400TX and D-76: developing problems

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by cooltouch, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    This roll I just developed is the first time I've ever used Tri-X professional 400TX. Based on the looks of about half of the negs, I think I'm really gonna like this stuff. But the other negs showed symptoms of something I did wrong, and I'm hoping to get some feedback on that from you.

    The camera is a Yashica Mat 124. So film advances vertically, and the sides of the frames are the edges of the roll.

    This image was the second image on the roll. It and all the other images were exposed based on meter readings from a meter of known accuracy.

    [​IMG]

    The first four or so images are all on the outside ring of the reel, and they all show similar streaks. The above image shows some slight bright spots along the right edge; the third image shows more pronounced bright patches along the right edge.

    This next image was the last frame of the roll. Note the light patch over the engine area, and the streaks to the right of the frame. It's almost as if, after a more or less normal group of frames, the oddball stuff is returning. Which seems kinda odd to me, though, since this frame would have been the inner-most on the reel.

    [​IMG]

    And finally, here's a shot from about the middle of the roll. Normal negative density. Rather nice and smooth gradations between light and shadow, good shadow detail. The only trace of a bit of abnormality is some lightness toward the right edge of the frame.

    [​IMG]

    Okay, now that you've seem some images, I should state that, right off the bat, I blew it. I got ahead of myself, and started pouring the D-76 into the tank before I started my stopwatch. So, I was trying to keep an approximate running count in my head after finishing with pouring, then tapping the tank, then rinsing off my hands before switching my cell phone over to its stop watch mode. Dang handy things, these modern cell phones. I figured roughly 45 seconds went by.

    At 70F and full strength, the Kodak data sheet shows that D-76 should be used for 6 minutes, 15 seconds. So when I started my stopwatch I figured that 5:30 were remaining. All I could hope was that I was close. But would being off by a few seconds cause the streaks? And what about the light(er) areas along the right side of the frames? I was careful to premeasure both the developer and the fixer before pouring them into the tank, so I'd be sure to have enough.

    I use an old Yankee tank for developing B&W -- have used one for years. It's the type that has the plastic reel where each half of the reel is rocked back and forth to advance the film onto the spool. And it has the spinner that doubles as a thermometer used for agitation (although I have a better thermometer for temperature measurement chores).

    So anyway, as I always do, I spin the reel for about 5 seconds out of every thirty seconds, back and forth, back and forth.

    I also have never used a stop bath. I'll usually just run water through the tank for a few minutes, drain, then add the fixer. As for the fixer, it's just plain old Kodak Fixer, and I used it for about 7:30, which is about what I always do, and which is about what the 400TX data sheet recommends.

    So, what I'm getting at is, apart from not timing my development time accurately, everything else about the process went the way it always does.

    Got any suggestions?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2009
  2. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Being off in your development time will cause either slight over-development or slight under-development...neither of which has the symptom of light streaks in a few frames.
     
  3. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    I agree. I'm hoping that someone here, vastly more experienced than myself with developing B&W, may recognize the likely cause of the streaks that are shown in the first photo. I find it curious that these streaks are evident only in the first four images.

    Also, for some reason, the first image is being displayed here somewhat darker than it looks when viewing it within my image processing software.
     
  4. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    You may have more than one problem. I agree with Colin it is not under nor over development. The lighter patches on the edges might be from a roll of film not wound tightly enough. At first glance the streaks in number one seem to eminate from the pilings; which would indicate too little agitation. Could some kind of residue on the plastic reel be causing this?
     
  5. Denis R

    Denis R Member

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    disagree...

    looks like a shutter issue

    use either t-max or d-76 1:1
     
  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I am inclined to think its a camera issue more than a development issue. The only dev issue I can possibly see is not getting all the film onto the reel. As far as timing goes, I never start my count down timer until all developer is in the tank, then I start agitation. One thought might be in loading and unloading the camera. Make sure you are in subdued light, and the film is tight on the spool. I've encountered a loose roll from time to time, hasn't happened in quite some time , and its rare, but happens. One other thought, hows the condition of your tank? Is it old and getting worn?Possibility of a light leak at the edge and even center of it. I have an extra Yankee tank you can have-its new, but dont have any reels for it.Pay for postage and its yours.

