How Long Should I Dry Negatives?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Masuro, May 31, 2007.

  1. Masuro

    Masuro Member

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    I hang up developed film in a spare bathroom that is rarely used and thus fairly dry. How long should I leave my negatives hanging? I've been developing in the evening and putting them in plastic sheets in the morning. Will a few hours of drying do? Do I simply just have to wait until I don't see water?
     
  2. goros

    goros Subscriber

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    Hi Masuro,

    I keep them drying until I feel the film rebate (the film lead that is burnt when loading in the camera) dry when touching it, usually after 2-3 hours.

    Cheers
     
  3. Masuro

    Masuro Member

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    Thank you for the quick reply. This will speed up my work a bit.
     
  4. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    You should dry them until they are dry.

    Seriously, if you look at the emulsion side of the negative as it is drying, you can see a distinct change in the surface as moisture evaporates. Roll film negatives dry from the outside in, and you can see the surface taking on a more dull appearance starting at the outside edges, and gradually progressing toward the center of the strip. Leave them hanging until the surface appearance is uniform.

    If you are drying sheet film negatives, you will find that moisture will accumulate at the bottom edge (or bottom corner if the negative is not perfectly plumb). You should let them dry until that drop of moisture disappears completely.

    Film emulsion expands very slightly when it is wet, and you want to make sure that it has dried completely before you handle the negatives. Putting film into sleeves before it is fully dry will cause (1) the negatives to stick to the sleeves and (2) scratches. Either will ruin the negatives.

    The time required to dry depends on the temperature and humidity in the area where the negatives are hanging. You can speed up the drying process by passing warm, dry, filtered air over the negatives. In a heated drying cabinet with forced air flow, negatives will dry in less than an hour. If you just hang them in a room, it can easily take overnight.
     
  5. jmdavis

    jmdavis Member

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    I would not rush to get them in sleeves. Even a little moisture will create a problem. I usually get them hung up around midnight and find that they are dry by 6:30-8:00 am. In the meantime, I leave them alone.

    The one time I tried to cut this process short (they looked dry and seemed to feel dry), I found my negatives stuck in the sleeves the next day. Not good.


    Mike
     
  6. matti

    matti Member

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    I try to take mine down as quickly as possible to get less dust on them.
    /matti
     
  7. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    If they are in a dust free place and dry to touch, they do not need to be taken down.unless you need the space.

    FWIW, we were taught in ye oldene dayz that if you could leave a neg to dry for twenty four hours, you would get sharper results because by then the neg had "cured."

    Whether that old lab rat's advice was sound, I know not; but when I have the time I do that. when not, then he taught that a quick alcohol/water bath would dry the negs in a jiffy. I rarely use that approach.

    Anscojohn, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
     
  8. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    I used to dry my films in the bathroom which was fully tiled. I left them over night and very seldom had trouble with dust.
     
  9. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I Photo-Flo rinse my 120 and 8 blade film squeegee.
    With film hanging I very carefully pull the blades downward
    applying a gentil pressure. Film dries fast. The amount of
    time needed to dry depends upon the thickness of the
    emulsion and the environment. Dan
     
  10. Masuro

    Masuro Member

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    The answer appears to be that there is no right answer. :smile: I usually develop in the late evenings so I guess I will just leave them overnight as I always did. Thanks for your many replies. I learned a lot.
     
  11. INKspired

    INKspired Member

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    Hello! I am not a photographer, but I'm an aspiring author and one of the characters in my latest book is a photographer.
    I was wondering what kind of camera you are holding in your profile picture... It looks very old and antique, which is exactly the kind of camera I want in my story....
    I know this is a strange request, but I would really appreciate any information you can give me: about the camera, the model, when it came out, how well it works, the film... The more info the better!
    Thank you very much,
    Alex
     
  12. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Squeegeeing film should be a no-no. A small piece of dust is all it takes to put scratches on the film.
    Use a Kim wipe or similar, or chamois t wipe down the base side of the film, but not the emulsion. Water marks are always on the base, not the emulsion because as the emulsion dries it absorbs the water droplets.
    A film is dry when the very bottom corner is dry.
     
  13. shutterclank

    shutterclank Advertiser Advertiser

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    i dry my negatives either over night or for a day. i keep them in a drying cabinet i built, but i generally am not pressed for time.
     
  14. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    A bathroom is a good place to dry film and leave overnight to dry. I would never use a squeegee on film.
     
  15. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Although the negatives look and feel dry, I let them hang a few more hours to allow the emulsion harden. It takes the emulsion longer to fully cure and harden, thus less chance of scratches. Like Anscojohn sez, they also appear sharper. I also use the alcohol mixed in with LFN (wetting agent)and distilled water to speed drying, I still allow extra time for the emulsion to harden.