Thursday, 10 February 2011

Why Make it so Complicated?

Developing B&W at the kitchen sink is easy. I did it when I was 12, taught by my Dad. But some people seem to want to make it so complicated with developers that are mixed from powder, chemical stop baths and all sorts of nonsense. The stop bath in particular, what a total waste of time. Just another chemical to mix, store, bring to temperature and ultimately flush down the sink. The argument is that it instantly arrests development, but come on, think about it. There's what, 1ml of working strength developer on the film once you drain the tank? Then you add 300ml of water as a rinse and give it a shake. How long will it take for that dilution of developer to make any noticeable difference to your negs. An hour? A day? A week? Right. So here's the Agitated Dog top three tips for keeping it simple.

1. Don't do a pre-soak. No need. I've never done it. I've never seen anyone with any evidence that it helps anything. On top of that Ilford specifically say not to pre-soak. Don't do it, waste of time. Waste of water.
2. Don't use powdered developers. Yes I'm talking about the much loved D-76 and the slightly less loved !D-11. Why waste time with all the mixing from powder and storing the stock solution. There are plenty of liquid one shot developers that do exactly the same thing without all that messing about. Paterson Aculux 3, Ilfosol 3, HC-110, Ilfotec HC etc etc.
3. Don't bother with a chemical stop. Use water. After draining the tank, fill with water, five rapid inversions, drain, repeat, then in with the fix. Probably worth making sure the water temperature is close to the dev temperature. Do it the same every time and you'll have repeatable results. Same every time. Just like the chemical stop guys. Simple huh?

And that's it. Hey I don't even use a wetting agent most of the time. Heresy I know. But that's just me, as the oh-so-cute TV ad goes.

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