Did the fixer fog my film or did I make a mess with my first colour reversal attempt?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by adash, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. adash

    adash Member

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    Hi, Guys,

    I've been souping my slide film in diluted C-41 chemistry at home, getting good results with fresh film and developer, but got a few nasty surprises with old developer and/or old transparencies.

    My question is about some old ORWO transparencies I got cheap locally. UT-18, UT-21, UK-17 are supposed to be developed with a special process, whose components don't seem to be available nowadays. I've already tried to soup quite a few, but never got a scannable image. My last roll (UK-17, ASA40, expired decades ago) was exposed as ASA6(!), then souped in 1+100 Rodinal (yeah, that's the B&W developer I trust so far) and had decent B&W negative exposures after stopping and washing.

    I put out the film, exposed it properly against the lamp and left it drying for a while in order to be spooled and colour-developed next.

    After a good wash, the film was souped in diluted RA-4 chemistry. The exact dilution is unknown, but the stuff is still stinking and was able to darken the spooled film for maybe two minutes. I left it there until the frame spaces became almost invisible, but not more since I didn't want to have too dense transparencies (LOL).

    After stopping in very weak citric acid, and washing for a few minutes, I bleached with C-41 bleach and the film from almost black turned orange (I had it spooled with the emulsion out to visually monitor the process).

    Now comes the fun part - after pouring the fixer in (not fresh A-300 by ORWO), the film from orange turned almost black! Since the anti-haliation layer was still there after bleaching, I don't know if the bleach or the fix ruined it. Now there is almost no recognizable frame on the film, only the most over-exposed areas of the photos having a distinctive reversal image.

    I did a cross-process and used the same bleach and fix a few days ago on two fresh rolls of Elitechrome 100, and got no fog at all, just great x-pro negatives, of the crazy saturation and contrast that I adore, so should I conclude that my initial B&W development was highly insufficient and that is why I got unrecognizable images at the end?

    The density after the first dev was in my opinion "acceptable" as a B&W negative, but does it have to be much denser in order to be able to remove the silver slat that the second developer will "see"?
     
  2. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Yes. A negative is of low contrast (typically 0.7ish) while a positive wants a contrast of at least 1.0. Remember also that a neg has bucketloads of highlight latitude, which means that there is a significant quantity of silver remaining in the emulsion that was not developed.

    To get a slide with clear highlights, you need to reach the absolute shoulder of the film curve where additional exposure or development will produce no additional density - at that point, you've developed all the silver into metal in the first developer so that there is nothing left for the second-developer to act on. And if you want black shadows, there will need to be clear parts on the negative.

    My guess is you need lots more first-development, perhaps more exposure.
     
  3. adash

    adash Member

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    Hello, Polyglot, and thanks for your quick response. I had to ask, since I wasn't sure where the fog came from.

    From what I see so far, the original negative silver image is visible through the antihaliation layers, as is the silver that is a by-product from the colour development. I was very surprised to see the almost completely black film turn bright orange after souping into the bleach, so I decided I would end up with very faint image...
    I got even more surprised when the bright orange disappeared and the uniform dark brownish-black cast appeared when souped into the fixer.

    I assume my washing was enough to wash the colour developer completely before souping to the bleach, and enough to wash most of the bleach before pouring the fixer in.

    Back to the B&W developer: How much should I develop? I assume Rodinal 1+100 will never reach the knee of the curve, since that is what it does - it never overdevelops anything. Should I double the developer (pour 10ml concentrate instead of 5ml) and keep the time and temp, or should I go a completely different route?

    And since I never got training in photography, densitometry, etc, can I assume that what you mean as contrast 1 is a very, very dense B&W negative? A negative that one would consider very overdeveloped as a B&W negative?
     
  4. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Assuming that the "fog" is silver then yes, more first-development. But if the fog is some other layer like anti-halation dyes, then more development obviously won't work; you'll need some way of stripping those dyes. Maybe try hypo-clearing agent, but I know nothing* about these specific films and what chemistry they are expecting! Maybe your colour-development stage is going foggy - you are after all using probably very different chemistry. I would try some E6 reversal bath, CD and bleach instead of the light/RA4/C41 mongrel process you're doing. When you say it went orange, was it transparent-orange (like C41 mask) or opaque-orange?

