Despite latest surge in popularity future of film photography is uncertain. I documented most popular homemade development solution recipes and calculated proportions of chemicals needed so any amount of any chemical can be measured accordingly. For more information on development check out further reading.
Rodiynal, Stop solution, Fixer
Rodinal is oldest and most common development solution for black and white film but it is getting harder to find labs to develop black and white film for a reasonable price. This recipe doesn’t differ much from famous Dr. Frankenfilm’s Homebrew Rodinal article - be sure to check Dr. Frankenfilm’s instructions for more detail and video.
For ml of Rodiynal you’ll need:
- + Distilled Water - available in most modest sized retail stores household chemistry section;
- Sodium Sulfite - available in swimming pool shops or easily available from your local chemist. This is mostly safe but may cause allergy and asthma if ingested;
- Sodium Hydroxide - lye is available in most hardware or retail store’s chemistry section as drain cleaner. Please handle this carefully as it will cause damage to your skin and eyes if handled poorly;
- Acetominophen 500mg - available in most pharmacies as Paracetamol/Tylenol 500mg or generic pain killer. You’ll need to pulverize it before use;
Cheapest ingredient versions will contain less additives and will make better end product. Distilled water can be substituted with boiled water but will contain less than beneficial sediments and impurities.
- Be sure to prepare kitchen scales, measuring cup, disposable mixing spoon/stick and air-tight dark bottle to hold Rodinal.
I prefer to measure, prepare and order my chemicals in succession before mixing. Be sure to mix chemicals in correct order. Handle chemicals carefully - even harmless ones will teach you to be careful.
- Measure of distilled water into a measuring cup;
- Stir of Sodium Sulfite into water. Remaining sediments will dissolve later;
- Carefully measure out of Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) and stir it into water until dissolved. This will begin reaction and increase temperature of the liquid;
- Pulverize tablets and pour it into the mixture while it’s still warm - stir until completely dissolved. Some sediments are normal;
- Add more water to make desired amount of Rodinal;
- Transfer liquid into light tight bottle, cap it off and let it react for at least 72 hours.
I’d advise to mix Rodinal before every use to stir up sediments. Store Rodinal in a dark, air-tight bottle away from children. Follow your film instructions as normal Rodinal.
Stop bath solution is used in normal development and darkroom but can be omitted for stand development.
According to Wikipedia a stop bath solution should be 1-2% acetic acid or commonly available as white vinegar. White vinegar is available in different concentrations from 5%-30% therefore we will need to dilute our vinegar with room temperature boiled water.
For ml of stop bath from % white vinegar concentrate you will need:
- of room temperature distilled water - by this point can be substituted with room temperature boiled water;
- of white vinegar - available in most grocery stores. One can find concentration% of vinegar on the bottle;
Just mix the ingredients in room temperature. Formula is easy enough to make when necessary.
Recipes can vary wildly - Flickr has several formulas from its users, College of Arts and sciences has recipes for fixing in Caffenol and Vitamin C. I went with the simplest safe recipe; others might use different chemistry to fix quicker.
I’d suggest mixing it as necessary because I didnt find reliable shelf life time. Some say it varies from 60 days to half a year.
For ml of Fixer you’ll need:
- distilled water cooled to ~52°C;
- Sodium Thiosulfate - available from local pool store or local chemist;
- Sodium Sulfite - same as we used for Rodiynal;
- distilled water into measuring cup;
- Add Sodium Thiosulfate - the solution will become cold - that is normal;
- Mix in of Sodium Sulfite until it dissolves;
- Transfer solution into a bottle and add more water to make desired amount;
- Fixer should be left to react for about 24 hours before intended use.
Spent fixer can be reused for up to ten rolls of 1L solution. Fixer should be used in room temperature and agitated for 5-10 minutes - more if it is not fresh.
Disposal of fixer
Fixer should not be discarded in municipal sewer system due to silver content from fixing film. It is possible to extract silver from spent Fixer. Some photo laboratories, universities, chemists or hazardous waste management facilities might accept exhausted liquid.
- Beginners guide to processing film - standard developing process
- Massive dev chart - development chart for standard developing process
- Monochrome Madness: Rodinal Stand Developing - simpler way to develop film; better results with incorrectly exposed film
- Coffee, Tea, Or Vitamin C Kitchen Chemistry In The Darkroom - more experimental development methods
- Promiclor formula - untested and potentially expensive