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Equipment Film processing idiot-check

Discussion in 'Photography, Art & Design' started by edzieba, 16 Jun 2020.

  1. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    So, I ended up with a NEX-7 and caught the photography bug. Then decided that playing with that old celluloid stuff might be fun. And following the philosophy of "if it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing" that means 120 film (colour-reversal, none of that C41 pop-down-to-the-local-chemist negative rubbish!) and processing at home. Thus a mostly-working Yashicaflex TLR and some bracketed test shots on Velvia 50 (so little exposure latitude any screw-ups should be obvious) that I now need to develop to confirm my exposure maths was vaguely close.

    Plenty of tutorials and videos out there on developing, but as I've found with most things they go into detail on the 'tricky' aspects and gloss over the 'obvious' bits you only encounter halfway through the first time actually trying it.

    What I have (or have on order):
    - Sous-Vide heater to set up a stable temperature water bath
    - Big plastic Ikea tub to use as temp controlled bath
    - Daylight processing tank with 120 reel (one of the ubiquitous Patterson System ones)
    - Changing bag
    - E6 kit (Bellinifoto 6-bath, due to the 'overdo it' rule)
    - Squeegee
    - Hanging clips
    - 6x wide-mouth plastic bottles and 6x funnels

    What I think I might need:
    - PVC tube with fan on one end and a cheap HEPA filter on the other, to act as a dust-free 'drying cupboard' (whole house is a dust factory)
    - DI water for final rinse/stabiliser (much debate on whether hard water makes a difference while developing, but everyone seems to agree it will leave streaks if used for the last rinse)
    - Dark glass bottles & vacuum stoppers for storage of mixed processing chemicals (to prolong useful life)
    - Thermometer (to double-check bath temperature)
    - Physical stopwatch? Or maybe one of the various darkroom timer apps on a device I don't care about splashing with various chemicals.

    Anything blindingly obvious that I've missed? Any common pitfalls to avoid?
     
  2. RedFlames

    RedFlames ...is not a Belgian football team

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    The spanner key thing for getting the film canister open/film out of the canister? and the spools for transferring the roll too.

    Everything else looks ok, but i've not developed a roll of 35mm in over a decade.

    IIRC a lot of it varies depending on which chemicals you're using, last time i did it the system used was basically like a giant cocktail shaker - put spools of film in, close it up, pour chemical in, shake, pour chemical out again [repeat for stop and fixative]
     
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  3. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    No can with 120, just the backing paper, so that's one less thing to worry about. Though there seem to be two schools of thought on dealing with the paper: either you just unroll it far enough to find the film and feed that into the spiral straight from the spool (and deal with the backing paper just flopping around in the bag somewhere), or you unspool the entire film first into a loose roll in your hand and detach the paper at the end before then loading it into the spiral. The first seems to make more sense to me in avoiding wiping your grubby mitts all over the exposed film area.
     
  4. adidan

    adidan Guesswork is still work

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    Wow this brings back memories of inhaling chemical fumes in my teens in an inadequately ventilated bedroom.

    I only ever did 35mm and so no backing to deal with but i'd agree i'd go option A. There's no way i'd want a roll of film unspooled all in one go, it just creates too many possibilities of dirtying the hell out of it.

    My Ilford 'grab the film out of the canister' gizmo was a godsend, made it easy tp get the film out.
     
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  5. Guest-44638

    Guest-44638 Guest

    This used to be what I did for a living - kinda... all you need for E6 is a temperature controlled 'water bath' so that you can maintain a steady 40°C for the chemicals & film tank & a good timer.

    A company called Jobo used to make a machine called a CPE-2 that even had an optional Lift attachment for fill/drain details...

    EDIT:
    Sadly, I'll be 'gone' by the end of the week, so good luck with whatever kit you get.
     
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  6. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    Thanks. I looked at the Jobo setup, but I don't think I'll be processing nearly enough for mechanising fill/drain to be worth it (I could build a rotator from a motor and some rods & rollers, but the main benefit there seems to be saving on process chemical volume for larger tanks).
     
  7. Guest-44638

    Guest-44638 Guest

    If you'll be processing 120's best to get a 600ml dev tank - that way you can do two 120's at once & if you get a spare reel you can even do two 36-exp 35mm at once, too.

    Depending on whose chemicals you use, you may well be able to get multiple uses out of one 600ml batch - by adjusting the times of the developer - before you ditch it; esp. if you save up a good few rolls to process at one time.

    Good luck - it'll be fun.
    It was mostly Kodak films that needed that - most others were pretty compliant when it came to opening them. Many other than Kodak weren't averse to being re-used, too.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 17 Jun 2020
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  8. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    Success! Tips for future people:
    - Ektachrome stock is MUCH stiffer and curl-ier than the B&W film I sacrificed to practice loading the reel with in the light. I can see why some recommended unspooling the while thing first.
    - The minimum water level for a sous-vide heater is probably above the minimum level at which your bottles of chemicals will start to float and tip over. Build a frame to keep them in place or use something to weigh them down
    - The little Paterson rinse flush hose thingey is super useful, get one.
    - The Lab Timer app is well worth it. Stick your phone in a zip-lock bag.
    - 'Just leave it in for 6 minutes at a time, and you only need to touch it every half a minute' sounds like a fairly short and mostly hands-off process, but it ends up being close to half an hour of constant attention with the various baths and regular agitation.
    - Sort out the place to hang the film before you get overexited and unspool it from the reel to take a look! :duh:
     
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