    Contrast of 1.0 just means that the medium has the same brightness range as the scene. Normal negatives are about 0.7 and chromes are usually about 1.2 I think. The contrast-index number is the slope of the density/exposure plot in log-log axes.

    Indeed, I would not use Rodinal 1+100. I would suggest a continuous-agitation scheme with a more-concentrated developer, e.g. Rodinal 1+50 (with at least 10mL concentrate per roll). Or any other developer you like as long as you're agitating it enough to avoid heavy compensation effects. Since these are slides you're making you NEED to get the exposure right and you don't want to just flatten out the highlights with compensation. Yes, you will blow extreme highlights unless you accept poor contrast. That's the nature of a reversal system; they clip your dynamic range in both shadows and highlights.


    * doing the develop/bleach/colour-redevelop thing implies that we're assuming it's chromogenic reversal film. It may not be that; it could be more like kodachrome (dyes are in the developers) or cibachrome (developer destroys dyes I think). It might not be possible to get anything like an acceptable result using reversal and chromogenic developers (CD-3, CD-4, etc) because of a fundamental incompatibility in how the chemistry of the film is designed.
     
  5. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Some interesting reading. Short version: don't expect usable reversal results from modern developers. Cross-processing in cold C41 might be acceptable, though very funky.
     
  6. adash

    adash Member

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    Well, isn't that what the colour development bath is all about? It should develop <all> silver halide to silver and catch the dye couplers in the emulsion in the process, shouldn't it? Or you mean it is catching the dye couplers in areas where it shouldn't?
    It was opaque orange after the bleach and before the fixer.
    It has the dye couplers in the emulsion. The process is similar to light-exposed E-6, only at low temp and different chemistry, but the basics are the same. The colour developer uses Парааминодиэтиланилинсульфат (4-Amino-N,N-dimethylaniline sulfate CAS No. 6219-73-4, CD-1, I saw that in PE's response here: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum40/51674-gevachrome-orwochrome-e6.html but I also double checked the structural formula from the Russian source here: http://www.photoline.ru/texp12.htm). I am OK with colour shifts and insane contrast etc, as long as the minilab scanners can read the frame spacers. I am not aiming at usable transparencies for projection.
    It didn't work. Maybe my developer was old, but it fogged completely both the ORWOCHROM and some old EPT 160T that I souped in the same tank. It fogged both with different hue, but nothing scannable from them, which is pretty strange, since it usually works OK (yeah, it is funky) with the EPT-160T.

    Today if I have the time, I'm gonna soup it with some more aggressive B&W dev and try the rest of the steps unchanged. I am thinking about lith developer in the B&W step too, since this will certainly develop the highlights to saturation.....
     
  7. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    If your process normally works with the EPT 160T and didn't on this occasion, maybe that's an indication that your current batch of chemistry is broken/exhausted/contaminated somehow?
     
  8. adash

    adash Member

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    Probably. Due to the lack of much experience, I was in doubt what actually happened to that old mix of C-41 chemistry. I was going to start a separate thread, asking if old C-41 dev can fog the film beyond recognition, but you sort of answered my question. I suppose that air-oxidated developer can get into the emulsion and attach to the dye couplers there, causing dense fogging.

    Please note that this batch of C-41 has nothing to do with my latest attempts in reversal processing of ORWOCHROM.
     
  9. wogster

    wogster Member

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    I think the key is that you have a bunch of problems all ganging up on you.

    1) Each process needs a slightly different mix of chemicals for colour processing, modern developers like E6/C41/RA4 have eliminated a lot of the very hazardous stuff that was used in earlier processes. However the modern films are designed to use these less hazardous processes, so using the modern chemical sets with an older film, may not give the proper result.

    2) Your film is very old, so there could be enough base fog in there that when you reverse process you get black.

