1. Open the Film Canister Once you have found a light-safe a spot, get the developing tank, reels, film, a bottle opener and a pair of scissors. Turn off all lights and use the can opener to pry the top off the film canister. (It is not a bad idea to make a second check for any sources of light before this step).
2. Take the Film Out of the Canister Touching the emulsion side of the film will affect the chemicals in the developing process, so try to remove the film without making any contact with the film itself. Holding only the plastic knob that sticks out of the canister, pull the film out of the canister. The film will unravel but try not to let it touch the ground.
3. Even Off the End of the Film Without touching the emulsion side of the film, use your thumb and forefinger to grip the film by the edges and feel toward the end of the film. The end of your film has no exposures on it, so it is safe to touch. Using your fingers as a guide, find your scissors and cut the ‘tongue’ off your film.
4. Load the Reel Once the film has an even end, it can be loaded on the reel. Take a reel and feed the first piece of film onto it. It may resist at first but once it passes the ball bearing it seems to pop onto the track. (Remember not to touch the emulsion in areas where the film was exposed). Most plastic reels have a self feeding oscillating mechanism that allows the user to feed the film without touching the film. Rotate one side of the reel about 1/8th of a turn and return it to it’s original position, as this action is repeated the film will wind around the track without any significant problems.
5. Cut Off the Plastic End of the Reel Toward the end of the reel, you will feel the plastic spindle that was used to pull the film out of the canister. It will find it’s way into your palms as you wind up your film. Take the scissors and cut this plastic spindle free and continue to load the rest of your film. Do not pull the tape off the film, as it can cause a small amount of static that can fog your negatives. Once all your film is loaded onto reels place the reels inside your light safe tank and close it up. Be sure that it is secured and all reels are safely inside. At this point it is safe to turn on the lights and clean up the canisters, lids spindle and discarded film that you have dropped.
6. Before the Developing Process There are a few techniques that should be covered before beginning the developing process. The quarter turn and tilt agitations are an essential part of developing T-MAX. The quarter turn inversions are used to make sure that all parts of the film get exposed to the chemicals (see the image below). These inversions should take about 1 second and will be repeated several times in the process, so practicing before you start the process is advised. Because timing of chemical baths must be precise when developing film, it is important to have all your chemicals measured out ahead of time. When one chemical has been exposed to the film for the suggested time you should be able to pour it out and have it replaced within 10 seconds. It is also important to remember that, while most developing tanks take about 20 fl. oz to cover reels, your tank may differ. Check the recommended volume of the tank before pouring chemicals. There is a guide on the bottom of most plastic developing tanks with the recommended amount of chemicals.
7. T-MAX Developer When all of the chemicals are prepared and your film is loaded in the developing tank, you are ready to start the developing process. Pour enough water to fill your tank and let your negatives soak for 1 minute. You should have already measured out the amount of developer that it takes to cover your reels. The developer should be maintained at 72° but if you are finding it difficult to do that the container has this chart. Pour out the water and pour in the T-MAX Developer. Once your solution is poured agitate by giving your developing tank the quarter turn and tilt agitations shown in Step 10. Repeat this process 30 times in 30 seconds. Tap to the bottom of your tank, allow the tank to sit for 25 seconds. Agitate again for 5 seconds, tap the bottom again and allow to sit for 25 seconds. This process of 5 inversions followed by 25 seconds of idleness should be repeated until the developer has had 6 1/2 to 7 minutes in the tank. Pour out and discard your developer.
8. Stop Bath Pour in 20oz of stop bath and agitate with 1/4 turn inversions for 30 seconds. Pour out and discard.
9. Fixer Pour in 20oz of fixer. Complete 3 1/2 to 8 minutes of cycles that consist of 15 one second inversions, 3 taps and 45 second rests. Once this step is complete you can open your light safe tank to observe your negatives. If your negatives appear purple and thick continue this process for another cycle and check again. New fixer takes about 3 1/2 minutes, and as you recycle your fixer it will take up to 8 minutes to properly fix your negatives. Once your negatives are similar to the ones shown pour your fixer back into it’s container. If it takes more than 8 minutes for your negatives to clear up it is probably time for new fixer!
10. One Minute Wash Refasten the lid to your tank and give your negatives a 60 second water wash, then discard the water.