adventure with PMK

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ann, Apr 14, 2004.

  1. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    For the past year I have been using PMK with 120 roll film. Have liked the results with no problems; using Gordon's directions exactly. Developer from the Formulary in liquid form.
    Agitation is per instruction; every 15 seconds always in a different direction.


    In the past two days i have developed several tanks of various films and decided to for go re-development as suggested by many on this board.

    The staining is not even. So the question becomes;

    anyone else have these problems; past or present

    The portions that have no stain, have detail and appear to have been developed, looking like any other negative.

    Nothing has changed in terms of technique other than leaving out the re-development; same agitation , distilled water, temperature at 70.

    Any thoughts from long time users.

    My concern of course, is to not repeat this, and wondering what is going to appear with the printing process.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't do the afterbath and haven't had an uneven staining problem. The only times I've had uneven staining has been extra edge density as a result of not using enough solution.

    What kind of uneveness are you getting, and does it show up in prints or contact sheets?
     
  3. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    The uneveness appears at various places on random negatives. There is no particular pattern. Some are in the middle of the negative, not really an edge factor coming into play. It isn't even a streak pattern, more like patches.

    I have not made contact prints or even started to make any prints.

    I usually do not print current work for at least 7 or 8 months and even longer. But will make change my patttern to check these out.
     
  4. lee

    lee Member

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    I have seen this with PMK several times. I wonder if the Part B is too old. I had that happen and I made a new batch of B and the issue went away. Like David I quit resoaking in spent developer maybe 2 years ago. I have had the problem since I quit using the resoak.

    lee\c
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Do you fill the tank in the normal way through the daylight cap? That could be an issue. Try filling the tank in the dark and then immersing the reel(s) in it before putting the cap on and turning on the lights. I do this with my Nikor 4x5" tank with PMK, since it's pretty slow filling. I think it's okay to proceed with the lights on after the initial fill, since the developer is pretty spent by the time you're ready to dump it.

    A presoak might be another thought.
     
  6. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    That was my very thought. I have always just dumped rather than dip the film into the tank. Never with any problems;however, .........

    I will try another roll and dip rather than pour, and that will element that variable. If it continues i may need to think about Lee's suggestion.

    Have recently got a trial pack of Pryocat-hd, but didn't want to switch developers in the middle of a run. Have 16 more rolls to develop from the same shoot and wanted to finish with the same developer.

    thanks ac
     
  7. lallan

    lallan Member

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    I have to concur with Lee. I don't use an afterbath and I mix up the "B" solution (6 gm sodium metaborate/liter) fresh each session and haven't had problems since. The following is a snipet of email I received from Carl Weese: "I think the number one culprit for bad PMK results is bad bottles of "B" solution, whoever/wherever they were mixed. After that, persistent
    problems look to me more and more like water supply. And it might not
    help to use distilled for the developer, because the water throughout
    the process including wash is affecting the stain."

    David, what did you mean by "has been extra edge density as a result of not using enough solution"? Total solution? I recently got a bunch of edge density (4 sheets 8x10/2 liters) but attributed to 1) trying a higher temp than normal and/or 2) they were doing lots of plumbing work in the building I rent darkroom space in and all sorts of stuff was coming out of the faucet. But now that I think about it, the best negatives I ever got was up at Carl's with fresh "B" and 3 liters/6 sheets.

    ....lyle
     
  8. lee

    lee Member

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    If you don't have a scale G. Hutchins recommends starting with 760ml of water and adding sodium sulfite till the solution level reaches 1 liter. That will make a super saturate of Part B.

    lee\c

    I totally misstated this. I should have said sodium metaborate NOT sodium sulfite. G. Hutchins says 850ml of water and pour in the metaborate to reach 1 liter. I just mixed some this afternoon and did it by the book. Will know tomorrow.

    sorry for the confusion,

    lee\c
     
  9. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    well, i certainly have bulk chemcials on hand to mix solution B. Is there any problems with using a liquid form of A and a home brew of B?

    I hate to run the rolls on hand , but may go out and run a roll of film on the tree across the street for a test.
     
