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Easy B&W Development with Diafine

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  • #441
    sleeping
    Participant

    I figured this might be appropriate for this week’s theme….

    I’ve been using diafine to develop black and white film for a couple of months now. It’s really easy because it doesn’t require accurate timing or temperature. It also makes most film faster – about 2/3 to 1 stop for most film (TriX 400 gets quite a lot faster – you can rate it at 1600)

    I’ve been developing with really minimal eqipment and scanning the negatives. All I use is
    – a changing bag
    – scissors, and for 35mm a bottle opener to open the canister.
    – a daylight developing tank and reels
    – the 2 Diafine developer solutions made up in containers (use about 1/3 of each as a working solution and reserve the rest to top up periodically)
    – fixer made up in a container
    – tap water
    – wetting agent
    – clothespins and a place to hang the film to dry

    The hardest part by far is getting the film onto the reels for the developing tank in the changing bag (35mm is really pretty easy once you’ve got the cannister open, 120 and 127 is harder to load onto a reel)

    The process I use, once the film is on the reels in the tank:

    – Pour in solution A and agitate gently for a couple of secs. Leave it in for 3 mins or so, agitating again for a couple seconds every minute.
    – Pour solution A back into the container, and repeat the process with B (important not to get any B into your container of A solution – that will ruin it).
    – Fill the tank with tap water, agitate, and empty. repeat.
    – Add fixer, agitate every minute or so for 5 minutes. Drain (you can reuse the old fixer for 10 rolls or so)
    – Open tank, and leave under running water for 10 mins or so
    – turn off the water, add a couple of drops of wetting agent, agitate gently, and remove the film.
    – hang to dry for a few hours

    My (limited) understanding of how it works is that solution A is absorbed by the emulsion in proportion to the exposure, and then solution B activates the absorbed solution A until it’s gone, so you can’t overdevelop. This means that you can’t push/pull film the way you can with normal developers, which is a disadvantage for some things, but hasn’t bothered me at all so far.

    Most of the images here have been developed in Diafine:
    bridge2

    #4234
    davieb
    Participant

    Sounds like very cool stuff. My biggest frustration with doing my own B&W is temperature. Here in Phoenix, it’s hard to keep chemicals at the requisite 68 degrees without seriously cranking the air conditioner. The ability to develop up to 85 degrees would make things a lot easier.

    I might have to get my old film camera back out of the closet!

    #4235
    Anonymous
    Participant

    OK,

    Now what is the easier type of reel to load (assume 35mm)? Stainless steel reels? Adjustable plastic> Fixed plastic? Any favorites?

    Thanks

    #4236
    Anonymous
    Participant

    OK,

    Now what is the easier type of reel to load (assume 35mm)? Stainless steel reels? Adjustable plastic> Fixed plastic? Any favorites?

    Thanks

    #4237
    sleeping
    Participant

    I have patterson plastic adjustable reels, and loading 35mm has never been a problem at all.

    Adam

    #4238
    monkeybort
    Participant

    OK,

    Now what is the easier type of reel to load (assume 35mm)? Stainless steel reels? Adjustable plastic> Fixed plastic? Any favorites?

    Thanks

    i prefer the stainless steel, but that might be because that is what i learned on.

    #4239
    Klahanie
    Participant

    Thanks for the great info Sleeping. We now have a separate subject for the darkroom in the forum. I’m pretty new at developing and printing, and still need some equipment. It’s pretty tricky making prints without a timer. 🙄
    I’m “on the road” at the moment and I’m stuck with dial up for the time being, but I know I will have darkroom questions once I can finally settle down again.

    #4240
    renko
    Participant

    Some of the stainless ones have little teeth that help guide in the film, but in general I like the paterson plastic reels. Really foolproof, and they are adjustable to take 120, 127 and 135 film.

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