This is my first time trying to develop film. I just bought a camera from ebay and the seller said everything was working fine. The film I used was the Ilford hp5 plus and I developed it with the cinestill df96 and used the JOBO 1520 tank. Here is a picture of the developed film. Below are two of them.

Only the middle frames of the film were developed. I used the instruction manual for the film developer and followed it word for word.

The film was loaded in a bathroom with no light coming in because it was midnight and all the lights in the house were off. I had the chemical at 80 Fahrenheit, agitated for 3 minutes straight. For the agitation I did inversions about 6 inversions every 10 seconds. After the developer I did the Ilford wash method and took the film out.

I can think of a bunch of different things however I don't think the camera is the problem because a couple of frames were developed. I probably loaded the film incorrectly or didn't agitate correctly I really can't tell. If anyone has an idea just let me know because I really want to know where I went wrong.

If anymore information is needed just let me know.

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  • 1
    I've taken the liberty of embedding two of your example images into the question, since you do not have enough reputation to do it yourself. Feel free to roll the question back if yo do not desire this.
    – Michael C
    Mar 3, 2021 at 3:12

2 Answers 2


It looks like your film was developed just fine. What you're seeing is fogging by an unwanted light source. The sprocket hole 'ghosts' are quite indicative of this. It seems the film was fogged when it was rolled up, as light passed through the sprocket holes and hit the film behind it.

Carefully go through the steps and see where the fogging may have occurred. Perhaps you opened the film door as the roll was still outside of the canister, or some moment during loading/developing the film was struck by light. Based on the pictures I do not believe the camera to be at fault.

  • 1
    +1 for the sprocket hole ghosts.
    – Michael C
    Mar 3, 2021 at 3:13

Looks to me like some sort of light leak, given that you've had success with some frames on the roll and the film code is clear and legible on those frames.

The first pic is simple what happens when you don't load your film into the camera in complete darkness, and light exposes the film between the leader and the first frame. This is to be expected; some people even find this appealing.

The latter pictures seem to show the faintest hint of some frames which would imply that the camera is still working, but seems like the film has been exposed to light at some point before or after this. There are several ways this could happen:

  • Camera: How old is the camera? What type of camera is it? Are the lightseals intact? Did the film door open while there was film in the camera? (I've had this happen on an old Olympus Trip 35 and have since used duct tape to make sure it doesn't happen again).
  • Developing: Loading film into a tank requires total darkness. Even a darkened room (rather than a dark room) could still have some light coming in from somewhere, even at night. If you think this is the case, you could invest in a changing bag, or carry out the loading process under a thick blanket, in your darkened room, to see if the problem persists.

I've shot and developed a fair bit of HP5 in my time and I've never had results like this from developing, but I suppose I can't rule out your chemistry as part of the problem, since I've only ever used Ilford DD-X or Rodinal.

A couple of further tips which could be beneficial:

  • Don't shoot anything you can't afford to lose while you're learning how to develop;
  • From the looks of it, the film could use a couple more minutes in the fixer bath. Underfixed film runs the risk of fading over time (more than a fully fixed negative);
  • Don't give up :)

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