cure for (thick) neg scratches...

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by firecracker, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I have read older threads the other day to figure out how I should approach to this problem, but I've been very unsuccessful doing what's been said.

    I'm using a condenser-head enlarger with a Nikon lens and making a 8 1/2 x 12 9/16" sized prints with 35mm negs on AGFA FB. I like this setting and want to keep using it as much as I can. My developer is Ilford MG paper developer, and I use the 1:14 dilution.

    But one of my old negs originally had a few scratches on the non-emulsion side, so I greased it with, noseoil, "No Scratch" fluid, vaseline, etc. No of them really produced any better result. I soaked the neg in warm water and let the scratches to close by themselves, but that made the scratches bigger, thicker, and deeper; now they are more like cuts. There's a possibility that I must have mishandled it while doing that, but it's too late. So, back to the grease method, I also printed with a wider F stop, as wide as F2.8 and used a real short exposure time like five seconds, but that didn't solve the problem.

    Now, if there's another method that I can use before moving onto a diffuser-head enlarger as the last resort (because when I used it the last time it didn't give me any satisfying result for the contrast and the grainy texture on the print), what is it that I can still do? Am I still missing something that I need to know?

    Please help me out if you have any suggestions. Spotting is always a choice that I want to avoid as much as I can.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Retouching the print is likely the only analog solution other than reshooting.
     
  3. vet173

    vet173 Member

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    The only thing I can think of is to make a print and hang it on the wall to be a reminder that sometimes you can't unring a bell.
     
  4. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Since scratches would render black on the print, I would retouch the neg. This will make the scratches go to white on the print so that you can retouch them.

    The other option of bleaching the dark scratches on the print is more difficult in my experience.

    Another option is to use a needle inserted in a pencil eraser and then very subtley and lightly etch the scratch on the negative. this will cause light scatter and cause the scratch to be less noticeable.

    Another idea is to use diffusion material below your condensers and above the negative...this will effectively convert your condenser enlarger into a diffusion enlarger for this one negative.

    Anything you try as far as retouching on 35 mm will be more difficult because of the small negative size. I would probably use diffusion first...Duratrans is a good diffusion material
     
  5. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Sometimes printing with the neg wet will work.

    Otherwise retouch it.


    Michael
     
  6. Mike-D

    Mike-D Member

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    Edwal used to make a product called "No Scratch" which was a thick liquid that you coated the neg with. Glycerine also works very well. Its very thick and clear, a lot more effective than noseoil or vaseline. Fills the scratches nicely iirc.

    Mike D
     
  7. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Wrong, if the scratches are on the base or non emulsion side they will be white in the print! Only a sctatch in the emulsion will print black!

    The glycerine or vasolene should work just fine if applied properly! Most likey some work will still be necessary on the print. A diffusion/coldlight enlarger and a wide aperature on the lens would also be an aid in printing this type of negative!



    Charlie.....
     
  8. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    What's "Duratrans"? Is it widely available? Or is there any substitute for that? I'm in a Japanese market right now.
     
  9. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Thank you very much for your posts with your inputs. But it seems there's a little misunderstanding on the problem I stated in the beginning of this thread, so I have write it again.

    What I have on my neg is a few scratches that have produced white scratch marks on my prints. The scratches on the neg are pretty big, thick and deep, and they are on the non-emlusion side (non-shinny side); they are more like tiny dints. The cure attempts I made with noseoil, "No-Scratch(similar to Edwal product), and Vaseline have all failed. Between each session, I soaked the neg in warm water to heal, but I didn't seee any major improvement on the finished prints.

    From what I understand of the use of "No-Scratch" liquid (and according to its instruction), you can use it on the emlusion side because it faces up, but not on the ones on the non-emlusion side which faces down, and that's where the scratches are. So, when I applied it, I rubbed with my finger on the neg like any other types of grease, so the liquid was not going to drip. But that effect was almost like any other types of grease after all. Or maybe there's a smarter way to do that I still don't know.

