Beginner's Guide to Choosing Chemicals for Processing Films Posted On 30th March 2017 To Film & Chemistry
Choosing photo chemicals
We have a range of photo chemicals designed to give different results with our films and papers. The choice of stop bath and fixer is limited but we have several film developers you can use.
Film developers come in either liquid and powder concentrate form and have a range of attributes. Some developers give a good overall performance, whereas others specialise in certain characteristics or functions such as giving extra film speed, finer grain or push processing.
Powder concentrate developers are typically more cost effective than liquid concentrates while liquid is normally quicker and easier to use making it a better choice for beginners.
When getting started we would recommend the following chemistry:
These are pre-measured developer, stop bath, fixer and wetting agent in a sachet format that once diluted will process 2 rolls of film. Designed for beginners and those who don't process frequently they offer convenience and ease of use. Find out how they work in this short video.
Standard Photo Chemicals
If you are new to processing films our recommendation would be ILFOTEC DD-X developer. This is a liquid concentrate developer available as a 1L item and offers the best 'overall performance' when used with all our films. It is easy to use/dilute and requires a dilution of 1+4. (1-part concentrate mixed with 4 parts water).
Begin by determining the end volume of developer needed in the processing vessel being used. For example, if you are using a Paterson spiral tank processor, the tank advises a volume of 290ml to process one 35mm film.
It is easiest to round up to an end volume based on the dilution ratio. In this instance, instead of trying to make 290ml, it is easier to make up the ILFOTEC DD-X working solution by using 60ml of ILFOTEC DD-X concentrate and add/stir 240ml water to it making a total of 300ml. The added water should be as close as possible to the processing temperature to be used, typically this will be 20C (68F).
If processing a 120 roll film, a Paterson tank advises a volume of 500ml to process one film. Therefore, 100ml of ILFOTEC DD-X concentrate and add/stir in 400ml of water making a total of 500mls.
ILFOSTOP is a liquid concentrate stop bath available as a 500ml item. It is compatible with all our film (and paper) products.
The chemistry is orange when initially being used, but will become purple when exhausted/near exhausted. ILFOSTOP has an indicator dye which detects a change in its PH. The stop bath is initially acidic, but processing activity and carry-over of developer results in it becoming alkaline.
It should be used at a dilution of 1+19. The mixing process is the same as for the developer. For example, assuming a 300ml working solution is required, 15ml of ILFOSTOP concentrate would be needed to which 285ml of water would be added and stirred in to make a total of 300 ml. Again, the added water should be as close as possible to the processing temperature to be used, typically this will be 20C (68F). If processing a 120 roll film in a Paterson tank, use 25ml of ILFOSTOP concentrate and add/stir 475ml water to it to make a total of 500ml.
We would recommend RAPID FIXER. This is a liquid concentrate available as 500ml, 1L and 5L items. It is compatible with all our film and paper products and used at a dilution of 1+4.
As with a liquid developer or stop bath, mixing it for use is quick and easy. For a 300ml working solution, add 240ml of water to 60ml of RAPID FIXER concentrate and stir in.
A single 120 roll film in a Paterson tank uses 100ml of RAPID FIXER concentrate and 400ml of water making a total of 500ml.
For processing methods and development times please read our Guide to Processing Film or the individual product pages.