A Guide to Developing Tanks
People use developing tanks with special film reels to develop film rolls or sheets. After loading your film on the reel, you place it in a film developing tank with the chemistry mixture to develop. Most tanks have instructions for the proper amount of developing chemicals for specific film formats. The reel locks onto a center post, and chemicals mix consistently during the process to ensure the film gets a thorough coat. Using film developing tanks with darkroom print washers and dryers helps you develop your film from start to finish.
Types of Film Developing Tanks
Stainless steel and plastic are the two materials used to build developing tanks. Some reels have mechanisms that allow you to adjust them to accommodate different film sizes. Stainless steel tanks are less likely to drip, and thermal capacity decreases, so chemical mixtures aren't as affected by temperature change as they are with plastic tanks. Plastic tanks are cost-effective choices and easy to clean, fill, and empty. Paterson tanks, a popular plastic option for beginners. They are quick-loading, thanks to ball bearing mechanisms on the center posts.
Choosing Film Developing Kits
Some developing kits have tanks that can hold up to six sheets of film, while others are able to hold eight 35mm rolls of film at a time. Selecting kits with accessories such as graduated containers for measuring chemicals and adjustable reels helps beginners by removing the guesswork. AP Photo offers a full darkroom kit that has a graduated cylinder, film washer and dryer trays, a two-reel developing tank, and more useful developing accessories. Basic tank and reel options are also available from Paterson for standard 35mm film processing. With tabletop processors that are plastic, such as some compact daylight tanks with extra reels or graduated cylinders, you can develop in open light.
B&H Photo and Video has multiple film developing kits to consider, including tabletop options. Browse photo chemicals, developing trays, tanks and drums, and other darkroom equipment for your studio.