Tag Archives: developing

Developing C-41 Color Print Film in Black & White Developer

Developing notes
I used Kodak HC-110 developer. I like it and it is what I have right now. I used dilution H, which is 1 part developer to 63 parts water. This is straight developer concentrate, not a stock solution. The concentrate is the US strength, where dilution B is 1+31 — I’ve read that HC-110 comes in a weaker dilution across the pond. I’ve never seen it or used it, just throwing the warning out there.

One thing about using more dilute developer is to make sure you have enough developer concentrate in the solution. The Yankee tank I used calls for 340mL of developer for one roll of 35mm film. Easy enough — divide 340 by 64 to get the amount of syrup I need. It comes out to 5.3125mL. However, you need at least 6mL of HD-110 syrup to have enough of the active chemicals to convert the exposed portions of a roll of 35mm film to metallic silver. So… 6mL X 64 = 384mL total. I use dilution H a lot so I made a mark on a graduated cylinder with a permanent marker at 384mL. That way, I just put in 6mL of syrup and fill to the mark with water. Use dilution H as a one-shot — don’t re-use.

An oral syringe for measuring medicine for children (cats in my case) is perfect for this. I fill a 3mL syringe twice, squirt it into the cylinder, add some water into the cylinder, suck and squirt the water a few times to make sure I get all of the syrup out of the syringe, then top off to 384mL.

I got the most useful information about HC-110 from this page at Covington Innovations.

I used Kodak indicator stop bath at a dilution of 16mL/liter. You might see the recommended dilution stated as 1:64 or 1:63. It’s meant to be one part of a total solution of 64 parts. That’s why I like the 1+## notation rather than a ratio — you don’t have to guess whether the writer means 1 part plus ## water or 1 part of ## solution. It can be re-used and changes color (the indicator) when exhausted but it’s inexpensive so I don’t re-use it.

*The stop bath concentrate is a strong acetic acid. Strong enough to require ground shipping only in the US, so don’t get it on you. It’s also flammable and an inhalation hazard, so seriously, treat it with respect and protect your eyes.*

I used Ilford Rapid Fixer at 1+4. I normally don’t re-use the fixer either. It’s more expensive than the stop but I shoot such a bizarre mix of color print film (usually developed as color print negatives), slides, B&W film, and digital that my problem is usually shelf life rather than chemical exhaustion. If I’m doing a large run, I might re-use. In this case, I didn’t know what the color print film might leave in the solutions, so definitely one-shot.

With everything mixed, we’re finally ready to go.

Everything was done at a temperature of 68F (~20C).

Develop for 11 minutes. The data sheet calls for agitation every 30 seconds. I have a tendency to agitate too vigorously and dilution H is a little more forgiving so I generally do 4 inversions immediately after filling, smack the tank on the counter as I set it down to loosen any bubbles, and repeat at the beginning of each subsequent minute.

Stop for 1 minute. I did 4 inversions + smack at the beginning and then let it sit for the rest of the minute.

Fix for 5 minutes. Ilford recommends 2-5 minutes for B&W films. This was an experiment so getting anything was the goal. I used the same agitation scheme as the developing step.

Wash using the Ilford method: “After fixing, fill the spiral tank with water at the same temperature, +/-5ºC (9ºF), as the processing solutions and invert it five times. Drain the water away and refill. Invert the tank ten times. Once more drain the water away and refill. Finally, invert the tank twenty times and drain the water away.”

I did an extra 20 inversion wash step for good measure.

I filled the tank and added a couple of drops of Kodak Photo-Flo and did 20 inversions.

I took the film out, gave a loud YES! when I saw images, squeegeed with a cellulose sponge and hung to dry.

