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These hints are assembled from questions we are most often asked and problems we most often encounter. Solutions are from the experiences of Wolfe's personnel and helpful customers. Due to variations of personal taste and limited information sources, not all suggestions will work for everyone.




Production of black and white photographs is divided into film processing and print processing. Film is exposed to light (using your camera). The processed film becomes a negative which is used to produce a positive image on photographic paper (photo print) using a contact frame or an enlarger.

Film processing is usually divided into:

DEVELOPER--a chemical that reacts with the exposed silver on the film turning it black, which creates the negative image.

STOP--does just that-stops the action of the developer. This step reduces carry-over contamination of the fix/hypo (next step).

FIXER--also called hypo, clears off the undeveloped silver (shadow areas) of the film, and makes the film permanently insensitive to light.

HYPO NEUTRALIZER--a chemical solution that speeds up the release of fixer from the film during washing to shorten wash time. Many permit 5 minutes or less wash. It is used between the fixer and wash steps.

WASH--this plain water rinse dilutes and removes the fixer solution from the film. The length of time and amount of water used in this step can be reduced by using a hypo neutralizer bath before starting the washing.

PHOTO-FLO--a wetting agent that reduces surface tension, allowing water to flow off without leaving drops that dry to form spots on the film emulsion. These dried spots from regular water without photo-flo will not wash off and usually cannot be removed with film cleaner.




DEVELOPER HINTS--most experts recommend 5 seconds agitation every 30 seconds throughout the development time for film processed at normal ratings. All agitation should be at a moderate rate--if you shake the tank too violently, streaking can result.

PREVENTING AIR BUBBLES--pouring solutions into a daylight development tank cantrap air on the film. Always tap your tank on a solid surface to dislodge air bubbles (also called air bells) when you've poured in a solution to start the processing. If the bubbles are allowed to remain they will appear as small clear or lighter circles on the negative after processing is complete. If you're having trouble with bubbles try these ideas. Before you start to process the film, try a short presoak (1 to 2 minutes) in water or water with a few drops of photo-flo added. If film is excessively dry, bubbles stick tighter and presoaking will usually allow them to float off as the developer is poured in. Avoid using freshly mixed developer, especially if your mixing faucet has an aerator. Don't shake up developer before using it. Air added to developer by the aerator or by shaking can cling to the film, causing spots.

STOP BATH-ACETIC ACID or PLAIN WATER?--as in most processes there are two (at least) schools of thought. One of these is that to minimize fixer contamination from developer carried over the film, an acid stop is most effective (1/2 oz. of 28% acid per quart of water). Photographers striving for the ultimate in fine grain usually use plain water. Time for either method is 30 seconds to a minute.

FIXER--rapid fixer is preferred since it reduces fixing time and is harder fixing. Fixing time is 2-5 minutes in rapid fix compared to 5-10 minutes required in regular fixer. Extra hardening in the fixer is desirable for finer grain and a more durable emulsion surface. If the fixer is old (over 30 days) twice the clearing time is the minimum recommended time. Clearing time is the time the film takes to lose its creamy gray or pink color in the clear areas. Cream colored areas in dry film indicates insufficient fixing or exhausted fixer. If this happens to you, refix (in fresh fixer) and rewash to clear the film.

WASH--for archival permanence (film that will not begin to fade in a few years or less), at least 30 minutes is recommended in a good film wash. For a fine grain, a shorter time such as about 10 minutes is better, as the grain (clumps of silver that form the film image) tend to swell while wet. Use of a hypo neutralizer can reduce wash time to below 3 minutes. Orbit Bath and Hustler are both easy to use liquid neutralizers.

DRYING--many people use distilled water in their photo-flo due to the dirt in Topeka's water. This is especially advisable in summer. A squeegee will also take off extra crud on film, but be careful to keep the squeegee clean. Dirt caught on the squeegee can scratch the film. Once dirt has dried on the film emulsion, it often will not come off. Do not fast dry film with a room heater or hair dryer. This can cause significant grain increase. A room heater or hair dryer at several feet away, or just a fan, will speed up drying if needed. It is best to cut and file film immediately after it is dry. If it is rolled up and stored, often the curl is hard to get back out.




