I recently decided to go back to analogue photography, mostly to get some use out of the lovely Leica CL which I have owned for about 2 years now and never even put a roll of film through.

I haven’t shot with a fully manual camera for almost 10 years and I’ve never used a rangefinder so the learning curve was always going to be steep. But why stop there?

I had always wanted to try home film developing but didn’t want to outlay on the kit. Now that nobody uses film anymore it turns out that the darkroom kit can be found quite cheaply often in kits (£15 for the whole lot from http://www.secondhanddarkroom.co.uk/ ).

Here’s a bare minimum checklist of what is required for B&W:

Hardware

  1. Developing tank and film reel
  2. Measuring cylinder (1 minimum, 2 better)
  3. Thermometer
  4. Bottle opener (to flip the film cannister open)
  5. Scissors (to trim the leader film off)
  6. Film clips (pegs work if you’re super cheap)

Chemicals

  1. Developer (I use Kodak HC-110 syrup)
  2. Fixer (any will do)
  3. Water (at 20C)

The fixer does not have a dramatic effect on the results, but the developer really does. They all have their own characteristics and even one developer can give a variety of results depending on variables such as dilution, temperature, agitation and duration of processing.

I have no interest in color analogue since it has been shown that color digital photography is superior, but black and white silver film still offers the ultimate exposure latitude even in the digital age. That’s why you get those lovely silky smooth grey tones.

Stay tuned for some initial results and no doubt a painful voyage of discovery