first darkroom, rolls haven't developed correctly- please help an amateur!

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by jodang67, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. jodang67

    jodang67 Member

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    I just established my first in-home darkroom (finally, after almost a year now) and I'm so excited to finally develop my first [successful] hand-developed roll of film. I've attempted to develop 2 rolls of film now but none have been successful, so I'm wondering if you can help me find the culprit.

    I used Kodak chemicals, which I diluted with 3.8 liters of water, as per the instructions.

    My first roll of Kodak 400 ISO was unsuccessful. I think what attributed to it was my broom closet. I noticed that once my eyes adjusted to the darkness that it wasn't totally light proof. I went through the whole process anyway, following the instructions that I saved from your class down to the T despite knowing that it might've been exposed anyway - by the time i realized it wasn't light proof, it was too late- i'd already opened the film canister. The end result - a blank brown roll of film, except for some line marking where each exposure ended and the other started.

    The second was another roll of Kodak 400 ISO film. This time, I traded my broom closet for my clothes closet which was more light proof than the broom closet. I made sure first that when my eyes were adjusted that i couldn't see my hands or anything for that matter. I proceeded with the whole process but this time, I measured the temperature of the developer, which was 23ªC. Instead of agitating it for 9 minutes like the first roll, I shortened it to 7:45 according to Ilford's temperature compensation chart. Still, no successful development. This time, it resulted in a striped roll of film - the top half of the film (lengthwise) turned out to be light gray while the other darker.

    I don't know what's going wrong. Is my temperature wrong? Is my developing time wrong? The fixer has a fixed time, so I know it's not that. Can anybody help me??
     
  2. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    What exactly was the Kodak ISO 400 film? Tmax? TriX? or something else? I ask because there IS a B&W film that is to be processed C-41 (color process).

    If you accidentally exposed film in not-so-light-tight darkroom, your film should have been grey or black, not blank (clear?) as you say. The only reason why you'd have clear is if your developer didn't work, you fixed your film before developing, your film wasn't exposed at all, or you used entirely wrong film for the wrong process.
     
  3. jodang67

    jodang67 Member

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    Actually, my first roll was brown and it was in fact a c-41 so I'm guessing that was definitely the culprit. Let's just say the first roll was all around a multi-dimensional failure -_____- The second roll was a Kodac 400TX- it doesn't say c-41 anywhere but is it?
     
  4. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    400-TX is a Tri-X. It's a genuine B&W film. If you got half-and-half, you didn't have enough chemical in it at development stage, or fix stage.
     
  5. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    What exactly is your developer and fixer? What brand, what name? What flavor (just kidding)?
     
  6. jodang67

    jodang67 Member

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    The 400-TX turned gray, with a striped going across the length of the film - the top half, light gray and the bottom dark gray. Both the developer and fixer are Kodak Professional, in powder form. I diluted the powder as per the instructions on the package, with 3.8 liters of water.
     
  7. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Which developer from Kodak? D-76? XTOL? or something else?

    Well.... top and bottom doesn't mean much as you could loaded the film upside down. But, if you have half-and-half result, you didn't have enough chemistry at one step or another. Not enough developer will cause one side clear and the other side with image. Not enough fixer will cause one side milky or dark and the other side with image.

    Are you SURE you had enough chemical? Please specify what developer you are using.
     
  8. jodang67

    jodang67 Member

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    Oh sorry- it was D-76. I'm following the instructions I used from my analog photography class, where I use 35ml of developer diluted with 600 ml of water.
     
  9. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    NO!

    If you are using D-76 and mixed it according to the package instructions, you end up with either one liter or 3.8 liter (1 gallon) of developer stock solution depending on package size. You use it straight (without dilution) or dilute it 1:1 (one part developer and one part stock solution). Different dilution is possible but not 35:600. That's way too thin.

    You are severely under-developing it because you don't have enough "stuff" in it.

    I doubt you were using D-76 in your class....
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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  11. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    It still concerns me why you are getting half-and-half though. Too little developer in enough water will cause over-all very thin negative, not half-and-half.
     
  12. jodang67

    jodang67 Member

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    WOW. Thank you so much! I'm SUCH a newbie, I'm so embarrassed >.<
    Thanks so much for all your help!
     
  13. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Check the bottom of your development tank, it should indicate correct amounts of liquid needed in oz. or ml. I always add a little bit extra just in case (some tanks leak).

    Check your dilutions and times, If you mixed the D76 correctly, you will have 1 Gallon or 3.8 L of stock solution. You can use that with Stock times, or dilute it 1:1 for a one shot.

    Stick with the standard 20* times, its easier to temper your chemicals and tank in a larger tray of water at that temp than to factor in temp differences.

    Good luck on roll #3!
     
  14. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Hey, good luck with your project. I know it's frustrating but once you get it, you will be able to do it successfully every time.
     
  15. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Don't be embarrassed!! We all, even the seasoned folks, mix a batch wrong or what not!

    Best of luck on roll 3!
     
  16. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    and roll 4!
     
  17. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    No need to be embarrassed - we all were there at one point. And, we all still make mistakes (like forgetting to put the lid on the tank after loading in the reels - woops.)
     
  18. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Don't be afraid of making mistakes. I bet there isn't a mistake you can make that hasn't been done by at least a couple of us.

    As a matter of fact, that's what I tell trainees in the projection booth: "There isn't a mistake you can make that I haven't made at least twice." :wink:

    D-76 stock solution is mixed according to the instructions on the package.
    Stock solution is mixed 1:1 (half-and-half) to the volume marked on the bottom of your tank for the number of rolls you are processing.
    Develop according to the timing on the charts supplied from the manufacturer.
    Stop, fix, hypo clear and rinse for the standard times, mentioned on the packages or in the datasheets from the manufacturer.
    Wetting agent (Photo-Flo) is mixed and used according to the package directions.
    Hang up to dry in a clean, dust-free place.
    You're done. :smile:

    Read the books, charts and datasheets. There's a lot of good information in there.
    Study. Practice. Learn. You will succeed.

    Oh, and one more thing...
    You WILL get mixed up and accidentally pour in fixer before the developer.
    Almost everybody does it... Then you'll swear you'll never do that again! :wink:
     
  19. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Oh no.... I haven't done it yet. (although I have put in full strength HCA thinking it's a diluted photo-flo...)
     
  20. zsas

    zsas Member

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  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Jodang67:

    Are you using a "daylight" developing tank that you load with film in the dark, and then do everything else (adding chemistry, agitating and then dumping chemistry) in the light?

    Or are you working in the dark the whole time?
     
  22. sokrasins

    sokrasins Member

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    I remember when I developed my first roll of film I also observed a stripe. I was using a Paterson daylight tank with a single roll of 35mm film, and I had forgotten to insert the black center core into the film reel. As a result, even though the lid was on, the container was not light-tight, and half of the film was overexposed.

    I'm not sure if you're using a daylight tank, but the phenotype of the problem sounds similar to mine.

    Good luck!