The Online Darkroom Store

Monday, August 27

Massive dev chart for iPad

I've been accused in the past of being a Luddite for giving up digital in favour of film but that's not really the case. I like technology - but just not for its own sake. Take computers, for instance. I think the internet is one of the greatest ever inventions and spend far too much time glued to my iPad. I watch TV on it, read the news that interests me (although an ex-reporter I've gone right off newspapers and have only bought a couple in the last 18 months), get recipes (I do most of the cooking in our house) and write some posts for this blog on it as well.

I've even found the iPad to be of great use when it comes to developing films. Many film photographers will have heard of and used the Massive Dev Chart, a list of many different films, developers and development times. It's often the first port of call when you're trying out a new film/dev combination and need some guidance on the development time.

For a while now, the MDC has also been available as an iPhone and iPad app and it's a really useful way of working out dilutions, figuring out development times at different temperatures and timing the various processes involved in developing a film. It's all I use now when standing at the kitchen sink processing a film. It's very easy to use but is quite adaptable to your individual working practices. In the iPad and iPhone settings section, you can customise the app for a raft of default parameters including celsius or fahrenheit, ml or fl. oz., one or two bath fixing, hypo clear or not, whether Photo Flo or similar is used and the agitation regime both initially and throughout the development.
The app has film and developer databases, much like the online MDC, for more than 8,000 combinations. You choose a film and the relevant format (35mm, 120 or sheet), select your chosen developer (including two-bath) and dilution and the scene that greets you is the one at the top of this post.

If you look at the opening screenshot, it shows Fomapan 100, Rodinal at 1+50 and a time of 6 mins 48 secs at 22 degrees C. When you click the start button, the development countdown gets underway, a bell rings when it's completed and the app pauses waiting for you to press the button to continue. This process repeats until the whole affair is over. The app takes some of the brainwork out of calculating dilutions and having to adjust development times according to different temperatures. Your own particular preferences can be stored for different films and recalled at the touch of a button. For instance, I have a setting for 35mm Agfa APX 100 in Rodinal 1+50 for 9 mins 24 secs at 24C. It's much easier and more efficient than having to keep track of everything in a notebook. The display can be switched to all red or all green to avoid fogging if tray developing sheet film.

The only drawback is that the app costs £5.99 but it's worth it if you develop a lot of film. It's available for Apple. Android and Nokia devices.


Richard Warom said...

Hi Bruce
I have been using the MDC on my iphone and pad for some time now but didn't realise until reading this blog that it could be so customised. I process my films in a Jobo CPP and always pr-soak for 5mins and reduce develop time by 15% now I can programme it in for each film and also add Jobo times in the notes so that I can see straight away which sequence I am after. Thanks for your help. Regards


Hi Richard,

Thanks for leaving a comment - the 100th as it turned out. I feel like I should give you a prize. :-)

The MDC app is one of those things that is so useful that you wonder how you managed before you found it. I've got another few apps that I use such as Light Meter, Exposure and NDCalc (for working out exposures using a ten-stop neutral density filter). There are probably more that I haven't come across yet.