Newbie. Canon Ftb Ilford Xp2 400 Super C41 mishap. I NEED HELP PLEASE.

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by filmnumpty, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. filmnumpty

    filmnumpty Member

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    Hello all, I have just joined and this is my first post, typically it's a disaster and I need help please.

    I am new to film (technically I shot film at college in 1990) but since then haven't done anything until recently. Been very digital until the theft of my entire digital equipment so I decided go cheap and get a film camera.

    So I just bought a Canon FTB for £5 and bought a Canon FD 1.2l 85mm with it for £200. Bargain I thought. The battery in it is a hearing aid battery and I have been compensating for it by attempting to over expose as I shoot. I have been using Ilford XP2 as it's still available in the shops where I live and is 400asa. I checked the meter with my iPhone and wifes camera and it seem accurate enough. So I went out shooting.

    I took my first roll to a lab who promptly put scratches all over it and told me it was my crappy camera.

    Upset with the attitude of the lab technician I decided to develop the next roll myself, well, how hard could it be?

    I got a dark bag, got an iPhone timer app, spool and patterson tank etc. Didi all the usual spooling of the film etc. and started developing.

    Although my roll did not have scratches on it it did have a lot of residue on the glossy side and is for some reason magenta where the lab's is grey. Plus a stupid amount of grain compared to the labs version, though all of the shots look a little under exposed.

    IMG_0692.JPG

    I have had a look at some other posts and it suggests the issue I may be having is either, temperature of developer, too much agitation, not enough agitation, over developing the film, shutter timings, bleach exhausted and some others I can't now remember.

    The tetenal C41 kit I bought is apparently 3 bottles worth, Dev/Bleach/Fix and there is mixing of the Bleach and Fix(stabiliser)

    I have now tried with 4 rolls of Ilford XP2 and different times of the day, while adhering to the 38 degrees, 3.15 minute developing time, the thermostat is new I have wet the film on two of the rolls to heat it up prior to developing, nothing seems to make a difference.
    I haven't tried the 86 degrees longer time developing yet.

    Any clues at what I am doing wrong?
    I don't want to waste any more film but I also don't really want to use the lab again because paying for scratched film is not my bag either.

    Thank you in advance at helping an idiot home film developer.

    Regards
    filmnumpty
     
  2. filmnumpty

    filmnumpty Member

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    This is the lab version.
    test_Phi.jpg

    This is the Tetenal C41 version
    test_Fletcher.jpg
     
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  4. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    The Tetenal kit indeed gives you three processing liquids, but their correct description is quite different:
    • CD, i.e. Color developer: mixed from CD1, CD2 and CD3 parts and water
    • BLIX, i.e. bleach and fixer in one: mixed from BX1, BX2 parts and water
    • STAB, i.e. stabilizer: mixed from STAB part and water

    Please confirm that you indeed mixed the liquids as listed here, not as you described it. If not, we may have found the problem right there ...
     
  5. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    Different C41 developers are as a rule interchangeable so there should not be a great deal of difference. I see what you mean about the increased grain though. I am not and never have been a lover of XP, I always found the colour mask intrusive. How the lab managed to get rid of it (if that's what you mean) and get a grey background this may have something to do with the grain size, I just don't know. The magenta backing is there so it will be able to be printed on a standard lab printer.

    The Kodak version CN400 is a much friendlier film to use and this has the normal orange mask similar to colour negative films. I have printed them in my darkroom and managed to get a fully neutral black and white image. Something I have never managed to do with XP.

    As Matt (above) suggests try using normal B&W film it is much easier to deal with. This can be bought easily and cheaper than XP via mail order in UK. Order by noon and it is generally there the following day.
     
  6. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    Really?? Intrusive colour mask?? Magenta backing??

    XP2 can be printed perfectly adequately on standard black-and-white paper, or on RA4 paper in an autolab, as per the Harman documentation. The problems you describe sound 'strange' . . .

    Regarding the OP's problems with grain and neg colour. Agitation is unlikely to be too high, as the film is expected to be developed in either a roller-transport processor or in a Jobo system with continuous agitation. Are you carefully controlling the temperatures of all the chemicals, not just the developer? A lower temperature for the bleach or fixer might lead to under bleaching/fixing (with either possibility leaving silver behind and potentially causing a dense and grainy appearance). Double check that the various component bottles were mixed correctly too of course.
     
