Process Your Film with a One Chemical Bath – R3 Monobath


Back in 2014 we shared that inventor Bob Crowley and his team were working on their New55 film producing a new line of 4×5 instant film. Their Kickstarter campaign turned out to be a great success and got the whole analogue community buzzing. As the company continues to work on its instant film, it has released a fascinating new product that many photographers will find very useful.

It’s a new monobath developer called R3 that lets you develop, stop, and fix black-and-white photographic film with a single bath!

It’s the “the most convenient black and white developer we know….It can be used in the field, in the darkroom, in your bathroom, or in a dark-bag to conveniently develop your black & white negative film in a single pass.” Writes Neww55 on their blog.

TMX 120 © New55

Unlike conventional ways of processing your black and white film with three baths and all that agitation, the R3 works with a small amount of agitation at the beginning (to avoid bubbles on your negatives) and will develop your film in just 6 minutes of soaking. You then rinse it off for 5 minutes, dry it, and you’re done.

New55 has confirmed that the developer works with New55 Atomic-X, Ilford Pan F, HP5 Plus, Kodak TMax, Tri-X, Efke 25, and Shanghai 100 so far, but it should work with any standard black-and-white film on the market, even “old exposed black and white film that has been sitting for years.”

A very old roll of Pan X 120 found in a flea market TLR and processed in R3 © New55

Ted Forbes at The Art of Photography published a video review of this monobath developer in action. It’s an informative look at what it is and how it’s used, click here to watch the video.

New55 does have some objections to certain statements and conclusions mentioned in the video. Crowley left comments on Forbes’ blog, saying that the developer isn’t designed specifically for Tri-X film and that it can be pushed and pulled quite easily.

“We and many others used R3 on nearly every black and white film we could find over the past 5 years of teaching people about R3.” “Also you can easily pull and push monobaths, with temperature […] Just go to 90F for 1.5 stops increase.”

If you’re lucky enough to be based in the continental US, you can purchase a 950 ml (32 ounce) plastic container of R3 from the New55 shop.

Information: New55 Blog