Sloshing the Tank

Forums Forums Get Technical In the darkroom Sloshing the Tank

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    So, after doing my homework and waiting for the right bargain I just picked up a Canon 8800F Scanner to start scanning my old film and slides. I’m also buying tanks, reels and all the other bells and whistles to start home developing black and white. It’s been a long while since I’ve done any wet processing…since 1987 to be precise…but that part doesn’t bother to much.

    This is my basic shopping list:
    1.) measuring cup –dollar store cheap
    2.) storage bottles–we’ve got tons of bottles at work, free
    3.) film developer, stop bath and fixer (brand of your choice)
    4.) squeegee
    5.) darkroom thermometer
    6.) developing tank & film reel–Bought, Patterson tank and reels
    7.) small graduate–cheap plastic
    8.) funnel(s)–dollar store
    9.) scissors–duh
    10.) film retriever or can opener–got that
    11.) changing bag–going to Adorama tomorrow
    12.) Clips and weights–Adorama

    Basically, what suggestions for chemicals and can anyone doing their own film (Orionid, I know you do) add anything to the list. I am scanning for now, enlargers and that lot come later.


    I haven’t done it in a while, but I’ve used Diafine with some success – it’s by far the easiest developer out there, you don’t need to worry a whole lot about accurate time and temperature because it’s a two-bath process.


    Best I can tell/have heard, stop bath is stop bath. Get one with a visual pH indicator and use a clear bottle. Fixer is fixer. Fix TMax for twice recommended times to prevent purple haze. I have heard that Ilford fixer doesn’t have the haze problem, but haven’t tried.

    I primarily use Kodak D76 right now. I bought two gallons worth of mix when I first started brushing the rust off, and I’m still on that gallon. I dilute 1:1 and pour the post down the drain. It’s forgiving, lasts way past the expiration date if you dilute and flush rather than replenish, and produces decent across the board results without having to calculate specific gravities and pH. It can be a little grainy, though.. The local pro-shop when I was in upstate NY used Ilfotec DD-X and the difference in grain size between what I could get with D76 and what they could get with DD-X was amazing. I’ve read that Kodak’s XTOL is similar or ever so slightly lower in quality than the DD-X, but my next purchase is going to be DD-X since I’ve seen it’s results first hand.

    Granted, these two links were scanned at different resolutions, at max res, you can see what looks to be the same grain size until you account for scanned resolution. Otherwise, same film, same camera, different developer.

    Kodak Tri-X 400, Ilfotec DD-X, Scanned at 3200 DPI
    Kodak Tri-X 400, Kodak D-76, Scanned at 2400 DPI

    I’ve also heard that Kodak HC-110, Microdol and Ilford Microphen are good for minimizing clouding in old films.

    As far as other hardware, a bulk loader and buying film by the 100 foot roll will pay for itself after a single spool. Think about it this way, using Adorama prices: A 36 exposure roll of TMax 400, including leaders is 62 inches long. A 100 foot bulk roll is $54.95, which yields 19 rolls of 36 exposure and a little change. 19 pre-packed 36 exposure rolls at $3.75 each is $71.25. That $16.30 difference will pay for the loader ($15 on the bay, possibly in the used section at Adorama or B&H, or the third big photo store in the city that I always forget until I walk past, down by the ESB). Store-brand canisters are pretty cheap, as well.

    Otherwise, your list looks pretty good/complete. Can’t wait to see what you do, especially with that old Yashica.


    Oh, clips and weights: I got a 50 pack of wood clothespins from W-mart and use them at both ends of the strip. One to hang on the line over my bathtub and two at the bottom as weights.


    i’ll vouch for bulk film too. but you have to be into it since you will need canisters, bulk film, time to load the canisters. but it is a money saver. only downside is IIRC frame numbers. i don’t remember what they did but it wasn’t 1-35.

    orionid you have a PM.

    after much soul searching i have decided to not go the darkroom route. that means the misc stuff i have in my attic is up for grabs since it’s unlikely my sister wants/needs it. although i will ask her. i have some 11×14 trays, a tank or two, hangers (the ones with the pins) and other piddly stuff. i seem to remember an 8×10 easel. oh and a grain magnifier. i’ll get it down and make a list and post the results in a new thread. then we can decide who wants what. it will be free except for shipping.

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