negatives coming out totally transparent

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Peter Cullen, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. Peter Cullen

    Peter Cullen Member

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    Hi! I'm new to this. I just started developing 35mm film two weeks ago - using ID-11, water stop, and Ilford Rapid Fixer. The first litre of ID-11 produced decent photos (for a first round!). Then I used Ornano St-18 developer and Ornano F 205 fixer, with a water bath. Still decent results. This week, my next order of ID-11 came in, but now twice it has produced totally blank negatives.
    the second time it happened, I tested the ID-11 and it turns the leader of the film black - so I assume that's good.

    The first roll was a PanF 50 following Ilfords package recommendations for development and fixing time.
    The second roll was an HP5 400 following package recommendations for development and fixing.

    Reading the forums, the result looks as if the film had been fixed before developing. It is transparent with no edge numbers whatsoever. There is no evidence of any image and the film itself is greyish blue transparent - see through. It is impossible, however, that I dumped the fixer in first. I don't even uncap that until I'm doing the stop bath.
    Both times, however, I used the developer within 10 minutes of having mixed it up. Is it possible that the ID-11 hadn't properly "mixed" or "bound" or something before I used it? Should I have let it sit for an hour or so first?

    Anyway - any advice on this would sure be appreciated! Thanks in advance!
    Pete Cullen
     
  2. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    If you have no edge numbers you must have put fix in before developer.
     
  3. dnjl

    dnjl Member

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    No edge markings means you fixed instead of developed first, no matter how you look at it. Maybe you mixed up the bottles? Mistakes like that happen to everyone once in a blue moon.
     
  4. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    What the other two have said. Save yourself time and frustration of trying to think up other possible explanations and spend the time devising a foolproof method of not using fixer first e.g. mix only dev then use the water stop and when satisfied that the dev has been stopped then and only then mix the fixer to use. Whatever you are doing clearly allows you to reach for the fixer first.

    I did this once as well but of course I swear that I never touched the fixer first and poured it into the tank.

    pentaxuser
     
  5. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Just before pouring in, pinch the liquid between your finger and thumb, if it feels slippery you have developer. If it feels clean and crisp it's stop or fix.
     
  6. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Thats exactly what I do too when I am not sure on bottles I didnt label.
     
  7. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I think everybody does this once. Then they vow never to do it again.

    My trick for never doing it again is to use separate, marked containers for each chemical.
    I went to Walmart and bought four glass, four-cup measuring cups. They are approx. $6 apiece.
    I used a Pentel paint marker to write "Dev." "Stop" "Fix" and "HCA" on the bottom of each cup so that you can read it through the bottom even when there is liquid in the cup.
    These are the only cups I use to hold my chems and holding chems is the only thing I use these cups for.
    (No, I don't use the markings on the cups to actually measure. I have graduated beakers for that.)

    I always line my chemistry up, in order, from left to right DEV >> STOP >> FIX >> HCA and I always set each cup in the same place on my sink.
    I never vary from my routine. I've done it this way for so long, it's just a habit to pick up the right cup at the right time.
    Further with the name of the chem written right on the cup, it's hard to pour in the wrong one unless you're asleep. The label is staring you right in the face as you pour.

    Another benefit is that the handled measuring cups are easy to pick up and pour.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Bill;

    If it is a neutral or alkaline fix, and depending on formula, this may not apply. These fixes will feel somewhat slippery too. There is no definitive test for these as there are too many possible formulas.

    PE
     
  9. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Usually fixers have a definite odor while developers do not. When in doubt give it the sniff test. Perhaps the best idea is to label everything before you start.
     
  10. jayvo86

    jayvo86 Member

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    I'm just going to throw this out there too...

    Are you sure your camera is exposing the film still?
     
  11. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Even if it isn't, it won't be erasing the edge markings.


    Steve.
     
  12. jayvo86

    jayvo86 Member

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    Ah, yes...missed that in the original post.
     
  13. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    ID-11 is supposed to be mixed at a very high temperature, but you say you're using it within 10 minutes of mixing it up. If you're not mixing it at high temps maybe it's not fully mixed?

    Duncan
     
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  15. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    I use the same grads everytime for each chemical so I don't confuse myself. That happens alot.
     
  16. DarkroomExperimente

    DarkroomExperimente Member

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    using different shape/size/color bottles for each chemical might help
     
  17. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Haaa, I keep forgetting about alkaline fix... Depends on the formula of course.
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Are you using ID 11 at stock dilution, or are you diluting it 1 + 1?

    I ask, because if for some reason you "developed" the blank films in just the diluting water, the result would have been the same as the result obtained by fixing the film before developing it.
     
  19. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I would endorse this, especially colour coding. We are visual people and this helps. I use blue for dev, yellow for stop and red for fix.
     
  20. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    yes, i did t just lst week!
     
  21. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Member

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    Is there any possibility that the developer was contaminated with fixer or stop?

    I use ID-11 (1+1) shortly after mixing it without a problem. However since mixing is done at 40C, I leave the stock to cool in the fridge before using it.
     
  22. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Hello Peter and welcome to APUG. Just be sure to label your chemicals and use in the proper order, for the right time/temp. and try again.
     
  23. Peter Cullen

    Peter Cullen Member

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    Hi everybody! Thanks for your replies. Yes, I always use separate types of bottles (black "accordion" storage bottle for developer and brown opaque for the fixer). Also, they are kept on opposite sides of the sink. I mix the ID-11 at 40° as on the package. It is possible that the water I used to make the stock developer was contaminated with fixer. I use distilled water, and come to think of it, I used totally new distilled water for the 40° mix of developer, but then finished it off with another bottle. My kid and I use the darkroom, and it's possible that he decanted his used fixer back into an empty water bottle instead of back into the fixer bottle. Seeing as how the overwhelming response is "must have fixed it first", that is a possible solution (no pun intended!). I'm going to test it again with a few roles of FP4 to see what happens. Thanks so much everybody!
    Pete
     
  24. Huub

    Huub Member

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    Do a film clearing test on your developer: drop a stretch of undeveloped film leader in the ID-11 you used. When it clears completely within a few minutes you know for sure it is fixer. You normally run this test to see if your fixer is still fresh enough, but it could be used this way too, i guess.
     
  25. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Aah! You have another person using the same darkroom. You need to agree on some rules or procedures so that everybody does things the same way.

    It doesn't matter whether it's your kid or the ghost of Ansel Adams. Everybody who works there needs to understand the rules.

    I'm not saying that you need to be Fascist about it. You just need some ground rules so that everybody is on the same page.
    Chemistry goes "here" and in this order. Never pour solutions back into a bottle of stock.
    Sensitized goods (film/photo paper) is always stored in "this" drawer. Never open it without double checking the lights.
    If the darkroom door is closed, always knock upon entering even if you think you're the only one there. Better yet, make a "Darkroom in Use" sign and make sure the sign gets flipped to the "Occupied" or "Vacant" at the proper times.

    I know it sounds simplistic and stupid but, whenever there are two people working in the same place, stupid accidents are bound to happen unless everybody understands what the others are doing. The best way to make sure that everybody understands what the others are doing it so set some rules to make sure that everybody does things the same way.

    Besides... You're the Dad and he's the kid. It's your job to make the rules. Right? :wink:
     
  26. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Hey Pete,

    Though it may have caused you a problem, it's admirable your kid's into it...

    At least he's not pouring it down the sink, you already are teaching him responsibility!