photo of developing kit
The Whole Roll

25 frames / a whole roll developed by me for the first time in 30 years – #FullRollFriday – by Rock

July 10, 2020

You have probably guessed by the title that’s it’s been a long time since I developed my own film. It was something that I did all the time in my youth. In fact, it was a requirement of the courses in photography that I took that you had to do all your own developing (and printing). I pretty much kept to black and white. Eventually I lost access to darkroom facilities and equipment. Indeed, I even left photography for quite some time.

Roll on (sorry about the pun) 30 years or so and the decision to do it all again. I have been meaning to process my own stuff for a while now; just haven’t got around to it even though I have been gradually building up the necessary paraphernalia since last year. I finally took the plunge on the last weekend of May with a bottle of Bellini FX6a monobath and some ORWO N74 400 b/w film, both acquired from Nik & Trick in Folkestone, Kent.

Here is the entire roll, a test run, on a sunny day’s stroll around the local Plantlife nature reserve on the edge of my village – in glorious black and white. If you’re interested, the camera was an AGFA Selectronic 2 with it’s standard prime 50/1.4 fitted with an old BDB orange filter. Everything was shot at f22 on the X setting (which is 1/100th sec).

Through the tunnel under the railway to enter the reserve…

black and white photo of tunnel under railway

black and white photo of flower against a brick wall

black and white photo of direction post

Fields…

black and white photo of countryside field

black and white photo of countryside field

black and white photo of countryside field

black and white photo of countryside field

black and white photo of countryside field

Trees…

black and white photo of tree

black and white photo of tree

Flowers…

black and white photo of flowers

black and white photo of flowers

black and white photo of flowers

black and white photo of countryside flowers

Views…

black and white photo of countryside views

black and white photo of countryside views

Farming…

black and white photo of countryside farming

black and white photo of countryside farming

black and white photo of countryside farming

black and white photo of countryside farming

black and white photo of countryside farming

End…

Well, it’s not exactly the end: you’ve not had the promised 25 frames yet. I got rather impatient to finish the roll and get it into my ancient Paterson 35 tank! Rather than blank the last few, I snapped 4 images in the garden…

black and white photo of a garden

black and white photo of a garden

black and white photo of a garden

black and white photo of a garden

There you go, the whole roll. I remembered the old trick from my school days about no fully winding the film back (hold the camera to the ear and hear it pop off the spool and then stop)Β  – no need to crack open the canister. This helps with loading onto the reel, especially in the confines of a changing bag. The monobath was at 23/24 degrees C, perhaps a tad warm, and I allowed 11 minutes development time. I agitated with the stirrer every minute for 3 turns.

I really enjoyed my return to film processing. Using a monobath is super easy, but the results can be limited. My photos look grainy and not particularly sharp. How much this has to do with the Bellini chemical or the fast film or the crap scanner I use, I’m not sure. I think 11 minutes was too long too. I like grain so not too bothered. Some negatives have a mark along their bottom, but overall I’m quite chuffed.

Comments appreciated, especially those with experience of this monobath. Cheers, RockΒ  ( www.rocksreflex.com / instagram pending )

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    James
    July 10, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    I am actually about to do the same. Brought an epson v600 to scan and patterson development kit with ilford chemicals. For me it has been 20 years! Good results for your first try I reckon. I got a load of cheap expired 120 to burn through!

    • Reply
      Rock
      July 10, 2020 at 5:57 pm

      Good luck James πŸ‘

  • Reply
    Eric Norris
    July 10, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    Rock: Keep trying with your monobath. I’ve been using similar chemicals for a while now, and have gone through several liters of the stuff. So far, I like CineStill’s df96 Monobath better than Film Photography Project’s product, but perhaps that just because I’m a little more skilled.

    Sounds like you were guessing at temp and time? Read the instructions (yes, I know us guys hate to do that) and see what they recommend. Note that both CineStill and FFP recommend adding a little time for each roll processed, so that processing times get longer as the chemicals get older. This helps get consistent results.

    Both CineStill and FPP have instructions for pushing and pulling film, but I haven’t tried that yet.

    Good luck!

    • Reply
      Rock
      July 10, 2020 at 6:03 pm

      The Bellini stuff has no instructions yet as it’s kinda experimental, relying on other people s results! Not sure if I will stick with it or not, or go for traditional methods with something like Rodinal. I think my biggest gripe is shelf life, it’s looking tired already.

  • Reply
    Michael
    July 10, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Looooovely- these are great, and the barbed wire one has a particularly nice graphic shape. I got a tank and remembered how to use it recently- lockdown boredom- after I think 35 years and it’s been wicked.

    • Reply
      Rock
      July 10, 2020 at 6:04 pm

      Glad you like my post. I’m encourage d enough to continue my own development…

      • Reply
        Michael
        July 11, 2020 at 12:29 am

        That’s excellent, I have to say that this epiphanic experience makes me want to reclaim the title of “tankie” from the Trots…

  • Reply
    Charles Morgan
    July 10, 2020 at 9:50 pm

    I’ve shot about 20 rolls of Orwo N74, a really lovely film, but at 400 it is grainy, whichever developer you use. It’s a cine film and grain hardly shows when being projected. I normally pull it to 250 and use Pyro developing, which stains the grain and considerably reduces the appearance of grain. It’s not a film I would start with as there is very little available information on developing it. Developing film is great fun but unless you are printing, scanning and post processing are essential areas of study. Good luck!

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