How do I deal with a pin hole on neg?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by tkamiya, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I have a 6x8 film image that I'd like to print. There is one problem. There is a pin hole on it. The hole is really tiny. When enlarged to 16x20 size (which is my target size), the hole is about 0.5mm in size. Since it is a pin hole, it will print as a dark black spot. The paper will be Pearl RC so what I can do is kind of limited.

    Is there an old timer way of fixing this on neg so it isn't so obvious?

    "Way Beyond..." book shows one method which is to paint on the neg so the black dot becomes a white dot, then to use spotting technique on print to remove it. I don't think it's practical on this image due to size.

    I'm hoping someone has a trick or two to share....
     
  2. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    It's the way to go. I use opaque. Turn the pinhole into a black dot on neg = white dot on print. Much, much easier to spot. If you try to go gray, then there will be a halo. Easier to retouch a pure white spot.
     
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Bill, what do you use to touch up the film??
     
  4. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    I second turning it into a white spot with an opaque applicant of some sort. I never like doing anything to negatives, but I tried the etching-print-then-spot method, but the spotting then spreads like crazy and is worse. I know as a print it looks worse, but you're not going to find a better method. You can use a high concentrate bleach, but it will be the same size as the negative retouching opaque technique, but at least you only have to do it once and not every time you print.
     
  5. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    Kodak used to make a red opaque mask that came in a small bottle. I have one and I think it's pretty dried out but if it's like Spotone, a bit of water on a brush to grab a bit should work. I'll see if I can dig it out and get the info...

    ok, just went down to the cave. It's called Kodak Opaque Red. I also have the Opaque Black. Not sure where you could find that particular item but I imagine a good art supply or graphic arts store would have a clue as something similar was used heavily in pre-press work I think.
     
  6. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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  7. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    crocein scarlet can be used for this. I have a bottle, but I don't think it's available new anymore. I imagine spot-tone could also work. Try painting it on the back of the film. Some large format films have a gelatin layer on the back just for retouching. Of course I should warn you that my last attempt at fixing a pinhole with these methods were not a 100% success. It worked, but you could still see evidence of the spot if you looked closely.
     
  8. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    One word - DPUG...
     
  9. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    One word - NO... :D
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I wonder how the pin hole got there in the first place.... I NEVER had this happen to any of my film before....
     
  11. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    The advantage of the crocein scarlet over an opaque dye is that the crocein is transparent so you can match the density of the negative around the pin hole. The idea is to use a dilute solution and slowly build up density until the spot matches the surrounding area. If you use too much the dye can be removed using a dilute ammonia solution. You can get 1 gram (a lifetime supply) for $18 from http://www.scbt.com/datasheet-214776-crocein-scarlet-7b.html

    You will also need a #000000 or #00000 round red sable brush. I would suggest practicing on a scrap negative. Remember that the red dye produces an actinic density that is different from the visual density. So make a few test prints until you get the hang of the techmnique.

    See "Lootens on Photographic Printing and Enlarging" for how to mix up the dye solution.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2012
  12. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    The Kodak Opaque (black) is what I use. Red would work as well. It's a creamy paste consistency, easily cleaned - if you over-do it you just wash it off with water. I use a fine brush, many recommend toothpick. A pin also works. I have daydreamed of using a hypodermic needle for the purpose but have no idea of the sanity of that idea.
     
  13. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I remember years ago, Light Impressions sold a fine point red pen for writing on BW negs. That could work. You can opaque on the base side.
     
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  15. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Wonder if screen filler would work for screen printing.
     
  16. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    If the size is only 0,5mm on a 16x20" print I'd suggest knifing the print. Anything you do on the neg will end up a lot bigger on the print than a knifed speck.
     
  17. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    A few times I had to do this, I used a non-permanent red sharpie, with which I gently dabbed the non-emulsion side of the negative. It prints as a softer, fuzzier white hole, and so it is then relatively easy to spot on the print. Naturally, this is easiest with LF negatives, but I have done it on 6x6. Some negs have a better non-emulsion surface texture for this than others. In my experience, HP5+ and Tri-X are easier, TMax a little harder, for me. After printing, the red is easy to wipe off. Please let me know if you think that I am doing something bad to my negs this way. You can always sandwich another, blank negative on top of yours and place the spot on it, effectively creating a very simple negative mask, just watch out for newton rings with some films, like TMax.

    You can also remove the spots using a very sharp surgical blade, by very gently dabbing the surface, not scratching, but it leaves a mark that is visible, on glossy paper, when you look at the print at an angle.

    As for why you got it in the first place, the most likely reason is dust or sand on the film during exposure, but sediment in your processing chemistry can cause those too. Some people blame film defects, but I have never felt that was the reason in my case.

    Anyway, get used to dealing with this issue, as it will keep happening—especially in the smooth tone areas like sky, as it is most visible there.
     
  18. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I've used sharpies on LF film for this reason. A super super fine marker and a steady hand might work for 6x8cm film.

    I take great care to prevent dust and have only had the problem on cheap film.
     
  19. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    I have not done this, but I have heard that a pin or knife-point prick on the film will optically diffract light around that area, leaving a white spot on your print for retouching. I have used a fine point red marker for LF film with some success. As someone mentioned, doing this on smaller formats means bigger areas to retouch when enlarged.
     
  20. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    This may work for enlargers with Condensers. But Diffusion enlargers, popular for their ability to make dust disappear, also make this roughed up base disappear.

    I have used a pin to rough up the base of my 4x5 negatives so it vanishes under the microscope. The result I get is a halo on the print. From a distance, the spot is gone. But on closer inspection it is easily apparent.

