cleaning negatives

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by BetterSense, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    When you have a bit of dust or something on a negative, it really shows up in the print even if it's small. I've been blowing my negatives off after they are in the carrier with dust-off spray, but it doesn't always get the little stuff. Is it a good idea or acceptable to use a microfiber cloth to wipe them off?


    I have a print that I am happy with other than a conspicuous white dot in the sky. I know you can use little paintbrushes to spot prints, but does that work with glossy RC paper?
     
  2. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Better Sense,

    Generally, loose dust on a negative (almost always on the base side) can be brushed off. I use a StaticMaster in preference to a cloth. Keeping the interior of the enlarger very clean helps a lot; some find that grounding the enlarger makes a difference, too. Occacionally, something will become embedded in the emulsion and be virtually impossible to remove. The prevention is to be sure that all film is dried in a dust-free environment. I still have some of the long-discontinued Kodak film cleaner which, on very rare occasions, is useful. Let's face it--dust loves film.

    Spotting can be done on RC paper, but it's sometimes visible when the paper has light reflecting off it at just the right angle. Spotting is trickier with RC than with FB.


    Konical
     
  3. vdonovan

    vdonovan Subscriber

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    Static brushes REALLY make a difference. They are much, much better than canned air or a cloth, both of which can build up a charge on the negative which will actually attract dust. My negs and prints are much cleaner since I got a staticmaster.
     
  4. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    How do you get tdust that seems to be embedded of of the negative??
     
  5. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    All sorts of methods will and can work. Basically you should start with the lightest method, which in my case is a blast of air on both sides, then a look under a loupe with a light box underneath illuminating the negative, so I can see everything.

    If there is still something, I give another blast of air (I have a compressor). If that doesn't work, then I will use some removable magic tape. I take some of this and place it on the negative, placing it on with light pressure from a finger, then pulling it off, mostly all small specks will come off using this method.

    If that doesn't work, then I resort to a cotton bud dipped slightly in some Kodak film cleaner. Using this lightly I generally am able to remove most things that shouldn't be there.

    If that fails, then spotting is the order of the day.

    I find spotting to be very easy on glossy RC paper, it is just slightly easier with fibre, or non plastic coated paper.

    I do all of my negative cleaning, with the negative placed in the negative carrier; I find it much easier to work on it that way.

    Eventually you will over time, realise where you can do small things along your film handling route, whereby you virtually eliminate dust spots.

    I very rarely need to spot, in fact it is abnormal for me to require spotting.

    Mick.
     
  6. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    "Magic Tape" ???? Is that like the general type frosted office tape?
     
  7. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    REMOVABLE Magic Tape, repeat, "REMOVABLE" is the operative word!

    If you use normal adhesive tape, then there is a chance you may damage the emulsion by partial or total lifting of said emulsion. I know this from personal experience:D

    Removable Magic Tape has a much less aggressive adhesive, allowing it to be removed without leaving some of it's adhesive, or lifting some of the surface of whatever it was stuck to!

    Mick.
     
  8. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    Is removable magic tape a photo type tape, sold in photo supply houses or something else sold at the hardware store?
     
  9. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    In my country it is sold in Office Supply type stores.

    It is not generally used in photography, nor for building with things obtained from a hardware store.

    Perhaps you could do some general search online in your own country?

    Mick.
     
  10. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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  11. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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  12. tbm

    tbm Member

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    For quick cleaning of a negative, I dip a Q-tip in Edwal's negative cleaner and run it back and forth over the negative's surfaces; then I inspect the negative with my 6x Schneider loupe. If the loupe inspection still shows a previously visible artifact (especially on decades-old negatives), I again rub the negative with the Q-tip.

    To get an artifact off of a negative another way, I mix a bit of Photo-flo in 75 degree water, dunk the negative in that a few times, and rub both sides of the negative with clean fingers until the artifact loosens. Then I rinse the negative and hang it on a clothes pin in my darkroom to dry. (I always process my just-exposed negatives in Microdol-X at 75 degrees, so that temperature is safe.)
     
  13. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Any guesses as to what these negative cleaning solutions consist of?
     
  14. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    I use a micro-fibre cloth or a Q-tip with a little lighter fluid to wipe off the stubborn schmutz that won't come off with compressed air. I put the neg in the holder before I clean it.
     
  15. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    Tetrachloroethylene is a commonly used chemical in these cleaners. You should avoid skin contact, have good ventilation and use sparingly. A 4 oz bottle goes a long ways. It is not particularly dangerous to use if you follow appropriate precautions.

    Bob