Mostly nothing

Developing film

I got a wild hair and decided to try developing film at home. It wasn’t lab cost - although holy cow, it’s expensive now - but rather that I’m tired of futzing with RAW files. The tactile, analog approach has an appeal.

I started with black and white. Here are a few shots from my first test roll. They have issues - banding on the edges, contrast is janky, crushed shadows.

img Leica M6, Ilford HP5+ @ 800

img Leica M6, Ilford HP5+ @ 800

Eventually, I read that underdeveloping by about 20% - producing a thinner negative - works better if you’re scanning (which I am). It had a very positive effect.

img Leica M6, Ilford HP5+ @ 800

Some weeks later I made the leap to C-41. My first few rolls had color casts due to temperature management issues - gotta keep everything at a solid 102 degrees F. I picked up a sous vide and set it to 104; that’s largely fixed my issues.

img Leica M6, Portra 400 @ 800

img Pentax 67, Portra 400 @ 800

I’m happy with the process so far. It’s definitely cheaper - all in, I’m down to $5.5 per roll using HP5+ and $11 per roll for color using Portra 400. I think I may double down on B&W for the summer.