Previously, I blog and published a shopping list to buy self-developing equipment, for the ease of those who needed some helps. I hope I have saved you the pain in reading other blogs that didn’t cover much in details.
In this post, it is mainly a summary of how I feel after having tried to develop a few rolls of film on my own.
Simpler than you think
I think one of the main concerns of self-developing is the process. Is it difficult? Do I need a darkroom?
No. You certainly do not need a darkroom for developing of simple 35mm and 120mm black & white films. The process is definitely simpler than you think. Do you take Biology or Chemistry practical class in secondary school?
If you recall, you just had to follow the instructions and add whatever was necessary with the right volume right?
Same thing for b&w film developing!
Nowadays, Youtube and Google are your best teachers. Another thing people are afraid of doing self-developing is the lack of teacher?
No, please don’t wait for spoon-feeding. That’s for primary school children.
I learn all this developing myself. By reading books, watching Youtube, and reading Datasheets of the chemicals & films.
Trust me, it is really easy.
After you have done self-developing, you will feel that you are really making photos. Instead of taking photos.
The whole process is very therapeutic. From taking pictures, to unloading film, to taking out and adding chemicals. Finally, when you hang your negative film to dry, you will feel the sense of accomplishment.
Although you might need to spend a sum of money at the start. I guarantee you that self-developing of b&w film at home is definitely cheaper in the long run.
Furthermore, if you are anxious about your results, you can develop it right away. The results will come out the max after 30 minutes. You no longer need to wait for days/weeks!
Besides being cheaper in the cost, you definitely can do a better job than the lab (at least for the lab I sent to). Previously, I sent my b&w films to that one lab (DDD). But the results always look like shit. My films were scratched as well.
I sincerely thought it was my exposure that my b&w all looked like shit. No, it is not. After developing the films myself, I now know how a real b&w photos should look like.
I hope you have set your mind more or less firm on learning and doing self-developing!
To me, the process feels very natural because it’s similar to what I do in the Biomedical Lab daily: Just add chemicals according to the protocols.
The process is also like cooking and baking, just follow instructions and you will be fine.
Once you have mastered it, you can start to play around and be innovative. You can even try to optimise the protocol.