    Rick
     
  7. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I can't tell you for sure but my guess is that the problem was with the way the film was loaded into the camera. Try another roll and expose several frames with the lens cap on. They should be clear when developed. If so your developing tank is okay. You could also develop a totally unexposed roll having not put it into the camera. That could rule out the tank and indicate the camera or loading technique. One other thought is how old was the film and under what conditions was it stored?
     
  8. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    First off, this cannot be a shutter issue. The YashicaMat has a leaf shutter in the lens. There is no curtain that could be dragging. Being off with your development time won't cause this either. A bit of over or under development will alter the contrast, but won't cause streaks. I strongly suspect that agitation is the problem here, and that Yankee tank is exacerbating the problem. 120 film is more sensitive of insufficient agitation than 35 mm stocks. If you don't agitate enough, this is what happens. The Yankee tank isn't the tops when it comes to being well engineered either. I have couple of them from the old days and I wouldn't use them again for anything. You could spin that thing back and forth all day and still not get a good and even exchange of chemistry. My advice? Get one of these and don't be too gentle with your agitation.
     
  9. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I have been using the same stainless steel tanks with occasional new lids for over thirty years with no problems. Yesterday I wanted to test a new old Hasselblad back that I recently received and quickly shot a roll of tmax 100 in my yard. I didn't care about the images and just developed in Ilford ID-11 1:1 at whatever the room temperature was for 14 min with only one agitation after pouring the developer in, water stop and rapid fix. The negatives were much to my surprise perfect although my interest was the mechanical and light seal properties of the back. And all these years I have been meticulous with technique - makes one wonder.
     
  10. jtzordon

    jtzordon Member

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    The streaks in the first one look like insufficient agitation.
     
  11. Donmck

    Donmck Member

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    To my eye the streaking seems to uniform to be chemical----and this is the dead give-away to me--

    "The first four or so images are all on the outside ring of the reel, and they all show similar streaks."

    the second image I would write off to flair(lots of chrome...Yaahica Mat)

    Try a different tank.

    -Don
     
  12. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    Thanks for all the responses, guys. I've always been rather gentle with my agitations after reading somewhere years ago that one should not be too aggressive. It appears, however, that you folks are recommending just the opposite.

    About five years ago, I got a wild urge to clean out my unused and seldom used photo gear and sold all my Patterson and Jobo tanks. Dumb thing to do. Sold my old Yankee tanks too. I bought this one and another just like it on eBay recently. Dunno how old it is, but it appears to be in a good state of repair.

    I'm inclined to take fschifano's advice, though, and get a decent tank that I can invert. Rapping one of these Yankees usually makes a mess, and I've always wondered if spinning was as good of a method of agitation as inverting. I need the plastic reels though. I'm right-handed, but am missing portions of three fingers on my right hand, so trying to get film onto an SS reel is a study in frustration.

    As for the possibility that it might have been a film loading issue, well I suppose. I was very careful making sure that all the slack was taken up prior to winding to the "start" mark. And I loaded and unloaded in open shade. Those light patches though may be indicating that I need to improve my technique in this area.

    The film was fresh, refrigerated 400TX, bought from my local camera shop just earlier last week. So it shouldn't be an issue with the film itself.

    I have another roll of the same stuff loaded in the camera right now. So I guess I'll go shoot it and see if I can improve my results this time.
     
  13. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    I'd say that you might have a combination of TWO things...

    1. INSUFFICIENT agitation. I've found that if I constantly invert my tanks(stainless or Jobo) for the first 30s-1min of development, it usually takes care of mottling issues. I'm NOT a stand development guy(guess I'm too impatient :tongue:), but when I first started out, I didn't agitate enough, and got marks similar to yours shown here. Simple answer: Go on ebay or craigslist, and get yourself a tank(Paterson w/ Rubber lids=fast pour-in/out times vs. stainless lids) and plop down $10-$15, probably less. Add a stainless reel or two(if you shoot 35mm as well), and you're set. Some People also use a water bath pre-soak before development, it helps to swell the emulsion, and I've found I have less mottling issues(none now), after using a stainless tank(Paterson) or Jobo tank, pouring quickly, and agitating for the first 30s. Some don't do the pre-soak, its up to you, doesn't hurt though to try on a roll or two.