Developing Ancient Polaroid Pack Film Negatives

Update 1 March 2019
Trying to date a print I found with the camera, I looked up the date codes on the back of the positives. The film is not as old as I thought. It’s Type 667, the successor to the 107C film referenced below. Using the documents from the Phound Photo entry, the B&W film with manufacturing code E1V142801H is:

Made after 1996 (from the format of the code).
E=made in May.
1=2001 (the first 1 year after 1996).
V=made at the Vale of Leven plant in Scotland.
14=identifies it was made on machine #14.
28=shift A on 10th of month.
01=component change (I have no idea what this means).
H=Type 667 film (coaterless, 10 frames per pack).
End of Update 1 March 2019



I got another pack film camera, a 100 with the Zeiss rangefinder from a 250. It had a pack of Polaroid Type 107 3000 B&W film in it. I pulled one on the very long odds that the developing pods might be good. Nope, dry as a bone. I put a battery in the camera and tried the shutter and it seems to work fine.

I pulled the shutter test frame out of the camera in a dark bag and tried developing it. I’d read somewhere that you could develop the negatives from pack film but I’d never seen an example or tried it. On one Flickr discussion group, someone suggested you could treat it like old Kodak Panatomic-X. So, I had to dig for developing info about one extinct film (according to Wikipedia, Panatomic-X hasn’t been made since 1987) so I could try it on another extinct film.

The instructions I got with the 107 film in the camera call for coating the prints. The coater-less version, 107C, came out in 1978. I don’t know if Polaroid kept making 107 after 107C came out but even 107C hasn’t been made since 1998. If I’d realized it was that old I might have saved a frame. Probably not, the first thing people do when looking at an old camera in a thrift shop is to open it. Any way, the instructions I found called for HC-110 dilution B (1+31) at 68F for 4.5 minutes.

I don’t have any normal tanks that can develop large format negatives. The Polaroid image (excluding the border) is 7.3 X 9.5cm. In one of those “buy the lot to get the one thing you want” purchases, I got a Cibachrome color processing drum (PDF manual). It was made to do prints without using a series of open trays. Cibachrome was an awesome process, direct to positive, full color prints. Sadly, I learned about it too late. It too is an extinct product.

This is the shutter test shot. Developed in HC-110, dilution H (1+63) at 68F for 9 minutes. I frequently use half the concentration for twice the time. It’s a little gentler on old negatives (old paper negative in this case) and it helps to have a little time leeway. The results are pretty similar to HC-110 B. This was a go/no-go test so getting anything was the goal.

Negative image taken with my iPhone.

Negative image taken with my iPhone.

No idea what it is but it’s not my target, the kitchen lights. I tried bleaching the negative but all I did was take off some of the emulsion.

A proper scan at 600 DPI after the bleaching attempt.

A proper scan at 600 DPI after the bleaching attempt.


The scan inverted.  Still no idea -- probably nothing.

The scan inverted. Still no idea — probably nothing.

I had nothing but variables: an unknown film, shot in an unknown camera, developed with an unknown process. I know, I’ll use a different camera I haven’t tested!

I pulled the remaining three frames out of the film pack and put them into a light tight box. Wrangling a Polaroid and a box in a small changing bag is an exercise in patience. Once that was done, I removed the extra paper, developing pods, and positives, leaving just the negatives emulsion side up (I think) in the box. The next magic act was getting a negative out of the box and into the test camera, a Kodak Autographic No. 3A (1918-27) which is nearly as big as the Polaroid.

I shot a test and then psyched myself out that I didn’t have the emulsion facing the subject. Just to be sure, I put the beast back in the dark bag, turned the film over and shot it again. I shot the same subject so I still don’t know if I had it right the first time.

My meter app doesn’t have ISO 3000 so I guesstimated that the film would have lost some speed and used 2500. I used the fastest shutter on the old Kodak, 1/100 second and f/16. That was really fortunate since the aperture on the camera is labeled in US (Universal System) units not f-stops. I have a screen grab of an old table comparing aperture systems somewhere. At least I didn’t have to stop everything and find it because I remembered that f-stops and US cross each other at 16

I was getting impatient so I used HC-110 B for 4.5 minutes this time. The framing is terrible but the blobs of dark on the negative are definitely the kitchen lights.

A negative!

A negative!

Fugly, but it's a photograph.

Fugly, but it’s a photograph.

