First big accident

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mesh, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. mesh

    mesh Subscriber

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    Of course it had to happen with 3 rolls from an important wedding! Rollei 400S retro... XTOL 1:3 @ 20 degrees for 17 minutes.... Stop, fixer, wash as usual... negs came out totally clear. Nothing. Why me? I must have been really bad in another life ;-) All my other films (35 and 120) have been perfect (mostly TMAX). I must say I was surprised at 17 minutes but that's what my iPhone digital truth app said! Agghhh!
     
  2. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If everything is clear, as in no frames, you likely mixed up your fix and developer, and since fixer dissolves silver, it did it's job flawlessly. Been there, done that.
     
  3. mesh

    mesh Subscriber

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    I am sooooo sure I didn't... but... Do I enter the idiot of the month awards? Don't answer that... ;-) Thanks for the advice.
     
  4. hrst

    hrst Member

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    Yes, I'm surprised this is never stressed in any tutorial:

    There is only one really serious chemical screw-up possibility: using fixer instead of developer. Most if not all other problems, such as wrong development time/temperature/dilution, forgotting stop/rinse, heck, even pouring fixer directly on developer, even accidentally opening the tank for a second, may result in compromised image quality but usually usable and printable images. And some problems can be fixed later, such as insufficient fixing. But using fixer instead of developer is a complete loss and cannot be corrected if not noticed instantly after pouring in.

    So, be super-duper-hyper careful not to mix up developer and fixer! Beginners are often taught by saying to put everything they need nicely in a row before starting, but this can be catastrophic if you are not careful. A much better way is to store your fixer solution on a shelf and start looking for it when you have completed the developer stage. I've never made that mistake because of my methods some people might call "sloppy". It's also good to have the fixer bottle to look and feel completely different from developer bottle.
     
  5. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I am sooooo sure I didn't...

    I was sure I didn't either, but it's pretty much how you make a blank.
     
  6. mesh

    mesh Subscriber

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    First time I had an audience - was showing my little cousin how it all works. Well I obviously didn't do a great job ;-) Not experienced enough to have any distractions yet... best never to really. Last time I shoot a wedding anyway. That's it for me - I'm screwed.

    Thanks guys for the tips anyway - much appreciated.
     
  7. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    If there are no frame numbers at all, you fixed first. Sorry about your loss....

    No matter how sure I think I am of what chemical is what, I ALWAYS smell the first bath before pouring it in. Because of this, I have never made this particular mistake (though it is a fairly common one), and I have prevented it from happening at least a couple of times.

    Another trick is to make a marker flag for the fixer, and tape it to a straw or chopstick that you put into the fixer container when you mix it up prior to processing.
     
  8. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    Usually when I have rolls of this importance, I process each one individually. Even if you make a mistake you will come out with something.

    Sorry about your loss.
     
  9. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    That's right and with color I never sent all the rolls out at the same time.
     
  10. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    This is the exact reason I use daylight tanks and process in the light. The hardest part is loading the film in the canisters inside of a light bag but that rarely if ever creates a problem. Oh, and sorry for your loss, it's bad enough to lose shots taken for your self let alone a paying gig.
     
  11. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    There is one way, I developed a film once with a measure of water only. I did catch the error after adding the stop to the tank, as when I dumped the oneshot developer, I noticed it wasn't slippery as I accidentally splashed some on my hand, and wait a minute, it has no smell either. Many washes then develop, stop and fix, it was ok, disaster averted. New rule too, always add dev to water when diluting, never the other way around, plus all measuring cups are now labeled, Water, Dev, Stop and Fix. For both film and RA4.
     
  12. jamesgignac

    jamesgignac Member

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    Same here - processing each individually also allows me to make adjustments in case the developing times aren't working out as I expected.

    Different bottles help a lot also. My dev and stop are kept in similar bottles but fix is always different - and yes you can smell if you are not certain, but I don't like to make a habit out of it (as as smoker I don't really trust my work to the power of my nose.)
     
  13. RobertV

    RobertV Member

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    I use always the same color code on my bottles.
    Green for developer, Red for stop and Yellow for fix and Blue for water. Just a habit for over 40 years in film development.

    But....... may I ask how old your stock of Xtol was? Was it made in destilled water? :confused:
     
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  15. hrst

    hrst Member

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    Even "dead" developers usually give some sign of image, it may be very thin but it's still there, unless the developer is REALLY really dead and that may take years, even the "Xtol syndrome" doesn't kill it perfectly.
     