1. Less frequent agitation will produce lower contrast in your negatives. Because of less chemical activity there will also be some increase in processing time. The HC110R chart following this section shows times and agitation for good push processing results.

2. The higher 72 degrees to 75 degrees processing temperatures give shorter processing time with no increase in grain. Use all steps at whatever temperature you start with.

3. Pull processing: Sometimes it is desirable to reduce film speed in development. When it is done intentionally, it is usually to give an expanded tonality to the film. When it is done accidentally, the film is pulled to save incorrectly exposed film. Reducing developing time by 20% gives approximately one stop speed reduction, or 1/2 of the ISO rating (example: ISO 400 becomes ISO 200). Because the tones extend excessively with excess overexposure and extreme under processing, more reduction is not recommended, however 2 to 3 stops of overexposure will normally be printable with about 30% reduction from normal processing time. Do not reduce time on T-Max or other flat grain film. A 10% time reduction can cause serious contrast has and over 1 stop speed loss.

4. Paper backed roll film, such as 120, seems to process slower than their 35mm counterparts. For best results, try about 10% time than for the 35mm version of the film.




1. Averaging reflected meters as used in most 35mm cameras generally read one stop too low on football arid basketball. In unfamiliar locations it is best to push one stop further than the meter reading (for example, if your meter is set for ISO 1600, process for ISO 3000).

2. For theatrical performance, when a spot light is being used, process for half the film speed the meter is set at (example, with meter set for ISO 1600, process for ISO 800). This does not apply to stages with even or full stage illumination, where your meter should be correct.

3. When pushing other than 400 speed film exposed indoors, process for one stop higher than meter rating (example: Plus-X shot indoor at ISO 250 should be processed at ISO 500). This does not apply to flash and daylight. Most 400 speed films have increased red sensitivity for tungsten exposure. Most slower films do not, so they need extra exposure under light bulb illumination only.





A new category of black and white films have been appearing in the 90's. Called T-grain, flat grain, tabular grain or similar labeling, it so far is in most color films but only Kodak T-Max series and Ilford Delta series black and white films, It is finer grain than it's standard grain counterparts and being thinner emulsion is considered to have higher resolution.

Some unique traits of these films: (1) normal processing requires longer time than standard film. (2) fixing requires about twice as long as previous films. (3) It easily pushes one stop with only a slight additional time increase from normal. (4) Response to various developers is not the same as traditional films. For example. Kodak HC-110R, recommended for extreme push with Kodak Tri-X and Ilford HP-5 does not push T-Max film nearly as well. Response to D-76 and the special T Max developer is excellent however. (5) In printing, it may he hard to tell the emulsion from the backing. The emulsion has a sheen rather than being dull, and the back is matte coated for retouching, so both have a semi dull appearance. If in doubt look at the numbers on the film edge and get them right side up.

IT'S NOT 3200! Kodak places a "P' before the film speed on several films they make to show that the rating is not the normal rating, but a rating the film can be ''pushed'' up to and still maintain excellent quality. The true rating for P-3200 is ISO 800-1000.




An easy to use liquid developer providing excellent results with popular black & white films, especially compatible with T-Max films. Excellent results with 1 and 2 stop push, moderate quality for 3 stop push. We do not recommend more than 3 stop push or 21 minutes processing due to what appears to be a chemical absorption causing a fog that noticeably reduces negative quality.

For use, Kodak recommends 1:4 dilution. Our tests have been run at 1:4 or, when using small stainless tanks (8 ounce or 16 ounce) 1½ ounces developer with 61/2 ounces water to achieve an even figure for easier measurement.

In order to reduce the cost of chemistry, Kodak does suggest the following: ''For non-critical use, developer life can be extended by adding one minute to the time for each process run (maximum of three). For example: RoIl 1 in 8 oz. of developer 7 min. Roll 2 in the same solution 8 min. Roll 3 in the same solution 9 min. After three rolls, the developer should be discarded.''

