On a Roll: Home Developing B&W Film


So I finally got around to developing my first roll of black & white film. For a while, I was fully convinced that film developing was a process similar to something you’d see in an episode of Breaking Bad.. specifically the one where they cook meth in the house that has a fumigation tent around it. As it turns out, film developing isn’t really something to be scared of. Here’s my process.

  • Ilford Ilfosol 3 Developer

  • Ilford Rapid Fixer

  • Paterson Developing Tank

For the first roll of film I chose Ilford HP5+ 400. I shot it at iso 200 and developed for its normal time. I diluted the developer 1:9 with tap water. So for a 300ml mix I used 30ml of developer and 270ml tap water. Here’s the recipe.

  1. Pre-washed with tap water

  2. Developed for 6min 30sec. Agitating for the first minute. Then inverting the tank 4 times for 15 seconds every minute.

  3. Stop Bath with tap water. 5 Rinses.

  4. Rapid Fixer for 5 minutes. Agitating 10 seconds every minute.

  5. Final Rinse with tap water 5 times.

And here are some of the images shot with a Minolta X-700 with a 50mm f/2 lens.


Using tap water does leave you open to the risk of mineral deposits on film.. so I’ll probably use distilled water on the next go around. Also using a thermometer and keeping the chemicals around the the same temperature supposedly helps with grain and these did wind up fairly grainy. All in all, I’m pretty happy with the results and I’ve already shot 2-3 more rolls of HP5 that I’ll be developing and tweaking the process with.