  16. Grainy

    Grainy Member

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    I had my first accident last week, developed my delta100 (wrapped in Ektar100 paper) in C-41. I thought I was developing the Ektar 100, but instead I was developing my delta 100. So the negative came out completly blank. Luckily it was only some personal work, but still very annoying since I can't redo the shots. First and last time I will ever develop a roll without reading on the roll itself wich kind of film and process it is, also first and last time I will put BW film in the paperbag from C-41 film after it's exposed.
     
  17. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I don't understand what happened here. What paper are you talking about?
     
  18. mesh

    mesh Subscriber

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    I think I know what happened... I am fairly meticulous and do actually have different jugs labelled and coloured. I set everything up first and was ready to go when I realised the dev instructions called for 1:3 instead of my usual 1:1 for XTOL. I was flapping about and must have picked up the wrong jug (very stupidly). More speed, less haste or whatever... I just missed my routine. I think sticking to one film, one developer has merit - especially for a beginner like me. Mixing film is ALWAYS a headache! Shame as I was really looking forward to the results of the Rollei retro.. and year, they were important shots too :-( Yeah I know... why risk something with a new film too... lessons learnt.
     
  19. Grainy

    Grainy Member

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    Sorry for my english, not paper but the "foil" the film is wrapped in when new in box. When I'm out shooting and change roll I use to put the exposed roll in the foil wich the new roll I loaded was in. (120 rolls)
     
  20. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    The only disaster I have had was putting in 300ml for 35mm instead of 500ml for the 120 roll I've had in there.

    Other than that, no problems really.

    I dont prepare my developers ahead of time, unless it needs warming up, but thats still right before I use it.
     
  21. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Lately I have been developing one or two sheets of film in one Yankee tank, and then reusing the developer to process other sheets for a different time in a second tank as soon as the first set is done. In fact, this week I had some film to develop at N-2, some at N-1, some N and some N+1, so I cycled through my tanks twice. I found that I needed to concentrate much more than usual to make sure that I was putting developer in the tank first, remembering not to open the tank after the water stop and before fixing, making sure that I was returning the fixer to the right jug, etc. etc. etc.

    So I am glad to read that others find this juggling act difficult, and I like the idea of a flag taped to a straw to remind me what is what. I am also thinking of adding a third tank to my set so that I can shut the lights off and move the film racks from one tank to the next like tray development. Then all I would have to remember is to make sure the lids are back on before turning on the lights.....
     
  22. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    A wedding... wow

    I did this once with 2 rolls of a non reshootable Holocaust Survivor project I was a part of.
    I must have mixed up the D76 and the pre soak graduates.

    Needless to say i was seriously bummed but luckily I had other rolls and some digi and was the second shooter/lighting tech so all was not lost.
     
  23. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    The frightening thing about shooting weddings to me was always the law of averages say that if you shoot enough it's only a matter of time before at least one is a disaster, although I've done many and never had a mishap I decided to "Quit while I was ahead" about fifteen years ago, and have managed to avoid them since.
     
  24. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Made my first processing error in years last week. I'd mixed 5-litres of fresh ID-11 stock the previous day and put two rolls Neopan through. After 18 minutes at 1:3 the fix went in for 10 minutes. I was about to return the fix to its bottle when I realised I'd used an identical glass bottle for dev, fortunately labelled. The films had been developed for at least 28 minutes plus however long it took me to work out my mistake.

    I fixed them and expected to see negatives that would need a lazer to print but in fact they weren't significantly overdeveloped. As luck would have it the images were of medieval church interiors shot in the summer with barely sufficient light at 400 ASA. The processing error had corrected the underexposure with some slightly grainy, but beautifully tonal naturally lit church interiors. It helped that the developer was in a dilute mixture of course.
     
  25. wclark5179

    wclark5179 Member

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    Sorry about your loss.

    What will the temp. of the B&G be?

    If you have shots on another format that cover the acts, then maybe you'll be OK.
     
  26. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Don't prepare all the chemicals before hand. Prepare the *next* chemical as you're doing the current step.

    That means mix the dilution of developer into a glass graduate first, pour into tank, initially agitate, etc.
    As time approaches the end, fill the graduate with stop-bath.
    Pour out the developer, pour in the stop-bath.
    Agitate and let the tank sit while you pour fixer into the graduate.
    Pour the tank of stop-bath back into the stop jug and close the cap. Move it to the left or elsewhere.
    Pour fixer into tank.
    Agitate until finished and pour fixer back into fixer jug.

    The key is that you'll only be using a single graduate at any given time (you can use more if you are doing multiple tanks) full of only the same type of substance. Preparing everything out ahead of time can lead to mistakes unless you're absolutely sure of dev vs fixer.

    The *only* step that has any connection to strict time is developer->stop. That's it - and even that is debatable. There's no need to blaze through all the remaining steps as precisely as possible.