B&W FILM PROCESSING 03

King Street, Toronto. TRI-X, by Tom Rice-Smyth

PART 3 OF 5

So lets begin, I will be using the following:

  • 35 mm film TRI-X 400
  • Stainless steel reels and tanks
  • D-76 at a dilution of 1:2 (1 part concentrate, 2 parts water)

Stepping through the process:

  • Water pre soak (68 degrees) tap water is fine for this as long as it’s at the same temperature as the following chemicals.
  • Developer D-76 at 1:2 dilution (68 degrees)
  • Stop bath (68 degrees)
  • Fixer (68 degrees)
  • First water wash for 10 min. (68 degrees)
  • Hypo clear agent for 1 min. (68 degrees)
  • Final wash for 30 min. (68 degrees)
  • Photo-flow

Agitation

When you use steel reels and tanks you have to use a Taurus motion, which is a combination of inversion while twisting the tank. Then at the end of the agitation you have to put it down on your table with a bit of a thud. This is to stop the bubbles created during agitation to float to the top and don’t stick to the emulsion of the film. If they stick to the film during a development cycle they will create air bells that produce overdeveloped circles on the film and they show up as a reduced density creating black spots in your print.

Water pre soak ( 1 min with continuous agitation)

This step helps reduce the number and severity of developer marks. These marks range from bromide drag to uneven development. This also helps to bring the film to the correct temperature (68 degrees) and swells the emulsion so that the developer can infuse into the emulsion without creating uneven development.

Development (start with continuous agitation for 1 minute)

Once the developer has been poured into the light tight tank the first agitation cycle should begin. I have found that the first 1-minute of continuous agitation is preferable and thereafter 10 seconds in every 30 seconds until the development time is reached. Remember to put the tank down with a thud at the end of each agitation cycle. This will release the air bubbles from the emulsion side of the film.

Stop bath (I minute)

This stage should have continuous agitation to stop the development cycle and should last at least 1-minute.

Fixer

This should last for 4-minutes with continuous agitation for the first minute and 10 seconds in every 30 seconds

First water wash (10 minutes)

This is done for 10 minutes so that the chemicals can be flush from the surface of the film.

Hypo Clear agent (1-2 minutes)

I recommend this stage as it reduces water usage, and chemical fog on the film, which can introduce blocked shadow details. It also is an efficient way to archival wash film.

Final wash (30 minutes)

Photo flow (2 or 3 min with gentle agitation)

Film Development times

This is a tricky one as we are using D-76 at a dilution that is higher than Kodak recommends. Each developer/ film combination will be different based on the manufactures recommended times. So we have to sort of guess a bit. Kodak indicates 6 ¾ minutes at full strength for TRI-X 400 and as we are diluting it 1:2 I would recommend starting at 8 minutes and then adjust as necessary from there.

The next installment will be about exposing the film based on everything we have seen to now.

“You learn things through taking photographs; photography is your teacher. The main thing is to keep on taking photographs for ever and ever.”

Nobuyoshi Araki

Part 02

Part 04

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