35mm film developing recipe

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After exploring a series of different methods for developing 35mm black and white film at home, this is the process that gave me the most consistent results.

Based on a variation of semi-stand development, this process is very forgiving and doesn’t require exact time keeping.

I tested it on Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 1600, developing three rolls at a time with this setup:

Equipment

  • 3 roll Paterson development tank
  • 3 Auto load reels
  • 1 litre mixing jug
  • 3 film clips
  • Mixer paddle
  • 1 litre concertina bottle
  • Rodinal
  • Ilford Rapid Fixer

Process and timings

  • Presoak with running water – 1 minute
  • Mix developer – 12ml Rodinal one shot R09 to 858ml water
  • Add developer – 5 to 10 inversions for 1 minute
  • Leave for 1 hour with 3 slow inversions at 30 mins
  • Mix fixer – 200ml Ilford Rapid Fixer to 800ml water
  • Empty developer
  • Stop bath with running water – 3 minutes
  • Add fixer – 10 minutes – 4 inversions every first 10 seconds of each minute
  • Water wash with running water 2 minutes
  • Add single drop of washing up liquid
  • Water wash with running water 2 minutes
  • Hand squeegee film and quick wipe with kitchen towel to remove any final drops of water