    When I spot out with opaque, the printed result is very white and MUST be spotted. However the resulting spotting job is very successful.
     
  21. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    If its that small I would knife the print.... much easier ( and less obvious ) on FB than RC, when I was doing this for real, if it was a big issue ( a mural print for instance ) we would opaque the neg ( Red Opaque ) then retouch the print. WE ALWAYS USED BRUSHES, one guy I used to work with was a dab hand at retouching ( 120 ) negs using a soft pencil, especially on portraits, marks, zits and crow's feet, took him about 30 seconds per neg, he was amazing, then you just had a little spotting on the finished portrait print. Now there is something for you all to try now the nights are drawing in ! I suggest a portarait negative that you have spare!

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  22. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    There are two different problems that are called “pinholes” in negatives. They’re quite different from each other.

    A true pinhole is caused by a small air bubble in the emulsion or a gap in the emulsion. After coating, when the emulsion had dried, it leaves a tiny circular area of no emulsion. Usually, the gelatin overcoat covers it. There’s no emulsion to expose in the spot, so the area stays clear after development. In the enlarger, the light pours through the clear spot with full force exposing a black spot on the paper.

    The only true pinholes I’ve ever encountered happed with the Hungarian-made Fortepan 100 and 400 films. Pinholes occurred frequently. I have never seen a true pinhole in Kodak, Ilford, Agfa, Fuji, Konica, or 3M branded films.

    The much more common “shadow pinhole” can happen in any camera, but is most often a problem in sheet film or glass plates. This happens in roll-film cameras very rarely when a particle—almost always from the interior of camera that isn’t routinely blown out with a squeeze bulb blower as part of regular maintenance. Particles can enter a camera anytime the body is open to the air: film changing, changing backs, changing lenses.

    The turbulence of a reflex mirror snapping abruptly to the shooting position can create a cloud of particles that can stick to the emulsion. This is one of the reasons that many camera makers advise blowing out the camera as part of regular maintenance. Any such particle will block the projected image light from the lens and cast a shadow on the emulsion. When developed, the shadow is a clear spot on the negative. This is often referred to as a “pinhole” even though it’s quite different than a true pinhole.

    Users of sheet film and glass plate cameras are particularly plagued with pinholes produced by the shadows of particles or even small fibers adhering to the emulsion at exposure because the film is handled unshielded in the darkroom during the loading of the holder.

    Once formed, there are three ways to deal with pinholes of either type:

    1. Use a pointed wooden toothpick to apply a tiny amount of opaque material to the top (base surface) of the negative to block the light from the pinhole. This is best done on a light table with strong magnifying eyeglasses or a loupe. The resulting white spot on the print is then spot dyed to match the surrounding area. I prefer to use red WATER-SOLUBLE poster paint because, if I do a poor job of placing the paint, I can wash the negative to remove the paint, dry it and try again. I think it’s a bad idea to place the opaque material on the emulsion side as the emulsion might get damaged. Obviously, if you use an indelible opaque material, you have only one chance to get it right. It’s much safer to use a water-soluble material so that you can wash it off and try again if the first try is unsuccessful. The size of the negative matters. The larger the negative, the easier it is to place opaque material onto the negative. 35mm negatives are too small for this to be practical (at least for me).

    2. Make the print with the dark spot projected through the pinhole and use a photographic bleach applied with a toothpick to the black spot followed by washing. Afterwards, the bleached area will have to be spot dyed to match the surrounding area. Retouch Methods, the former maker of Spotone dyes used to make a 2-bottle spot bleaching kit called Spot-Off for bleaching black spots on prints. You can make your own with Farmer’s reducer.

    3. On FIBER-BASED PAPER ONLY, use a curved-blade Exacto knife to gently scrape the emulsion just enough to remove the excess density of the black spot and then spot dye to match the surrounding area. There used to be specialized print-etching knives made specifically for this purpose, but the proper blade in the Exacto knife works reasonably well. Knifing the print will necessarily alter the surface. The surface can be made uniform by giving it several coats of light spray lacquer (the entire print gets coated, dull or gloss as you prefer). Knifing black spots is not practical on RC prints.

    Of these three methods, #1 is usually the most practical, provided that the negative is large enough. Small negatives require method 2 or 3. In Ansel Adam’s book, The Print, a photo of one of Adams’ print finishers is shown knifing a tiny black spot in the light sky area of an otherwise perfect print. The accompanying text explains the process.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2012
  23. ooze

    ooze Member

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    I'd place a tiny piece of rolled up blu-tac on the paper and then spot.
     
  24. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    How about tweezing a speck of lint onto the paper in the easel under red light.

    I'd tried something similar (I called it a "mosquito") to dodge a clear outlined area, but the effect was disturbing. But for a speck, this might do the trick.
     
  25. Maris

    Maris Member

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    A quick, dirty, and permanent fix for an emulsion pinhole is to stab the emulsion with a dress-makers pin right on top of the pinhole. Yes! Push the pin in right down to the film base if necessary. The resulting concave dimple diverts enlarger light away from the defect and the black spot in the positive disappears...more or less. This technique was a favourite with the old press photographers who could not wait for red opaque or spotting dye to dry.
     
  26. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I think I'm not going to stab my film (thanks Maris for sharing this tip) but I will try method that were mentioned in this thread. I thought about putting a small ball bearing or something on print but it is so hard to see the dot under safety red light.

    The "dot" is small enough to be difficult but large enough to be visible.

    Thanks everybody for sharing your ideas.