- Dilution: 1+3
- Time: 11:00
- Temperature: 20C, 68F
- Agitations: 60 seconds, then one rotation every minute
- Kodak Stop Bath
- Time: 1:00
- Ilford Rapid Fixer
- Time: 3:00
- Because Kodak Gold is a C41, I used the times for developing TriX at 200 with a 1+3 dilution.
I’ve been shooting on film again for about two years now. For a lot of people –especially those who are into looking at MTF charts and pixel peeping– shooting on film is just another hipster affectation, something that guys with crappy cameras do to get girls to take their clothes off for them. Now, no one who knows me would ever accuse me of being a hipster (I’m too old and too fat for that) but shooting on film does lump you in with the rest of the stereotypes.
For me, shooting on film has always been about two major things, one artistic and the other economic. I like to shoot on film because I like the analog aesthetic. I like the idea of creating something physical, of taking light and shaping it through a lens onto a negative and then using chemicals to create an image. For every thousand shutter presses on my DSLR I print maybe one; for every shutter press on a film camera I have a negative. I will always have a physical object tied to that exposure, even if I never get a print made. In an increasingly digital world this means something to me.
On the economic side, shooting on film has given me the opportunity to shoot on multiple cameras, something I can’t afford to do with digital. I have a small rangefinder that I bought for $25, a midsize SLR that I got for free, and medium format camera that I bought on Craigslist for $50. For less than a hundred bucks I have three cameras, with different negative sizes, focal lengths, and varying weights that I can use for any given situation. Even though it costs money to buy film and have it developed, it’s still less than three comparable digital cameras would cost me. (Of course there are tradeoffs, like shooting decent pictures above 1600 or being stuck with a certain film until it runs out.)
Over the past few months I’ve been collecting everything I need to develop my own film. I already own a negative scanner, so now the cost of shooting film should go down considerably. Besides the initial investment of a tank and changing bag, the only cost to me is chemicals and time. I’m not a professional, so it’s not like I’m wasting my time when I should be out photographing clients. So, I bought some D76 and decided to try my hand a home developing.
I knew I would probably screw up my first roll, so I grabbed a roll of Kodak Gold 200 that had already been slightly exposed to light. The winder on my Canonet broke and I stuck a screw down the hole and have been rewinding with a screwdriver; on this particular roll I wound it the wrong way and ripped the film out of the canister. When I opened the back up I didn’t notice because this camera has a little door that covers one side. I pulled the canister out, took it to the lab, and they told me there was no film inside. Back home I pulled the film out of the camera, in changing bag, and put it in an empty container. I figured it was probably ruined.
I followed the recipe above, using the Dev It! timer on phone, but I really wasn’t sure what the result would be. I knew from reading online that cross processing C41 in BW chemicals was risky, it sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. To me it was worth it because I didn’t want to waste money on developing a ruined roll.
The results were OK. The negatives were very thick, when I pulled it from the reel I almost thought it was completely black, so I know I underdeveloped it. I probably should have gone 13 minutes, or maybe more. The grain is also pretty bad, I think maybe I agitated it too much. Next time I’ll try a swish rather than a full rotation. I had to do quite a bit of work with the scans just to get them to look decent. Ultimately, I’m pleased with my first attempt and I can’t wait to develop some more.