Blotches on film! Storage, development, camera... some thing else?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Roundabout, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Roundabout

    Roundabout Member

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    Hi

    I had some 35mm film developed (Neopan 400) and some of the images have turned out with 'blotches' (see attachment).

    I had a previous film developed (Ilford HP5) at the same lab, from the same camera and lens, without any issues.

    Initially, I thought that it might be dirt on the lens, as I was taking pictures in a muddy field at one point. But, the blotches are not on all the images and, when they do appear, do not seem to be in the same place each time.

    The films were bought from different shops, so I wondered if it might be a storage issue with the Neopan? Or is it a development issue, or something else? The films are well within expiry dates and I didn't pass through x-rays with them. Does anyone recognise what might have caused this?

    I've attached a detail of the issue (I've enhanced the contrast to show it up better).

    Thanks

    speckles-close.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2013
  2. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    You appear to have something growing on your film. Do you live in a tropical region and/or is there any possibility the film might have gotten damp, e.g. refrigeration after unsealing the original foil packaging?

    Have a close look at the neg and see if you can tell whether the additional density is silver or some other substance on the surface of the film.

    Edit: that is definitely a film issue, not a camera issue unless you have a little rainforest going in there.
     
  3. Roundabout

    Roundabout Member

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    Thanks for that, polyglot.

    I bought the film and used it in London (not much rainforest there :wink: ) and developed it within a week. It was stored on the shop's shelves and, before using it, I stored it in its case in my bag.

    I'm glad, at least, that it's not my camera. (Should I clean the camera, just in case it's been affected by the film, or should it be OK?)

    I've a couple of rolls left. Is there anything I can do, or should I chuck them? I'll check them for silver density.
     
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  4. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    Looks like a case of reticulation caused by improper processing. Try another roll from the same batch, but not for anything important, and see if it happens again. It could be the lab that processed the film made a chemistry or temperature error, and if so they did not recognize that they had a problem.
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Either reticulation, or a problem with condensation.
     
  6. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    Perhaps localised overheating when drying the film, or putting the film under a cold tap? If it isn't happening over the entire film some form of sudden temperature change after it has come out of the chemicals is my theory.

    Steve
     
  7. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Its reticulation.

    Temperature error during processing.

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  8. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Reticulation, though inhomogeneous. What makes it interesting.
     
  9. Roundabout

    Roundabout Member

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    Thanks everyone.

    Yes, the first few images seem to be free from the 'reticulation' (I've learned a new word, thanks). Then it kicks in around image/s 7-10 and continues throughout the film to a greater or lesser degree. One or two images after this appear less or unaffected, but perhaps it is just more obvious on certain types of image.

    So, I'm probaly safe using the rest of the batch? I'll probably keep them aside for less 'crucial' work, just in case.
     
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  10. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    The batch of film is likely ok, but you may want to do some lab shopping. With your current lab, you should show them the film and see if they will work with you in correcting the problem.
    Some films are more prone to reticulation than others, I think the Fuji films are among those, but I don't know for certain. If you search reticulation in here there should be lots of information.
    Generally, it's caused by sudden temperature changes in processing, either large temp differences between the chems, or, temperature shifts during washing (somewhat more likely).
     
  11. Roundabout

    Roundabout Member

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    Thanks. I'll have a search. Although this is one reason that I don't develop film myself. I'm far too clumsy (and lack of space).

    Just for the sake of discussion. Most of the images I've seen online about reticulation seemed to have a more uniform pattern, which is why this seemed odd. These two images were next to each other on the roll (or pretty close), yet one has the issue and the other doesn't. I had also wondered if it was something that the lab did when they scanned the film (although this is something I do have experience with and it seemed odd)?

    with.jpg without.jpg
     
  12. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I did a search through the literature I got on this issue I have not seen any sample showing inhomogeneous reticulation (except for film frozen during processing, but that gives a different, very specific effect).
     
  13. Molli

    Molli Subscriber

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    My guess is that, if a drastic change in chemical or washing water temperature occurred (I'm going with the latter), then a small amount was poured in down the side of the tank, the error quickly realised, the water poured out. Assuming the film was still on the reel at that point, it would account for the odd spacing of the reticulation.

    I can picture in my mind what I mean and what I think possibly happened, but I'm not sure I explained it well. I hope you can make sense of that garbled idea!
     
  14. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Just read through some comments.

    1) Reticulation on modern emulsions is very rare, and really does take some doing

    2) Someone mentioned FUJI 'could' be more prone to reticulation, absolutely NOT the case, whilst any film can reticulate, FUJI / KODAK / ILFORD are ultra high quality coated products and are highly resistant, one test we all do is 'adhesion' that is adhesion of the emulsion(s) to the base. Adhesion of modern film emulsions is outstanding, perhaps APUGGERS who processed film in the 40's and 50's would be able to tell of many reticulation events...its very rare now.

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Simon, Neopan 400 is one of the few films from a major manufactuers that will reticulate quite easily. Rodinal with it's free hydroxide is often the culprit because it significantly sftens the emulsion.

    Ilford's film hardening is excellent, the last reticaltion I had was at school (late 1960's) using FP3 & HP3 (ex government surplus), I quickly learnt how to avoid it. FP4 & HP4 had significantly better hardening, it took Kodak a time to catch up.

    The issue these days is most films are so well hardened people get lax with temperature controls through out the entire process cycle and few remember that wash is part of that cycle, particularly as very few use hardening fixers now.

    Ian
     
  16. Roundabout

    Roundabout Member

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    Just back to say that I've had another roll developed from the same batch - at a different lab - and all is well.

    Not sure I'm completely sold on the high contrast of this film compared to HP5, but that's another story. Probably just not used to it, I tend to do all the contrast adjustments post-process in Photoshop, so maybe I just need to adjust my workflow with this film. I've kind of got used to HP5 being 'flatter', which allows me to start from a more 'even' base, I suppose.

    Thanks again for all the comments above.
     
  17. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    You might be better off sticking with HP5 if contrast is a problem. I choose lower contrast films and processing for a similar reason, adding contrast is far easier than trying to reduce contrast. Although for a high contrast look there is nothing like a good high contrast negative to start with, the subtlety of the transition of tone is much better than trying to force it in post processing or printing.

    Steve