Developing & Processing for the Darkroom

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Learning How to Use Film Processing Equipment

Many photographers who still use film cameras for their pictures also develop the film themselves, using specialized film and paper developing equipment to create their prints. Using film processing equipment requires carefully applied chemicals in a controlled environment such as a darkroom to help protect the film from overexposure.

Washing and Drying Film

Some darkroom supplies, such as plastic or metal reels for holding film still inside a developing tank, often require complete darkness to operate safely since you'll be handling undeveloped exposures. Reels and canisters are easy to operate by feel alone, and specially designed lids allow for pouring in developer without exposing the film. After agitating in the canister and placement in the stop bath, clean and dry the film, ideally in a cabinet. Darkroom equipment such as film washers and driers helps ensure the safe and correct completion of these delicate procedures.

Creating Proofs and Prints

Once film development finishes, other photography equipment in the darkroom can help in creating both test strips and final prints. Photographic paper and enlargers with adjustable apertures create new exposures using negatives. The process for developing photographic paper is similar to the one used for negatives, which involves laying sheets flat in a developer tray and then in a stop bath to halt the chemical development process.

Working with Different Types of Film

Since there are different types and sizes of film, many photography supplies are adjustable to accommodate varying and changing needs. Reels and other developing tank accessories are able to expand to hold wider film while others specifically hold large format film. There are also tanks able to hold different numbers of reels, and lift rods for easily removing reels from larger tanks.

Whether you're a professional photographer or a hobbyist, B&H Photo and Video has what you need to set up a new darkroom, or to keep an existing one well stocked and supplied.