Process overview & basic theory
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
- spiral(s) (must match tank if using a plastic one)
- 1 liquid measure (measuring graduate), 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
- 1 pair of scissors
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. Label your chemicals clearly in a way that it won't go off with water; don't mismatch the containers and 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.
- funnel(s) to pour liquids
- stirrer(s) to mix them
- medicine syringe(s) (5-10ml)
- 1 dark changing bag
- 1 canister opener or bottle opener
- 1 film retriever (if you don't want to open the canisters)
- stopwatch (there are some specialized for photography too)
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.
- washing aid (hypo remover)
- wetting agent (surfactant)
- Developing your first B&W film - Photo Utopia weblog
- How to process B+W film - Fecal Face
- 101: What do I need to develop film? - Silverbased weblog