  10. lee

    lee Member

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    There is no problem as this is how the liquid that you bought is made. You can test it by mixing 5ml of A and 10ml of B in a tube with 500ml of water and if the mixture turns a nice yellow it is good. Brown I would not trust. But if you are hesitant, run a test. The neg from that print I sent you was made using the method I just described in the above post.

    lee\c
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Lyle--The "insufficient solution" issue I was mentioning is an agitation effect having to do with inversion tank development. Too much air in the tank seems to cause uneven agitation at the top of the tank, or perhaps some sort of oxidation effect, resulting in extra edge density at the top edge of the film (I process rollfilm and 4x5" using an inversion tank usually).

    If you are getting extra edge density with 8x10" in trays, then try larger trays. It is most likely the result of additional agitation at the edges from the way the solution moves in the tray.
     
  12. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    when mixing a and b . they begin yellow, go a strange "green" and then end up a slight "orange".As i remember it always has gone through this rainbow of colors.

    When i go into class tonight i will run a color check.

    I also just ran a roll for a test, and when a another roll "thaws" out i will run a second and test several methods. Dipping the reels and mixing some fresh "b".
     
  13. lee

    lee Member

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    David:

    Lyle is using about 3 liters of chems so I would think he is using 11x14 trays at least. But that is just a guess.:smile:

    Ann,

    I don't remember a green color when they mix. Your darkroom might be better lit than mine.

    lee\c
     
  14. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    I mix the developer in the light, and the shift is always the same, yellow, then a sort of a gray green, but then to that pale "orange". Has always done this, even with a new bottles.

    It will be interesting to see what happens when i run some other tests. i will let you know. Hopefully, that will be in the next few days. However, my students come first and as they are right in the middle of a film/developer class it is hard for me to develop negatives when they are doing theirs. So it might be the week end before I can develop my test rolls.
     
  15. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Lee, that makes sense. I also do 8x10" sheets in 11x14" trays too (usually ABC pyro in that case, rather than PMK with negs to be contact printed), and about 3 l of solution would be right. Maybe it's a problem with the agitation pattern.
     
  16. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    The few times I have had uneven development with PMK:

    1) Filling the tank too slowly throught the small hole in the lid with developer.

    2) Improper agitation

    3) Filling the tank with fixer too slowly.
     
  17. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    Well, here is the latest news.

    Per Lee suggestion (and others, myself included) I ran another test roll tonight. Didnot pour developer into the tank. Placed film in tank that contained the developer. process as usual.

    Staining problem still there. So it would appear that the next step is to mix some stock "B", and give that a try.

    mixed a with b and the results was yellow, when adding distilled water we went though the color change and the developer ended up a pale orange shade.

    The stock solution of A is a pale yellow, stock b is clear.

    I hate to finish these rolls with a different developer but if the next trial ends with the same results i will order some new developer. Probably pryocat -hd and give that a try.
     
  18. lee

    lee Member

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    Ann:

    Please see my post on mixing Part B. I misstated the chemical needed for Part B. It is sodium metaborate and not sodium sulfite as I stated. Sorry for the confusion.

    lee\c
     
  19. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    If the B solution is giving you trouble, or you suspect so, there is an alternative. Triethanolamine is an organic base that may be used in place of the Kodalk in equal amounts. That is, if you would use 10 ml of the Kodalk solution, 10 ml of TEA will also do. TEA is available from Photographer's Formulary, but I use a tecnical grade from www.chemistrystore.com at about $16 US per gallon. Give it a test, of course, before you do important work.

    The stuff is pretty thick syrup and freezes at about 70 F, so keep it warm.
     
  20. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    thanks lee, i was going to double check with you as i thought it was the m sodium no the s.

    same ratio tho? I just want to mix enough for a test . And, or if mixing fresh for each session a smaller amount than 2000 liters.
     
  21. lee

    lee Member

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    I usually mix 1 liter at a time. Yes, I think the ration is the same. I just start with 850 ml of water and pour metaborate in to the container and the volume raises to 1000 ml and I quit. Then the challenge is to get it to dissolve. Just keep at it.

    lee\c
     
  22. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    no problem, i have a magnetic stirrer.
     
  23. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Or you might try the triethanolamine. No mixing. It is liquid.
     
  24. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    true, however, i have the sodium met. on hand and would have to order the other.

    This morning in the lab i checked Gordon"s book, looking for a trouble shooting sections. One thing he mentioned as to "sloppy" staining, was agaition. That it need to be vigorous. Now, i am not aware that i have "soften" my technique but it is another issue.