I might have rushed shooting this roll of black and white film (Ilford HP5 Plus) to test the Olympus, and the time came to develop it. I chose to do it myself of course, and this is how it went.

I bought a cheap starter kit from the local photography shop. It comes with a Paterson tank, a few bits and bobs to make life easier and some Adox chemicals: 100 ml bottles of Adonal (Rodinal), Adofix Plus and Adoflo II (developer, fixer and wetting agent).

Development kit

Black and white development kit and a few more things: measuring cups, clips to hang the film and the film lead extractor.

First, a disclaimer. I don't know what I'm doing. It's the first time I've tried this, so I might be doing something wrong. Use this at your discretion, it might ruin your photos and your pet!

The Process

Rewinded the roll in the camera, didn't manage the leave the film lead outside but it's not a problem since I have one of those fancy film lead extractors. After two or three failed attempts I managed to extract the lead (tricky).

Next I prepared what I needed in the darkroom (or bathroom): the undeveloped roll, the Patterson tank, the empty spool and a pair of scissors. I sealed all the possible light leaks coming from the door gaps with old towels and stayed in the dark a few minutes to be sure there were no light leaks. The tricky part is carefully sliding the roll into the spool in total darkness (the kit came with a handy dummy film to train this). Having the lead out of the canister means you can slide the film little by little into the spool without having to deal with the full length of the film dangling. All went well and I inserted the loaded spool in the tank, locked it and lights on.

paterson tank with spools

The Paterson tank and the spools that go inside, one of them is loaded with training film.

I'm going with semi-stand development method, where the development is left on its own for one hour, except for two gentle inversions at half time to avoid bromide drag streaks (that's the "semi" part). I've read a bunch of articles, and everyone has its own recipe and method, so I guess it might be tolerant of small variations and/or errors.

Ambient temperature was 18 ÂșC, but I don't think it matters much when doing stand development.

Pre-wash - Filled the tank with water, inverted a few times and threw the water out. Some say it's good practice. This might not be needed, but I did it anyway.

Developer Bath - For stand development the dilution of Rodinal solution is usually 1+100 (meaning 1 ml of Rodinal for 100 ml of water). Depending on the source, 3 to 6 ml of Rodinal in the solution is needed per roll. I used 5ml of Rodinal and 500ml of water. Poured it into the tank, did some gentle inversions for 30 seconds and a tap (to avoid bubbles) and left it for 30 minutes. After that two more inversions and a tap and left it for another 30 minutes.

Stop Bath - The kit doesn't have stop bath chemicals, and from what I've read it's not really needed especially for stand development since the developer should be exhausted anyway. I rinsed it a few times with running tap water.

Fixing Bath - Mixed the entirety of the fixer with the correct proportion of water into a jug since this is reusable multiple times. For Adofix the proportion I chose was 1+7, and its usable for 12 rolls according to the specs. Agitated for 7 minutes and the fixer went back into the jug without forgetting to mark the usage.

By now the tank can be opened as the film is no longer sensitive to light.

Wash Bath - Filled the (open) tank with water, and put a few drops of Adoflo in the water and agitated the spool in the water for a few minutes.

Took the film out of the spool and hold and behold, it has images. Ran my fingers through it to remove excess water and hanged it to dry in the bathroom. I used some fancy clips with weights so the film doesn't curl up.

After a few hours, the film has dried. I cut it to the desired length, six photos per strip, and it's now ready for scanning, but that's another story.


It was a fun process, I might make some adjustments in the future, but overall I'm pretty happy with the results.

developed photo of my cat

One of the photos developed. My cat chilling on the sofa.

Additional Notes

  • I live in an area with hard water (high mineral content), so I'm using distilled water for all steps except the pre-wash and stop bath.
  • Things to try next time: I might try a bit less Rodinal (maybe 3 or 4 ml) and/or Ilford Delta 400 instead of Ilford HP5 Plus.