Dust Free Negs for printing - Method.

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Thomas Bertilsson, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Hi,

    I am curious what you guys do to keep a negative clean enough to avoid dustmarks in a print. I am currently using a camel hair brush with a little rubber bellows on it, the kind I think was designed to keep slides clean. It works OK, but is not perfect, especially for 35mm. Any suggestions?

    Thanks,

    - Thom
     
  2. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    Use this method at your own risk...it's what I do and it's worked for me so far, but I can imagine it could be dangerous to your negatives.

    I use one of those lint rollers that's got a sticky, rubber-like surface on it. Not the type that's paper that you peel off, but the type that you wash off under running water to clean the roller. Some of these are stickier than others, and I imagine if you got one of the really sticky ones you might risk pulling the emulsion right off of the film base. I picked up a few of these on eBay cheap, and they've worked very well. (eBay auction 4372799014 is the item that I use.)

    I lay one side of the film against the roller, then pull the film straight across the roller slowly...this turns the roller as the film moves across it. Then I do the other side of the film. No dust or hairs at all. Much cleaner negatives than I ever got using brushes or air. Again, I imagine you could destroy your negatives with this method if you were unlucky, so the risk is yours if you decide to try this.
     
  3. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    I have a neg carrier with a AN Glass top piece and mask on the bottom piece. I clean and air dust the glass, I give the neg a few burts of air and if needed use an anti-stat whisk brush. I place the neg on the metal mask and have a good look, if it's clean I close the carrier, and then air burst the top of the carrier and underneath. I rarely have any issues..
     
  4. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    Mongo’s idea sounds pretty good, and I’m going to try it the next time I’m in the darkroom. Presently, I use an anti-static brush in conjunction with a low pressure blast of air.

    But before I start a darkroom session, I wipe down the area, including the baseboard and all flat surfaces with a damp cloth. That way no dust is stirred up inserting and removing the negative.
     
  5. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    I use a rubber bellows with no brush on it. I hold the neg so that the room light reflects off the surface and examine the surface. This shows up anything on the surface. Anything that won't be moved by the blower, I have a small brush (bought for spotting but never used for that) that I use to give the offending dust a tickle to move.
     
  6. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    Ditto!
     
  7. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    I purchased an Orec brand air filter and a small upright vacuum. The air filter runs on low all the time and I vacuum the floor each day. It is the best thing I have done to remove dust in the air. No dust in air, no dust on negs.
     
  8. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    My principle is to not let the dust get on the neg in the first place! That sounds facetious, but it isn't meant to be.

    All the water I use in film processing and washing is jug filtered. The film is then hung in an environment which isn't exactly dust-free, but where the dust is undisturbed before and during drying. The film is then cut and goes into neg bags not touching anything but my fingers, the scissors and the neg bag.

    Other stuff, I use glassless carriers and have a bulb-blower to get rid of the occasional spec.

    Sounds too good to be true, but I don't have a dust problem.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Dust-Off and the Kinetronics brush work for me.

    For large format--wear a hat when you load those filmholders!
     
  10. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I have a blower brush, but it's best to keep the dust away in the first place. I keep two air filters running 24/7 in my dark room to give the nearest I can get to clean room conditions. Having a floor you can mop, rather than vacuum helps too.

    David.
     
  11. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    I find that what FrankB said is the gospel - not getting the dust there in the first place is key - and its amazig how much can happen betweenthe film sleeve and the enlarger! I go a little CSI-proof on my workspace (especially with my temporary darkroom conditions its doubly important). Everything gets a wipe down right prior to the session with a damp cloth - any surface that is near my "process", and neg carriers, parts of the nelarger, etc get the ilford orange cloth.

    Then again I suspect you already know this... so sorry about preaching to the choir.
    As far as the neg itself, I have had pretty good luck with touching - not wiping(!) - on, again, the orange antistatic cloth (keeping a very close eye on the clenliness of the cloth of course). It has worked rather well for me - but I am very curious to try the sticky roller - sounds like a great idea!
     
  12. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    One thought - I read somewhere that dust in the darkroom is not necessarily a problem. It's dust in the air in the darkroom that is a problem.

    I'd suggest damp dusting a few hours before a session rather than just before a session to give any dust that does manage to get airborne a chance to settle.

