Quick question for my film users out there. I develop T-Max film at home, with T-Max developer, but have never tried prints. Can I develop black and white photo paper with T-Max developer? I know that the fixer is the same. Can I also use the regular black and white stop bath? Thanks.

P.S. Really new to film and paper, sorry if this is a stupid question.

  • please post a bit more info: paper brand&name, what kind of googling have you done and why you didn't like results Apr 9, 2017 at 22:21
  • @aaaaaa Have not purchased paper yet, just as a general idea. When I googled it, I got only one result that related to my question and that page did not contain the information I needed. Apr 9, 2017 at 23:19
  • yeah, it seems common question. for best results, i guess, you need to use appropriate chemistry (e.g. see thephotoforum.com/threads/…) I guess there is no harm in experimenting Apr 10, 2017 at 1:42
  • @aaaaaa I guess the best way would be to test it. Worst case scenario it would waste a sheet of paper. Thank you for the help. Apr 10, 2017 at 1:44
  • Why do you not want to use the proper developer for paper.?
    – Alaska Man
    Apr 10, 2017 at 22:07

4 Answers 4


The answer is "yes, but it's complicated."

Film and paper developers are fundamentally the same thing, but they're formulated a bit differently.

The usual Kodak product for developing black-and-white paper is Dektol. It can be used to develop film, but because papers are less sensitive, the mix recommended on the package ends up being a lot stronger than T-Max, D-76 or HC-110 (all developers for film). If you don't want your film developing too quickly, which loses you some control over how it comes out, the developer has to be diluted. The opposite would be true for developing paper with T-Max. Being weaker, you'd either have to wait an awfully long time for the paper to develop or accelerate the process by developing at a much higher temperature or diluting the T-Max less than what the directions on the package specify.

To make either swap (paper in T-Max or film in Dektol) work, you'd have to do some trial-and-error experimentation to figure out what works. This is what Kodak did to come up with recommendations for development times in the documentation for its products.

This kind of experimentation is one of the things that makes chemical photography fun. However, my advice to you as a beginner would be to spend $10 on a bag of Dektol and learn to process paper "by the book" first. This will give you some idea how papers and developers behave under normal circumstances and a benchmark for judging how your experiments are going.


Positive and negative processes ask for different developers.

It is not just a question of concentration of developing agents; the formulas are optimized differently. In film developer you look for things like sharpness and grain, in paper for cold or warm tone.

And even when using the same fixer for both processes, which is perfectly OK with most developers, I would recommend keeping fixer for paper and film in separate bottles.

Fixer used for papers gets dirty over time, which is OK for papers but a potential headache with negatives.


Essentially you are performing the same process as when you develop your T-max. I think the stopper should be the same in concentration and time it is bathed. Developer will probably vary either in concentration or soaking time. You should try experimenting with it a bit to get a feel for it.

Best of luck!


@jamesironman : Generally, it's best (unless you're experimenting for special effects) to use proper paper developer (e.g. Ilford Multigrade, Bromophen, Adox Adotol LIQUID NE, Fotospeed PD5 or similar paper developer) for prints. From my experience, most common film developers (like T-Max) are too weak for paper emulsions and thus tend to give very murky, flat result on print.

You can use same stop bath

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