After more than 20 years I have decided to return to home-processed black-and-white film photography. I used to do this when I was a kid and more recently in my previous home where I could maintain a darkroom. However, when I moved back to Oxford around 20 years ago I never got the darkroom going again and then other things – like the rise of digital – meant that I wouldn’t do my own printing. I used to run black-and-white films through my camera and send them away for processing, digitising the prints or negatives that came back.
But the kit is still there and processing films is not that hard. My first task was to recover all the gear I have, clean it and assess what to use.
Wow. I have four developing tanks and numerous measuring jugs, funnels, thermometers, and clips. At a pinch I could do six 35mm films or two 120 films in pretty short order.
I went to Morris Photographic, now in Chipping Norton (I remember when they had a shop on Oxford High Street) and bought some Ilford chemicals:
This lot cost me the best part of £20, but the ID-11 will do ten films and the fixer many more.
My first film, then, is Kodak P3200 T-max. I had run this through my Minolta Dynax 7 camera in the latter part of 2010, holding it back in the thought that I might process it myself.
Recommended processing is 14 min at 20 C in ID-11; my developer ended up being at 22-23 C so I followed the supplied charts and processed the film for 11 min 30 s.
Hanging the film up to dry in the bathroom
With a closer look at the negatives:
It already looks quite grainy and I’ll post some scans later both here and in my Flickr photostream.