When developing, a film goes through three chemical processes. These are: develop, stop and fix. There are many different brands and chemicals used for develop, stop and fix. Due to this, each darkroom has a chart with timings and measurements according to how many films one is going to develop. There is a wide range of films and these are not all covered by the chart. The timings and measurements relating to this sort of film can be found on the box.
The lab I frequent uses the chemical HC – 110. The film I used had an ASA of 400.
The first task has to be performed in complete darkness. One has to open up the film from the canister and wind it round the reel. This might sound easy, but it can get a little tricky because of the darkness.
Make sure to wind the film in the right direction and as much as possible, the film must not be touched. Fingerprints and creases may ruin the film. After this, the reel must be placed in a light- tight tank. If the film is exposed to light, it will burn, becoming useless.
The tank is like a magic tool in developing, as it allows one to pour the chemicals with the lights on.
Water is first poured into the tank. This is known as the pre-soak. The tank is then agitated for a minute and the content thrown away. Rinsing is a very important thing to do in order to prevent contamination.
Next, one pours 300 ml of developer into the tank and leaves it for 8 mins. The first minute is divided into two. The first half is spent agitating the developer. The developer is left to stand for the second half minute. For the next 7 mins, at intervals of 30 secs, the tank is shaken and tapped against the table to let out the air.
After the developer is removed, the tank is rinsed with water. The process is repeated twice to make sure that no cross contamination occurs.
After rinsing the tank, 300 ml of stop is poured into it. The stop is made up of 2L of water and 1 spoon citric acid. The tank is agitated for a min and then poured back into its container.
Lastly the fixer is poured into the tank and is left there for 8 mins. Here one agitates the tank for a minute and leaves it rest for 15secs . This process is repeated until the 8 mins are up.
After the film has gone through the 3 stages, the tank is rinsed under running water for 20 mins. The developer, stop and fix can be reused time and time again so it is important that they are poured back into their respective containers.
Finally the film is removed from the tank. To help it dry faster the film is placed into a tub of water containing 3 to 4 drops of wetting agent.
The film is then released from the reel and hung to dry for 4 to 5 hrs. It is important to handle the film with care as at this stage as it is very sensitive and can scratch easily.