Fomapan/Arista.edu Ultra 100-120: Pattern of small scratches, looking for culprit!

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by sandermarijn, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    Hi all,

    I've just started using Fomapan 100, in 120 size. My first film shows exactly the old-fashioned, creamy look I was out for, and a bit more: a pattern of small (approx. 0.2 mm in length) hairthin scratches, more or less homogeneously spread over the negative.

    They are on all frames and most notable in the highlights though also present in less dense areas (just more difficult to see). One of the frames and a crop is in the attachment. Looking at the negative directly with the naked eye, the scratches seem to be not on either of the negative surfaces, but rather 'inside' the emulsion itself. It is of course impossible to tell by eye exactly where they are- the above is just what I think I'm seeing.

    So what's going on? I used the same workflow as always and have never had these types of marks before. I took special care not to touch the image area of the film during the whole development/drying/storage/scanning-process, because I know from other 'small-brand' films (Adox/Efke in particular) how vulnerable the (wet) emulsions are. I definitely also did not squeegee the film, instead just let it dry by itself after a last bath in demi-water with some wetting agent added. Agitation during development/stop/fixing was by inverting the tank, no rotational movements. Washing ditto.

    Anybody have an idea what's going wrong? I could (and will) shoot & process more Fomapan 100 (I have 29 left!) to see if the problem repeats itself, but suggestions are very welcome in the meanwhile. The only things that I can think of as a culprit are too rough agitation during washing (I fill the tank with water and invert, then repeat that several times at intervals) or too large temperature variation from the fixing stage to the washing (20 degr. C for developing/fixing and 25 degr. C for washing). Neither seem likely causes to me.

    FYI: camera is a Hasselblad 500cm, development tank is a Paterson (latest type) for 2x135/1x120.

    Thanks!
     

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  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Looks like contamination of the developer, possibly dried fixer crystals left in the dev tank maybe from around the seal area, these stick to the film causing tiny marks like this

    Too big a change in temperatures can cause reticulation and 5 degrees C is too large a difference, should be +/- 1 degree, but this doesn't look like reticulation. Fomafilms are softer than Lodak/Ilford/Agfa but not anything like as bas as EFKE.

    Ian
     
  3. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    Yeah, I've been thinking of contamination of some sort as well. I wash my tank thoroughly with plain water after fixing, and the tank doesn't really have any obstructed areas where microscopic grit may accumulate. Something in the tap water that I used for this film? Maybe, but 'gritty water' would leave unexplained that the scratches are all in the same direction on the film. Something in-camera then? No grit there that I can see (but then it would probably be too small to see). I'm at a loss!
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Tiny particles of iron in water can cause these problems, I have seen it happen, the particles react with fixer to form a weak bleach and dissolve.

    Looking at the sceond scan the marks look to be running in the same direction which happens with a contamination issue. Those aren't from the camera.

    Ian
     
  5. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    I will use distilled water next time. Why would the marks be unidirectional in case of contamination? They are perpendicular to the inversion, which is the only (sort of) non-random movement I can think of.
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Gravity :D

    Ian
     
  7. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    But gravity is also perpendicular to the scratches. :confused:!
     
  8. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    It looks to me like contaminants flowed down the film while it was hung to dry, leaving the marks you see.

    I shoot a lot of Freestyle's arista 100 in 120 (foma) and I have never seen this happen on any of my films. You may have high turbidity in your water supply, or some of your chems (probably fixer) have precipitates in them. Try fresh chems and rinse in clean water with a little photoflo. Never squeegee foma films unless you like scratches.
     
  9. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    That's an excellent suggestion, as it would explain why the marks are along the length of the film. It may very well be that Foma 100 is more vulnerable than other 120 films I use (Neopan 400 mostly).

    I will renew the stop & fixer, super-clean the development tank & the tank in which I do the final rinse (same type of tank, different one).
     
  10. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    Sorry for my earlier confused reply Ian, I thought you meant gravity during the developing, but you probably meant during drying. Makes perfect sense!
     
  11. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    Today I shot another Foma 100-120 film. I cleaned my tanks, renewed stop and fixer, used a different camera. Alas, result is the same: beautiful creamy negs but littered with small 'scratches' (see example in attachment). :sad:

    Could it be that my films are from a poor batch? I hate to consider my work flow perfect and to jump to conclusions, but right now a production error is the only thing I think of.

