who's experienced watch you the first few times. They'll keep you on the right track and you'll gain experience and confidence. If that's not possible, these may help (note that you *must* spool your film in complete darkness even though it's done in daylight in the video):



Andy L , Jun 29, 2009; 06:21 p.m.

There's some useful basic info here:


Also, I'd advise you that the level of darkness required for moving film to spool is very difficult to achieve at home - you really need to seal the crap out of a room, not just turn the lights off - so if you're not very confident in your darkroom just get a changing bag from freestylephoto.biz. You load the film, spool, scissors, churchkey (if you have to pop the cartridge because you don't have the end of the leader to pull on), tank and tank lid into the bag, close both zippers, put your arms in the armholes, transfer the film to the spool and get it in the tank and close it, then you can open the bag and you're good to go. Because the tank is light tight you don't need to work in the dark after the tank is closed.

Walter Degroot , Jun 29, 2009; 07:34 p.m.

all good advice.a couple of things though
1)loading the film: a real darkroom is good but a closet can be used. just be sure they KNOW you are loading film and any light would cause a disaster.
you can in a very dim at night, use a large coat reversed un a table and the collar turned in.
it will make a "sort of" changing bag. Developer: often mizing developer as a " one shot" More dilute and then used once and poured down the drain.
this leads to more consitent results. You have to use enough " developer chemical" to provide enough strength to develop the film.
the manual will tell you.
a bit of whitre vinegar can be substituted for the stop bath.
I strongly suggest some kind of " hypo clearing" solutio to remove the last traces of fixrt yjsy will eventually cause your negatives to become stained.

temperture: important for more thann one reason
time tem determined proper and consitent development.
temperures below 65 degrees ( don't work well) or over 80 degrees ( can doften the emulsion.
a varying temperture, say 70 deg development followed by a 50 frgtrr wash can cause " reticulation" or wrinkling of the emulsion
but Ilford films are modern and tend to be resitant to this effect.
adjusting to a certain temerture can be vexing. better to use a time/temp chart and adjust the time.
keep a notebook.Loading 120 roll film is a pain 35mm is much easier. kinking the film while loading can cause small cresent marks on the film.
don't let this scare you it is not that hard, I started in 1947. I was 12 years old.

James Dainis , Jun 29, 2009; 10:40 p.m.

You have to load the film into the tank in complete darkness. After that you can turn the lights on and do the rest in daylight, if you have a light tight developing tank such as made by Paterson.

My references show the development time to be 5 minutes with 1:9 ILFOSOL 3 film developer at 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees fahrenheit).

Mix one part developer with nine parts water at 20 C (or 68 F)

Dump the developer in the tank and tap the tank sharply to remove any air bubbles and agitate for 1/2 minute. Give about a 5 second agitation every 30 seconds thereafter.

After five minutes, dump out the developer and add the stop bath. Agitate continuously for 1/2 minute then pour the stop bath back into the bottle (it can be reused).

Dump in the fixer and do the same agitation procedure as the developer. Pour the fixer back in the bottle; it can be re-used.

The fixer time should be indicated on the fixer. 5 minutes should be enough. You can open the tank and look at the film now. If you look at the film and it looks milky, fix it some more.

I would wash film by filling the tank with water and dumping it out about ten times in five minutes.

Hang the film to dry.

Andrew MILLER , Jun 30, 2009; 01:28 a.m.

awesome. Thanks a lot guys
I was confused with diluting the chemicals-i tried following the 9:1 for developer
so i ended up addinh 2700ml of eater and 300ml of developer.
stop bath at 1:19 and i ended up making 2.5l with 125ml stop and 2375ml water
and fixer at 1:4 .7ml total with 140ml Fixer and 560m water

i mixed it trying to keep the water at 20.
I dont know i thought 9:1 meant adding 900ml water and 100ml fluid
and same with 1:19 (100ml fluid 1900ml w) 4:1 for fixer same thing

but my g/f did this weird equation minusing it from what my tank holds (350ml) and all that and got this weird numbers to work with.

can somebody tell me what the dilution way is, i am just filling them into almost 3.8ml water jugs...

and if my jugs are unbalanced can i jsut re-adjust ti by adding more fluid or more water if i have too?

Andrew MILLER , Jun 30, 2009; 01:43 a.m.

reading the inside of the film box i dont know which is the developer... ILFOSOL S..... at 20? it says go 7minutes on El 400/27, which my guess is 400iso 27exposure? but my film is 24 exp.

So if it would be 7mins of develp.
30seconds of stop
then... my filmbox says RAPID FIXER/HYMPAM at 20 is 2-5minutes. what time do you recommend?
after fixer, i use my photo flo for only 30 seconds. if ti was water onyl ti be 30mins?
then i can pull it out and squeegy and hang up to dry for how long? and hour?


if you do the precise time for the 400iso and 125iso for develop. and fixer. at 20 degrees. let me know to save me reading this confusing chart haha. is there a link for a better 1 online too?

James Dainis , Jun 30, 2009; 02:19 a.m.

EI 400/27 means 400 ISO or 27 DIN. DIN is another measurement of film speed. Most people use ISO. It doesn't matter whether your film is 24 exposure or 36 exposure. You just need to put enough developer in the tank to cover the film on the reel. What make tank do you have? If it is a Paterson film developing tank it will have on the bottom how much to use to cover the film. "Each film uses xxx ml"

The 400 ISO film will take 7 minutes.

30 seconds of stop bath

Then 2-5 minutes of fixer. I would go the whole 5 minutes. After two or three minutes you can open the tank to see if the film cleared. If it hasn't, it will have a milky appearance. The general rule is, the fixer should be used for twice as long as it takes the film to clear, lose the milky appearance.

You should wash the film for 30 minutes. Washing is not really the right word. You are actually soaking the film to get residual chemicals out. You don't need that many complete changes of water. The method I use to wash, as I explained above, works well, I have used it for thirty years and my old films have no trace of left over fixer stain.

After washing, then you use the Photo-flo. Just dip the film through. It provides a sheeting action that floats the water off without leaving water drops on the film that will spot as they dry.

The film should dry after an hour or so.

You should just mix the fixer up all at once according to the instructions. You pour enough fixer in to cover the film and then after five minutes you just pour what is in the developing tank back into the bottle. It is re-useable. Same for the stop bath. The developer used has to be discarded.

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