Well it’s happening, I’m now fully down the rabbit hole of B&W film development. It was inevitable really, as I continued to take more photos on film and especially on B&W, that I couldn’t resist trying out development for myself. I think firstly I have to say a massive thank you to Dave Beatty from North West Film Photo (@northwestfilmphoto) who literally took me into his home to show me how to self-develop my film, and thanks to the whole NWFP community on Discord for helping me get started. Let’s have a look at a few things I’ve been using to start my journey:
It started with Adox FX-39ii. This high acutance developer produces sharp, clear images, and is especially good for low ISO films or box speed development. I loved it! It is so easy to use, and produces results that I really like. This was proved by that fact that my inexperienced Dad developed two rolls of Ilford FP4+ in it, having shot a film SLR for the first time in decades!
Then I tried Adox XT-3. This all rounder is an update to the classic XTOL developer, and it is fantastic for getting the best out of any film (it is also exceptional for push processing apparently!) It is a two-part developer, meaning that you have to mix two bags of chemicals together, one after another. I used the 1L kit so I could keep it compact in a concertina bottle, as there isn’t much room in my flat.
Alongside those two developers, I have been using the Adofix P-II fixer, and their wetting agent too, all brought together with the AP Universal developing tank. I’m sure to be writing more about my journey of film development, as I try and find my own favourite combinations for my photos.
I can tell you that if you are thinking of trying B&W development for yourself, that there is nothing to be scared of! There is a LOT of information on the manufacturer’s websites, and apps like ‘Massive Dev Chart’ can make the whole process less stressful. Don’t get me wrong, it can be daunting to try something new, especially with your own precious photos, and I’ve certainly made some mistakes (another story!) but it’s worth it. I’ve been loving the process of developing B&W at home, and I look forward to sharing more about it in the future!
How did you get started with B&W developing? Have you wanted to try it, if so, what’s holding you back? Let us know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading, and if you live, work, or are from the North West of England and are shooting film, then check out North West Film Photo on Instagram, and consider joining the Discord for community chat outside of social media too. I look forward to sharing more of my photos and experiences with this community soon, in the meantime you can find me on Instagram here: @tedayre
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