Best Photographic Chemicals for Film Developing –

Many people are intimidated by the idea of ​​developing their own negatives and photo prints. In many ways, this apprehension is understandable. To develop film, you have to operate in total darkness from time to time, without even a safelight. This is usually a slow process that requires active stirring at carefully timed intervals. Plus, once your negatives are developed, you’re only halfway to having a photo; you will have to go through a whole other sequence to print your images. Below are five reputable photographic chemicals for developing film and paper that you can always come back to for reliable results.

1. Kodak D-76 Developer Powder

If you stop 10 photographers on the street, nine of them will probably have Kodak D-76 film developer in their darkrooms. While other developers may be a step ahead in terms of sharpness, shadow detail, or tone, none can beat the D-76 in versatility. It’s extremely popular because it works with almost any black and white film and will always deliver a workable image. It won’t necessarily be the first recommended developer for beginners, as powders take more work to mix than liquid developers, but the upside is that it has an almost infinite shelf life.

To buy:
Kodak D-76 Developer Powder


2. Spring loaded record speed fixer

Another favorite of amateurs and professionals alike, Sprint Record Fixer (which makes the image permanent and light-safe) is an industry standard that delivers consistent results without too much hassle. It sets prints in one to three minutes in a bath and can be made into a hardening fixer with the brand’s converter formula, sold separately. This one liter bottle is a great budget option that will produce enough fixer for 600 prints on 8 x 10 inch fiber or 150 rolls of film.

To buy:
Spring loaded record speed fixer


3. Forma Flo form for photographers

If you’re tired of seeing water spots on your film, add a few drops of this wetting agent to your developing tank. Forma Flo is designed to decrease the surface tension of water, reducing the chance of streaks and watermarks on the film and also helping the film to dry faster. The four ounce bottle will last a long time.

To buy:
Forma Flo photographers form


4. CineStill CS41 Liquid Developer Kit

Casual photographers rarely get into developing color film, but it’s simple with this two-step kit for processing color negatives, especially if you have an accessible darkroom for color printing or scanning your negatives directly to digital. The process is even more standardized than for black-and-white movies, and CineStill’s kit comes in pre-measured portions for simplicity.

To buy:
CineStill CS41 Liquid Developer Kit


5. Kodak indicator stop bath for B&W film and paper

Some people choose not to buy a stop bath in favor of a thorough rinse, a homemade solution, or just going straight to the fixer. But a stop bath will prolong the life of your fixative and be more precise. Kodak Film and Paper Stop Bath turns purplish blue when it’s used up, making it easy to know when it’s time to throw it away. Its price is also very reasonable: it will last roll after roll and print after print.

To buy:
Kodak indicator stop bath for B&W film and paper


About Debra D. Johnson

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