    3) You are not sure you had the right dilution of RA4 chemicals, this is critical when your experimenting with a process, that you measure everything and keep precise notes, in order to make sure you can repeat the process.

    I would take your elderly film and use it for B&W negatives, buy modern film and chemistry for colour film and be done with it.
     
  10. adash

    adash Member

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    Thanks for your response, but basically I would expect that to lead to less dense negatives after reversal. That is in the original formula of course :smile:
    Indeed, but the colour developer should act to competition (well, I did not let it complete well, since I was afraid not to have too dense negatives).
    I like the challenge and the process of searching and experimenting is more rewarding than the end result for me. I have enough fresh film, but I would like to make that one work too. Plus its base is too dense for a B&W negative (it seems to have an additional silver anti-haliation layer that only does away in the bleach).
     
  11. adash

    adash Member

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    Ok, progress this evening:

    UK17 (40ASA) shot as 3ASA, first dev is Rodinal 1+25, 20 deg C, 11 min, 10 or so agitations every minute, and the B&W negative got much denser, with lots of contrast. Then washed, stopped and exposed for about a minute 5cm from a 40W bulb, both sides. Then spooled and souped in diluted RA-4 dev until what I considering to be "completition", i.e. it didn't darken more. I removed it when it was completely black, then washed thoroughly and bleached. Then fixed in fresh C41 fix (from Digibase C41 kit).

    The film is now much less dense, with saturated colours and distinguishable highlights, but no blacks, only greens instead of them. I guess either colour dev was insufficient, or exposure to light.

    I'll be probably able to post a scan tomorrow.
     
  12. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Nice. I suspect that you have insufficiently-powerful colour-developer then, or the pH is wrong. When doing E6, weak shadows are an indication that you should run the CD longer while colour shifts (usually blue/yellow but it depends on the film brand) can be adjusted by changing the pH of the CD mixture. If I were you, I'd try it in C41 or E6-CD for the colour dev stage.

    However, slides are known to colour-shift with age and I think it's at least partially due to degradation of the dye couplers. It's possible that some of the couplers in the film are so far gone at this point that you just won't get a real black.

    I'd love to see some scans.
     
  13. georgegrosu

    georgegrosu Member

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    adash, the color reversible process is a special process, with two developer, which can give you surprises with fresh film, let alone the film have about 20 years overdue. With a recommended process.
    Until November 1990 Orwo films were those that could be found on the market. When I not found color negative film, I buy Orwochrom UK 17 or 18 that I developed in negative color process (Orwo 5166 or 5188).
    The results were good.
    If you have TSS - chromogen substance, you will probably be able to develop your film like negative easily.
    Risk, for me, when using the negative process is much smaller.
    If you have not TSS, you can test the - CD 2, CD 3, CD 4 (chromogenic substances).
    If you need recipes Orwo (9165 or 5166/5188) I can send you.
    George
     
  14. adash

    adash Member

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    George, Polyglot, thanks for your support!
    That sounds like a good idea, but my next attempt will be to drive the diluted RA-4 dev to real completion. I mean at least 10 minutes instead of 2.
    I don't have TSS, and I believe it is CD3 in the RA-4 chemistry.
    Publish them online somewhere, it is knowledge that must not be lost. I think I have the same in a Russian book, among others of course.

    Please see the attached image. Do you believe that more contrast in the first dev would be beneficial, or should I really increase colour developer only? The source of the uneven colour cast is unknown, since I was agitating both developers.
     

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  15. adash

    adash Member

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    Here is another one. Some "darkening" in CyberView X.
     

