Black spots on Pan F 120 - cause?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Michael W, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    Last week I processed a roll of Pan F 120 which is pretty much unusable due to being covered in small black spots. Below is a detail of a neg scan of one frame - there are hundreds of these dots, more in the denser areas. The pattern seen here is present in every frame of the roll.

    [​IMG]

    The film is in-date - it was bought earlier this year from B&H and expiry is Jan 2013. It was exposed in a Zero Image pinhole camera. Processed in Adonal 1:50 (Rodinal) followed by an acid stop and Kodak Fix then Hypo Clear. I suspect the problem is a combination of the film, Adonal and acid stop. Some searching suggests that Pan F is a somewhat fragile film. Funnily enough I hadn't used acid stop for years - always used water until recently on a whim I decided to use acid stop. I have read that the Rodinal solution is very alkaline and the sudden change to acid can shock some films. Would that cause black spots, which must be some sort of silver clumping? What the hell are these black spots anyway?
    I still have a couple of rolls of the Pan F left and will test with Adonal and water stop. For now I've switched to Tmax 100 for the pinhole; not keen on fragile films. Below is the full frame positive where the black spots show as white flecks.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    I don't believe the spots are the fault of the film. I suspect your water source first, or undissolved chemicals. The spots appear to be tiny flakes of some sort too often found in unfiltered water.I don't think the acid stop bath caused the problem, but there is no need to use it except to stop development more quickly. I have used plain water stop bath for years with no problems.
    You might try using distilled water for your final rinse.
     
  3. trexx

    trexx Member

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    There is added density in areas near dense areas. I would suspect developer and agitation. A very active developer and too little agitation may be the cause. In some developers the by product of development produces more active development. The developer completely developed the highlights, and the by product migrated to develop other less exposed areas.

    So what developer and how did you agitate?
     
  4. desertrat

    desertrat Subscriber

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    I got a bunch of tiny black specks on a roll of 35mm Pan-F. I had mixed the developer with our well water. I read somewhere on another thread that a small amount of dissolved Iron salts in the water can cause this with certain developers and films.

    I mixed another batch of developer with distilled water and there were no more black specks. The negs looked fine. Sometime later I tried filtering our well water with a water filtration pitcher, and that worked also.
     
  5. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    Correct - there are more spots in the dense areas and less in the thin areas, however they are all over the film.
    It was processed from a very new bottle of Adox Adonal (same as Agfa Rodinal) 1:50 using tap water. I process using this tap water several times a week & have never had any marks or defects. I agitated a Paterson tank gently for the first 30 seconds and then for 10 seconds each minute. My first time with Pan F and Rodinal so I followed the Massive dev chart time which suggested 11 minutes. I think I did 9 or 10 mins as they had been quite long pinhole exposures for reciprocity so thought a slight pull was prudent. Exposure & development look fine - I was happy until I noticed the spots.
    In the same week I did some rolls of Tri-X in the Adonal & acid stop with no defects or anything unusual. I've processed 4x5 and 8x10 HP5 using Xtol and the same tap water with no marks.
     
  6. trexx

    trexx Member

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    I was going to say that the image looked of pinhole flare. The slow speed of Pan-F produced the highlight flare. Nothing wrong just part of pinhole photography.
     
  7. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    All the frames on this roll have the black spots, even ones that weren't aiming into the light. Also, I have since switched to Tmax 100 in the pinhole with no quality problems.
     
  8. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Not to be the voice of reason here...

    I think the shot looks beautiful with the spots.
     
  9. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Well, first off, the image is not unusable, learn how to spot.

    Second, dark spots are usually not the film's fault. Pinholes could be, but dark spots are usually development issues.

    Third, use distilled water for all development. You'll be surprised at the difference in clarity in your negatives.

    tim in san jose
     
  10. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    I use well water too and never had this issue once. But all wells are not created equal, so I guess it could be. I have no other theory on the matter, just wanted to add my 2 cents incase you mixed new developer with distilled water and it didn't work. I use distilled water for a final rinse to reduce marks after drying, but not for the chemicals. It couldn't hurt though.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2011
  11. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    Are you joking? Do you realise there are about 300 of these white flecks just on this one frame?

    I already wrote that I regularly use tap water with no problems. This is obviously a film/dev/stop issue.
     
  12. eSPhotos

    eSPhotos Member

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    Don't know if this is relevant to your problem ..
    I used to have 'black' (whites on neg - opposite to yours) spots on prints when I used tap water and Rodinal combination. Not always but quite often to be a PITA.
    When I used the same tap water for other developers like D76 or XTol no spots whatsoever.
    So, maybe there is something about Rodinal and 'impure' water.
    Since then I use demineralised water to mix and dilute all my developers .. problem dissapeared.
     
  13. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    Mid last week i reported this to Ilford Harman via their "contact us" page. Hope they get back to me - I offered to send them a scan or a clip from the film. My assumption is that if they physically inspect it they can give an explanation.
     
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  15. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    I can swear to this. Neither the old well water nor the newer municipal water supply are adequate for developer for me. Grocery distilled water fixed a lot.

    I use filtered municipal water for the rest of the process.

    Still, my circumstamce may have nothing to do with the OP's problem.
     
  16. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    @Michael W, The photo chemistry is designed with distilled water in mind - any other water is hit or miss.
    Buy Yourself a distiller ~ $200, pour some water or filter some water and fill it up with it, wait for the distiller to complete, then check the thick gunk on the bottom of the distiller - this is the mineral, micro-bacteria etc. etc. content that gets into the emulsion when You process it without using distilled water.
     
  17. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Sounds like contamination in the water.

    Are the spots raised off the surface of the film or entirely within the emulsion?
     
  18. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    Rubbish. Film and chemistry are designed to be used with tap water.
    I stated clearly at the start of the thread that I process multiple rolls per week using this water and have never had a problem.
     
  19. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Modern chems are designed to be used with any water. I have a whole house filter on my system, and have never had problems with deposits on my film or paper. As insurance, add a faucet filter to your system or buy a filtering pitcher to clean your water prior to use. At different times of the year water companies flush their lines of sediment, occasionally some can get through to homes.
     
  20. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    Looks to me like it's within the emulsion. As far as I can tell they are tiny little clumps of metallic silver.
     
  21. Monito

    Monito Member

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    The main reason is to protect the fixer from alkaline developers. If the developer is not alkaline, then there is less reason, though a sharper end to development may make for more consistent results.
     
  22. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    Ok, I looked at a few of these on line.

    What I have been considering prior to this is an RO unit.

    I'm going to start a new thread asking for comments on the difference.
     
  23. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    I guess it is determined upon how important the photo is. Would I do it? If the subject was important, yep. One of the things taught at NESOP was recovery from issues.

    Anything can happen in chemistry. I don't happen to believe your hypothesis is correct. Water is more like it.

    Have a great life.

    tim in san jose(who has no spotting issues because he uses distilled water, always)
     
  24. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    Anyone wants to call Adox or Agfa and suggest them to produce Rodinal with tap water - why waste money for distilling water? :D
     
  25. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    Do the spots appear on the leader and tail?

    Or only within the image frame?
     
  26. Monito

    Monito Member

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    Good questions.

    Sensor needs cleaning? :whistling: