Black and white film processing is actually pretty easy, and darkroom specialist Speed Graphic has just made it easier still with the introduction of the Ilford Simplicity Starter Pack. This contains all the chemicals you need to process 2 x 35mm films or 1 x 120 roll film in a handy low-waste kit.
Some black and white photographers never stopped using film, some have come back to it as they realise the results are different to digital capture, and some want to try it out for the first time to see what all the fuss is about.
The Ilford Simplicity Starter Pack is ideal if you already have film processing equipment but you only need the chemicals occasionally. The kit includes all the key ingredients: developer (Ilfosol 3), fixer, stop bath and wetting agent. The fixer and wetting agent can actually be re-used several times. Chemicals are supplied in flexible pouches which can be re-closed and squashed to expel air and keep remaining chemicals fresh.
If you don’t have the equipment needed for processing films, Speed Graphic has that covered too, with the Paterson Film Processing Kit. This includes a developing tank, two film reels (in case you want to process two 35mm films at the same time, three measuring cylinders for measuring and diluting chemicals, a thermometer, a film squeegee and full instructions.
For more information about processing black and white films, check out Ilford’s Beginners Guide to Processing Film – Ilford Photo
The total cost for both Ilford and Paterson kits is around £65, and this is something you can genuinely do at your kitchen sink. You will need a way to get the film loaded on to the developing reels in complete darkness, however, so if you don’t have a proper light-proofed darkroom, you should budget for a ‘changing bag’ too, which will let you load the films in regular daylight.
Once you’ve got your developed negatives you then need to either print them the old fashioned way via a darkroom or lab service, or scan them to integrate them with your digital imaging workflow – but that’s another story.
Price: Ilford Simplicity Starter Pack £14.65, Paterson Film Processing Kit £52.00, Paterson Changing Bag £25.70 (also available in the US at B&H)
More information: Speed Graphic – Online Camera and Photography Accessories Store