First Time (Stand) Developing T-MAX 400 Negatives

The stars finally aligned and I developed my first roll of film! I had to wondered around the city after sunset to get the last of the few shots on the F1.4 lens. I must admit I was shooting pretty haphazardly, just trying to finish the roll. My photographer’s eye is just not that developed yet (pun!).

As I have mentioned before, I got Rodinal developer for the propose of stand developing, but because this developer has been around for so long, there are so much information on the development process. Everyone has their own receipt for this soup! I jumped from website to website gathering  what I could to form a workflow:


  1. Load film to reel. Place reel in tank and put an empty reel on top as a spacer. Close lid.
  2. Pre-wash with 20C water. Dump.
  3. 3.5mL of Rodinal in 350mL of water (1:100), this volume is on the low end as I am only developing one roll at a time. Agitate by rotating the tank ten times, then knock the heck out of the bottom to remove any stuck bubbles. Leave for 60 mins. Dump.
  4. Rinse with 20C water. Dump.
  5. 1:4 Ilford Rapid Fixer. Agitate for a minute, then 15 seconds everything 30 seconds for a total of 6 min. Dump.
  6. Rinse with 20C water. Dump. Repeat 4-5 times.
  7. Rinse with 1:200 Photo-flo in 20C water. Dump.
  8. Remove film and wipe with fingers.
  9. Hang to dry.
  10. Done!


In reality, I struggled with the loading of the film. Doing this in complete darkness was a challenge and the edge of the film got damaged. Hopefully not bad enough to impact the the scans. I also went a bit longer, around 70 mins (distracted, but since stand developing is so forgiving, I don’t think it mattered). I probably also used a fixer solution that is a bit old (2 weeks) but I think that will be okay too. I say okay now because the negatives looked fine. Now I just have to wait impatiently for it to dry!


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