Film Developing : LUSENET : Darkroom Technique : One Thread

Hello, I am very new to B&W developing and photography. I would like to know if there is a downside reguarding the "monobath" od of developing film. I just can't get the knack of using the metal spool, and don't want to ruin any more of my film. I appreciate any help you can give!


-- Donna Hernandez (, March 23, 2002


Donna: The metal film spools are tricky, but I would suggest that you just practise with an exposed roll. When I was learning, I used to sit with an old roll and a spool and try loading while I was watching TV. Eventually, I got the hang of it.

There are two other options I can think of: 1. There are plastic self loading spools that many people use. Personally, I don't like these, but many people do.

2. There is another processing method known as the "Tube" method. I was taught this when I was a college freshman. Its really pretty simple and can produce very uniform results. You will need the following items:

One plastic golf club tube. These are the plastic tubes that hold golf clubs in the golf bag. You can find them at most spoting stores.

Two rubber or cork stoppers that will fit in the ends of the plastic tube. Maybe you could getthese at Home depot or Lowes. I'm sure you could get them at a plumbing supply store. They should fit tight enough to be water tight.

Heres the process: Plug one end of the tube Mix up your chemistry and set the containers up so you can easily reach them in the dark Turn off the lights and open your film cannister Slide the 35 mm film into the tube. A 36 exposure roll will fit down the length of the tube Pour in your chemistry leaving about 2 inches of air at the top of the tube Plug the top Agitate every 30 seconds by rotating the tube top to bottom like a baton (slowly). You will be able to hear the air bubble move from one end of the tube to the other. This will effectively agitate the film. Continue to do this until development time is complete. unstop one end of the tube and pour out the developer. Add the stop and continue to agitate. Do the same for fix, and hypoclear.

I used this method until I got proficient with reels. There are only a couple of drawbacks. 1. You can only process one roll at a time 2. chemistry changes must be made in the dark. Actually, its safer to do the whole process in the dark.

Good luck


-- don sigl (, May 28, 2002.

I used metal reels many, many years ago when plastic reels were not available. Plastic reels are much easier to use - and they are practically foolproof in that you know when you are loading them if you've done it correctly. I cannot imagine going back to metal reels - it is crazy to go through the effort to load a reel and process the film, only to learn that you loaded it incorrectly and ruined the film. Buy a Patterson tank and reels. There are other brands as well, but I don't recall any at the moment.

Philip Tilton

-- philip tilton (, August 19, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