We would add (1) if you are push processing, you will exhaust the developer faster, so greater time increase would be required. (2) Kodak does not clearly state keeping ability of used developer. They do give the time for keeping of a mixed working solution in a half full bottle at 2 months, so we would expect that mixed, used solution in a full bottle could he used possibly as much as a month later. If the pictures are important, 2 weeks or less based on the chemical still being about the same color as when poured in the bottle (if it gets darker, use becomes more questionable).










ISO Rating


T-MAX   100 400 P3200 68 Degrees 75 Degrees
normal 100 400 1000 9 min. 8 min.
1 stop push 200 800 1600 12 min. 10 min
2 push stop 400 1600 3200 17 min. 15 min.
3 push stop N.R. 3200 6400 N.R. 21 min.

Tri-X/HP-5 400 8-1/2 min. 7-1/2 min.
800 12 min. 10 min.
1600 17 min. 15 min.
3200 N.R. 21 min.

Fuji 1600 1600 8-1/2 min. 7-1/2 min.
3200 14 min. 12 min.

Plus-X 125 7 min. 6 min.

Other Films normal 8 min. 7 min.
1 stop push 12 min. 10 min.


Agitation is 15 seconds the first minute and 5 seconds every minute after that for normal and 1 stop push. To reduce contrast increase, drop to 15 seconds the first minute and 5 seconds every minute after that for higher speed pushing.




Ektagraphic Slide film is called a slide film because the high contrast negative images
are often used as 35mm projection slides. Black type or graphs photograph as clear and
the white background photographs black. In long rolls (bulk film) and sheet film this film
is also sold as Kodalith type 3 film.

Following are some hints to making the best use of this material:

(1) Exposure is extremely critical, less than ± ½ stop latitude. The film is extremely
slow, about ISO 6-8 with photo floods, slightly faster outdoors

(2) Kodalith developer provides the blackest black with clear whites. Use about 3 min. at
75 degrees. Kodak Dektol or Ethel LPD paper developers diluted 1:1 from stock solution provide satisfactory results for experimenting developed 3 min. at 75 degrees but is likely to pinhole.

(3) Color effects can he added to the clear areas of Kodalith slides quite easily. Dr. P.R.
Martin's water colors are designed specifically for this application. For less critical applications, food coloring will color the entire slide by simple immersion of the slide. Felt
markers will work but usually show streaking.




Technical pan is high contrast film that can be used for very high contrast negatives (not
as contrasty as Kodalith), high contrast, or normal negatives with extreme fine grain and
sharpness. Following are some basic time and chemistries at 75 degrees. Because of the critical exposure required by this film, you may need to make adjustments to fit you particular equipment.

  • Very High contrast with ISO 200: HC110 Dil B 9 min.
  • High contrast-ISO 100-Develop normal time for regular film.
  • Medium contrast-ISO 25-32-Technidol 8 min. or FG-7 1:31 10 min.
    or Rodinol 1:130 12 min.







Suggested Processing Times With Popular Film Developers


Basic processing times for normal processing of most films with some common developers. Add 10% to these times for high speed films such as Tri-X and HP-5. Subtract 10% for PIus-X only. Add 20% for all T-Max films.


Developer 68 degrees 75 degrees
Microdol-X 9 minutes 7¼ minutes
Microdol-X 1:3 12 minutes 9 minutes
Il ford Perceptol 13 minutes 9 minutes
D-76 7 minutes 6 minutes
D-76 1:1 9 minutes 7 minutes
Edwal FG-7 1:15 12 minutes 9 minutes

*We have used FG-7 with high speed films at normal ratings using the recommended adjustment above with no problems. FG-7 gives additional directions for pushing and for using sulfite additive in the developer instructions. Use of sulfite may give finer grain with high speed films.



