Best Darkroom Chemicals in 2020



Ultrafine Unicolor C-41 Powder 35mm / 120 Film Home Developer Kit (1 Liter) Review:


 I'm a photography student and I purchased this last year to develop my 4x5s because my local lab is known to leave finger prints/not handle the film well/charge WAY to much. My teachers really discouraged me from trying this on my own but screw them because I was really happy with the results and found the process very easy. Since this chemistry has a short shelf life, I would recommend waiting to mix the chemicals until you have a LOT of film to develop at once. Next time I will probably purchase the 2mL kit and charge my friends and classmates to develop theirs as well.

I would discourage anyone from purchasing this who has not already developed BW film before, however.
However if you're confident/experienced with developing black and white yourself, this should be a piece of cake.

I would keep in mind though, you certainly need to purchase more than just this to develop c41. I also had to purchase:

- 1000mL containers for chemicals (at LEAST 3, I bought Dynalon 501835 HDPE Round 1000mL)
- An ACCURATE digital thermometer, so within an accuracy of like, +/- 1 C. (I bought Cooper-Atkins DPP800W and I love, love, love it. I honestly wish I had this purchased this sooner for developing BW simply because it reads out instantly/more accurately.)
- A tank to develop your film in.
- Funnel
- Possible a beaker to measure water (because you probably don't want to mix this with a measuring cup you use to cook.)
- Bucket to keep all 3 containers of chemicals in as well as the film tank. I just used a large mop bucket I already had (to keep the temp the same during the entire developing process)



Fixer for Paper and Film, 1Gallon Mix Review:


I have been using this fixer in conjunction with Kodak D-76 Developer (Powder), B&W Film 1 Gallon for several years now, and it has always served me very well. After mixing, conventional photographer wisdom says you should wait 24 hours before using.

STORAGE
Used correctly, this can be reused quite often! Make sure you store it in an air-tight container (preferably glass), which is filled to the top wherever possible. Air is your enemy when storing your chemistry!

Pair it with some Kodak 100 TMAX Professional ISO 100, 35mm, 24 Exposures, Black and White Film and you are ready to REALLY take not just a picture, but a photograph.



Kodak D-76 Developer Powder, B and W Film 1 Gallon Review:


After more than 30 years absence, I missed the tranquility of the darkroom and wanted to share it with the kids too. So much today is fast, loud, garish, instant, without limits or care or thought. Traditional black and white photography is contemplative, patient, observant, careful, measured, and, finally and most importantly, beautiful. This is what I wanted to share with the kids, the state of mind in a darkroom.

The equipment I coveted decades ago can be gotten for nothing or next to nothing today. A friend was happy to give us what was once thousands of dollars of top-end gear, just so that it would be used and we were delighted to set up shop.

All of this to say, I am so glad to find D76 on Amazon-- D76 continues to be reliable and still affordable, accessible to novices and so familiar for so long that there are never any surprises. That we could get it so conveniently from Amazon at a price that (tax and time considered) is very favorable to the local camera retailer, adds to the high rating.

There is little else to say about D76 itself that hasn't been said by thousands of others over the decades. I'm just glad that it's still around.

PS today is November 16, 2017 and the package I got has 9/2019 expiration. But as other point out, properly stored dry powder has a nearly unlimited shelf life.



Ultrafine Unicolor C-41 Powder Developer Kit (2 Liter) Review:


I've been using this since October 2014 and it's been so liberating-I can process any C-41 color print film whenever I want. I have used the 2-Liter kit and so far have been able to process 38 rolls. This stuff will last a while under the right conditions. With each roll you process, your cost per roll decreases as you are able to reuse these chemicals over and over again. Be sure to do a lot of research, especially on flickr, to get some good tips and suggestions before you start. Also, fresh film gives best results. Expired film will show its age-not the fault of the kit.

I love this kit and will answer any questions anyone might have!



Kodak Photo-Flo 200 Solution, 16oz Review:


I'm not a photographer. I didn't use this product in developing photos. Instead I used this product to clean an old headstone as recommended by the Association for Gravestone Studies. A very little goes a LONG way too as this is a most effective detergent, yet it is gentle enough to use on old stones. Completely met my expectations.



Kodak Indicator Stop Bath For Black and White Films And Papers, 1-Pint Bottle To Make 8-Gallons. Review:


One of the few products still available through Amazon, I have been Kodak Indicator Stop Bath for several years now, and while it is not an ESSENTIAL product (home made vingar solution just as easy), the indicator is a real help. It is non-hardening, which is good for your film - paper is better off with a hardening Stop Bath over time.

For the price (even including shipping) you are getting a great deal, seeing as this dilutes to 68 times its initial volume! One bottle should last you...well...a WHILE.

Unlike the other reviewer, my bottles have never leaked in transit although I can image the frustration that must have caused. I would highly recommend buying this with your other developing chemicals as Adorama does combine shipping for huge saving costs! I got my developer, stop bath and fixer for the shipping price of just one of these!

Overall, not necessary but highly useful! Definitely recommended!



Ilford Ilfostop Stop Bath - 500ml Review:


It's fast and it doesn't stink up the darkroom, which is good considering that my darkroom is also the down stairs bath. When I read the product description, I wasn't sure if a stop bath that didn't smell would be effective, but I've been developing rolls of 120 TRI X film and it seems to work great. Now if they could just get the fixer to stop smelling!