More film experiments – C41 colour in B&W chemicals

Yesterday I developed some cheap ISO200 Agfa colour film from Poundland – unsurprisingly, £1 a roll – in B&W chemicals. I’d heard that this was possible, but reported results varied from “it’s fine but negatives are really dark” to “it’s all grainy and horrible and negatives are really dark”, and detailed instructions were a bit limited.

The summary of my report is that (a) it looks fine, the results are actually surprisingly sharp (b) negatives are really dark due to the orange layer on the film which does… something… but you can compensate for this when scanning (c) it turns the developer orange as well so best not to re-use it.

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Experiments with stand development

I have occasionally heard about “stand development”, which appeared to be, instead of using a concentrated solution of film developer for a short period of time (agitating frequently), using a diluted solution of a film developer and letting it sit there for a long period of time. Well, I have absolutely no problem with letting chemicals sit on a shelf rather than having to pay attention to them. Really, I am extremely relaxed on that point. So I decided to try this process. I have a lot of Ilfotec LC29; I made up c. 500ml of a solution at 1 parts developer to 100 parts water (1+100) and immersed a roll of 120 Fomapan 400 film in it for an hour. Initially I gave it 30 seconds of agitation, and, after half an hour, another 30 seconds. After the hour was up, the usual stop bath and fixer for four minutes.

The results seem quite reasonable. Shots in bright light have not come out that brilliantly, but that is a problem generally with Fomapan 400 in my experience (also, perhaps, how I expose it). In mixed light, they have come out well. The grain isn’t any more than I’d expect from normal development. And: it used 5ml of developer, and also gave me the time to cook dinner while it was going. I think I may do this again – mixing up more concentrated solutions is faster and allows for re-use of the mix, but I rarely want to develop that many rolls in a short time. I’m not sure how useful it would be for pushing.