I am having a major print developing problem.

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Ektagraphic, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Hi Guys-
    I was wondering if you may be able to help me out. I have been getting these spots on my prints that are a pretty good size and are never in the same place. They are these blobs...some are light, some are dark. I'll try to see if I can scan. I cannot seem to figure out the probelm. I get this with no matter what paper I use. I am using Alta's Zonal Pro developer. There is nothing wrong with the enlarger that I can possibly. The developer has been freshly mixed and I have bought a couple of brand new bottles and they have all given the same result. I am going to try a diffrent developer. What would you reccomend? Patrick

    PS: I have tested that it is not the safelight by going through the whole process in the dark. I am mixing with tap water but have also tried distilled.
     
  2. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Pale blobs can be caused by air bubbles, which is a matter of technique in how you get the print into the tray. Dark blobs, I don't know. I've had 'em a couple of times but not known why.

    I slide the print in face down, poke the back a few times with tongs so it's all submerged then flip it over with the tongs. Then start rocking and you should see that the whole face side is completely wetted. If you leave it face-down, you can get air-bubbles trapped. If you put it in face-up first, it gets wet unevenly at first though I suspect that's probably not a problem. Poking the emulsion side with tongs to submerge it could be bad though, hence the slide, poke, flip, rock sequence.
     
  3. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Without seeing the "blobs" you are talking about, it is a little more difficult to decipher the problem. I am inclined to agree with polyglot that the lighter ones may caused by airbubbles during development or the paper not being fully submerged during development for the entire processing time. With regard to the darker blobs - I'm at a loss right now. If you are able to post a quick scan, could help with sorting this problem for you.
     
  4. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Yup that's it. Thanks sooo much! I have been able to get better prints just now but how do you properly process a print?
     
  5. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    It is probably not a good idea but I grabbed the print by almost the middle and where I grabbed it there is a black mark from the tong. The tongs I have don't work well with the trays I use....
     
  6. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Dev step - full time as per the developer you are using and the temp it is - higher temp less time needed, lower temp more time needed
    Stop - 30 secs
    Fix - full time as per the fixer you are using
    Wash - 5 mins RC paper

    I use Agfa Multicontrast Dev, Ilford Stop and Ilford Fix. The following times give me excellent results for my working situation:

    Dev 2mins @ 20c
    Stop 30secs @ 20c
    Fix 2mins @20c
    Wash 5 mins @ 20-24c (depends on outside temperature)

    I think the Massive Dev Chart will give you good starting points for developing films and papers in different developers. Best bet is to start out with the manufacturers' recommendations of mix and time and then adjust from there once you are getting acceptable results.

    It can be a trial and error process, but once you nail your working style, it will be simple to make adjustments to get the results you want.

    Enjoy!
     
  7. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    1) Do you use separate tongs for the 3 different baths? If not, you should.
    2) Do you use a stop bath between developer and fixer?

    In any case, grab the prints by the edge and whenever you touch a sheet don't put your fingers on the emulsion. Needless to say, don't touch prints with wet and/or dirty hands.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There are a few ways to handle the print in the developer. I usually put the print face down on the developer and jiggle it to get the air bubbles out, and then flip it after about 30 sec. Some people slide the print face up into the developer.

    From there some people agitate by rocking the tray, others by stirring the developer with the tongs, others by flipping the prints. You can also rotate the print occasionally while rocking the tray for more even results. If you are developing a stack, you can shuffle, or if it's a stack of large prints, another approach is to have two trays of developer and flip the prints back and forth between one tray and the other.

    Experiment a bit and see what works for you.
     
  9. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Well, I guess I have to adjust my exposure times because I would get black prints if I left them in for more than 20 seconds....I'll try that tonight. (I know that the developer is mixed according to instructions). I'll try a few things. Yes I use three seperate baths and three seperate tongs. Thanks again for your help. This has been driving me crazy to get answers.
     
  10. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    You develop the paper for less than 20 seconds? That seems awfully short to me, some sort of special rapid developer you use?
     
  11. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Yes it sounds as if your exposure time is way too much for your neg.
    f8 @ 10-15secs for a normal neg (good range of tones between black and white) may be a good starting point at grade 2-3.

    Again, it will depend on your paper selection and negative as to what exposure time you require. I have always used Agfa paper at grade 2- 21/2; when I went to college, their paper of choice was Ilford - try as I might, I couldn't get a good exposure from any of my negs without using Grade 3-4. It used to drive me crazy!! Finally I gave up and switched back to my Agfa paper and all was good for me. No idea why, but I consistently got good results and decided not to change papers simply because that was what they were supplying (at a cost).

    Find a film, developer and paper, developer you are happy with and getting good results from. Once you've mastered the exposure development stages for both of these, you can start experimenting with other combination's - I'm only now starting to use some old Ilford graded paper again from which I am getting some acceptable results from; use this mostly for my Postcard exchange pictures along with old paper as well.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I've looked at the manufacturer's website, and it indicates that you should be mixing your developer with 1 part concentrate added to 15 parts water (2 oz diluted to make 1 US quart).

    Based on that, the manufacturer recommends a development time between 2 minutes and 3.5 minutes.

    Given that, the best way to approach this is to standardize on a development time (I'd suggest 2.5 minutes), stop down the enlarger lens 3 or 4 stops, and then do test strips with several exposures (6, 8, 11, 16, 32 and 45 seconds is a useful progression). Develop your test strips for the standardized time (and don't vary from that time). Use the test strip to determine a useful standard exposure for that much magnification and that aperture.

    And then go from there.

    Matt

    P.S. here is the link: http://www.altaphotographic.com/zonal.html
     
  13. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    I agree, but there is no need to poke the print from front or back. Just place it on top of the liquid surface and rock the tray. The print will submerge within seconds.
     
  14. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Some RC paper floats pretty well when one surface is still dry.

    In my experience:
    Glossy RC = most prone to not 'wet' and to from bubbles and air pockets. Some of this stuff develops quickly, and it floats, so with a big glossy RC 16x20 I rapidly immerse it emulsion up and pad it down. If I don't watch the reflection carefully in the safelight it is easy to miss an area that will remain 'dry.'
    Satin RC = better than above
    "Glossy" FB = about the same as Satin RC
     
  15. Aron

    Aron Member

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    While the problem comes most likely from processing, black spots can appear also in these two cases:

    -dust on negative during exposure (maybe)
    -tiny scratches or badly deteriorated emulsion (unlikely).

    I came across the latter while printing some glass plates from the '20s.
     
  16. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    How does a dusty neg cause black spots? Surely you'd get white ones?

    The only times I've had black spots was with one particular neg, but the spots came out in different places each time I printed so I suspect it was a paper issue or me getting something on the paper.
     
  17. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    If dust is on the film prior to exposure, it will leave a clear spot, which prints black. It's generally not a problem with roll films, but does plague sheet film users occasionally.