BW FILM processing chemicals: advice needed

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Fabio BERETTA, Oct 27, 2003.

  1. Following all the useful indication I received on the Teperature
    Conroller I am here with another request for advice.

    I will have to buy the chemicals for my first BW film processing and I
    have absolutely not clear ideas on what to choose.

    I will begin to develop ILFORD FP4, Delta 100 and 400. I will try kodak
    later on. I will do mainly portraits and architecture photos.

    Constraints are:
    - Long shelf life
    - Low volume processing (I don't think I will process more that 4/5
    rolls per month)
    - Ease of use and shop availability

    Based on the information into the ILFORD leaflets I have tentatively

    - Developer: ILFORD ID 11
    - Stop: ILFOSTOP
    - Fix: ILFOFIX II
    - Rinse: ILFOTOL to be added to the last water rinse bath

    I wil appreciate your advice.

    Many thanks in advance.

    Fabio BERETTA
    Lecco - Italy
    Fabio BERETTA, Oct 27, 2003
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  2. Agfa Rodinal fits your constraints perfectly. You usually dilute it 1
    part Rodinal and 50 parts water. An opened bottle lasts, well, probably
    years - allthough you might need to increase development time at some
    point. So it will be cheap, yield good results with 100 speed films and
    has good shelf life.

    I have no experience with Ilford developers so I can't comment on them.
    Remember that you _don't_ have to use same manufacturer for film and

    Severi S.
    Severi Salminen, Oct 27, 2003
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  3. Fabio BERETTA

    mr. chip Guest

    ID-11 and Kodak's D76 (they are pretty much the same stuff) are the standard
    developer and will suit most films. Easy to use too. Some people say that
    buying chemicals in liquid form is easier, but really... it's not exactly
    hard to mix up the powdered stuff. Takes 10 minutes or less to do.
    In fact, I've just developed a film (Fuji Acros) with the chemicals you list
    (except I use Ilford Rapid Fixer instead of Ilfofix II) and have it hanging
    up to dry.

    mr. chip, Oct 27, 2003
  4. Fabio BERETTA

    Jorge Omar Guest

    Developers usually do not have a long shelf life, specially in partially
    filled bottles.
    I would advise you to mix 1 liter, split it in 4 250cc bottles filled to
    the brim, well closed, and use it at 1+1 (or more) dillution.
    As a bottle empties, open another one.

    Jorge Omar, Oct 27, 2003
  5. Fabio BERETTA

    mr. chip Guest

    I keep my mixed developer in clearly labelled mineral water bottles. This
    allows me to squash the air out of them as they are emptied.

    mr. chip, Oct 27, 2003
  6. Fabio BERETTA

    Andrew Price Guest

    The only thing I'd change in that list is the ID-11: I'd replace it
    with Ilfotec DD-X, as it requires no preparation (it's a liquid
    concentrate, rather than two different powders which require mixing)
    and it keeps longer in the bottle than prepared ID-11, which may be
    useful if you don't process very many films per month.
    Andrew Price, Oct 27, 2003
  7. Fabio BERETTA

    nick Guest


    I have no experience with the Ilford chemicals. I have used rodinol a
    few times but don't like the long times needed for the FP5 I used. For
    general purposes I have used HC110 Dilution B for over thirty years.
    that is 1:31 16ml of the concentrate in 500 ml of water or multiples
    of that is close enough. Dump after one use. The stock concentrate
    lasts a small forever even if opened. Once after a 5 year lapse I ran
    zone tests with the half opened bottle from earlier and a brand new
    one. Results the same. One minute prewash with a wetting agent and
    post wash with alcohol added and hang up in a dust free and humid
    environment like the bathroom or a closed cabinet. The forced air
    things I read about seem unnecessary as I never get dust on my negs
    although I live in the San Diego area 50km from where the fires are
    raging. and ash falling on the house.

    For humidifying your darkroom an inexpensive cold air one like I stole
    from my grand children works great when turned on the night before you
    plan to work. Had to buy them a new one or risk jail for child abuse!

    With careful processing they last forever. Most of a batch I did in
    1960 are excellent but as I didn't know what I was doing. a few are
    screwed up and I just posted a message for that. To day I worked on
    the pictures of the contadini parenti in Caiazzo CA, tomorrow my uncle
    and I at the Santuario di San Magno,CU where my uncle and I saw some
    nuns working in a pit trying to dig out a buried post. We got them out
    and jumped in to do the work ourselves. After that the parenti in
    Cerigola. I say this so you will preserve anything that looks good and
    have fun with it when your teeth and hair are gone!

    nick, Oct 28, 2003
  8. Once open, DD-X is good for about six months. Since you can wait to mix
    ID-11 until you need it (well, a few hours before you need it), and it's
    good for six months after mixing with proper storage, there is no advantage
    to DD-X here.

    As a sealed concentrate, DD-X will keep a couple of years and ID-11 will
    keep indefinitely.

    I agree that liquid concentrates are easier to use than powdered developers,
    but with the exceptions of PMK and Rodinal, powdered developers always have
    better overall longevity.

    Jim MacKenzie, Oct 28, 2003
  9. Based on the information into the ILFORD leaflets I have tentatively
    I use the same (well Rapid Fixer instead of ILFOFIX) and I am
    perfectly happy.


    Ondrej Pokluda, Oct 28, 2003
  10. Fabio BERETTA

    Andrew Price Guest

    On Tue, 28 Oct 2003 08:53:21 -0600, "Jim MacKenzie"

    I agree with what you say in principle, but the key-word is, as you
    say, "with proper storage". If it isn't stored properly, it will
    oxidise much quicker than neat DD-X.

