My first film - interpreting the results

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by kdanks, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. kdanks

    kdanks Member

    Messages:
    48
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2005
    Location:
    Burley, New
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Well, this morning I developed my first film. I was trying to follow the instructions to the letter, so it was 35mm HP5+ in ID-11 1+1 for what was supposed to be 13 minutes, with 4 inversions in the first 10 seconds of every minute.

    What I wasn't expecting was the developer temperature to go up when I got it in the tank. All the chemicals had stabilised at about 20.4 c before I started, but in the tank the developer went up to 21.5, so I referred to the Ilford chart from their website and stopped development about a minute early. I don't know how critical this is. To tell you the truth, I got in a bit of a panic because I had a bath of water at 23c ready in case temperatures dropped (per the instructions...), when I could really have done with a 20c bath instead.

    The only real problem is with the first 8 frames or so, where there are dark areas around and between a lot of the sprocket holes, same shape as the holes, where the film hasn't cleared. The first two frames have a dark bar across them too, so I think there was a problem loading the film onto the reel (I had to have 2 tries at that). This effect becomes less obvious by frame 8 but doesn't disappear altogether until frame 15. The images themselves are fine apart from the first two.

    Overall the negatives seems a little on the dark side. I wonder whether they are a little overdeveloped, because according to the Ilford chart I should have stopped development a bit sooner than I did at that temperature. They still have what appears to my inexpert eye to be a fair range of tones, they just seem a bit darker overall than HP5+ that I've had developed by the lab.

    Anyway, I have a few more grey hairs than I did when I started, but it was a lot of fun and next time I'll be ready for the temperature change and have a cool bath ready. Any suggestions about the dark areas and the overall darkness would be much appreciated.

    Kevin
     
  2. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,888
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Congratulations!! Isn't it fun... and satisfying to pull the reel out and see some negs!!

    Two points... you may have over agitated a bit. Sometimes those dark areas around the sprocket holes happen with too much agitation. Try just three inversions each minute. As for temperature... consistency is more important than accuracy, and I think it's best to try to keep all the chemistry at about the same temp. And try to keep it consistent by using the same thremometer.

    Second point... I tend to use D-76 (ID-11) at 1:3 for thirteen minutes. (For Hp5 rated at 200), so you may want to do some tests with different dilutions. It just seems at 1:1 dilution, the development time should have been a bit shorter.

    Best of luck with it all.
     
  3. Marv

    Marv Member

    Messages:
    141
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Eastern Iowa
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Consistancy is the key, for developmnet time follow the chart for the initial temperature then don't change anything.

    I also use the same thermometer, start the timer when the solution is all placed in the drum, and start to pour developer out when the timer goes off.

    I do it the same way, everytime and as a result I know the process is not to blame for "surprises".

    I think you are probably right on the bands and I agree with Suzznae on the sprocket marks, both are the most logical explaination.
     
  4. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I agree with the others about the marks around the sprocket holes. I can't be sure without seeing the film, but from the description, the marks sound like "surge marks," which are areas of uneven development caused by fluid turbulence around the sprocket holes. Reducing agitation (number of inversions or the vigor with which you invert) usually handles the problem.

    As to the dark bars, is your film wrinkled? I've seen something similar once or twice, apparently caused by a single wrinkle in the film. My hypothesis is that this set up uneven fluid flow, but with the wrinkle running top-to-bottom on the film, it caused an oscillating pattern of uneven development for a few frames.

    In addition to the comments about being consistent, I'd add that the times in charts should be considered starting points only. Issues like your personal agitation style, thermometer calibration, etc., can affect degree of development. What constitutes "optimal" development also varies depending on your enlarger, paper, personal preferences, etc. Ultimately, you'll have to start making enlargements to decide if the development is optimal, and it may take some time to decide what works best for you. In the meantime, don't be overly concerned; just practice and try to be consistent.
     
  5. avandesande

    avandesande Member

    Messages:
    1,246
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Tijeras, NM
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Just be resigned to the fact that you are going to ruin a bunch of film at first and do not give up. What you find is that you fuss over things that don't matter and that you miss the things that do. Each film and developer also has it's own quirks, which is why many recommend that you stick with a single combination when you start out.
    The bumps make it all the more rewarding when finally start getting things right every time.
     
  6. kdanks

    kdanks Member

    Messages:
    48
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2005
    Location:
    Burley, New
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Thanks for all the replies and encouragement! I've attached a jpeg of a few strips of the negatives, to illustrate what I mean about the marks. You can see the dark bar across the first one and some strange marks on the film just before it.

