Grays.Life

Ilford Darkroom Development Settings

Ilford PDF Development Chart

In case I ever get in the fortunate position of being able to getting back into a darkroom with a roll of film, then these are the settings that I used for a number of years.

Years ago when I shot film, and after studying a couple of City & Guild courses in Landscape and Darkroom photography, I learnt the craft in more detail of taking and then making a great photograph. I studied the Zone System developed by Ansel Adams, which in a nutshell about trying to faithfully reproduce the whites and blacks in an image, instead of ending up with a series of dull greys.

A shortcut to learning the Zone System is to expose for the shadow areas and then process for the highlights and slightly over expose your film but then hold back development. To do this, I’d shoot with Ilford Delta 100 ASA, I would set the light meter at 80ASA and expose the film 1 (N+1) stop more, and then when I processed the film in ID11 in the darkroom, I would reduce the development time N-1 to 7 minutes 30 seconds. Normal development for stock solution, (straight out of the tin) was 8 minutes 30 seconds.

The effort was worthwhile, because I found that it was a natural way to photograph and get results that had good level of strong contrast. My photographs of St David’s Hotel, and the Norwegian Church and also Penarth Pier are a couple of examples.

For years this Ilford Film Development chart was on my wall, a poster from Ilford, on it every film type with suggested development times at differing strengths from stock to 1:1 to 1:3, all at a temperature of 20 centigrade.

Looking at film prices earlier on the Ilford website, I doubt as though I’ll ever return to it, at £6 per roll of 120 film, it’s just too expensive. Though I enjoyed the workflow of developing first a contact sheet, then choosing the pictures from there that I would enlarge, was a satisfying process. This hasn’t necessarily translated to shooting digitally.

I will post more on this, and put up some of the images of the darkroom that I put together at home.

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