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  7. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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  8. AllanD

    AllanD Subscriber

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    Hi filmnumpty. If you conduct this simple experiment, you may be able to answer your own question. Simply repeat the whole process just as you did before, with the reel in the tank, but no film. Instead of chemicals, just use water at the correct temperature for each step. At each step, measure the temperature of the water that you pour from the processing tank. What I think you will find is that despite the temperature of your water bath, the actual process has been carried out at a lower temperature than expected and the result is an under developed and under bleached/fixed film.

    The volume of chemicals you are using, plus the short process times, mean that it is very easy to run the process at a low temperature, especially if you are using a plastic tank. A prewash may help (some kits recommend this), but you may find that you can get good results by starting out at a higher temperature and running the process so that the average temperature correct. Experimentation is the key to getting this right.

    You may find that the colour and graininess of your already processed films can be improved by bleaching, fixing and washing again, but that is just me guessing. No harm in trying though!

    In my experience, the only complication with process C41 is getting the temperature right.
     
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  9. filmnumpty

    filmnumpty Member

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    I mixed the kit by mixing the three parts of developer into the correct amount of water i.e. to make one litre of developer. I hope that's right?
    I then mixed in another bottle the two parts of bleach and fixer and water.
    I then mixed the stabiliser in the third bottle with the correct amount of water.
    Not distilled water though. :-(
     
  10. filmnumpty

    filmnumpty Member

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    Thank you for that.

    I have some Fuji Acros 100 120 to be developed in Ilfotec HC but am totally stumped on the dilution. It say on the bottle something to do with 1.31 mixture and the stop and fix and wash all have other dilutions. I assume 1:31 means 1 part dev to 31 parts water. As I am a total idiot and didn't pass my math exams I have 1 litre bottles and need to mix the correct dilutions for that. How do I know what the 1 part developer should be?

     
  11. filmnumpty

    filmnumpty Member

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    Hi. I shoved in the temp gauge into the patterson bottles while developing, bleaching and fixing. I attempted to get the temps at 38 for the dev and bleach, the fixing apparently is more liberal.

    I think I may have found the source of my problems.
    I have just tested the thermometer I bought and it is 1.8 degrees lower than it should be at boiling temp.
    Tested in conjunction with a glass thermometer.

    Plus I noticed the used bottles I bought from eBay also have crystals left in them from a previous chemical. I cleaned them out prior to making the Tetenal Mixture but I may not have clean everything out.

    That coupled with the lower reading of hearing aid battery in FTB would make for underexposure in both the camera and the developing.

    I will correct these to see if that makes a difference.

    That said I now need to mixed some Ilfotec hc110 for developing some fuji across and Kodak Tri-x 400
    Though am stumped and the dilutions for my new 1 litre bottles. for all of the dev stop fix and wash.

    I'll have to buy one of those baby syringes as all of my measuring jugs are in 25ml's

    Idea ideas or links for this?

    Thanks again. FN



     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2014
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Re: mixing the Ilfotec developer. I am assuming that it is Ilfotec HC you are using (which is not HC110 - just similar to it).

    (EDIT: You should note that with liquid developers like Ilfotec HC, you normally mix up each time just the amount that you need at that time.)

    Many developing tanks have information printed on their bottom which shows how much developer is required by your tank to cover the film and reel you are using. If yours is like my Paterson tank, it says that 290 ml is required for each 35 ml roll.

    If that is the case for you, I would suggest that you use 320 ml of working strength developer per roll (it will make the arithmetic simple).

    To make up 320 ml of working strength developer, add 10 ml of Ilfotec "syrup" to 310 ml of water - you will end up with 320 ml of Ilfotec HC working solution at a dilution of 1+31 (not 1:31 - that is Kodak's way of saying the same thing).

    Syringes will work well when measuring the "syrup". The Paterson 45 ml graduated cylinder is also a useful tool for mixing small quantities.

    If you have a graduated cylinder that has a line for 325 ml, and you are careful, it should work fine if you add 10 ml of syrup to some water and then bring the total volume up to the 325 ml line. The extra 5 ml or so of water (in 315) won't make enough of a difference to matter.

    If you have measuring equipment that is more accurate, you could mix exactly 290 ml of working strength developer by using the following formula: amount of syrup = total volume needed / 32. So for 290 ml, the calculation is 290/32 = 9.0625 ml syrup, plus water to bring the total volume to 290 ml. But why would you bother?

    Hope this helps.

    EDIT: In case you don't already have it, here is the link to Ilford's data sheet for Ilfotec HC: http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/2011427105392231.pdf
     
  13. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    That sounds right, and with commercial kits you don't need deionized water.

    Since the magenta stuff also affects the areas which were not exposed (and therefore not developed), I am not sure whether your color developer is the problem. Somehow I suspect that your BLIX didn't work properly. Can you remember what BX1 and BX2 looked like? Was BX2 a clear liquid, or was is milky, with a yellow precipitate?