    I have heard of the use of a diffusion material on a condenser-head enlarger before to covert it into a temporary diffuser-head, but I'm not sure exactly how to do it. Could anyone please elaborate a little more on this? Is there such a photo supply or an offical piece of equipment that's sold in a store? Or is this a DIY type of invention that some people do? I'm sure this type of information would be beneficial to everyone because certain popular enlargers both old and new are condenser heads (whether you can swap the heads or not).

    I know I have to make some compromise somewhere. I'm thinking of retouching the prints rather than using a diffusion-head enlarger in order to keep the consistent quality with grain texture and so on. But I still want to inquire all the necessary information and acquire the best technique to apply to solve this problem.

    Anyway since last night after leaving my darkroom, I was catching a cold, and today/tonight, I'm physically not in any good shape with play with fun chemicals. So, there's going to be a little down time for me, at least a day or two, and I can prepare for the next time. I have read the previous threads on APUG, and I think I've covered pretty much everything that's mentioned.

    So if you have more ideas and know the techniques to solve this problem, please post here!

    Firecracker
     
  10. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    How do you apply the grease(s) to the scratches/dints on the non-emlusion side properly? I used my fingers and rubbed it on the neg just like I do with my noseoil. The problem is the damage is on the side that faces down, so if it's too liquidly, it'll start to drip.
     
  11. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    It may be possible to make a flattish print (full frame) and then laboriously retouch it.

    Then, photo copy the print onto film. At this stage, your contrast will bump slightly, your retouching should dissappear and you will be able to make multiple prints of your image.

    Mick.
     
  12. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Duratrans is a material that is uniformly opaque and approximately 1/16 or less in thickness...anything of that type should work if it is placed between the condensers and the negative.
     
  13. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Thank you again for your advice. I'll try your methods as soon as I get over the cold that I have now.
     
  14. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Quote: The scratches are on the non-emulsion side, not the shinny emulsion side, and that produces white marks on the prints


    I believe there is a bit of confusion going on here! The shinney side of the film is the base side, the dull side is the emulsion. Are yopu making contact prints or enlargments? If you are making an enlargement the emulsion (dull)
    side faces down in the carrier. The base side is on top. If the scratches are white as you say they can only be in the base, (Shinney side) not the emulsion side. To apply vasolene I lay the negative on a sheet of glass with the emulsion down. Then with a tiny drop or finger tip I apply it to the center of the negative. With an index card carefully spread the vasolene over and into the scratches and entire negative with the edge of the card. With cross lighting you can see what is covered and what is not. place the negative with the vasolene into the carrier vasolene up. You can use "nose oil" on either side of the negative because it is so thin it won't drip. the same with glycerine you use only a tiny drop and spread it the same way over the negative. You cannot cure a white scratch in a print by putting anything on the emulsion side. If a black mark/spot/pinhole/scratch is found it can only come from the emulsion side side of the negative. A hair or dust particle on the base of the negative also can only print white. Dust/ lint/ or dirt on either side of the negative will print white! To determine base from emulsion simply look at how the film curls, it will always curl towards the emulsion side! I hope this helps, but I am certain there is still a good deal of confusion concerning your post. Charlie........
     
  15. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Concerning diffusion:
    Any art store has matte acetate in sheets, which will work very well. A ground glass focusing panel from a view camers will work. Cut the side out of a frosted distilled water jug and lay it above the negative in it it's carrier,
    it will work. Even a simple sheet of white typeing paper can be used, let your imagination be your guide. Charlie.........
     
  16. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    You're right. My fault, completely. Thank you very much for pointing this out. I don't what I was thinking. Simple error. Sorry.

    The scratches are on the emulsion side (the dull side) that is what faces down. Right, the plastic top didn't have any major issue, which I normally do get some scratches, though. But on the emulsion side, this time there are deep cuts as I described earlier, and I believe they have produced the white marks on the prints.

