Stand and semi-stand development of film

Stand and semi-stand development of film

If you are familiar with SD, scroll down to my recipes. YMMV.

What Is Stand Development? What is Sem-Stand Development?


When developing (Black & White (BW)) film, one can refer to the developing chart specifications typically mentioned inside the carton of the film. For color film, there are two primary and standardized ways to develop them. The most common one is the C41 process and the one for reversal or slide film is the E6 process. While there are creative experiments one can do with C41 and E6, for the most part, it is a fairly standardized process.

Developing BW film is an entirely different and highly creative process. The same film stock can be developed in a variety of different chemicals or chemistry with varyingly creative results. Some commonly used BW chemistry is D76, HC110, Rodinal, Ilford DDX, Ilfosol and, more. Each chemistry has its specifications in regards to how long to use it to develop a film at varying ISO.

You can download the developing information by doing a Google search for the name of the film followed by ‘data sheet.’ For example, ‘Kodak TRI-X 400 data sheet’ will show you the pdf for the film along with other interesting information including the various formats – 35mm or 120 medium format or sheet film sizes that it is available in. Included is the recommended developing time for the film. You can also download the data sheet for the chemistry which would show you the varying times for different BW film stocks. An excellent resource for developing times for various BW film stocks is the website and app called Massive Dev Chart. It shows you the developing time for various BW film stocks when used with different chemistry.

Stand and semi-stand development of filmStand and semi-stand development of film

As an example, the Ilford Delta 100 is selected and in the drop-down, you can see the various developers to use

On an average the developing time ranges anywhere from as little as 6 minutes to about 12-13 minutes depending on the film and the ISO. Such timing is based on using the recommended ratio of water to the chemistry or the developer. So, for example, if you are using Ilford DDX and developing Ilford Delta 100 at a dilution of 1+4 for a developing tank size of 300 ml, you would have to use 60 ml of DDX and 240 ml of water at 68F. It would take 12 minutes at 68F and 9 minutes at 75F. So, a 1,000 ml (1 liter) bottle of DDX would give you the ability to develop 16 rolls (16×60 = 960 ml ). At $23.99 a bottle + 8.25% sales tax + $9.95 shipping = $35.92. For 16 rolls, that is $2.24 per roll. Quite pricey. But, then, the results of DDX are quite impressive. Of course, HC110 or D76 or Rodinal are about half the cost and provides beyond acceptable results.

So, the above described process is simply known as ‘Development’ or developing your film.

In Stand Development (SD), a much smaller amount of developer is used but, the time to develop it is extended significantly. So, instead of using a less diluted chemistry (in other words, you are using more concentrated chemistry), what you are doing is that you are diluting the chemistry substantially and offsetting the dilution by extending the time the film ‘stands’ in the developer. Another way to look at stand developing is that you are not doing the inversions or twists that you normally do with developing film (typically, every minute) and instead you fill the developing tank and do an initial stir or twist or inversion that ranges anywhere from a few seconds to 30 seconds or a minute. Each person coming up with the recipe for SD has their own preference for what the time should be. So, for example, in the case of Ilfosol 3 while developing Ilford Delta 100, where one would normally use 1+9 for 5 minutes – 33 ml + 267 ml water while following normal developing instructions, the same film could be developed by using 1 + 50 for 60 minutes – 6ml + 294 ml water in SD. Note that when I am developing 120, I always use 500 ml total inclusive of the chemistry. The 500 ml also develops 2x35mm rolls. So, I use 6ml + 494 ml water. You would pour the chemistry in the developing tank and stir for 20 seconds and then leave it alone for 60 minutes. Again, that is my recipe. You can Google ‘Ilfosol 3 stand developing recipe’ to see what others have discovered. The net result of doing SD is that instead of using 33ml for each roll, I am able to use 6ml and get 5-10x (depending on how many 35mm and 120 rolls I am developing) more rolls per bottle of Ilfosol 3.

In Semi-Stand Development (SSD), the approach is the same with one minor variation. Going with the Ilfosol 3 example above, I would do 2 x 30 minutes and stir 10 seconds initially and 10 seconds before the second 30 minute time slot. Nothing else changes. Why break it down into two slots instead of just letting it stand for 30 minutes? Depending on the chemistry I am using, I may want to slightly enhance the effect of that chemistry. So, the second stir at midpoint works a little harder to produce the desired effect.

Here are my tested recipes for SSD regardless of whether using 35mm or 120 medium format. I prefer SSD over SD. YMMV. Experiment at your risk. In all my recipes, I always use water at 68 F and a minimum of 6 ml of chemistry even if the math says to use less. Again, I use 500 ml for either developing 1 120 roll or 2×35 mm rolls and 1,000 ml for developing either 3×35 mm rolls or 2×120 rolls or 1×35 mm and 1×120 – all in the same tank.

Rodinal6 ml + 494 ml water or 10 ml + 990 ml water – 30+30 (minutes) with 10 second stir at start and midpoint

HC1106 ml + 494 ml water or 10 ml + 990 ml water– 30+30 with 10 second stir at start and midpoint

Ilfosol 36 ml + 494 ml water or 10 ml + 990 ml water – 30+30 with 10 second stir at start and midpoint

Ilford DDX for single roll15 ml + 485 ml water – 22+22 with 20 second stir at start and midpoint.

Ilford DDX for 2 rolls25 ml + 975 ml water – 22+22 with 20 second stir at start and midpoint.

As you can see from the above DDX recipe, my cost per roll goes down with SSD. Now, I use 15 ml per roll or 25 ml per two rolls (or 12.5ml per roll). Meaning, I get 1,000ml / 25 = 80 rolls if I develop 2 at at a time or 1,000 / 25 = 66 rolls if I develop 1 at a time compared to using 60ml per roll in normal development. This makes DDX quite affordable to use on a regular basis.

The possibilities are endless with SD or SSD. Next, I plan on using two different chemistry on the same roll, one for the first SSD slot and another for the second SSD to see if there is a difference in the results. I will post my findings.

Stand and semi-stand development of filmStand and semi-stand development of film

Ilford DDX – a stellar developer

MY film Portfolio – a work in progress

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