Dark artifacts on Plus-x 35mm negatives

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Helinophoto, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Dark artifacts from Plus-x 35mm negatives

    Hi

    I developed some (within date) Kodak Plus-x, 35mm film.

    I did the usual thing as I do with 35mm:
    - Develop
    - Stop bath with water, shaking around for around 1 minute
    - Fixing.
    - Washing by filling the tank and agitate for 1 minute, empty, fill again, agitate and fill another time, agitate, remove lid and then add a small drop of dishwasher glass drying aid. (never had a problem with that agent).

    When I looked the negatives, there are some darker spots and lines that I've never encountered before:
    See the attached photos.
    The brighter areas are caused by dust most likely or some gunk in my old fixer bottle, fine.
    But what are the darker areas?

    I seem to remember that I was a bit fast with my fixer and wash, but still.....5 minute fix + 3 separate changes of water and shaking (Ilford technique)....and this?

    I use a hardening fixer because I also shoot film that is a bit delicate (Efke, Foma), I though you could use hardening fixer with any film?

    I use water from a tank, which is filtered and de-ionized, to avoid too much trouble with gunk and metals from the water-pipes.

    Can this be caused by insufficient fixing?
    Insufficient washing?

    The fixer is still fine (tried a fixer test that I have laying around), worked fine for other films, both before and after this particular roll.

    Film was developed in tetenal ultrafin for 15 minutes, 30 seconds initial agitations (gently), then 1 agitation turn every minute, followed by 3 thumps on the side end of the tank on to the sink (like making a toast), followed by one firm smack back on the table, to be sure that the air bubbles are dislodged..

    The negatives look crisp and nice still (they were developed some time ago), no discolouration and they are flat as pancakes.

    I really haven't seen this before on my negs, nor do I want to see it again, so finding the bug in the system would be nice. =)
     

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  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Looks like contamination in the developer, possibly from fixer crystals. Talking about very small traces from a tanks taht's not been washed prperly after use. I have seen this in college darkrooms.

    Ian
     
  3. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Thank you for the reply. =)

    Well, I try to be careful about washing the tank and all the parts that was used (regular paterson tank) under running water, then I usually let the tank stand a few days with everything in it, filled with water, before I pour everything out and let dry.

    Come to think about it, the spool itself can sometimes be lying around in another room, as I take it out from the toilet to the bathroom to hang up the film.....can be that the spool wasn't cleaned properly indeed.

    Thank you for the input. I suppose nothing can be done with these (except scanning and cloning out the artefacts).

    I'll make sure I am even more careful cleaning my stuff after use. :smile:
     
  4. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Looks like the dreaded grey background curse with insufficient agitation in the first 15 seconds of development to me.
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The dark spots in the positive print is indicative of light spots in the negative. This might also be due to foam in the developer or due to air bells or bubbles on the film.

    Excuse the "negation" of your original title, but that is critical to my understanding and trying to explain your problem.

    PE
     
  6. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Ah, I corrected the title now, so it's maybe a bit more correct, indeed the areas are "thinner" and "lighter" on the negative, presenting themselves as dark spots on print/scans.

    What is the dreaded grey background curse?

    I am very sure that I did agitate enough in the start (30 sec initial, turning the tank completely upside down several times).
    It can be that 1 agitation each minute afterwards was insufficient, or that they were too gentle maybe? (I make sure the tank is turned on its head and back for one full agitation cycle)

    For 35mm films in the tank I have, I always use an empty reel along with the loaded reel, to be sure to keep the loaded reel submerged in developer the whole time.

    I am just a bit surprised seeing this stuff, because there are several negatives affected, not only these two and the developing scheme I used has "always worked" with other films, 35mm and 120 films.

    I can see that the dark circles may be from air bubbles or fixer particles (as they are nice and round), but the line made no sense to me....must have been some stubborn bubbles though, as I tap and dunk the paterson tank in a pretty determined way at each cycle.
     
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  7. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Grey Backgrounds are the most difficult to process, you can see a plus density line behind the womans head as well as spots, I do a inversion and twist as well as bang the container in the first 20 seconds,
    Idea is to get chemicals to the emulsion fast and consistantly. You will also see this mottling effect on grey skys that are very soft and neutral.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Did you bang the developing tank on your hand to dislodge air bubbles? Did you use a prewet? These are two time tested methods of preventing air bell induced light spots. If it is froth or bubbles from surfactant carried in, then you are not the dishwasher fluid out when you clean the reels. OTOH, using dishwasher fluid is not a good idea anyhow.

    PE