120 Home Developing Developments!

For Sale on eBay

I decided to give the Zeiss Nettar a final try yesterday and took it out with a fresh roll of Fomapan 400.

I went for my usual walk around the meadow by the house and loaded a LightMeter app on my phone (purely because I was lazy and didn’t want to find my physical light meter!).

I took a several with the Zeiss, some handheld, some with self timer, some placing the camera on something etc.

All of the photos were shot around 1/175, f/4 – f/22 and all set to infinity.

I decided that today would be the day I developed my first 120 roll at home (I normally send them off to the developers).

Thanks to the odd YouTube video and a question posted on Reddit, I was ready.

(Well, until I went to bed last night and realised I don’t have a scanner for 120 negatives).

First thing this morning I got up, set up my mini darkroom and set about developing the film.

Separating the film from the paper in the dark bag was easy. I decided to fully separate the two before putting the film on the developing film spool.

This is where things went a bit wrong. I had so much trouble getting the film leader onto the spool and found this much harder than 35mm.

It took so long to do and by the time I got the film on the spool my hands were warm and clammy and this had an impact on the process. Most of the film went onto the spool ok but the heat and moisture from my hands caused the film to stick which meant when it went into the developing tank, it wasn’t on as cleanly as it could be.

Ultimately some of the film was stuck together and the developer had problems getting into the layers.

I used the Df96 I used recently on my 35mm stock and I was amazed how different the solution was when emptying the canister. The chemicals came out much greener than they normally do with 35mm.

I agitated the film for 8 minutes and 15 seconds (paused for a minute in the middle) and rinsed it for 2 minutes.

I was very pleased to see that the film had developed and that some of the shots were sharp and in focus.

It was at this point I noticed the problem with the developer and the film sticking together as there are patches on the photos where the process has not worked.

My next challenge was to work out how to scan these images without a 120 scanner.

I decided to put a white image on my iPad, crank up the brightness, pin the film down with my drying pegs and then shoot the pictures with my Fuji X100T in macro mode.

I wasn’t particularly concerned about how crisp or clear the images were as I am simply experimenting, so I shot handheld. In hindsight, that wasn’t such a great idea.

The result are a mixture of photos, most of which I can see what was shot, but due to my MacGyver approach to scanning, they are not very sharp or have much detail.

I imported the shots into Lightroom. Inverted them with the tone curve tool. Deleted the “scans” I didn’t want to keep and was left with 4 shots that are ok.

These won’t win any awards but it’s been an interesting exercise in shooting, developing and scanning 120 film with whatever I have to hand.

The Zeiss is a capable little camera and I should not be so hard on it.

Sadly though, I do not feel this camera is for me and have listed it on EBay for sale.


  1. Sorry to read about your troubles. The Epson V600 scans 120 negs and isn’t too expensive. I’ve now got the same scanning issue for 4×5 negs as I’d have to purchase a more expensive Epson scanner for those. Still waiting for my husband to put the black out blind up to my darkroom so I can develop those negs that way which he’s never in the mood to do 😭


    1. Ah not good – I can sympathise. I enjoyed developing the film this morning and although my scanning was rudimentary, it taught me a thing or two!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fomapan is a veritable witches brew where the developer is concerned and the first time I developed some I was worried that the crazy vivid green remains might contaminate the stop-bath and fixer that I re-use! Thanfully it didn’t.

    It’s a shame the Zeiss wasn’t for you – there’s something to be said for having a medium format camera that fits in a pocket. At the end of the day though, it’s best to use something you enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I was shocked!

      The Zeiss isn’t for me. I can’t complain. I have the Bronica ETRS and the Ricohmatic TLR to satisfy my 120 fix.


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