Only have experience with digital cameras, camcorders and DSLRs. What process is required to fully develop photos shot on a medium format film camera? It sounds like only hardcore photographers should get one since you require a physical darkroom to dip the photos in liquid. Is it difficult? Is the process substantially different than developing 35mm film?

Can someone provide a step-by-step, plus equipment and what sort of overhead in maintenance you're looking at versus digital cameras, for developing film photos to the stage of being scanned in as digital images?

  • The difficulty depends on whether you are shooting B&W or Color. But the level difficulty is basically the same for 35mm or Medium Format or Large Format. As for me, when I shoot film I just send it to be developed at a local lab. I haven't developed my own film in over 20 years, so I can't attest to what it takes for a home lab.
    – Peter M
    Jan 1 at 23:29
  • for color photos
    – user610620
    Jan 2 at 1:05
  • You seem to mix together film development and printing, which are two quite different steps towards a paper photography. Developing the film (also colour film) can be done relatively easily outside a dark room with inexpensive equipment. If you want to make paper prints, you need a room which can at least temporarily be used as a dark room. A bath room is usually good enough if you are able to completely cover up all light sources (windows, door frames and all other things letting light in).
    – jarnbjo
    Jan 3 at 14:57

1 Answer 1


I've used a bathroom or a changing bag for a darkroom for years; you don't need more than that for an appropriate space. You'll need to invest in both processing chemicals (i.e., Developer, Stop Bath, Fixer, Photo-Flo) and developing equipment (changing bag, film clips, developing tank, developing reel, film squeegee, thermometer, measuring beaker, 4 opaque gallon jugs, funnel). An excellent source of these chemicals and items of equipment is www.freestylephoto.biz. You may also wish to browse through www.darkroomcookbook.com/phpbb/ for any further questions on the process. Finally, you will need to either purchase a film scanner or send your negatives to an outside vendor for scanning.

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