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Author Topic: Chemical Choices  (Read 18446 times)

JB Rasor

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Chemical Choices
« on: September 29, 2014, 05:23:47 PM »

I've started developing my own B&W film, and so far so good. However, I'm setting up a darkroom at home (I currently use the one at my school) and I was wondering what different types of chemicals I should get...and if the brands can be mixed and matched.

For example, I shoot Tri-X 400, so I was going to get Rodinal Developer, Ilford Stop Bath & Fixer and either Kodak Photo Flo or an LFN solution as a wetting agent. Does that sound like a good setup? I may actually go for an Ilford developer, it's just a matter of what is available as nothing ships because of the chemical content.

I know developer is a matter of taste but I'm more concerned about mixing different brands with the different steps. I'm very new to the process.

Thanks for the guidance everyone! Have a great week!

JB Rasor
Atlanta, GA
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xocet

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Re: Chemical Choices
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2014, 02:58:21 AM »

Mixing brands of developer, fixer, etc., is fine.

The developer is the most important chemical, so start with one that is most readily available to you. Long life liquid concentrate developers, like HC-110 and Rodinal are good places to start. Both have shelf lives measured in years or decades in Rodinal's case  ;). Each will have its proponents, but try and stick to one while you are getting the hang of things.

Fixer and Stop (not real necessary for Rodinal at 1+50 or 1+100) are less critical, so you can get whatever is available.

After you've got some experience, you could look at making your own developer, like PaRodinal (a Rodinal 'clone' made from readily available household chemicals), or my favourite, PC-TEA, or even Cafenol.
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JB Rasor

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Re: Chemical Choices
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2014, 07:42:37 AM »

That sounds good. Thanks for the info. How about storing the mixed chemicals, once they are mixed with water? Are they ok to sit and be reused (stop bath, fixer, etc.)? I'm going to mix with tap water. At my school everything is premixed so it's a bit easier, but I was going to take the shake and use approach...if that makes sense lol. Thanks again!
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Chemical Choices
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2014, 12:04:46 PM »

Fixer and stop bath can be saved and reused up to the number of films mentioned on the label. Pour each back into a container with a cap or lid to prevent evaporation. Developer should be mixed fresh for each session.

Good luck with the darkroom!
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-Eric Myrvaagnes    (A sampler of my new book is on my website.)
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JB Rasor

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Re: Chemical Choices
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2014, 08:51:28 PM »

Thanks Eric! A little bit of trial and error but I think it will turn out good. Thanks again for the guidance!

JB
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