    Then again, if what you're doing works for you then keep doing it! :smile:
     
  13. Leon

    Leon Member

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    i use double sided glass neg holders - and used to have a bit of a prob with dust ... until I started to use an air filter with a ioniser (or de-ioniser, I cant remember which is correct!) - it seems to make the dust fall out of the air. I make sure I dont clean less than 2 hours before using the edarkroom as the disturbed dust seems to make the problem worse, and as frank says, I wipe down the enlarger bench with a damp cloth 1 x per week. I rarely have to use my spotone retouchjing kit any longer.
     
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  15. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I'm with the double glass carrier group. I use the light box and a loupe to inspect the neg before printing. If I miss any dust then it shows up on the test print, so I get a second chance to deal with it.
    If you are able to pin a sheet of plastic pvc sheet in the darkroom, say behind the enlarger, and give it a brisk rub with a dry cloth, you will find all air borne dust will quickly stick to it. It can then be wiped off with a damp cloth and disposed off.
     
  16. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I use the old, "hang the film and get out of the darkroom ASAP until its dry" method, although the continually running air cleaner sounds worth investigating.

    I'm also thinking of building a drying cabinet using a small metal locker with a small fan at the bottom pumping air in through a small furnace filter.

    I also have a very small air compressor that pushes the air through a filter that I use (at a very low setting) to clean my negs before printing.

    The post about using the sticky roller thing sounds interesting, but I'd be afraid the thing would leave a chemical residue on my negatives that would eventually degrade them.
     
  17. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    I have set up my darkroom as much as a clean room as possible. In order to get into the darkroom you have to first pass through the archive room, this is a fire resistant room where I store my negs, prints and gear. The doors in and out are fire rated doors and have a gasket that creates a pretty air tight seal, it also makes the archive room light tight as well, so i could leave the darkroom door open if I liked, or just use the archive room as an "lightlock" room so people can enter the darkroom at any time. The room is ventilated with allergen rated air filters, and in the room a hospital grade air cleaner made by IQ Air runs constantly, it's a 180 sq foot room with a 900 sq foot rated air cleaner, so it changes the air very regularly. It has additional gas removal filters to absorb any fixer vapors that may come from the darkroom as well as any VOC's in the air.

    You then pass through another set of gasketed fire doors to enter the darkroom. This 180 sq foot room also has an IQ Air cleaner with gas filters going and it's vented air is also filtered. I vacuum both rooms at least every other day. For MF negs I usually pass them through the orange Ilford cloth, it tends to do a very good job but one must be very careful about keeping it clean. For LF negs I have a Pro-Co dust stat. It's a charged anti static wand with a power supply. I use glass carriers so dust has 6 surfaces that it can cling to, and my wet negs just hang in the room to dry, hence all the precautions.

    As little if any dusty air is allowed into the darkroom, the main source of any dust is me. I tend to wear cotton in the darkroom, jeans, t shirt, etc. and the clothes themselves create dust and lint. I have given thought to wearing clothes made of a synthetic but that's going too far and I think I have already been pretty thorough. With all of my precautions though, I still have to spot prints, but far less than I used to.
     
  18. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    We're heading back towards printing in the nude again :smile:

    David.
     
  19. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    I like that idea. Get naked in the dark and see what develops.
     
  20. Mark H

    Mark H Member

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    I wipe my negs with Pec-Pads (from Photographic Solutions) then give a blast of air.
     
  21. lee

    lee Member

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    if you print in the nude guys be careful with the Farmers Reducer Could cause problems

    lee\c
     
  22. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    To everybody who's replied:

    You have given me plenty to work with. My situation is that I have a space that is not in my own basement, and it's a multipurpose room, meaning there is always dust present. I'll probably be using anti-stat gun and compressed air in the future.

    To Leon, in regards to the ionizing air cleaner. A word of warning. Be careful with those air cleaners. To create the ions high voltage is necessary, in the realm of 5-10,000 Volts DC. Voltage this high creates ozone, which is one of the worst oxidants known to man. Breathing ozone may have a severely detremental health effect. People aware of their health are worried about eating/drinking anti-oxidants, and then put ionizing air cleaners in their house, polluting the air with oxidants... Does not make a lot of sense.
    It is true, however that it helps making the dust heavy enough to fall to the floor.

    Thanks everybody, I really do appreciate your input.

    - Thom

     
  23. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    David, if only hair didn't become more of an issue then. :smile:
     
  24. Leon

    Leon Member

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    oh no - you've gone and made me all paranoid now. it's in the bin already ...
     
  25. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    Ditto here.
     
  26. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    Then we are heading towards printing in the nude after a total body shave...:D