Step 4:


At this stage, your next step is to pour in the developer.

Make sure your timer is ready and start your timer as soon as you pour the developer into the empty tank.

Make sure to agitate correctly!

Agitation is used to move around the developer inside the tank, which ensures fresh developer gets rotated though the tank. It helps prevent uneven development. Agitation can be done in different ways. There are different techniques of agitation which encompass the total duration of the agitation, at which intervals one agitates, and the nature of the agitation itself (aggressive or gentle). Agitation has an influence on grain structure and tonality.

I’ll leave you to search the internet to find out more about these techniques.

The most universal method is:

  1. Initial agitation (after developer has been poured in), should be 1 minute

  2. Agitation, for every minute after, should be 3 gentle inversions lasting 10-15 seconds.

My preferred way to agitate is to invert the tank slowly upside-down, and then back up. This takes 3-4 seconds.

Repeat this for the duration needed... (1 minute initially, then every minute after for 10-15 sec)

After agitation, tap the developing tank onto a hard surface. This dislodges any air bubbles in and on the reel.

Since I have grumpy people living underneath me, I use that big white plastic spoon to tap the tank.

Once your timer rings, notifying the end of the developing process, you must pour out the developer in the tank.

If you are using a one-shot developer like I am (Rodinal), pour it down the drain or into an old bucket. ***

If you are using a developer which can be replenished or reused, pour the developer into the cleaned 500ml jug.

Be sure to do this quickly, as the remaining developer on the film surface continues to develop.

Immediately rinse the film with tap water, by filling up the tank (not all the way, but only about 500ml worth) and agitate aggressively for 30 seconds. Then drain this water, and repeat. Rinse the film for two minutes.

After the two minute rinse, you can fill the dev tank up with water and let it stand. This gives you time to wash your beakers and jugs thoroughly. For those reusing developer, pour the developer back into the 1 litre chemical safe container. Take the time to clean everything.

*** Rodinal, along with most chemicals, are poisonous. They can destroy the bacteria in sewage works, contaminate fresh water and poison animal, fish and plant life. Please try and dump your chemicals (developer and fixer) at your nearest chemical waste plant.


You are now ready to fix your film.

Pour 500ml of fixer into your cleaned 500ml jug. Drain the water in the developing tank, and fill it up with the 500ml of fixer.

Agitate as described in the developing process. I agitate for 5 minutes, and add an extra minute for every 4th roll when I re-use the fixer.

Fixing is usually not a critical operation. When it comes to duration, a few minutes extra makes no difference.

There are other fixers out there, such as hardening fixers, which require specific processing. However, using rapid fixers such as Ilford’s and AGFA’s Fix-Ag, fixing is much more flexible.

After fixing, pour out the used fixer into the 500ml jug, and rinse the film as described after the developing process.

Unfortunately, it will take much longer than 2 minutes to wash the fixer out effectively. The process is recommended to be at least 6-10 minutes. At this stage you can remove the top of the developing tank to inspect your film.

This is when I use the funnel, since rinsing the film for 6 -10 minutes is not fun!

I remove the top of the tank, which exposes the reel in the tank, and place the funnel into the centre column. I turn on the tap, and allow it to lightly pour into the funnel. Do this for 6-10 minutes! This process uses less water than rinsing an entire tank every 30-60seconds for 6-10 minutes.

Final rinse:

The final rinse consists of a distilled water bath with wetting agent.

At this point, more than on previous notes, I really recommend the use of distilled water.

Pour out all tap water from the developing tank.

The remaining 500ml of distilled water, from the 1 litre jug, can be poured into the tank.

Place the appropriate amount of wetting agent into the tank. Rollei Wetting Agent requires a dilution of 1:100.

Replace the tank lid and cap, and agitate slowly until everything is mixed.

Place the tank down, as it needs to stand for a 2-3 minutes.

I use Rollei Wetting Agent, and I think its brilliant!

It has antistatic properties, which is something I have seen work wonders when scanning my film.

It also eliminates the need to use the dreaded squeegee, which is a tool more effective at scratching the negative than drying it.

The Rollei Wetting Agent also has a built in fungicide, which helps to protect your negatives for archival purposes.

NEXT >Developing_Step_5.html
< BACKDeveloping_Step_3.html