I’m now three rolls of home developed film in 🙂 so I thought I’d run through the kit I’ve acquired and what my process is.
I’d bought this kit from ebay, which basically has everything you need (minus chemicals, scissors, something to open the film up with ie a bottle opener). It worked out quite a bit cheaper than buying the parts separately from all the online stores, under £60 for all of it.
You can get smaller tanks but I thought being able to process more than one roll at a time would be handy (especially as I’ve built up a bit of a backlog to get developed…) Plus it’ll manage 120 format if I decide to ever try that again (one day perhaps, give that home developing it is lots cheaper).
Next up I took the plunge and used a Saturday morning I had free to go into my local Camera shop (the excellent Mathers) with the kids and asked for Ilford chemicals. I’d made a list I wanted to get, but the guy said Microphen, which is what I’d used on my course, had been discontinued or something. I’m not exactly sure what he meant, perhaps it was the liquid version rather than the powder, instead he pointed me at Ilfosol 3, which comes as a liquid. Seemed easier to me, so I went with that along with along with Ilfostop, Rapid Fixer and Ilfotol which is used to help the film dry evenly rather than leaving water marks.
I bought a couple of extra measuring jugs from my local ASDA and having had a bit of trouble measuring things yesterday have ordered some finer graduated measuring cylinders. My tank needs about 700 ml to do two rolls so mixing a 1+9 solution was a bit tricky when the first mark on the measuring jug was 100ml. – What I ended up doing was weighing 75g of water in the jug, marking the line and using that as my measure. I wasn’t sure of the density of the Ilfosol so didn’t weigh that. I probably could carry on like this but I could order 4 measuring cylinders for £1.61 so…
The vital tool to bring it all together is an app called Massive Dev Chart Timer. This kind of does it all it’s £8.99 which is quite a bit for an app, but it’s worth it I think. I”ve just discovered it’s even got a Volume calculator for figuring out the chemical dilutions, along with all the different times for developing at different temperatures. It’s pretty comprehensive.
The next piece of the puzzle is bringing the images back into the digital world. Let’s face it, I need to get a scanner. I’ve long found them fairly pointless, usually had access to one knocking around but just your bog standard ones. Turns out to scan film they need to be able to shine light through rather than only reflecting off of what you’re scanning.
The simpler option for now has been to take a picture with my phone, then edit it in various apps. This process is quite satisfying and works, but I’ve not been very happy with the initial ‘scan’ that gets taken. There’s not enough resolution at the minimum focus distance on my iPhone 6 to get a nice shot to start off with. Yes this might be improved with a bit more time, a light table and some kind of jig to hold the phone the right distance away, but a scanner will beat this every time (it may however take much longer and demand more oomph than my poor old home laptop has along with possibly having to run it booted into Windows).
Yes I had considered the CMOS based film scanners which are around £40, but mostly they seem fairly low-res again, basically rubbish phone cameras mounted specially (ie a phone could do the same / better job) I do like that they would output direct to a memory card though, bypassing much of what my old laptop would have to do.
I’ve got a bunch of colour rolls that I’ll still be sending off (for now?!?) and I hope to get hold of a scanner soon and set aside some time for getting that up and running.