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Developing Film

Posted 2009.09.06 11.11 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

It’s not as hard as you think!

Tri-X 400 black and white filmYesterday, I wrote that I had processed my first roll of film in over a decade. In fact, with hardly any time I was able to refresh my memory on what needed doing. It’s realy quite simple – there’s three main steps. Develop, Fix, and Rinse.

In terms of equipment, really the only thing you need to invest in is a developing tank. I have a plastic Patterson Super System 4 tank which can hold two 35mm reels. The key to the developing tanks is that once the film is properly loaded and the tank is closed, you can then pour liquids in and out, without any light reaching the film inside. There are a number of different tanks available, I like the Patterson system because it’s pretty easy to use, and the reels are more or less easy to load.

Along with the tank, you also need a light-proof place where you can get the film out of the little metal cannister and into the tank. Red light isn’t safe – it has to be completely and totally light-proof dark. A windowless room would be good, or a closet, or something like that. If light gets through around the door, you need to fix that. Lock yourself in for 5 or 10 minutes so your eyes adjust, then look for any light.

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