Over agitation? or...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Shiny, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. Shiny

    Shiny Member

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    Lately i have been dissapointed with the sharpness of my negatives. I seem to be getting 'fluffy' edges and poor resolution. I have been developing all my films in a Jobo CPE2 for some time now (the older version with the slow setting) and im wondering if this is the problem. Some of my older negs from before the Jobo are incredibly sharp... but other things may have changed, i moved house?! I almost always use Delta 100 and Perceptol at the moment, but had similar results with ID11.

    Thanks
    Jim
     
  2. richard littlewood

    richard littlewood Member

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    My set up is pretty much like yours - Jobo, FP4, ID-11 (1+2). I love the sheet and roll negs from this set up. Did some 120's yesterday and felt well pleased with sharpness.
    Is your problem in camera (or eyes)?
    Good luck!
     
  3. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I had a similar experience several years ago. My search for sharper negatives led me to Barry Thornton's "Edge of Darkness." I implemented most of his recommendations for sharper negatives, including aperture of taking lens, ALWAYS using a tripod, cable release and mirror lock up, film developer, agitation method, enlarger alignment, focusing, etc. I think all of the factors contribute to sharper negatives, but I believe my biggest problem was using the Jobo on the fastest (recommended) setting.
     
  4. Shiny

    Shiny Member

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    i don't notice so much with 120's, but my 35's are definately not so good - i hope its not my eyes, ears and hips have already gone!

    I dont think its the camera - same one as ever, Olympus OM-2. Im going to give the old hand method a go again - and do a jobo/hand comparison, if you will..

    cheers
    jim
     
  5. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    It might just be the eyes; we all get older. Perhaps if you borrowed a friends auto-focus camera, did the tripod & cable release/self-timer thing. It might answer one question you have.
     
  6. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Sad to say, but probably the least likely cause is processing.
    For me it's been combination of eyes and getting lazy about mechanics. I've gotten really careful about focusing, and holding the camera or using a tripod, and sharpness has improved.
     
  7. Shiny

    Shiny Member

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    I don't really think it's the eyes (im only 30!, the ears and hips were just bad luck, but connected) it's obvious whats in-focus and what's not in the prints - it's just edge definition is very poor.

    Im not all that keen on lugging around too much stuff with dodgy hips, so i normally only take a tripod and MF if im going out to get something specific, some of the sharpest shots i've got in the past have been handheld, maybe that was just luck though!

    Some time ago i moved to a Diffuser enlarger from a Condenser, i assumed this was the problem so i set up the old enlarger again and did some comparisons - slight improvement but obviously not the problem.

    My last 2 rolls were somewhat dense, i may have over developed slightly - i usually do this stuff late after work when my brain may not be functioning all that well!

    Jim
     
  8. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Jim, time to start with the basics again. Film speed, exposure, aperture, shutter speed, tripod, cable release, development, print. One thing I did to get sharper images was to go to a heavy tripod way back when, but is sounds like this isn't an option for you at this point. Next best thing is shutter speed, no movemnet from a fast shutter, but d.o.f. comes into play as a consequence. A bag with rocks on the bottom of your tripod may help to dampen vibration. I'm still convinced that a block of concrete with a heavy ball head attached, would be the best tripod but it does have some drawbacks.

    About development, I don't use a machine, ever. Since I'm a hobbyist and have time, I've gone to minimal agitation or stand development and will never go back now. I use pyrocat-hd, which may not be available to you, but rodinal is a great option as well at 1:100. The increase in sharpness from slow development and increased dilution must be seen to be appreciated. It is a huge leap, which I would say rivals the change from hand-held to a good tripod. If you take a bit of time to read about slower agitation in the forums, you may decide to give it a try.

    Back to basics! Best, tim
     
  9. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    There's your answer right there. Over exposure and/or over development will both contribute to less sharpness and resolution. So maybe the Jobo is partially to blame. Constant agitation doesn't lead directly to over development, but it does speed up development.
     
  10. Shiny

    Shiny Member

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    cheers for all the advice, i have a few ideas to try. I think my developing has probably got a bit slack lately, i'll leave the jobo to 12X16 prints for the moment and try to refine my process slightly.

    Jim
     
  11. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Shiny. I hope that others using Jobo rotary processors for B&W film will comment here but I cannot believe that a Jobo as opposed to hand inversion can be responsible for the issue you mention. If it was then Jobos would carry a serious warning to the effect of: NOT TO BE USED WITH B&W FILM. In fact I have a Rotary Processing Manual in which the author positively advocates a Jobo, detailing his success with it.

    Clearly something has changed to give you the problem you mention but while slack developing( process not being followed) may result in a range of problems I have never seen fluffy edge negs listed as one of them.

    For what's it's worth the manual in question mentions only one thing re: rotation speed. It is to the effect of not using it at the "F" position( the slow position) as it can give uneven development especially near the edges of the film. The "P" position giving rotation speeds about 70 rpm should be used, giving even development.

    My CPE doesn't have F and P speeds but does have slow and fast speeds with the notations of 1&2. 2 corresponds to the fast speed of about 70-75 rpm. I use this for both colour film and colour prints.

    I hope you get to the bottom of it and when you do let us all know the cause

    pentaxuser
     
  12. Shiny

    Shiny Member

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    I think you may be right, i have been using the Jobo too long with good results - i have always used the slower speed though, never had un-even negatives. I didn't realise the the fast speed was the recomended setting.

    I have a number of things to investigate. The negatives in question are mostly from a trip to Santorini in September. I had to replace the battery in my OM-2N almost immediately after i returned, im thinking the meter may have been giving false readings, and over exposing due to a low battery. This could explain why the last couple of films appear to be over developed - even though im using the same developer and times as always.

