My iPhone 4 next to my Paterson tank, Photo-Flow, beakers, and clips.  Photo illustration by Richard J. Auger.

 

For the 2011-2012 art festival season, I’ve been busy shooting  black & white film photographs of Florida’s major water systems.  I made the decision to shoot the series entirely in 6×7 film for many reasons, ranging from authenticity to the subtle tones that digital just can’t hit.

Developing black & white film yourself results in far better quality control than a lab can deliver, and of course brings the cost down.  But experimenting with different developers and films results in easily confusing mixing tables, time, and temperatures. Massive Dev Chart iPhone App made my rediscovery of film alot easier and less confusing.

The electronic digital age has made shooting film easier in so many ways.  For those of us who still enjoy shooting film, we should take advantage of modern techniques when we can.  The Massive Dev Chart App is created by the makers of The Digital Truth Website, who have a great database of everything for film shooters, including a web-store for rare film and development items.

Below are some app screenshots:

Current development scheme.

Customization of times.

My saved developement schemes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choose what to customize

Lab mode keeps things dark.

Film Database Charts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Massive Dev Chart contains a database of nearly every film and developer made today, and uses this information to help you be consistent during the film developing process.

<strong>My Favorite Features</strong>

  • Dilution calculator.  Enter the total milliliters, and it will tell you the water/developer combination needed.
  • Desired agitation scheme can be selected, both initial and how long per period.  For example, 5 seconds ever 30 seconds, or 10s every 1 minute.
  • Nearly every process can be added or subtracted, such as as developement, stop bath, fixing, hypoclear, photoflo, and rinsing.
  • Animated timer.  The time remaining will bounce larger and a sound is made during agitation.  A sound warns that agitation is about to begin.
  • Multi-step Timer.  The app leads you from one process to the next, such as development to stop bath to fixing to hypo-clear to rinsing.  This prevents you from missing a step
  • Store your customized development scheme.
  • Lists other information on the screen during development, so I am assured I selected the correct process.  For example, the film type, ISO, dilutions, and temperature are always visible.
  • Push/pull processing can be selected and stored separately.

<strong>Other features I don't use, but may be helpful:</strong>

  • Time/Temperature conversion of chemicals (I stick to the recommended times/temps though).
  • Multiple fixing/developer stages optional.
  • ‘Darkroom Themes’ for paper developing in the darkroom (scheme is black with green or red information).

Conclusion.  Massive Dev Chart App has really made developing film easier and for the first time, carefree.  It keeps me from ‘zoning out’ during the development process, and prevents skipping a step and other mistakes.  After 30 rolls of film, I have yet to make any major errors.

Some caveats.  Make sure to check forums online about other photographers’ favorite developer combinations and times.  When shooting a new film for the first time, take and develop a test roll to verify that the combination meets your personal tastes and quality standards.  Do not just blindly trust the database; for example, manufactures may once and a while change the formula for the film or their developers.

Feature Request A.  For each step in development, the program stops and asks you to hit the continue button, which often leads to spilling chemicals all over my $300 phone.  I would like if the program had an automatic continue with a customizable delay between development steps.  For example, when development was finishes and I begin pouring out the chemicals, the phone would automatically continue to the stop bath stage after 15 seconds without any user input.

Feature Request B.  Sometime I accidentally hit ‘reset’ instead of ‘continue’, and have to let the program go all the way through. A ‘skip this step’ button would be nice (that wasn’t very easy to hit by mistake with a double confirmation).

I am not sponsored by Dev Chart, but here is a appstore link for your convenience:

Dev Chart App

 

 

Last, here are the app’s menu options:

Program Options A

Program Options B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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