    Any Dutch APUG-er willing to try some of my films to see if they can manage better?
     

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  12. :Francis:

    :Francis: Member

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    I have had the very same problems with Fomapan 100 in 35mm. It was terrible using Fomadon Excel, and got better when I used liquid developers.

    I experienced the same thing with Adox CMS 20 the other day, and mixed up new fixer for the second film I developed. The film processed with fresh fixer was much better, but still had quite a few marks that took ages to clone out after scanning.

    I too would be very interested to find a "cure", as marks like that drive me absolutely bonkers.

    I never ever ever get these marks with Ilford and Kodak film, only with Foma, Efke and Adox.

    Francis
     
  13. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    If there is indeed some connection with a fine precipitate in the fixer than could it be connected with a cold storage temperature of the stock solution ? After all, it isn't hot in Holland or Norway at the moment ! If this was the case, then warming and thorough remixing might (depending on exactly what the precipitate is) redissolve it, or alternatively could it be filtered out ?

    There might also be a correlation with 'old' emulsions versus newer designs too. Lots of ifs in this post. tomorrow I'll be using a fixer mixed from liquid on half a dozen rolls of Ilford and Hema film. I will watch what happens carefully as I have six rolls of assorted Foma to play with soon.
     
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  15. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I use this with Xtol and use distilled water to mix the developer, distilled water for the stop bath (which I use over and over again), and distilled water for my fixer. My negs do not have those anomalies. I bought my film as Arista.EDU Ultra 100 from Freestyle in October of 2009.

    You got advice to use distilled water by Ian Grant. Did you take that step?
     
  16. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    I use and love foma and this is the same problem I had. Clean up your water and it will go away.

    Note: I am cheep. I use distilled water to make my chems, but I got a Britta filter and some jugs for working water (including pre-soak and wash). This was enough to make it work.
     
  17. mhulsman

    mhulsman Member

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    Sander,
    I use fomapan100 in 8x10 format, never seen such scratches yet.
    I can develop a film for you if you want.

    Mike
     
  18. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    No I didn't (blush on face). I used tap water with the developer, stop and fixer (all fresh from the manufacturer's bottles). Washing was also with tap water. Only the final rinse was done in distilled water, with a little wetting agent added.

    Because the marks on the negs are along the negative I figured they would come to exist during the drying process, not during any of the previous steps, which have no 'vertical orientation bias'. But then, like Ian said, there may be small particles of iron in the tap water that react with my fixer and thus bleach the film before drying.

    If the latter is true then it still seems odd that the marks have such a definite orientation along the film. That simply doesn't make sense.
     
  19. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    I also had some pinholes with Adox/Efke 50 in 135. But nothing nearly as bad as what I am having with Foma 100 in 120. The Adox films show a very small pinhole in maybe every fifth frame, whereas *every* frame of the Foma film is littered with marks. The marks on the Foma are small lines along the length of the film, the Adox marks resemble pinholes.

    On another note, all baths (dev, stop, fix) that I (or rather my films) use, are made from liquid concentrates. These are stored not very warm in winter, around 12 deg C. It may indeed be good idea to warm the fixer solution before use in order to allow any crystal that may be present in the cold-stored concentrate to dissolve. It seems far-fetched but I will try this as well, besides using distilled water in in all steps.
     
  20. Philippe-Georges

    Philippe-Georges Member

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    I had the same problem, although the water I use is severely filtered!
    The origin of these ‘scratches’ is mechanical, the so called pressure fog. It is due to the friction caused by rolling on the film after it was exposed, wether it be 120 roll or 35 mm film, or the film sliding over the film guiding rolls in the camera. It is typical for Foma, thus the camera is not to blame (what I thought before). The protective layer on the emulsion side is, to say at least, not one of the best.
    There is an other issue that is typical for Fompan : when using plastic reels, to develop the film, there are scratches on both sides, along the film’s length, and on the image. Plastic reels are about double as large as the SS ones. A tanning developer tends to worsen that.
    It is really painful to see your photo’s ruined like this!
    I shoot Tri-X now and all the troubles went away…

    Philippe
     
  21. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    I am probably even cheaper than you are :wink:
    One litre of distilled water costs me 1 euro, which is quite expensive. I get the water at the local DIY store (Gamma) and know of no other source. I am willing to use this water for the dev, stop and fix steps, but not for all of the rinsing- simply too expensive. If the marks persist in such a semi-clean workflow then I will have to turn away from this film, which would be a huge pity, cause I like its look a lot.
     