Push processing times for D-76 with Tri-X, HP-5 and T-Max 400


IE Rating 68 degrees 75 degrees
ISO 800 12 minutes 9 minutes
ISO 1600 18 minutes 13 minutes
ISO 2000 20 minutes 15 minutes




Processing with HC110 Developer or HC110 Replenisher:

1. HC110 Developer dilution B or:
2. HC110 Replenisher diluted 1:31 (1/4 oz makes 8 oz. developer) from one pint concentrate or 1:3 from prepared replenisher. Agitate for 5 seconds every minutes. Use 72 degrees temperature.


Film Speed 72 degrees


ISO 400 7 minutes
ISO 800 10 minutes
ISO 1600 15 minutes


ISO 125 5-1/4 minutes
ISO 400 10 minutes
Most Other Films Normal 6 minutes

Fuji 1600

ISO 1600

7 minutes

ISO 3200

11 minutes




For high speed push as follows: use only HC110 Replenisher. HC110 Developer will require longer times and may not work at all for highest times. Agitate at start, when 1/3 time elapsed and when 2/3 of time elapsed only.

1. HC110 Replenisher diluted 1:15 (1/2 oz. makes 8 oz. developer) from pint concentrate, or:
2. HC110 Replenisher from prepared solution dilute 1:1.


Film Speed 72 degrees


ISO 1600 7 minutes
ISO 2400 10 minutes
ISO 3200 15 minutes

Fuji 1600

ISO 5000

10 minutes



1. HC110 Replenisher diluted 1:7 (1 oz. makes 8 oz. developer) from pint concentrate, or:
2. HC110 Replenisher direct from prepared solution.


Film Speed 72 degrees


ISO 4000 7 minutes

Agfa 400

ISO 6000

10 minutes

ISO 8000

15 minutes




*T-Max 400 does not push well in HC-100.
We recommend T-Max developer for best push quality with T-Max films.







Acufine and Ethol UFG are popular push processing chemistries in addition to the two charts on this sheet.  Most people feel their times give weak negatives.  We suggest adding 1/3 to 1/2 to their times to get more satisfactory negatives.  Another way to correct this is by using 1/2 the film speed recommended by their data.

Samples times with popular films.


Film Speed

68 degrees

75 degrees


ISO 400

4-1/2 minutes

3-1/2 minutes
ISO 1000

7-1/2 minutes

6 minutes


ISO 250

6 minutes

5 minutes
Popular films 2X Normal

6-1/2 minutes

5-1/2 minutes







This is a unique black & white developer having some unusual characteristics that can be very useful for special situations:

(1) Rodinol is a high resolution developer. It's enthusiasts consider it to produce the sharpest grain pattern of any developer available. This is not to be confused with line grain, Rodinol produces moderate grain with a sharp diamond edge shape. The extreme detail makes this an excellent combination with fine grain films such as T-Max 100, llford Pan-F and Panatomic-X.

(2) Reduced, normal and pushed processing times are all possible with Rodinol. A word of caution about pushing. Rodinol is a "cannibalistic" developer. It actually consumes the silver off your film. The push processing time recommended below probably will not produce a black in the highlights no matter how much the overexposure. With increased time, you may actually process long enough to produce clear film, the entire silver having been consumed.

(3) It is surprisingly moderate, in cost due so the high dilution used. If you use the mantifacturers recommendation, try 10-20% overdevelopment as most mfgr. recommendation produce slightly thin negatives.




Normal processing with most films   1:63 dilution    10 minutes at 75 degrees
Tri-X/HP-5 rated at ISO 2000 or     1:31 dilution      17 minutes at 75 degrees
Fuji 1600 rated at ISO 4000

The choice of odd dilution is for easy conversion to ounces for 8 ounce tanks.  1/8 ounce in an 8 ounce tank or 1/4 ounce in a 16 ounce tank for 1:63.






To reduce the chance of streaking that can occur with single direction agitation, it is best to rotate your inversion tank at the same time as you are inverting it, as shown in this illustration. Normal agitation should be three inversion/rotations and should take about 5 seconds. Don't forget to tap the tank at least once near the start of processing to dislodge air bells.