developing film: ggrrrr, errgh, and $#@%^

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by winger, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    This is 120 Acros, shot in a Pentax 645N. I'm fairly sure the camera is not doing this. I had this problem using plastic reels and have switched to a Hewes reel in a stainless tank. I use Ilfosol 3 at the published times (I think it's 5 minutes for Acros). I pour the developer in, start the timer, agitate until about 20 seconds by tipping the tank back and forth at 90 degrees (no rolling or swirling), then tap at an angle and set it down with a thunk (stainless sink). I agitate at each minute by tipping the tank back and forth on an axis (no swirling, etc..) then tap on an angle on two sides and set it down with a thunk. So why on Earth are the edges getting more developed? It's way more obvious on frames that are lighter when printing (like this one). Some that are dark don't show anything.
    I know there's enough developer - maybe too much? Don't know if that would cause this.
    This is an enlargement on 8x10. The enlarger is also not the problem - I just didn't want to scan the contact print 'cause it'd be too small.
     

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  2. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    The only things that come to mind (I am just learning this stuff) is not enough agitation or the film was incorrectly loaded.
     
  3. jmain

    jmain Member

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    I have had this problem as well with 120 and I switched to a bigger tank. If i'm doing one roll of 120 I put its reel in the bottom of the tank and an empty one on top and then use enough developer to cover only the reel with the film on it. When you invert the tank you're now getting better displacement of the developer across the film. When you fill a single reel tank to the very top you're getting less displacement of developer than you might think.
     
  4. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Do you have reason to suspect this? It is a possibility. Without 'some' small amount of air in the tank, there is less turbulent agitation.
     
  5. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Since its 6x4.5 it has the typical appearance of more development near the reel and less in the center of the film. I suspect, as Ektagraphic pointed out, that the center is underdeveloped from not enough agitation. The reason I think that is in the case of excess agitation caused by turbulance of the reel, the effects are confined to the area close to the reel and don't extend that far into the image area (in my experience).

    Are you using 1:14? Perhaps the 1:9 will work better.

    Also, you are sure it has been cleared OK by the fixer?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2009
  6. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I had some fairly similar results when I did not fix enough.
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    5 minutes is a very short dev time for B&W and you will need very good agitation to prevent this sort of uneven processing, and by the sound of it your being rather to gentle.

    It needs good inversion agitation for at least the first 30 seconds and then a couple of times again every 30 seconds. You've got to be cruel to be kind :D to the film :smile:

    Rocking/tipping side to side will make things worse, it's not random enough, stop being gentle :D it needs that rolling & swirling and being topsy turvy.

    Ian
     
  8. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I am using 1:9. I fix for about 4 minutes using rapid fix (it says use 2-4 minutes).
    I used to agitate every 30 seconds and also got this and was told that was too much agitation. I was also told that side to side was how to avoid it moving more by the reels and therefore overdeveloping on the edges.
    I only have the one tank for 120 - should I get a larger one or try to measure exactly so I leave some air in this one?
     
  9. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    It's an agitation issue. When I agitate I use first minute agitation plus 10 seconds of every minute thereafter. The stainless steel tanks, particularly the double ones, will give lots of space for the reels to bounce up and down giving lots of displacement. What's happening there is you're only getting chemistry mixed around at the top and bottom of the tank. It's not forced through all the way. You can try more or more vigorous agitation or a different tank.
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Your tank should be fine, I fill mine very full - lack of air space isn't an issue.

    The technique with agitation is gentle inversions, not too vigorous ie shaking it almost, but enough to get the developer moving well.

    Ian
     
  11. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Bethe,

    I have had similar problems. I solved the problem by going to a more normal agitation regime and switching to stainless steel tank and reels. Don't know if the tank had anything to do with it, but the problems went away. You've switched to stainless steel, which leaves agitation.

    Agitation. You want to fully invert the tank when you agitate, just tipping it front and back is not going to replace the 'spent' developer that's in contact with the emulsion, your developer needs some velocity to move over the emulsion. Agitation is basically to replace the developer that has already worked on the emulsion for a while, spending its capacity to transform the silver.
    Invert the tank fully for 30s at the beginning and then you can slow down to 10s every two minutes or so, but every time you agitate, make sure you get that liquid moving inside the tank.
     
  12. goldenimage

    goldenimage Subscriber

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    120 acros w/d76 is what i use, 11 min, i agitate first 30 sec continuously, then 5 sec every 30 sec thereafter, when i fix i fix for 10 min, agitating 30 sec every minute. when you develope try to get at least 3 to 4 inversions during the 5 sec. turn that tank upside down, treat it like it owes you money. : ) very good composition on that image btw. good luck
     
  13. Denis K

    Denis K Member

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    I probably concur with all the other comments about this being an agitation problem due to lack of randomness.

    However, just to make sure it isn't a fogging issue, do you see any variation in the base+fog level in the portions of the film BETWEEN images. Since this area shouldn't have received any exposure it should be sensitive only to fixation and not development and/or agitation.

    Denis K
     
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  15. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Why this would begin happening all of a sudden for you is beyond me. Perhaps that film is agitation sensitive??

    Given the appearance of that neg, my guess is insufficient agitation. Just tipping the tank changes the solution on the edges, but not througout the whole roll.

