If you have ever developed your own black and white images the multiple chemical baths and agitation needed can be a difficult process to master. Although many film photographers have years of darkroom black and white development experience, many of those who have grown up in the digital age may be put off by the process because of the use of chemicals, time involved, and the lack of instant gratification which digital provides.
Upon watching Ted Forbe’s Developing Film in One Step – Instant Processing yesterday, I was excited to see him developing his Tri-X in one simple monobath for six minutes without agitation and a dark room.
The product is the R3 MONOBATH DEVELOPER from New55 FILM, which “is a universal all-in-one developer, stop, and fix solution for black and white photographic film. It can be used in the field, in the darkroom, in your bathroom, or in a dark-bag to conveniently develop your black & white negative film in a single pass. Sample photographs that were processed in R3 MONOBATH DEVELOPER are found on the blog. This monobath works well with the old-style cubic-grain emulsions like Panatomix X and others common in the 1950s and 1960s. We have tested R3 MONOBATH DEVELOPER specifically with New55 Atomic-X, Ilford Pan F, HP5 Plus, Kodak TMax, Tri-X, Efke 25, and Shanghai 100. It should work with any black and white film, and has even been found to work well with old exposed black and white film that has been sitting for years,” according to the New 55 Film site.
Black and White Monobath’s are well known in the film development community, and many film purists may think that this simple film development is limiting because the results appear to provide only a high-contrast negative without much give and take. Bob Crowley, the man who researched and developed the R3 Monobath, said in Ted Forbe’s comment section that you can push the exposure by increasing the temperature to 90 degrees fahrenheit to achieve 1.5 stops increase.
While the R3 black and white monobath is currently sold out on the website, I think this will be a great way for younger photographers to experiment with film and develop their own black and white negatives, or for us older film folk to get back into shooting film.
I am a Tri-X shooter myself, so I hope I can order the R3 when more become available. The R3 comes in a 950 mL (32 Ounce) container, and can be reused more than once to develop your black and white film.