    I've spent most of the afternoon over the lightbox and I am quite pleased with what I see. Where I bracketed my shots I generally prefer the one with an extra stop over what the meter told me, which I suppose is the same as exposing at 200 ASA and sticking to the standard development. I've Les Maclean's book and I've been reading about film tests, but it seems pretty complicated so I'm going to have to read it through a few times.

    Thanks again,

    Kevin
     

    Attached Files:

  7. argus

    argus Member

    Messages:
    2,146
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The strange mark before frame 1 looks like the shape of a film leader.
    How did you load the film on the reel? Starting with the back (highest number)? Seems weird to me.
    If that is the case, I think you did not cut of the leader and it it stuck on the film, thus preventing any developer from touching the portion of film underneath.

    It is only an assumption. Could you explain in detail how you loaded the film on the reel? It might help us to give an anwer to the strange mark.

    G
     
  8. kdanks

    kdanks Member

    Messages:
    48
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2005
    Location:
    Burley, New
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I see what you mean, but it is simply coincidence because I did cut off the leader, and now that I think about it I wonder if I had a problem loading the film into the camera and opened the back to adjust it right at the start of the film, which could explain the area that it shaped like a leader.

    I was using a Paterson tank and reel, and I loaded the film in the normal way. I did have a problem to start with because the film jammed and I couldn't twist the reel back and forth to load it, but it was OK when I tried again. It does look like there was a problem with those first couple of frames, but I couldn't see anything obvious when I took it off after development.

    Kevin
     
  9. kdanks

    kdanks Member

    Messages:
    48
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2005
    Location:
    Burley, New
    Shooter:
    35mm RF

    Thanks Jay. I had some test shots on this roll with a kind of still life arrangement that I set up, including a black leather jacket, a natural wool colour Arran sweater and an 18% grey card. I metered from the grey card and at the suggested setting there was significantly less detail in the black jacket than there was with one stop extra, although the highlights in the sweater still seemed full of detail. I was getting excited because this matched what I had been reading about (meter for shadows etc), so I thought "ah, I've proved to myself that this is true". As you say, it will be interesting to see how those negatives print.

    Kevin (who admits that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing)
     
  10. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,126
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think you've got a light leak somewhere in the system. When loading film into a reel and you bend it so it kinks it's usually distinct (usually cresent shaped) marks. Your negs look like dodgy bulk loaded canisters, which show smilar density (the black bits) at which point I throw them out.
     
  11. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Having seen the scans, I now agree with Nige; the marks around the film sprockets look like light leaks to me. I've seen this sort of thing when I've accidentally opened my camera back with film loaded. If the film back is immediately closed again, some shots are completely ruined, while earlier shots are still OK, but dark marks just like those on some of your strips appear. I'm just a bit puzzled about why they'd appear where they do but not overlap significantly into the frames themselves for any frames (unless maybe some between frames 1 and 5 are completely dark).

    If I'm right, I wouldn't worry about flaws in that part of the roll, at least not with respect to your film development technique. Instead, just shoot another roll and judge from it, or judge based on later frames that are beyond the problem area. Of course, you should be sure you don't repeat whatever caused the massive light leak when shooting subsequent rolls.
     
  12. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

    Messages:
    1,845
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm on the bandwagon with the "light leak" crew -- the dark marks the same shape as spocket holes are light falling through sprocket holes, either when the film was rolled or when it was on the reel. Rolled seems more likely -- the combination of sprocket and leader shadows is what I'd expect to occur if the cassette felts were pried apart some way after the film was rewound completely inside the cassette (perhaps in attempting to retrieve a leader with improvised tools, in bright light?).

    I prefer to open my cassettes in the dark (with a bottle opener, if I bought commercially loaded film, or with fingers or fingernails if bulk loads), cut off the leader and start the film on the reel in the dark, etc. -- much more reliable than trying to always leave the leader out, and my hand cut leaders won't always pull back out past the felts if I wind the full width portion of the film in and leave only the cut leader protruding (which is hard to avoid with most of my cameras).
     
  13. Marv

    Marv Member

    Messages:
    141
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Eastern Iowa
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    After seeing the scans I think I'll jump ship and go with light leaks also. Thanks for posting them. It's much easier to diagnose with an image.
     
  14. kdanks

    kdanks Member

    Messages:
    48
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2005
    Location:
    Burley, New
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    One film, so many mistakes!

    I think you are right on the money here Donald, because I did try to retrieve the leader with a Jessops retriever tool, which didn't work, so in the end I went with the bottle opener in the dark instead. I'll know next time.

    Thanks to everyone who replied about this, I am very grateful.

    Kevin