    I have one roll left, the last looks a good stop over. Any recomendations for dev time adjustment?

    jim
     
  13. Shiny

    Shiny Member

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    Ilford gives the times im looking for, i'll keep you posted
     
  14. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    When the CPE-2 first appeared, Jobo recommended the slow speed for film and didn't mention a pre-soak. I bought one in Germany in '82 because our landlady reversed her decision to let me develop film in the bathroom and I had to go to a cold basement to develop. I consistently got bad streaking and standing wave and flow patterns from the film reel spokes with Rodinal and Panatomic-X in 35mm and Verichrome Pan in 120, and also with the 2509 reels and 4x5, but not poorer sharpness. I gave up on the Jobo for film and used it successfully for color printing on Cibachrome and Ektacolor.

    A couple of years ago I tried the CPE-2 for film again after finding out about Jobo's revised recommendations for faster rotation and a presoak. Panatomic-X and Verichrome Pan were long gone by then, but it worked well this time with Efke 25 and Rodinal + sodium ascorbate. Very even negatives.

    However, I can't see sharpness per se being affected by using a Jobo and constant rotation. Edge effects from semi-stand or stand development are another matter.

    Lee
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2007
  15. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I too have an older CPE 2+. It has a "NETZ" which I am assuming is speed of 75 or 0. When set on 75 it turns, when set on 0 it does not turn. I thought 75 was FAST and have been taking that into consideration when developing film -- seldom satisfactorily.

    Do you know the speed of your "slow"?
     
  16. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Bruce,

    There are two distinct and electronically incompatible versions of this processor, the CPE-2 and the CPE-2 Plus. Netz is the power on/off switch, 0 being off. The original CPE-2 had a motor switch with positions 1-0-2, 0 being no motor rotation, 1 slow speed, and 2 high speed.

    Here's the scoop from a Jobo web site http://www.jobo.com/jobo_service/us_analog/faq/cpevscpe+.htm :

    To expand a bit, the CPE-2 had a white mechanical switch shaped like a chicken foot imprint that hit a stop and reversed the motor. That switch was eliminated on the Plus.

    Jobo says they recommended the higher speed before bringing out the Plus, but the instructions for my 1982 CPE-2 state clearly in multiple places that the slow speed was designed for, and should be used with film. I think this nebulous backdating of the speed recommendation was CYA (cover your posterior) after they disappointed a number of customers like me with regard to film processing according to their instructions in the CPE-2.

    Lee
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2007
  17. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Lee,
    Thank you very much.
    My one speed PLUS than cannot date earlier than 1992. That's good to know.
     
  18. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Jim For what its worth and maybe adding to what is an informative correspondence between Bruce and Lee, my manual written by a guy called John Tinsley recommends a pre-soak for Ilford film although Ilford itself doesn't recommend this.

    Tinsley says that the pre-soak eliminates the need to shorten dev times compared to Ilford's recommended reduction of 15-20% without a pre-soak.

    It would seem that Tinsley experienced no problems with a pre-soak and gives times for Pan F, FP4 Plus and Delta 400 as examples but not any others, although he goes on to mention HP5+ and Fuji Neopan 1600. He lists 3devs: ID11, Perceptol and Microphen.

    The only dev he warns against using for rotary processing are: Tetenal Neofin Blue and Red and Paterson's Acutol.

    However a word of warning. The book is vintage 1992 and I don't know whether the Tetenal and Paterson devs mentioned may have changed.

    I don't know whether this book is still in print but I doubt it. Useful to have if you can get it. It covers E6, C41 and RA4 as well.

    pentaxuser
     
  19. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    I'd concur with others... you have to have pretty DAMN sharp negs and immaculate camera technique to start seeing sharpness differences from your developer or agitation to the degree you suggest.
     
  20. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    RE: Pentaxuser's comments;

    I believe that Jobo tested and ended up recommending methods essentially the same as Tinsley's. I just found some of the Jobo Quarterly repository that moved, and here's what they had to say about presoaking in 1998:
    http://www.jobousadarkroom.com/jq/jq9802.htm and scroll down a bit.
    I didn't find the revised methods until a couple of years ago, having given up on the CPE-2 for film in 1983.

    Interesting about the Tetenal info. My 1982 manual says "Tetenal Neofin colour developer for colour negative materials is not suitable for rotary processing. The black-and-white Tetenal developers Neofin Red, Neofin Blue, and Neofin Document are however suitable."

    Maybe we should publish a new manual with everything stated exactly opposite of the instructions I got with my machine in 1982. :smile:

    I did find that Tinsley's methods worked for me in a recent test as I stated earlier in this thread. However, I've had a heated darkroom for years and don't need to wait on the water jacket to heat up and slower handling of the CPE-2 compared to stainless tanks. I also have a personal preference for intermittent agitation.

    Lee
     
  21. Shiny

    Shiny Member

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    looking through older negatives & prints, i realy don't think it's my processing at fault. Excellent info on the jobo though - mine is the older version.

    I think the problem actually is... cheap filters.

    Most of my shots in Greece were taken with a Jessops Circular Polariser, and a lot of my landscape shots before those were taken with a Hoya Orange filter. Im still convinced that my camera may have been giving false readings though - as most of my Santorini negatives are unusualy dense, particularly the last couple of rolls. Im yet to develop the final one.

    Attached is a full frame print, and a section from a 16" wide print. One of the few shots without the Polariser - sharpness seems prety good, with none of the loss of edge definition shown on most other shots.

    Jim
     

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