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  16. georgegrosu

    georgegrosu Member

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    adash, the color reversible process, as in fact all processes of photochemical processing, it is important that you get black and white. The remaining intermediate tones will come by itself.
    For this it is best to use a gray scale test.
    In reversible processes (b & w and color) first development is the most important.
    The images do not see any black (perforation film). Is down the black from my eye. Time or temperature change at the first developer until you get a good black.
    Chromogen developer dilution will lead to a decrease in the final image contrast.
    In your images I see a low contrast, so an increase in chromogen development time will make the image more contrast.
    Orwo films were made for cold processes (20-25 ° C).
    It is better and easier to do tests at room temperature, with prolonged time, especially in the two develators.
    It may be that your films are too old and can not get results from your expectations
    See that was posted on APUG about working in C 41at 20 ° C.
    Development time is ~ 10 minutes???
    My scanner not work and I can not put the processes and recipes from Orwo now.
    Again, I think you can get better results if processed film UT 18 or UK 17 like color negative process, using different chromogens revelators from C 41 or E 6.
    good luck
    George
     
  17. adash

    adash Member

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    Thanks, George,

    I didn't quite understand it. There were good blacks after the first developer. Should I add more development time to the first developer?

    OK, I will try that.
    I always develop at room temp, unless otherwise noted.
    No, I am using C-41 diluted 1+10 and times get very long. Almost 2 hours for that, usually 1 hour.
    [​IMG]
    Only useable for cross-process slide film though, due to low contrast with normal negative film.


    No luck so far, but will try fresh developer next time.

    Thanks,
    Dimitar
     
  18. georgegrosu

    georgegrosu Member

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    Dimitar, sorry for my English.
    Now I understand that you develop Orwo slides in reveals procces - b&w - Rodina diluted 1+ 100 for 2 hours.
    Chromogen developer - RA-4 dilute 1 +10 and developed it for 10 minutes at room temperature.
    The C 41 diluted 1 +10 and development time 2 hours.
    Processing films emerged at high dilution and in particular, that the b&w (for the reversible color film) do not think is a good idea.
    I read much in a magazine an article translated from Russian showing that most importance in photochemical processing has the alkaline substance.
    Not developping substance as everyone would expect.

    I look at the black from perforation because there does not receive exposure film and the process will result in reversible color black.
    I found the post with C 41 developed at room temperature. Development time was 16 to 20 min. with undiluted developer.
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum40/93607-room-temperature-c41.html
    The pictures look decent.
    George
     
  19. adash

    adash Member

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    Ok, next step, Rodinal 1+25 11min at 20deg C, RA-4 beyond completion. All rest is the same, except some more overexposure. Metered as 1.5ASA in the shadows.
     

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  20. georgegrosu

    georgegrosu Member

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    Dimitar, I would suggest you use before the b&w develator a prebath - sodium carbonate 20 g / l. Time = 3 min. at room temperature.
    Sodium carbonate or soda wash in our country is store to chemicals.
    After prebath wash the film about 3 to 5 min, for not increase the pH of the b&w developer.
    I hope that this will reduce the fog, that whites are cleaner.
    Another option is to use b&w developer (Rodina) concentrated (1+ 15) for 8-10 min at room temperature.
    George
     
  21. adash

    adash Member

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    I didn't follow your advice on that, since washing soda isn't so abundant here. I usually heat baking soda (sodium hydrogen carbonate) instead, but now I went in another route and tried HC-110 in order to avoid the fog. Well, it was a failure, since it didn't get the density right at first developer and the second dev just coloured all of the film in black.

    My next attempt was to use LITH developer as a first dev :devil: and utilize it's insane contrast. Unfortunately my LITH is a local brew, unmarked, so if anyone wants to try it, my starting times will be useless.
    So, in the LITH dilution destined for paper, I souped ORWO UT-18 (shot as 12ASA in the shadows) for 6 minutes at 20 deg. The contrast of the negative, needless to say, was insane, but probably my second dev. (diluted RA-4 for 5 minutes) was insufficient, and the final slide is really low in density. See the attached images. The crane was bright orange against a blue sky.
     

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  22. adash

    adash Member

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    Just to keep you updated - I had some success with a bit fresher film (1991 instead of 1987 :eek: ) exposed as 12ASA and developed in ORWO negative chemistry. The development time and temp. were as specified for the negative (print) film, and here is a sample of the result:

    [​IMG]

    The chemistry however keeps badly, about a week in a completely full bottle, and isn't really cheap (EUR6 for four films kit). The good thing is that it works well for cross-processing E6 slide film as print, so once mixed, it can do both types of films before it dies.