    2. Loose roll in the camera. Being that I've never owned a yashicamat, although a friend of mine has. She stated that the first few rolls she put through the camera came out somewhat loose, and she got some edge fogging, no biggie, cause it didn't hit the negs, but still a problem at that. You might want to see if the tension on the take-up spool mechanism is nice and tight, with no slack.

    -Dan


    ohh... I start the timer when I've FINISHED pouring in the developer, and have agitated for 5-10s(out of the 1st 30sec). This is because the water still in the emulsion(from 1min pre-soak) needs to be swapped out for developer-laden water.
     
  14. GraemeMitchell

    GraemeMitchell Member

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    I'm also going w/ the theory of agitation issues. I've had similar things happen, though not as bad, and it was from agitation, namely lack there of. It's amazing how quickly things go south if the agitation is off, especially in the first 30sec to min. I find the moment I get sloppy or rush things or move from my exact system as far as how the developer moves around the film, then I'll have uneven voodoo show up.

    With that: two things that helped solve almost all of my agitation related problems, both of which have been mentioned here before: 1) don't pour the chemicals into the tank, find a closet or any place you can make totally dark, and lower the reels into the tank. Very slowly to avoid reel surge. 2) Leave substantial air space in the tank for chems to move around in. For instance, if you have a 4 reel tank, leave 1 or 2 of the reels empty and only cover the others w/ dev. I wish I'd been doing these things long long before, would have saved me some tough negs to print.

    Finally, you mentioned some relatively short dev times, not too short, but short enough to make uneven dev more pronounced (I actually just posted on having a similar problem, short times+active dev+no presoak=trouble). So maybe also take your d-76 1+1 or 1+2 to extend the times to more forgiving lengths.

    This might not fix anything though...always hard to say.
     
  15. whlogan

    whlogan Subscriber

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    Looks like Bromide Burnout to me. How do you agitate? If you are rotating the tank, stop at once! This is the #1 cause of burn out. Developing tanks should only be tipped side ways between 50 to 90 degrees either way (left or right) about 2 to 3 times a minute. More will increase your contrast. Want more? Use more. I have fought this problem for years and eveery time it was tank rotation that turned out to be the cause. trust me; I'm a Doctor!
    Logan
     
  16. naugastyle

    naugastyle Member

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    Doesn't have much to do with the rest of this thread, but I honestly NEVER used to measure my temps (my room temp skews warm), am definitely loose by several seconds here or there on each end of development (as in, at the point I start the timer or exactly when I start dumping the chems out), up to 30 seconds of leeway if I'm feeling lazy and want to develop two different films together that are "close enough" in their times, frequently got distracted (since I'm at home with my phone, TV and computer) and missed an agitation or three. Yet I very rarely saw any frames that I thought were developed incorrectly, and I've been doing this for years. In the last couple months I've been experimenting with being more exact on times and temps and I have not noticed a difference.

    So uh...yeah, the few seconds the OP was off is definitely not causing this issue.
     
  17. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Almost certainly uneven development, caused by incorrect agitation. I use Patterson plastic tanks, and had the same problem from time to time, using the twirly thing to agitate. Never a problem with 35mm, only 120 roll. I now use inversion for all my processing in the Patterson tanks....problem gone! Not a bad idea to do a 1 minute pre-soak as well.
    The shutter on your Yashica will not cause that problem, can't imagine film loading is the problem either.
     
  18. moouers

    moouers Member

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    Might I suggest this for your film processing? It's a plastic tank and it is incredibly easy to load...should not be a problem at all for you with your particular finger situation. I've been using it for a decent number of years now without a single problem - it's very well made. Liquid movement seems to be rather efficient too, as I've never had a problem with uneven development (even on my first roll of 120 film, which I just processed several days ago).