For some time already I tried to get in touch with the idea of creating my own "photo lab" at home. Until now I always delivered my films to a small lab in Sirkeci/İstanbul which was kind of affordable and definitely less soiling. But since I last week wanted to see the photos from our Paris trip as soon as possible, I saw myself confronted with the fact that film development in Germany - especially in classic black and white - kills a student's budget very easily.
I delivered the films to the photo shop anyway. I wanted to have good results in a short time, even though there is one week I gotta wait (instead of the three hours in İstanbul). Whatever, after I came back from the shop I immediately started gathering all the information I could get about film development and film itself. I found out that there are three different film types. Orthochromatic, panchromatic and orthopanchromatic. All of them have different specifications in presenting the several colors. You can find a good web page in German about development here. In addition to that I had to find out that it is easy to find the equipment on ebay but very hard to win the auctions. I never used ebay before and it was quite painful for me to find out how the system works. While I am writing this I still try to get some JOBO film drums for an affordable and appropriate price but it seems that I can't find one under 20 €.
So what else do you need? First there is the very dark room (a bathroom without windows + tape on the door should be fine - and make sure that your flatmate doesn't need to pee for some time). To check if the room is really dark you should sit inside the closed room for 15 minutes and check if you can't see anything. If you still can see a little bit, you should either fix it or get a changing bag. I chose the second option and I am still waiting for it to arrive.
Then you need the equipment. That is the film drum, three plastic bottles for the different chemical steps, two measuring cups à 500 ml, a thermometer, clips to hang up the watered film, a stop watch, a bin to temperate the liquids and the chemicals themselves. I hope I can arrange it to get the equipment soon and start practicing. But whenever I might be ready (hopefully in about 2 weeks, when the changing bag arrives), I will definitely document my first try on developing film myself.