Assistance sleuthing a light leak. Your thoughts?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by fotoobscura, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. fotoobscura

    fotoobscura Subscriber

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    I am not an amateur but perhaps I've made an amateur mistake somewhere. I doubt it after 20+ years of developing my own film but I am indeed willing to admit a mistake if I made one.

    This image below was developed using (fresh) Xtol stock and fresh fixer developed for just under 10m wth a 2m pre-soak at about 8C. This is (new, unexpired) Tri-X 400 @ 1600 shot with a Nikon FE2 (and vacillating between a 28mm, 55mm and 300mm fixed lenses). I shot a roll just before this one (c41 @ 800) that came out fine. This one, clearly, did not.

    I am truly surprised this happened and am trying to pinpoint where the problem originated. The film back did not get opened during the roll (and fwiw the film was loaded in 'subdued' light). What also surprised me about this fogging is that although the (entire) roll was fogged one way or another, certain images came out that were in between completely fogged images (e.g. no image).

    Clearly we're seeing light leaks through the sprockets...

    One thing I know for sure- the light leak is not a result of lens switching (e.g. light sneaking in through the lens opening from a torn curtain or whatever)...

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!


    IMG_20130119_200027-light-leak-trix-400-at-1600.jpg
     
  2. albada

    albada Member

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    Even highly fogged film should have images on it, unless it's at Dmax. Are you saying that the severely fogged areas have no images? In your attachment, I see progressive fogging toward the right side and no images, as if only part of the roll had been exposed.

    Also, what kind of tank did you use? A Jobo?

    Mark Overton
     
  3. fotoobscura

    fotoobscura Subscriber

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    Well, yes and no. The severely fogged areas have "streaks" on them but no latent image (that is, nothing that resembles a photograph).

    I used a Paterson tank that can handle (1) 35 or (1) 120 reel.
     
  4. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Looks like lack of light to me. It is a negative as it's seen, right? So the light areas from the sprocket holes are not where there was more light but less. Right?
     
  5. Mr Bill

    Mr Bill Member

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    Are you quite certain it's fully fixed? If not, might be worth clipping off a bit for an extended fix test.
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Is the reference to "8C" an error?

    Is there any chance this film has been exposed twice?
     
  7. Fred Aspen

    Fred Aspen Member

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    +1 on Mr Bill's comment, it looks like your fixer is going off.
     
  8. fotoobscura

    fotoobscura Subscriber

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    Bill was right. I fixed for an additional 3 minutes and the images cleared. Now, why literally fresh fixer (as in, a few days mixed) couldn't fix a roll in three or four minutes escapes me. This has been my process for at least 10-15 years with no problems. Clearly I made a mistake somewhere in mixing the fixer. I guess.

    The other thing that threw me off, and I mean *really* threw me off was that my FE2 had a spring problem that I had to fix which caused multiple exposures as a result of the lever advance not "locking" between frames. This caused several blank frames throughout the roll which, unfixed, *appeared* like fogged out *latent* images. They were in fact unfixed *unexposed* images.. To the wise observation of another poster, the "fogging" was inverted.

    Sigh.

    Okay everyone, thanks so much for your input..

    Onward...Perhaps a little more diligently in the near future..



     
  9. fotoobscura

    fotoobscura Subscriber

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    P.S. The roll of c41 that came out threw me off but it just dawned on me that my c41 blix was doing what it was supposed to do, unlike my bw fix. ..<whatever the 'rolls eyes' emoticon is>
     
  10. Mr Bill

    Mr Bill Member

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    Hi, glad it was easy to solve. FYI, in the hi-volume processor where I spent quite a few years, we ALWAYS held back our new mixes until they had been screened. At a minimum, this included pH and specific gravity, which would catch almost any mixing error. Somewhere, you have to balance out the cost vs benefit of these checks, so... it just depends on how you see things.
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Two possibilities to consider:

    1) did you inadvertently mix it to paper strength dilution, rather than film strength dilution?;
    2) did you "double-dilute" - i.e. did you inadvertently take working solution fixer (e.g. at 1 + 4) and further dilute that (e.g. at 1 + 4)?

    Creative slip ups are my speciality :laugh:
     
  12. fotoobscura

    fotoobscura Subscriber

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    Bill this little mistake ratcheted up my diligence that was probably (obviously) severely lacking. I used to spreadsheet all my temperatures/formulas/mixes (date mixed, even periodic hypo and clip tests) and I got lazy. The amount of effort required to test for "active" fixer or developer is so small that if you really want that roll or rolls to come out it makes sense to me to do periodic staggered sampling just to make sure...

    Thanks again!
     
  13. fotoobscura

    fotoobscura Subscriber

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    Matt,

    1) I mixed a gallon of stock fixer. I think what I did NOT do was two things- the water temperature was not warm enough and I did not mix the powder thoroughly enough. The fixer DOES in fact work, it's just quite dilute (and does NOT seem to be improving even after *laborious* mixing). 8+ minutes to clear a roll of 35mm is ridiculous when mixed as stock.

    2) I've done that before! HA! (not this time though).

    My biggest mistakes are generally tragic and on the whiskey. Like mixing up developer and blix and then blixing then developing...

    Furthermore, I tend to never write down the creative mistakes that turned out in my favor..

    I'm doomed!
     
  14. TheMissingLink

    TheMissingLink Member

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    Time to give a bit back to the community for me ;-)

    the "leaks" at the sprockets are the result of to heavy/fast agitation with the developer ... the time I shot 35mm it has been my main fault to ruin my negs. Something similar exists with 120 also from the film edges ...
     
  15. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    I agree that there were two problems here: the fixing, which caused the cloudiness (could have been badly loaded on the reel as well, i.e., touching), and the agitation, which causes the surge marks at the sprocket holes. For this latter, make sure your reel is not sliding up and down in the tank when you agitate and use the "torus" motion, i.e., twisting and inverting at the same time, and see if that helps.

    You've fixed your own fixing problem :smile:

    Best,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com