Bad developer or operator error?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by aleksmiesak, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. aleksmiesak

    aleksmiesak Member

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    Help!
    I just processed four rolls of 120 film in Pyrocat HD and all of them came out completely clear. I make a fresh batch from two solutions that are less then 2 months old with distilled water before each developing session. Mixed 1+1+100. I haven't processed any rolls in about month and a half and last time I did I used the same developer with great success. The film I processed included two rolls of TMax-100 and two rolls of HP-5+ at ISO 200. I used the Paterson double tank for each set of film. I used Massive Dev chart app for time and temperature and I developed the TMax for 14:45 min @ 21C and HP-5 for 14:06 @ 20C after 3 min of presoak in distilled water. So that's the technical info. Now the rolls I went with were picked at random from a stash of film I've had waiting for processing in the fridge for about 2 months. And I don't label my film so these were picked at random out of about 20 rolls. So I'm trying to figure out if it's possible for me to completely ruin the exposure on four random rolls. And I doubt it because I didn't even get the name of the film or frame number to show up. So what happened? Where did I mess up? I figured I'd ask here before I go ruining another two rolls. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers!
    Aleks
     
  2. LJH

    LJH Member

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    Did you shake solutions B prior to adding water? You MUST do this...
     
  3. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Is the edge imprinting visible?

    If not, you fixed it without developing it.

    - Leigh
     
  4. zsas

    zsas Member

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    That's my thought too...
     
  5. aleksmiesak

    aleksmiesak Member

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    Hmmm... I don't understand how I could have not developed it if I soaked it in the developer solution for the times I specified above. But no, there was nothing on the roll. Would you mind explaining further how that's possible.

    Also, what order should I have mixed the solution? There is nothing specific in the Formulary's instruction as far as order of mixing. I remember I did shake solution A but maybe didn't shake B enough. And maybe I mixed them in the incorrect order. Also, I agitated continuously for the first minute and then for 10 seconds every 3 minutes but I believe that's pretty standard.

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm hoping to give it another shot tomorrow with a fresh batch if I can get some more clarification here.
     
  6. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    It's usually a problem with forgetting to include a necessary constituent in a multi-part developer, or
    exchanging the solutions accidentally, so the film gets fixed before it gets developed.

    It happens all the time. A forum search will find innumerable threads on the same subject.
    And yes, those threads are full of individuals swearing they didn't do that. Well, yes they did.

    Not a major calamity. We've all done it.

    - Leigh
     
  7. aleksmiesak

    aleksmiesak Member

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    I'm definitely not denying "operator's error" in this instance. It's very possible I missed something during mixing or confused the solutions. So this was just a way to clarify further by process of elimination. So thanks for that. I'll try again in the morning with a fresh batch and maybe color code the solution bottles so it's "stupid proof". Like I said I've worked with Pyrocat before and loved my negs so I was really hoping it was in fact something on my end :whistling:
     
  8. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    I have all my bottles and graduates labeled, and always line them up in the same order, with the developer on the left, fixer on the right.

    If you're using graduates (as I prefer), fill the fixer first, developer last, to avoid contamination and confusion.

    - Leigh
     
  9. mick8585

    mick8585 Member

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    were the images exposed at all in the camera?
     
  10. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    That's the reason for the question about the edge imprint, which was done at the factory.

    If the imprint is visible but no images, that would indicate an exposure problem of some sort.

    Since the imprinting is not present, there's a processing problem.

    - Leigh
     
  11. tranquibra

    tranquibra Member

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    The OP used "Paterson double tank for each set of film". So how many 120s can each tank hold, 1 or 2? If it's 2, then 4 rolls randomly picked out of 20 rolls will take at least 2 development sessions to be completed. Did OP notice the blank negative problem after the 1st session?

    Most likely the films got fixed at first. It does happen with so many bottles lying around in darkroom. Of course, the worst is that no film is loaded in camera until it's time to rewind. It happened to me a few times. :sad:
     
  12. aleksmiesak

    aleksmiesak Member

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    The Paterson tank I have holds two rolls of 120. I did notice the problem after the first development session of the TMax rolls and thought it was just bad rolls and decided to try again. In hindsight, that was a dumb move since I didn't see the edge film imprint and proceeded to waste another two rolls. I think where the error happened was when I mixed the developer and probably only used solution A twice instead of adding solution B in preparing the working solution. The bottles were labeled A and B but I might have still missed it and just got them mixed up. For the rest of the process all of my developers, stops and fixes are well laid out and organized so I don't believe that's where I would have messed up.

    Again, thanks for the feedback. I'll try again this morning, this time with just one sheet of 4x5 that I shot yesterday to test my developer before I ruin more rolls.
     
  13. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Sounds like you've narrowed the problem down.

    My guess is two doses of Solution A and none of Solution B, or vice versa. That's happened millions of times.

    Good luck.

    - Leigh
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2012
  14. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    Do a double check with a leader from a roll of 135, or a scrap of sheetfilm, in daylight. Of course, it should go black - if not, then ????? But at least it is quicker and easier as a test than using carefully shot film!
     
  15. aleksmiesak

    aleksmiesak Member

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    So I gave it another shot today with fresh and carefully prepared solution. Being a little sensitive about wasting rolls of shots I used a single 4x5 exposed sheet. It came out ok, a little thin but I had the film info on the side so I assumed all was good. So I proceeded to run my rolls through it. I run two rolls of TMax and they both came out very thin with a few frames and film info completely gone. Also, pretty much zero stain that I got used to with the pyrocat. So now I'm doubting operator error and will be blaming it on the developer. As a double check I decided to mix up a fresh batch of Exactol Lux that I've had sitting on the shelf (and never opened) as long as my Pyrocat HD. Bought them together back in April I think. And the negs came out perfect with gorgeous stain, perfect tonality, exposures and sharpness on every image. Is it possible that my pyrocat is just expired, even after just a few months in the dark and cool place?
     
  16. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Great news, Aleksandra. Sounds like you're narrowing the problem down pretty well.

    I have no experience with staining developers, so can't offer any suggestions in that regard.

    - Leigh
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Pyrocat Pt A goes bluish green as it goes off and oxidises, mine lasts 18 months + in a partially full bottle, it also stains randomly, like fogging once badly oxidised. It's possible it wasn't that fresh when you bought it or something's happened to Pt B. BTW Exactol Lux goes off even quicker once opened.

    Ian
     
  18. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    You might want to try the pyrocat HD mixed in glycol variant, it keeps almost indefinitely.
     
  19. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    You may have inadvertantly cross contaminated your solutions A and B, causing one of them to be exhausted prematurely. I use two seperate medicine dosers marked for A and B, never use one for the other. Always be careful to keep them seperate, never mix the caps up. Always mix immediatly before using, and discard solution after one use. I mix while doing the presoak, adding solution A to my premeasured water then adding B just before placing into the tank with film.
     
  20. aleksmiesak

    aleksmiesak Member

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    Thanks for all the tips! I did order new Pyrocat HD mixed with glycol and should have it tomorrow. I discarded the other two developers I had out of fear of ruining more film. I'll be even more careful now about my mixing procedures and hopefully this one will last significantly longer. I didn't want to give up on it since I really love my previous results.

    Again, thanks, you were all tremendously helpful!

    Aleks