Friday, 18 October 2013

Basic kit for producing Black and white negatives.

For those who are thinking of processing their own film it can be quite daunting for the first time. If you keep things basic by using popular brands like Ilford and Kodak for film and chemicals not much can go wrong. What people don't tell you is that film like FP4+ is quite forgiving and a good place to start processing for the novice, making it quite easy to get good results.

With the advent of digital the darkroom has become a lightroom with the help of a scanner and changing bag. You no longer have to look for a place in the property that is or can be made light tight.

The basic kit:

Changing Bag: looks like a tee-shirt without a hole to put your head through and is double lined to make sure it is light tight. It will take time too get used to and will require some dummy runs to get the feel of it. Developing tank: there are two types, 35mm and universal. The universal tank will allow you to process 120 format as well as 35mm; you will also need to practice loading the film onto the spiral. Oh! before I forget there are two types of spiral plastic and metal each uses a different Technic to load. I would suggest starting with the plastic type first as it easier to get the hang of. Force film washer: is a tube that fits onto the water tap and into the top of the developing tank. It is for putting water into the tank for the wash cycle. Three measuring jugs that will cope with more than 600 mls of fluid, Chemicals: Developer, Stop and Fix, all come as concentrate or powder and will require mixing with water to get the right working strengths. Spirit thermometer: for checking that the chemicals are at 20 degrees C. Storage containers: of a suitable size will be needed to keep diluted chemicals. Wetting agent: by putting a couple of drops in the developing tank after you finish washing the film and a minute before you take the film out helps to prevent drying marks on the film. Film clips times two: so you can hang the film up to dry and if you place one on the bottom it stops the film curling while drying. An alternative is to use Pegs.