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Chemicals needed

Katie Barnes , Oct 15, 2007; 06:18 a.m.


I have searched the forums and I'm still confused - sorry!

I was a photography student and I am just about to set up my own darkroom and am getting confused about the chemicals and was hoping you could help me if you don't mind..?

I just want a basic (easy to understand) knowledge of exactly what the chemicals are called for developing the film in the tank, and the ones used in the 3 trays in the darkroom, and how to set them all up.

It's something I never really took note of and kind of took for granted it was all there waiting on me!

Sorry and Thanks for any help you can give me.

Kind Regards



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Sean Depuydt , Oct 15, 2007; 06:37 a.m.

Katie, I can help you with the film developing. You need Developer, Stop Bath, Fixer, Hypo Wash and finally wetting agent. If you are starting out, I would stick with a general developer from Kodak, or Ilford, which is what I use (Id-11), get a rapid fixer from Kodak of Ilford, but there are many different types.

Louie Powell , Oct 15, 2007; 07:19 a.m.

Katie -

Sean has covered the film developing side. For print developing you need - developer (Ilford multigrade, Dektol, etc) - stop (Indicator stop from Kodak, Ilford or Sprint, etc) - fix (I suggest Ilford or Sprint rapid fix, etc) - rinse - hypo clear - (Kodak or Sprint HCA, PermaWash, etc)

You need four trays - one each for developer, stop, fix and rinse. Let the prints accumulate in the rinse tray until the printing session is over, dump the developer, stop and fix, and then rinse out one of those trays for the hypoclear. Actually you only need hypoclear if you are printing on fiber base paper; it can be skipped if you are using RC paper.

Stefan T. , Oct 15, 2007; 07:24 a.m.

Hello Katie, here's what you need for a starting point http://www.ilfordphoto.com/applications/page.asp?n=16 Good luck, Stefan

Nuno Campos , Oct 15, 2007; 07:48 a.m.


With non-hardening fixers (like Ilford Rapid Fixer) you will have no need of hypo clearing agents.

I am just beginning also and I use the following chemicals:

For film: Developer= Kodak Xtol; Stop Bath= Fomacitro; Fixer= Ilford Rapid Fixer; Wetting agent= Tetenal Mirasol.

For prints: developer= Ilford Universal; Stop Bath= Fomacitro; Fixer= Ilford Rapid Fixer.

Some people use water as a stop bath, but I think it is better to use it, because you can have a better control of the end of developing time. You can use Ilford Universal developer too develop films and paper but that is a compromise option. Your best option is to use a film developer.

Good luck and best regards.

Uncle Goose , Oct 15, 2007; 08:15 a.m.

I read here that many advise a powder based filmdeveloper, I would not do this, I rather advice a Liquid based filmdeveloper. I find powder too much of a hassle to begin with, I started with ID11 from Ilford and it made me almost quit developing myself untill I found out there are liquids too. Especially when a newbie starts developing powder gives too much things to worry about while liquids are simply get your water on the right temperature, mix it with the liquid in the right quantity and go while powders often work with things like stockdilution and so on.

Try something like T-max developer or Ilfosol S for filmdeveloper instead of ID11 or Xtol.

Keith Tapscott , Oct 15, 2007; 10:14 a.m.

T-Max or DD-X would be OK for a liquid, as they have good keeping properties, but keep well away from Ilfosol-S. The latter has a notorious reputation for losing activity soon after opening the container. It is due to be replaced sometime next year with Ilfosol-3.

Michael Blum , Oct 15, 2007; 01:29 p.m.

A recommended wetting agent is to use about 8 drops of dish detergent in about 8 oz of water. It does the job as well as any purchased wetting agent and is much less expensive. Just use it the way you use any other wetting agent.

I prefer powdered chemicals as they are very easy to store and mix. When I started there were no liquid chemicals. If you follow the directions mixing them is very easy but you have to RTFI. Michael

Robert Lee , Oct 15, 2007; 01:35 p.m.

For getting started with film development, take a look here: http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/200629163442455.pdf

Megan Martin , Oct 15, 2007; 11:30 p.m.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe another important thing to make note of as a beginner is that the chemicals used to develop film and those used to develop paper are both the same nominally; but when they are mixed, those for film and those for paper will have different chemical-to-water ratios. I believe the ratio will also depend upon the brand you are using. So, developer for film will be more/less diluted than developer for paper, etc.

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