Step 3:

At this stage, you have loaded your developing tank, and are basically ready to get to the wet part of the process. First, you must prepare your workstation where you will develop your film.


I use the kitchen sink, and I make sure the space around it is completely clear.

You’ll need to bring together the following items needed for developing...

  1. Loaded film tank

  2. Latex Gloves

  3. Thermometer

  4. Stopwatch or count-down timer

  5. Notebook and pen

  6. The 1 litre graduated cylinder and/or the 1 litre measuring jug

  7. The 500ml measuring jug

  8. The 100ml graduated cylinder (if using a developer with high dilution ratio, eg. 1:50)

  9. The developer (in this case Rodinal)

  10. The fixer (in this case Ilford Rapid Fixer)

  11. The wetting agent (in this case Rollei Wetting Agent)

  12. At least 1 litre of  distilled water for the development of one reel.

  13. The Two 1 litre chemical safe containers with a large diameter screw top. (In this case Jobo)

Do you know the developing time for your specific film/developer combination?

This is an important part to the developing process. You’ll need to find the developing time corresponding to the specific film, the developer in which it is to be developed, and the specific ISO rating you exposed the film at.

iPhone users have the Dev Chart app.

Access to the Massive Dev Chart database can be found online at Be sure to also download the Temp/Time converter HERE.

Developing times can also be found on the inside of the film box, and most developers also have certain film developing times printed on the bottle.

Mix the chemicals:

At this point, its best to pre-soak the film. I usually pre-soak film for about 5 minutes, which washes out the base-dye, and it also aids the development process.

Do your homework when it comes to specific films. Film such as Rollei Infrared 400 need to be pre-soaked!

While the film is pre-soaking, mix your fixer and developer.

Fixer, such as the one I’m using, needs to be diluted from its concentrated form (1:4) and can also be reused. Therefor, use the 1 litre graduated cylinder to mix the fixer and pour the solution into one of the chemical safe containers and screw the lid on tight. Be sure to wash the 1 litre cylinder very very well before mixing the developer. (In the above image, I have my fixer ready in my Jobo container.)

Because I use Rodinal, the developer volume is usually between 10 and 19ml, which I measure using the 100ml graduated cylinder. I then pour the developer from the cylinder into the 500ml jug.

I pour in distilled water until the volume of mixed developing solution is correct   (In this case 500ml is needed***) Rodinal is a one-shot developer, so I throw away the used developer once finished.

Most other developers, such as ID-11, use lower dilution ratios, so I advise you to use the 1l litre graduated cylinder to measure the developer, and then fill up the cylinder to the correct volume with distilled water. For developers that can be reused, the second 1litre chemical-safe container can be used to store the used developer. Be sure to  know how much to adjust future developing times when reusing a developer.

NOTE: while distilled water is recommended, it’s not vital to the process.

Now measure the temperature of the developing solution, and calculate the appropriate developing time. Use your notepad and pen to jot down the necessaries. iPhone users who bought the Dev Chart app. can enter the temperature in the application, which can then adjust the time accordingly.

Get your stopwatch, count-down timer, or iphone app. ready, with the correct time for developing at the measured temperature.

Items from left to right:

  1. Cotton rag

  2. 1 litre graduated cylinder

  3. Rodinal (developer)

  4. 5l bottle with distilled water

  5. Mercury developing thermometer

  6. 100ml graduated cylinder

  7. Wetting agent in an amber glass bottle

  8. 1 litre measuring jug

  9. spoon used for tapping (explained later)

  10. 500ml measuring jug

  11. funnel (inside 500ml jug)

  12. two JOBO 1l containers

  13. latex chemical safe gloves

  14. developing tank with film being pre-soaked.

Pour out the water from the developing tank. The pre-soak dissolves some dyes on the film, and you may observe the water being discoloured. This is normal.

*** Depending on the developing tank you use and the film (35mm or 120) you want to develop, your volumes may differ. Please note the manufacturer details of your specific tank for the appropriate volumes to use.

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