    So, is this still curable with the kinds of grease that you have suggested? There are no black marks however to be seen. Also, how should I clean the neg this time before and after putting the grease? I'm afraid that the emulsion near the scratches might flake off if I have to touched it.
     
  17. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Firecracker,
    You are not listening to what I am saying. The only way you could get a white/gray mark is from the base side. If the negative is scratched on the emulsion side it allows the light to burn through the scratch which creates an exposed black mark on the print. The only way you can get a white/gray area in an enlarged print is for the emulsion to be totally black in that part of the negative. The density of the exposed emulsion prevents the enlargers light from reaching the print paper. There can not be a "scratch" on the emulsion side causing your problem. To clean your negatives of the "grease" use a standard film cleaner and lint free soft tissue...... I use Kim Wipes. I'll say it once more, if the offending marks are white in the print, it can only be something holding back the light from the enlarger. A hair dirt etc. stuck on the emulsion side of the film could do this but not a scratch! Another method to elininate problems with damaged negatives is to sandwich the negative emulsion down in a puddle of glycerine, first wet the entire negative in the glycerine, let it drip a bit then lay it (emulsion down) on a sheet of double polished plate glass that will fit in your enlarger. Cover the negative and wet puddle with another sheet of glass. Expose and make your print then clean up your mess, and a mess it will make, but it might get you a print. This is not a method I have used, because of the mess, also I have never had a negative that it was necessary to do this drastic of an action to. Once more the facts, it is not possible to get white marks in a print from scratches on the emulsion side of an negative. A white mark can be created on either side of the negative by dirt/hair/lint/ finger prints or anything that will create additional density that will hold back the exposure of the print paper. A scratch on the non emulsion or base side will always appear in the print as white/gray. Charlie........ BTW this is one negative that you would might be way ahead to reshoot, or simply move on and chalk this one up as a step in your learning curve. The emulsion should not flake off.
     
  18. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Mr. Webb,
    Thank you very much for giving me the instructions and holding your patience throughout this. I have not been in the darkroom since I started this thread a few days ago because I got sick, but hopefully from this weekend, I'll go back in there and do what you've suggested.

    Meanwhile, I think I've figured out the problem. Two out of three scraches indeed have something (counld be dust) stuck in their gaps, so that's what's causing the white marks. But they are on the emulsion side. Does it make sense? On the finished prints, at the end of one of the white marks is a really small black spot, that is where a piece of emlusion is missing, right? However, since the black mark is really really tiny so I can let go of it. Then I'll retouch the white marks if the greasing and diffusion methods fail.

    The real problem concerning the care for the damaged neg was that the new scratches appeared on the neg after rinsing and washing it. I just could not comprehend what had just happened. So, I launched this thread. I'm still not sure if my neg-only sponge(the special kind from a photo supply store) I used to squeeze off the water caused more damages or not. The sponge was brand-new and I had never had any problem with it before. So, I was overly concerned if the emulsion would flake off.

    Anyway thank you again for your advice, and I'll definitely hang this neg and the first test print somewhere visible to learn from it. It's a real shame I ended destroying the neg which is not replaceble, but I'll print the image enyway for my portfolio because it's just an powerful image. I'll live with it and deal with it.

    Firecracker
     
  19. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Quote: Meanwhile, I think I've figured out the problem. Two out of three scraches indeed have something (counld be dust) stuck in their gaps, so that's what's causing the white marks. But they are on the emulsion side. Does it make sense?


    (CW) Yes it does, because what ever is in the crevice is holding back the light thus printing lighter.


    Quote: On the finished prints, at the end of one of the white marks is a really small black spot, that is where a piece of emulsion is missing, right?


    (CW) Correct, the missing density in the spot where the emulsion is is missing is passing light thus printing darker or black.


    Quote: since the black mark is really really tiny so I can let go of it. Then I'll retouch the white marks if the greasing and diffusion methods fail.


    (CW) I am of the opinion that regardless of the methods you try at this point the final print will need additional work. Pray that no one orders a 100 copies of this neg and print :smile: Good luck!!!! Charlie.......