How to Process Black and White Film the Easy Way


Thinking of developing your black and white films? Let me share with you the most popular and handy method to develop all of your black and white films.

Back in the day, I was only an assistant in the darkroom. Now things are different. So, here’s how I developed my first black and white film. Basically, is very easy and is the first lesson in the art school. One the other hand, is very easy to get the film messed up, so pay attention.

Everything you need is:

• A darkroom (bathroom or basement but I would suggest bathroom)
• b/w exposed film
• developer, fixer, stop bath, a lot of water
• thermometer
• development tank and jungs
• wetting agent
• Chronometer or DevChart

The darkroom is a room where you process your film and you print your photos. It’s a lightproof room. Basically, if you have a newer development tank, in which the light won’t enter, you don’t need a darkroom environment, just until you roll the film on the spiral and put it back in the development tank.

So, roll the film on the spirals, put the spiral in the tank, lock the top section in place and press the lid down.

The next step is to heat up the chemicals according to manufacturer’s instructions. The developer must be exactly at 20 degree Celsius. I put the bottle with the developer, fixer and the stopbath in three different jugs and the fill the jugs with hot water and measure with the thermometer (the developer must be exactly at 20 degree Celsius).

Next step is to set the chronometer with the time on the developer’s instructions, according to the film your using. I use DevChart now. It’s the best.

Press the start button on the chronometer and start pouring the developer in the tank. Once it’s all in, put the tank’s lid back on top, tap the base of the tank to remove the air bubbles from the surface of the film, then invert the tank two or three times. Then, agitate the tank at regular intervals by inverting it, for ten seconds, every 30 or 60 seconds.

Ten seconds before the development time ends, pour the developer out of the tank and fill the tank with the stopbath. Invert the tank for ten minutes, then pour the stopbath back in it’s bottle.

Fill the tank with the fixer. Tap the base of the tank to remove the air bubbles and invert three times every minute, for as long as the manufacturer says on the instructions.

Pour back the fixer in it’s bottle and fill the tank with fresh water. Invert the tank, empty it, fill it again with water, invert and empty for about ten minutes.

Last step is to empty the tank, put in a couple of drops of wetting agent and fill it again (last time) with water. Invert and empty the tank.

Proceed with drying the film in a dust proof environment, holding it hanged without making contact with anything, especially with parts of the film (the film must be perfectly straight).

Going for the elegant, old-school look? Add a timeless touch to your images with Black and White films. For that classic appeal, check out our black and white film selection.

written by pvalyk on 2012-05-21 in #gear #tipster #tipster #b-w #kodak #tmax #development #lomography #black-and-white #processing #film-processing #white #tutorial #tips #film #35mm #black


  1. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Wetting agent can easily be replaced by dishwasher rinse liquid... it has the same effect to help the film dry without drops and marks

  2. pvalyk
    pvalyk ·

    @vicuna Never try that but I'm sure i will. Some tips about developing in caffenol?

  3. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    @pvalyk: no, but there are some cool tipsters on the site about caffenol

  4. simonh82
    simonh82 ·

    Great article, but ten minutes in the stop bath sounds like a very long time to me. I normally go for 30 seconds to a minute. The stop bath should halt development straight away. A ten minute soak would imply that development could continue for that long even in the stop bath.

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