    It's a lot fussier (especially for a beginner) to make sure that his
    prepared ID-11 container is stored either brim full, or if not,
    back-filled with gas like Tetenal's Protectan, or lighter gas, than it
    is simply to close the DD-X bottle.
    Andrew Price, Oct 28, 2003
  11. It's not that fussy or difficult to use small storage bottles. Also, don't
    forget that ID-11 is a lot cheaper than DD-X. One litre of DD-X costs me
    $20 Canadian. One litre of ID-11, which can be used to develop almost as
    much film if you dilute it 1:3, or 40% as much film if you dilute it 1:1,
    costs about $4.

    Jim MacKenzie, Oct 28, 2003
  12. These should work very well. Use the ID 11 diluted 1 part
    developer to 1 part water as a one-time-use developer. That
    way the results will be consistent. The shelf life of the
    developer is at least 6 months. If you mix more than a liter
    at a time split it into one liter containers. That will
    exetend the life since developer lasts longer away from air.
    Ilford ID-11 or Kodak D-76 will work with all modern
    If you wish to conserve water use Ilford wash aid, it will
    reduce film washing time from half an hour to about five
    Richard Knoppow, Oct 29, 2003
  13. Liquid cncentrate appears to me difficult to be precisely measured
    expecially for little quantites.

    In some leaflets it is suggested to prepare large quanties of diluted
    fluid so that to avoid to deal with milligrams of an high viscosity fluid...
    Fabio BERETTA, Oct 29, 2003
  14. Fabio BERETTA

    Jimi Ansio Guest

    I have developed few films, most of them apx100, in rodinal (1+100) and
    I like it, very small grain. I have also developed some rolls of TMax400
    (the older one). It developes fine too, but is a bit grainy, ofcourse.
    My "list" is:

    Developer: Rodinal 1+100
    Stop: plain water
    Fix: Agefix 1+7
    Rinse: Agepon 1+200

    I recommendate Rodinal for you, because it's idiot proof (don't mean
    that I recon you an idiot). It's just good stuff for beginnners. Only
    thing that annoys me about Rodinal is long developing times, over 20
    minutes when developing 1+100. I don't think that specific stopbath is
    required for good results, correct me if I'm wrong.
    Jimi Ansio, Oct 29, 2003
  15. That's no longer a problem.

    Here in the U.S. you can simply go to practically any drugstore (= pharmacy)
    and buy a syringe made for measuring small quantities of medicine (5 or 10
    ml). (These are not the same as syringes for injecting medicine, as they have
    no needle.) I'm sure these are available in Europe as well. They make it very
    simple to measure down to 1 ml. easily and accurately. So there's no excuse
    for not using liquid concentrates. (I use both Kodak's HC-110 directly from
    concentrate to working solution, as well as Rodinal.)
    David Nebenzahl, Oct 29, 2003
  16. Based on the various opinions I had here I will probably try also
    Rodinal. Long time processing is not an issued since I am not planning
    "massive" processing.

    My only concern is measuring small quantities of a very dense fluid (I
    assume that hi-concentrate developer is very dense).

    Regarding the stop bath I have heard somewhere (may be in one of the
    posts here) that it is basically acetic acid. Since I could find very
    easily such acid I would appeciate if someone could give me an idea of
    the dilution.
    Fabio BERETTA, Oct 29, 2003
  17. Good idea.

    Fabio BERETTA, Oct 29, 2003
  18. Fabio BERETTA

    JJS Guest

    You can buy the needled syringes in the USA, too. If the drug store gives
    you grief, just go to a farm supply store. 'course, those are some pretty
    BIG needles!
    JJS, Oct 30, 2003
  19. Fabio BERETTA

    Jorge Omar Guest

    But these big needles (and thick, I suppose) are very good for dense
    liquids such as HC-110 concentrate.

    Jorge Omar, Oct 31, 2003
  20. Of course, when using a syringe, the process gets clumsy when the
    level in the bottle gets low.

    A plain-ole syringe, even with a 12 gauge needle (same as 12
    gauge wire), will not be able to handle the pressure of
    forcing HC110 through the needle: the needle will fly off the
    syringe when you try to dispense.

    If you do use a regular needle (works fine for Rodinal and other
    thin liquids) be sure to file/grind the tip flat. With a sharp
    needle sticking yourself is inevitable and only a matter of time.

    For an extension on a syringe for very viscous fluids I would recommend
    one of two systems:

    If you want a 'Professional system, and are on good terms with
    a physician/nurse/hospital supply clerk:

    o A 'Luer Lock' syringe - the needle locks to the syringe with a
    bayonetish/screw fitting. Otherwise the needle is likely to
    fly off the syringe when you dispense the HC110

    o An irrigation tube, veterinary feeding tube, transfusion fitting
    (needle, tube, sleeve ...? I don't know the correct term for
    this item, and it probably changes with application) with a
    luer lock fitting. What you are looking for is a large bore
    metal/plastic tube that locks to the syringe.

    Or, for the home brewer (this may work better than the above, as
    the tube bore is bigger):

    o 'Baby dosing' syringe

    o Short length of aquarium (tygon) tubing glued to the syringe
    nipple. I don't know of a glue for tygon, though. Maybe some
    other sort of tubing maybe a better choice.

    As I have four physicians in my family, I have to confess to using
    the first approach and have never tried the latter.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Oct 31, 2003
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