    A medium-gentle tipping over the tank is the way I do it. With just enough "vigah" that the SS reels make a clicking sound about like the metalic sound one gets when popping open a can of beer.
     
  16. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    It's definitely not fogging and it's not loose paper allowing light in from the edges. Which does leave agitation.
    I am inverting it when I tip back and forth - I'm just not going in circles or such. I also turn the tank so the next agitation is in a different spot. This is just irritating because when I had the issue before (with the plastic reels), I was told there was too much agitation and to cut back to once a minute instead of every 30 sec.

    I have an empty film back for the Hassie, so I'm going to load a roll in that and shoot mostly light subjects that I don't care as much about. When I develop that, I'll agitate more vigorously and see what happens. So swirling isn't going to make it worse? I thought that made it go faster at the edges and cause it to be worse.
     
  17. jmain

    jmain Member

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    I suggest a simple experiment. Fill a clear glass jar to the top with water. Very gently put a drop of food coloring in the water and quickly put the lid on. In the first two or three inversion cycles you can see how little the dye particles really move. Now do it with the jar half full. Now imagine the developer confined between the layers of film and you can make up your own mind about whether you're getting sufficient agitation or not.
     
  18. GraemeMitchell

    GraemeMitchell Member

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    I had problems with increased edge density forever, though not that extreme, and I had to tweak and tweak my agitation methods, tanks, etc for awhile before I got rid of it. And even then, if I do anything varying from the usual, it will show up quickly (though I do use reduced agitation with an 8 reel tank though, which is sorta asking for it to begin with).

    I too suggest not loading a reel or two in the tank to leave a larger air space for the chemicals to really move around, and also to look into the figure 8 style inversion, which has worked for me. Finally, a good bit of info I was given that further helped me reduce the problem was that uneven development mostly takes place in the first 30 seconds to minute of the development process. I got rid of the pouring step and now lower the reels into the tank; this step, with an 8 reel tank, helped a great deal.
     
  19. David William White

    David William White Member

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    Is that Ilford Rapid Fixer? Film strength is 1+4. 1+9 is for paper, so you'd be under-fixing. Underfixing is common and eventually happens as your fixer saturates.

    Best to confirm/deny underfixing by refixing pronto, then move on to other hypotheses. If true, you'll get your negatives back, so this is the sensible action item.

    Just throw the film in a bowl of fixer for another 5 minutes, then rewash & rescan.

    Fingers crossed.
     
  20. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Sorry for the brevity - I use the developer 1:9 (someone asked if I was using it 1:14) - the fix is 1:4 and it was fresh.

    I may also try the fill the tank first and drop the loaded reel into it in the dark method. I just have to make sure I can find it without knocking it over in the dark. Is there a youTube video or such of the figure 8 method? That's what I think I have in mind for my more vigorous attempt later.
     
  21. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    Bethe - I had a similar problem a while back with 120 film in stainless reels. The problem was that I was not cleaning my reels after the foto-flo bath, just rinsing them. I got high density areas on the sides of the next set of negs developed.
    The solution was to use an old toothbrush and some Ivory (bar) soap and give the reels a quick cleaning. Never had the problem again.
    YMMV

    Good luck.

    gene
     
  22. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Sorry - mine get scrubbed pretty well after each use (it's the labrat in me).

    Thanks for all the help, gang!
     
  23. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    Is that darker area continuous down the entire roll of film? Your development procedure doesn't seem out of whack although a lengthier time is desirable, IMO. Besides, over-agitation will have the opposite effect on film density... more density in the center.

    *** I'll bet you're not fixing the film completely.
     
  24. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    You mention "tipping 90 degrees", this sounds rather gentle. The usual manufacture (er, Kodak) specified agitation for SS is to invert the tank 180 degrees, 1-2 inversions/second, for 5 seconds every thirty seconds, rotating the tank slightly so it is not always inverted in the same direction. I notice Ilford specifies 4 inversions/for 10seconds/every minute.

    The 5 minute developing time is rather short and may be contributing to the unevenness.

    Some developer/film combinations seem to be more agitation sensitive than others.

    I would give a try with D-76 1:1 and a Kodak agitation scheme and see if this gives even negatives. Alternatively, try the Ilfosol at 1:14 with a more vigorous agitation and see if it improves things. Probably a good idea to use test rolls for the experiments - pictures of an evenly lit surface, like a wall in the shade placed on ZVII.

    To verify liquid quantity just put an empty reel in an open tank and measure how much liquid is needed to cover the reel(s).
     
  25. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I believe it is an agitation issue. Your agitation needs to be more vigorous, more random, and use full inversions. You don't have enough, and random enough agitation, the person who said you had too much is wrong. Over agitating will result in increased contrast and density, not what you have.
     
  26. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I would think it's agitation. I normally do four complete inversions in about 5 seconds each minute (this is with HC-110 1+63 on Acros and others.) And I do 30 seconds worth of inversions with an occasional thunk of the stainless tank on a wood tabletop at the beginning. I also believe I've had more even development since I worked out a developer volume (425 mL here for one 120) to leave about 1/4 inch empty space at the top of the tank. I also rotate the tank a bit in the inverting hand between each inversion to move the rotational axis of the inversion around.

    (Gad -- makes it all sound more complicated than it seems when doing it!)

    DaveT