Film Chemicals Used:
Kodak Xtol (1+1 — 1+3) and HC110 mostly 1:64 (H),
Fomadon R09 “Rodinal” 1:40 to 1:100,
Caffenol as of caffenol.blogspot.com,
Recent favorite method with Caffenol: caffenol.blogspot.com/2011/08/its-so-easy.html
The basic recipes: caffenol.blogspot.com/2010/08/recipes.html
Add iodized salt instead of KBr: caffenol.blogspot.com/search/label/iodized%20salt
All “always” in dilutions that make up development times above 10 minutes.
I do bulk load, so the types doesn’t change that often.
Tmax 400 (tests with pushing up to 3200),
Polestar Polypan F 50
Here on this blog, hearkane.wordpress.com – use the search function or categories to find posts of interest.
Most of the blog is a huge pile of links off site.
A. Tap water filled on plastic bottles a few days before use.
Note that this will make the water contain a bit less air and also allow it to get to an even temperature, the temperature of the room the bottles are kept in.
B. ‘Developer temperature’ measurement in the bottles,
To know if the temperature differs from 20°C (68°F), which might make it necessary to adjust develpment time. One degree C may make up for a one minute adjustment – warmer => shorter, colder => longer.
Note that a warmer developer means higher activity, which will exaggerate grain to some degree even when time has been adjusted.
C. Load film in tank. Cut a piece of leader off EVERY film loaded in the tank, make the cut be perpendicular to the length and cut off small “chips” of the corners on the remaining film. This will make it easier to load it into the spiral.
For 35mm film exposed in a Nikon F100 you have at least 4 frames (160mm, 6+inches) worth of length to cut from.
D. Developer mixing using water from bottles.
I use a Paterson “System 4” tank that takes two 135 or one 120 -type film, it allows others too – but those are the extremes. The tank needs 300ml of liquid per 135-film, I have lately begun to add up 20% extra to be sure the liquids DO cover the film fully – this seems to be more important with liquids/chemicals that tend to foam… as is the case with caffenol.
E. Calculate development time adjustment using the excel sheet, temperature adjustment from the standard time. I do often add a percentage of up to 30% more ‘seconds’ for higher contrast – many times, depending on type of development attempted. The formulas for time adjustment are here.
F. Check developer activity
Pour up a tiny amount of developer in a small container, use a toothpick or similar to place a good drop in the middle of the emulsion (matte) side a cut off portion of the clip saved in step C above. Leave it for a while, but keep checking: when the film beneath the drop starts to turn dark; Start a timer and place the entire piece in the developer sample, let it be in there for at least the same time again – check for differences between where the drop was and the remainder. Take a note on the time spent as you cannot discern a difference (the drop isn’t “visible” anymore). The time noted should be 1/3 or 1/4th of the required development time; check against your plans and notes. If there is a big difference, then consider replacing the developer – or adjusting the time towards the result of this test.
G. Do take notes!
Taking notes allows checking against the result afterwards, adjusting for mistakes or otherwise tainted results as you’re about to develop the next time.
If you don’t writes notes you’re relying on memory – which has a tendency to be a bit flaky / volatile.
0. No prewash.
There is a lot of discussion and argument around this on many places on the ‘net. My opinion is that the chemistry of the water (e.g. chlorination!) may affect low dilutions, i.e. low activity mixes, to become even lower activity – invalidating the timings about to be used. By not using prewash I hope to have eliminated one uncertainty factor. Less actions taken means less chance to do errors.
1. Pour in developer, “agitate” while the lid goes on the tank and keep it going until a full 30 seconds.
There is no need to haste! Keep your actions slow, steady paced, and precise.
2. Agitation, Standard dev: One turn every full ODD minute (1 turn per 2 minutes!), bang tank against sturdy surface as last thing for a turn. A missed second, two or even ten or fifteen will NOT show up as a “blob” in the result.
Argument for banging the tank on a surface: Have a go and place the spirals in your open tank, then fill your tank with water. Look into it to see how much bubbles you have – now practice banging to remove those bubbles. I have to bang real hard to get them bubbles to move.
3. Water wash instead of stop, in case of caffenol the wash is more than one minute with several water changes to fully flush out the coffee color – saves the fix, I hope.
High dilutions of developer, e.g. 1:40 (1 part of 40)and lesser or longer development times (e.g. 6 minutes or more), requires/makes so long and slow development that water is just fine – the extra few seconds it takes to stop the process will not show any discernible difference on the result.
4. Fix. Pour up a small amount (50ml/cc) in a suitable container and insert one of the film pieces cut off in step C and F. These has to clear in the fixer, thus telling how much longer to leave the film in the fix. 1 minute clear time = 2-3 minutes of total fixation (longer for T/Delta/modern type films), I mostly leave it in for 4-5 min at least. Replace the fix if it needs more time than so. If the film pieces doesn’t clear, pour out the fixer and mix a new batch immediately, do restart the timer and go from there. There is no hurry! The film won’t hurt of being in the fix for longer than necessary.
NOTE: I fix and save all these pieces, this will tell a tad about how well the main film was developed, how much fog and tainting there is remaining.
5. Wash under prepared tap.
Preparation: several minutes of thermometer usage to get a fairly stable temperature, should be no more than a 2 degree difference to developer temperature. 5-10 minutes of washing depending on solubility of the fix you use.
6. Stop the running water, add one tiny drop of dish detergent, stir and allow FIVE MINUTES of soak, then flush out the majority of it. Aim at having a tad of foaming remain. Leave it there…
7. Pre-steam your shower (run hot water in the shower for a few minutes). This is to have any airborne dust removed.
8. Hang film to dry, leave for at least 1-3 hrs depending on circumstances and film (Fomapan is slow to dry).
Recent change: Hang the film “standing on its edge”, the length leaning 45°, like the line in / – this allows the excess water to run OFF the film by just a short distance.
9. Scan & post-process, (or wet-print for those that do it that way).
Optionally use your DSLR to photograph the negatives against a light-table of some sort.
Earlier version of this text posted here.