Developing B&W Film At Home – A Cost Breakdown
With the prices of film and film cameras skyrocketing currently, it's at least nice to save some bucks during development. In this blog post, I want to show you what equipment and chemicals I use for B&W development and how expensive it is.
So let's start with the equipment you'll need before you can develop your first roll of B&W film. And actually, it's pretty simple. I would recommend you to get the JOBO LAB Kit M. It includes everything you'll need, and you can develop your rolls very economically.
With the included JOBO Tank 1520 you can develop either two rolls of 35 mm or two rolls of 120 medium format film. The cool part is, you can use this tank for rotary development, which can save you a lot of chemistry and money! In case of the JOBO Tank 1520 you'll only need around 250 ml of working solution instead of 500 ml to process two rolls.
The JOBO LAB Kit M cost's around 120 €.
If you want to learn more about rotary development you can read this guide provided by ADOX.
With this setup, you'll need around 250 ml of working solution per two rolls of film. Let's break down the costs of the required chemistry. Keep in mind that all these prices may vary and the price per litre is depending on the bottle size you'll buy. Also, the price depends on the developer you'll choose. I mainly use KODAK HC-110, so I'll use this as an example.
|Chemistry||Price per Litre||Required Chemistry for two rolls||Price for two rolls|
|Developer - Kodak HC-110 (Dillution 1:31)||35 €||10 ml||0,35 €|
|Stop Bath||7 €||5 ml||0,035 €|
|Fix - Adofix||10 €||50 ml||0,5 €|
|Photoflo||22 €||1 ml||0,022 €|
For the sake of simplicity I assumed Stop Bath & Fix Bath can only be used once. However, in reality you can use this solution for more than two rolls which lowers the cost even more.
Should you develop your B&W rolls at home (from a cost perspective)?
Let's assume a lab is charging you 8 € per B&W roll. This means you'll save 7,5 € for every roll you develop at home. Taking the upfront cost into account, you'll need to develop at least 16 rolls at home before saving money compared to lab development. Of course, it will take you some time to learn how to develop your film at home. Also, the development process itself takes some time. This comparison is totally ignoring this fact. That said, you should support your local lab whenever you can!