Newcomers to black-and-white processing often ask what other equipment they need. The following is an account of what I use.

  • Rondinax, Rondix, Essex or Kent Tank
  • Pair of scissors for 35 mm films
  • Developer, Fixer and containers. I cannot advise on what you will need in terms of mixing from powder since the volumes of the storage bottles needed will depend on what you buy. For a concentrated developer you will need a small, measuring cylinder (graduate) capable of measuring 1 ml. Some people use a 1, 5 or 10 graduated hypodermic syringe. Another graduated vessel is needed for the water for dilution or to contain the correct volume of developer for the tank. I have a distinctly marked graduated container for developer so that it cannot be mistaken for the fixer. I use 250 ml graduated plastic laboratory beakers for the rinse water and fixer. I make up the fixer in the beaker.
  • Large (2 litre or so) bottle or jug
  • Thermometer (mine is an old mercury photographic thermometer from the 1950s)
  • Timer (stopwatch or electronic)
All the equipment you need - plus a large jug or bottle

All the equipment you need – plus a large jug or bottle

I simply leave a jug or bottle of tap water standing overnight to bring it up to temperature, together with the developer if already made up (like D76/ID-11). I know the area I use is always close to 20°C (68°F). I check the temperature of the developer and apply a correction to the development time if necessary.

I always lay out the bench as shown in the diagram and then work from left to right from developer, through rinse, to fixer. The developer is always in the same, distinctive container. That reduces the odds of putting the fixer in first!

Layout of the bench for black-and-white processing using a Rondinax tank

Layout of the bench for black-and-white processing using a Rondinax tank

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