developing film

Discussion in 'Photography' started by oldwhitewood, 23 Oct 2007.

  1. oldwhitewood

    oldwhitewood Member

    Messages:
    356
    I'm about to embark on using a Holga medium format 'toy' camera for creative photography. The only problem is it's been years since I've had any film developed at all.

    Do any of you guys know where I can get medium format film developed and what kind of prices I should be looking at?

    What about 35mm?

    I've been using digital for so long I have no idea how to go about this.
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Sorry, I missed this post. Looks like it's a month old so I don't know if you're still interested in a response :rolleyes: Anyway these days you might have to use a professional lab to get quality film development and prints made. I think in the heyday of film most pros used "The Lab" in Soho London;

    51 Cleveland Street
    London
    W1T 4JH
    Tel: (020) 7631 1111
    Fax: (020) 7631 0011

    Here is a weblink for labs in other areas: http://www.chb.com/product-12.html

    Here is another possibility - develop film yourself. It's easy. As long as you can get the chemicals, and normally you can buy them from the labs listed above, you'll find that you can save LOTS of money by doing the developing yourself and only having the lab do the printing if necessary. With the proper equipment you can develop a 120 roll of color film in about 8 minutes, and it will be perfect. Black & White film can be done in about 5 minutes. Slide film is more finicky and takes about 15 minutes. After development the film usually requires an hour or so to dry after which you can make prints or prep for scanning. You don't need a dark room to develop film. You only need a "dark bag" in which you remove the acetate film from the cartridge and transfer it on to a spool and then inside the container.

    You ought to be able to get some great deals on this type of equipment nowadays. Here is an example of a kit I used - Jobo CPL3 easy as pie...http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Print-and-neg-pro ... dZViewItem

    here is what a dark bag looks like: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Dark-Safe-Bag-Fit ... dZViewItem

    It all looks very cheesy, I know but it works as good as in the lab.

    Cheers,
     
  3. oldwhitewood

    oldwhitewood Member

    Messages:
    356
    I would love to be able to process my 120 film, at the moment printing and processing 12 exp 5x5 is costing me around £11, so I'm limiting myself to one roll a month with my Holga.

    I've done darkroom stuff in the past at uni, but this was b&w 35mm film. I would love to be able to develop my colour 120 film and then use a scanner but I thought colour was too difficult to do. I've also been reading about the process and trying to keep everything at a specific temperature sounds really difficult to me. If there was some kind of automated way of doing it like the system you posted from ebay then great but I imagine they're really expensive?
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Believe me, it's a doddle. The Jobo units are expensive if you buy them new, but no one in his/her right mind does that. Check ebay regularly to see what the winning bids are. So many people are moving to digital it keeps the price low. All Jobo unit come with a thermostatically controlled heater in the base of the tub + digital readout thermometer. You fill the tub with a few gallons of water and set the temperature. After 30 minutes or so (obviously depending on the start temperature) the water gets up to operating temperature and is held there with amazing stability. Each of the three or four chemicals sit in their slots in the bath, so you let them come up to temperature as well.

    The developing jug with the film is attached magnetically at the base and is rotated around with half it's diameter always in the bath. Before you start adding the warmed chemicals to the jug you allow the jug+film to rotate around in the water so that by the time you are ready to start processing, the tub water, the chemicals and the jug containing the film are up to spec temperature. No problems whatsoever.

    The Jobo unit does color film, slides, B&W film and even prints (depending on model) up to A4 size using interchangeable jugs. You just change the chemicals as you need them. What's so brilliant about this is there is no dark room. The jug in which you place the film (using the dark bag) is light tight but not water tight so you simply run an assembly line with each chemical poured into and out of the jug in sequence - For B&W film ->developer, stop bath, rinse, for color film developer, color developer, stop, rinse.

    The key to getting great results with the Jobo is consistency in your process. the amount of time that it takes to pouring in the chemical and the amount of time to pour it out andd the interval between the first , second and third and so forth. After 5 or 10 rolls of film I could do everything consistently the same over and over again.

    I started using B&W because there are only two chemicals + water rinse, and B&W has soo much room for error. That was easy. I then moved on to color film which has only one more chemical and then later to slides which adds an extra rinse step, but it's all the same - pour in, pour out.

    Cheers,
     

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