Did I prove anything? Yeah sort of. I know old Polaroid negatives will produce an image. Is it useful information? Probably not to anyone but me but that was the point. Photography forums (fora?) are as bad as Apple discussion groups. There’s always some snarky little bitch who says, “Why waste time? Just go buy X”. That misses the point. I want to know. I already know I can go buy something — there’s no challenge in that.

Phound Photos Volume 5

I bought a Kodak Instamatic 104 as part of a camera lot and it came with a Kodachrome-64 cartridge. I had tried processing Kodachrome as black and white before but got nothing. I tried again using Kodak HC-110 and Ilford Rapid Fixer and the film had some retrievable images.

Christmas portrait.

Christmas portrait.

Looks a bit like Richard Karn as Al on "Home Improvement".

Looks a bit like Richard Karn as Al on “Home Improvement”.

Another Eastern Air Lines photo.

Another Eastern Air Lines photo.

Nice hat.

Nice hat.

Palm trees.  Makes sense -- Eastern was headquartered in Miami.

Palm trees. Makes sense — Eastern was headquartered in Miami.

The camera itself isn’t any help dating these images. The Instamatic 104 was made from 1965 to 1968. Kodachrome 64 in 126 format was made from 1974 to 1993. That at least sets an early limit — the photos are from no earlier than 1974. Eastern Air Lines went out of business in 1991 so that more or less sets an upper date limit. Going by hair and clothing styles, I’d guess late 70s or early 80s.

Processing Kodachrome as black and white creates really dense negatives, even after removing the anti-halation layer. I didn’t have to do anything special to get the remjet off — a pre-wash did most of the work and an extra-thorough rinse at the end did the rest. The negatives are also really orange which is why the digitally inverted negatives are blue.

My scanner couldn’t transmit enough light through the negatives to get anything useful. Even normal use of a slide projector wasn’t bright enough. I ended up putting individual negatives in a slide frame (Kodachrome is also really thick and really curly) and taping it over the front of the slide projector lens. I used macro mode on the Nikon AW100 to photograph the negatives. I shot at an angle so the pattern of the bulb didn’t show through and de-skewed in Photoshop. The light wasn’t consistent across the frame so there is some vignetting, showing as a lighter halo when the images were inverted.

I found a couple of articles about bleaching the negatives using C-41 bleach or fixer with ascorbic acid. I’ll try that when I can and add results here.

Developing notes:

All except running water rinses at 20C/68F. Yankee tank with 2 adjustable reels using just the lower reel. Any 35mm setup will work. 126 is the same width with different perforations.

For the pre-wash, I ball-parked 68F using my finger under the tap and ran water into the tank for 2 minutes. A lot of yellow water with black flecks came out at first. Drained and set the timer for developing.

Kodak HC-110 dilution H. H is an unofficial dilution. It’s 1/2 strength dilution B for twice the time. 1 part developer to 63 parts water. Instructions say to use at least 6mL of developer per roll so I used 6mL developer syrup and 378mL water to get the right ratio (total developer solution = 384mL). Continuous inversions for the first minute and then 15 seconds of inversions every 3 minutes for a total of 20 minutes. Drained and got more yellow liquid and black flecks.

Kodak Indicator stop bath mixed at a strength of 16mL/L (5-6mL for 340mL). 2 inversions and then sit for 1 minute. Drained pretty clear. I never reuse the stop so I don’t use the indicator. I’ll have to reuse some just so I know what the indicator color change looks like.

If I was going to reuse the fixer, I’d add a rinse here. I wasn’t so I didn’t.

Ilford Rapid Fixer mixed 1:4 (68mL fix + 272mL water for 340mL). Same inversions (agitation) as the developer for a total of 15 minutes. Drained pretty clear.

I sometimes use the temperature control bath water for rinsing if I’m sure I didn’t get any chemicals in it. It’s already at the right temperature. I filled the tank and inverted 5 times and emptied it. Refill, invert 10X, empty, and then the same with 20X inversions. I usually stop rinsing here but I was concerned about the remjet backing so I added ~3 minutes under running water to be sure.

After the rinse, I added a few drops of Kodak Photo-Flo, refilled the tank with water, inverted a few times to make it nice and foamy, drained, squeegeed with my fingers, and hung it to dry.