  22. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    Thanks a lot for the offer Mike. I will send you a PM.
     
  23. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    That's very interesting new input! If I understand correctly, you mention two possible causes for the marks, both with a root cause in something called 'pressure fog': 1. too much friction during the rolling up of the exposed film, 2. too much friction between film and guiding rolls.
    Do I figure correctly that you did not find a solution? Me personally I don't see how I could prevent either cause.

    Yes Philippe, it's a bit shitty to loose film. But if the problem is eventually solved then I will mind quite a bit less.

    I don't entirely understand how you mean the plastic rails come into play. I do use plastic rails (Paterson), so I am quite interested in your thoughts. Can you elaborate?
     
  24. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    Interesting. I use this film in three different tlrs, a graflex roll back, mamiya roll back, pentacon six, and three different folders. I have never had any of the scratches you have. Pressure scratches seem like a possibility. When the Pentacon Six is loaded correctly, the film is very tight (tighter than any of the other cameras/backs I use) and still never any scratches. Maybe check the interior of your camera, a rough edge that the film rolls over might cause the scratches.

    Here's a thought. How do you load your reels? Do you remove the paper backing before you load the reel or just let it hang until all the film is in the reel, then tear the paper off (like I do)? I agree the emulsion is quite soft so maybe if the film brushes against the edge of your table, fingers, etc. it could show up as scratches. This is kind of wierd. I have used this film pretty much since Freestyle started to carry it as their arista brand, and it has never done this. I did have a bad bunch of film when it first came out. The emulsion had a lot of little dots on it after processing. This site had a thread on it, so I checked the emulsion number on my film, and sure enough, it was the faulty stuff. Freestyle took it back and replaced it no questions asked. It had been sitting in my freezer for almost a year too.
     
  25. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    I've exposed a film in two different cameras now, so it seems unlikely that the camera is to blame. I don't entirely understand Philippe's post about how the camera may cause the scratches. Maybe he can clarify because it does sound interesting.

    I do basically the same as you I think. I put the full spool in an old camera (Agfa Clack, back removed of course) and put that between my knees whilst sitting on a chair. Then I gradually pull out the film with the backing dangling loose and wind it onto the reel which is on a table. There is some distance between me and the table, so that the film is not contact with anything apart from air until it is fully in the reel. I use scissors to cut off the remaining paper. Short story: the film does not contact anything so no culprit here I think.

    I am thinking of a production error, but I can't ever be sure of that of course. Hence my question to Dutch APUG-ers to help me out (got response now). The batch number of my films is 016756-1, exp. date 2/2012. Got it from Silverprint in the UK last December.
     
  26. Philippe-Georges

    Philippe-Georges Member

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    It’s quit simple, when the film is in use and left for a few days in the camera, one of the rolls is still pressing the film against the edge of the camera’s frame, then a mark might occur.
    This happens, in an other way although, particularly in the Linhof Technica 617. There, a thin steel roll is pressing the film against the rubber cylinder (connected to the frame counter).
    But, again, this is very seldom and, as I said, the most of the cameras are NOT to blame, because it does not happen with other brands of film!
    And, not only when the film is passive. When the film is transported, it ‚slides’ via the transporting system, over the guiders, the pressure plate, the camera frame and finally comes in to friction with the backing paper when rolled up.
    In a certain sense, it occurs the other way around too, when unrolling the film for processing, then, even the fingernails can scratch the emulsion, what happened to me.

    The reels, I used to work with, are the JOBO 2500 ones. They have something like really ‚wide lips’ at the beginning, and, believe me, they do scratch Foma film; again, other brands of film are not showing this issue!

    It is the lack of a good protective layer on the emulsion that is causing the problem, and, IMHO, the rather rough and stiff backing paper as used in conjunction with Foma roll-films.
    What I did not tell, and apologise me fort this forgetting, is that my experiences are solely with 120 roll film.

    Philippe