Film development


Process overview & basic theory

Used materials

These assume a 500 ml tank is being used to develop a single roll of film (either 135 or 120). Adjustments for other situations should be straightforward, except maybe for sheet film.



  • 1 big water container, sufficient to put all the materials in with slack space
  • 1 thermometer (not the clinical type)
  • 1 daylight developing tank
  • 1 or more spirals (must match tank if using a plastic one)
  • 1 liquid measure, at least 1 litre capacity
  • 1 container for each chemical you will use (600ml capacity or more)
  • 1 pair of film weights per film being developed

The big water container serves to stabilize the temperature of all the components. A temperature shock might damage the film being processed.

You will use at least developer and fixer, so you will need at least 2 containers, more if you use optional chemicals.

Film weights are a a must, but the don't need to be "official". Clothes pegs will do the job with no side-effects.


  • 1 medicine syringe (5-10ml)
  • 1 dark changing bag



  • developer
  • fixer

Both in enough quantity to fill your tank (it's good practice to prepare a little more, just in case some of it leaks).

A note on hardening fixers: they are usually not needed for most films. They have also a downside: it's much harder to wash them off your film after use (see procedure below).


A note on "optional" chemicals: they are part of the development process. The fact that you can develop film without them (or their official formula - see chemicals) doesn't mean they are not needed. Good, consistent results are harder to achieve without them, or archivability issues may arise. You've been warned.

  • stopper
  • washing aid (hypo remover)
  • wetting agent (surfactant)

Step-by-step procedure


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