    If you mix a fresh set of color chemistry, and if that new set gives you correct results, you could try reBLIXing these magenta clips.
     
  14. filmnumpty

    filmnumpty Member

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    Thank you for that.

    I have just developed my first roll of Fuji Neopan 120 using the Ilfotec HC

    Apart from having real trouble getting the film on the spool, then never getting the dev temperature below 21 degrees no matter how hard I tried and using the digital truth dev chart developing for 6 minutes they seem to have developed into something. Oddly 2 frames were almost white, 1 frame with an odd black line vertically through it, 3 frames very grey tone, 4 frames dark and then light contrast, 2 frames probably unusable as I accidentally got the end of the spool stuck on the roll and then while the drying was taking place the line I set up in the bathroom failed and the whole roll just hit the deck.

    If anything actually scans well it will be a miracle.

    I've been trying to find a stand development dilution and time for Ilfotec hc but haven't been successful as yet.

    Any thoughts on this anyone?



     
  15. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    There is no reason to adjust the temperature below 21C - just adjust the time to go with the 21C.

    Most likely, the problems with your film are related to your struggles loading the reel. I have two hints: make sure the reel is as dry as possible, and practice with a test roll.

    And stand development is not a good choice for general purpose photography. It is a specialized technique, with bost pros and cons associated with it.
     
  16. filmnumpty

    filmnumpty Member

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    Thank you so much for your help.

    I'll have to scan this roll today and let you all see what happened to it.
    It's definitely kinked a couple of time whereby it fell out of the groves in the reel a few times.
    Is it best to put it in opposite to how it curls or go with the curls in the film?

    I'll get a hair dryer on the reel before I do it again.

    I don't actually know how to adjust the time, actually as I used an app that told me what to do (massive Dev) I have no idea why 6 minutes is the given time for development for 1:31 dilution. It certainly gives no idea on the side of the bottle.
    At least in c41 there is a booklet that says, this is the dilutions, this is the temperature etc. etc.
    Any help on this would be more than appreciated cheers.

    Edited: Ah hold on, there is a dev chart on the Ilford website and a compensation one. Ah hah.
    Odd thing is massive dev lists the temp should be 18 degrees for Fuji Acros but for their own films it's 20.
    I'll now have a look at fuji's site to check what they say. Hmm maybe I should have done this all before I started developing. Oops.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2014
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The film curl should match the reel.

    And be careful of the Massive Development chart. It is a bit like wikipedia. If you have manufacturer's recommendations, it is better to start with them as you know the source.
     
  18. filmnumpty

    filmnumpty Member

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    Thank you so much.

    here is what the film looks like.
    it is a lot grainier than I was expecting, the film itself feels really thin and some parts did not even develop. Plus the shots are soft too. I have an Epson 750 and have scanned in lab developed shot so I know it's not the scanner. Or the camera or lenses.

    i'm doing something fundamentally wrong and it's really upsetting.


     

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  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    If the image on the negative is unfocussed, or blurred in other ways, it has nothing to do with the development - it is an "in camera" problem.

    If by "soft" you mean that the contrast is low, that can be adjusted for in both exposure (including lighting) and development.

    And the parts that aren't developed? That happens when the film isn't loaded correctly in the reel.
     
  20. Roger Hesketh

    Roger Hesketh Member

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    As you are in UK can I make a suggestion rather than process C41 35mm whether it be Ilford XP2 or colour. Just give it to Tesco who will Dev, cut and sleeve a 35mm film for you for just 99p. There is no creativity involved in processing C41 that I am aware of but their is plenty of scope to screw it up. Let someone else do it and benefit from their economies of scale.
     
  21. filmnumpty

    filmnumpty Member

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    Here are some pics which may illustrate my problem.

    It seems like I have no contrast in the shots. Developing issue or me just being the worst photographer/developer in history?

    Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 16.43.32.jpg Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 16.43.42.jpg
     

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  22. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Well ...

    The Top example looks like it was shot in the fog, which will generally be low in contrast.

    And the second example is probably under-exposed.
     
  23. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    Correctly developed negative film has a lot less contrast than the original scene, and the scanning/printing step restores the original contrast. This is a good thing, because it gives us plenty of dynamic range on the film, although the material can barely cover a density range of 2-3, but scanners really struggle with this low contrast and create lots of extra noise. And since most scanners make some attempt at auto contrast, you can not judge negative contrast from the scans unless you use the densitometer function of your scanner software.