Trying 35mm film, advice would be appreciated


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Sep 3, 2018
SE Michigan
Real Name
I started developing with DF96, and I'm still all about finding the easy ways. What I've added to my bag is simply doing Rodinal semi-stand, which is grainier than DF96 but has the advantage of stable chemicals which last a really long time. DF96 often doesn't last me as many rolls as it should because I might go quite a while without developing, and shelf life on the opened bottle is supposed to be three months (though I've had it last longer).
By all accounts, keep the air out of it. I was told to get a cannister of butane for lighter refills, and put a pillow of butane on top of the chemicals before closing the lid. If you can keep the O2 off it is supposed to last for some time. Also, they said even if it starts to crystalize and turn dark it will still work ok.

In any event, this will be my first try at it, and I'm not married to any particular process. Even if I get 4 rolls out of it, that's still $4/roll instead of $10, which what my local camera shop charges.


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
May 15, 2016
Sydney, Australia
My experience is that for a general purpose film, you want a mid-speed film, about ISO 100.
The reason for that is in full daylight, your exposure is 1/125 sec @ f/16. You have room to adjust your specific shutter speed/aperture combo and still get a good exposure.
If you use a faster film, like I did in high school, like Tri-X at ISO 400, your full daylight exposure is 1/500 sec @ f/16.
With some cameras you can't go faster than 1/500 sec, and some lenses could not stop down smaller than f/16. So you had a SINGLE shutter speed/aperture combo that you are stuck at. This is why I hated using Tri-X, my SLR was basically a box camera, shooting at 1/500 sec @ f/16. I had no exposure control during the day.

But in low light, ISO 400 or faster.

The problem is, you CANNOT easily change to a faster or slower film, in the middle of a roll. Basically you are stuck with the film you loaded, until you finish the roll. So advanced planning is required when selecting what speed film to use.

I would use whatever is available where you are and that the lab can develop.

As for shutter speed. The 1/focal length guideline is based on somewhat ideal camera/lens holding conditions. I sometimes have to double the guideline, based on environment/wind or how tired I am.

Enjoy the experience.
Some good points about film speed, often when using modern cameras we forget the limitations of the old ones.
To help reduce sensitivity I used to always have a filter on. Yellow/Green was my normal carry around filter.
I found that using Ilford FP4 and filters I did not run out of exposure options too many times
When using TriX I always had some ND filters handy. Bit of a pain looking through old film viewfinders with dark filters or ever fairly light ones depending on the focus screen they used.

But all good fun.
Just wish I was young enough to use B&W again, but my old film cameras need servicing no cant justify the expense, even if I could find someone to do the work. Plus the expense of another darkroom. OH well good to dream.


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Jun 26, 2013
Oregon USA
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
Actually developing B&W film is pretty darn easy. I started with just DF96, a Paterson 2-roll tank, a few random measuring beakers and jugs, distilled water and some clothespins, kitchen scissors and bottle opener from around the house. The challenge is getting good scans. I finally have a good scanner, so the process for me has gotten a lot better, most of the reason why I feel up to the challenge of trying C41.

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