Pre-soaking film - How long and what temperatures for B&W, C-41, E-6

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Sirius Glass, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Recently in the fora here there have been some references for using pre-soaking for avoiding air bubbles and gaining unmentioned advantages. I am wondering: how long and what temperatures should the water be for B&W, C-41, E-6 film development?

    Hearing about the unmentioned advantages would be useful too.

    Steve
     
  2. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Hi Sirius,

    For mono films, just soak for a couple of minutes at or around the processing temperature (normally 20 c). I normally add a couple of drops of wetting agent for good measure. Make sure you agitate to rid film of pesky air bubbles.

    As well as preventing air bubbles, re-soaking swells the gelatin ready to accept the developer, which can start acting sooner.

    If you process mono 120 films, don't be alarmed when the pre-soak water turns black, it's just some dyes soaking out of the film.

    Can't tell you about colour films.

    HTH
     
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  3. Matthew Gorringe

    Matthew Gorringe Member

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    I use 3 minutes with mono films and find I get even development. However I no longer agitate during the presoak because I believe that agitation introduced tiny bubbles that blocked the developer when first poured in.

    The thing is that that problem might just be with my method and not other peoples. Basically you'll need to experiment a bit to find a sytem that gives even development and avoids bubbles. A bit more searching should turn up some better answers from the experts.
     
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  4. hka

    hka Member

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    I only presoak C-41 en E-6 and the colouring of the pre-soak water depends on the company who made the film. Kodak is as black as coffee and the Fuji's films are just little coloured. Don't worry also.
     
  5. argus

    argus Member

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    As stated above, presoak should always be done at the same temperature as the (first) developer. For E6, this is 38 degr. C.
    A slight agitation is welcome.

    Kind regards,
    G
     
  6. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    I never bother for B&W. It doesn't need it. I follow the directions that came with my c-41 kit so it needs to be at 100F for 3 minutes then pour out (and marvel at all the freaky green-black dye that comes out... maybe this is just a kodak porta thing).
     
  7. argus

    argus Member

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    B/W film benefits from a presoak if you're working with large sheets of film. I must admit that I don't do it either for B/W 135 and 120 film.

    G
     
  8. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    I don't think i'd bother with sheet film even but I'm only doing 4x5 in open trays, not dip&dunk or Jobo. I get the whole sheet in the liquid in and covered in about 2-5 seconds probably.
     
  9. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    The only unmentioned advantage of pre-soaking film that I know of, is where you have an extremely short developing time due to unavoidably warm water temperature.

    I myself had a long look many years ago regarding pre-soaking of sensitive materials prior to developing, I couldn't really find anything backed by scientific, or even quasi scientific methods, to back some claims that I read.

    I have never pre-soaked any film developed in my darkroom in the last 20 years, prior to that I cannot remember the last time I did pre-soak B&W film, but it would be sometime in the early seventies.

    I have developed all kinds of B&W film, C41 and E6 without ever resorting to a pre-soak, I don't think any film I have developed has had any technical problem that could have been avoided, by doing a pre-soak.

    That doesn't mean that pre-soaking is bad, it's just that I couldn't see a reason to do it.

    Mick.
     
  10. argus

    argus Member

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    I said "large sheets" of film :wink:

    G
     
  11. mmcclellan

    mmcclellan Subscriber

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    When developing with Rodinal, I pre-soak and then use that water for mixing the developer. There is then absolute temperature consistency and the results are excellent. With sheet film, I always pre-soak, especially if development times are going to be in the shorter ranges to ensure that developer is absorbed quickly and evenly. As I rule, I pre-soak everything (both 35mm and 4x5) and keep the temps consistent within +/- 1 degree or less.
     
  12. Nigel

    Nigel Member

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    I pre-soak all my films before developing. I think all the modern films gain no real chemical benefit from a pre-soak. However, there is some procedural benefit. For E-6 (I don't do any C-41) it brings my film, tank, and reels up to temperature meaning that it is easier to maintain first developer temperature. I pre-soak for B&W as a matter of habit.

    Pre-soak or not, the critical issue, I think, is to do the same thing every time to gain predictable results.
     
  13. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I always presoak my 8x10 and 5x7 sheet film for 3 to 5 minutes. I use Deionized water at the same temperature as the developer. To maintain consistancy, I use the same procedure with 4x5, 2.25x3.25 and rollfilm. I get very uniform development with no spots or airbells.

    I use DIW because I have a Millipore Filter Chain in my Lab area that supplies 20 megaohm (continuously monitored) DIW.
     
  14. DarkroomExperimente

    DarkroomExperimente Member

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    "That's not a large sheet of film...THIS is a large sheet of film"

    - Crocodile Dundee
     
  15. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Nope, not just from color. I get some really interesting water out of my B&W stuff. A presoak is particularly useful when tube processing, as it helps clear the back of the film. I also feel it is beneficial when working with pyro developers, and seems to promote stain uptake and also help seems to help prevent the pin holes that seem a little more prevalent with some of these developers. None of this is empirical, JMO. I have gotten into the habit of giving everything a presoak. It also brings the emulsion to temp, before any developer action commences. The consistency this promotes in development is reason enough for me.

    To my knowledge, it has never caused any problems.
     
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  16. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Lucky Bastard!
     
  17. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    YUP!
     
  18. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    I think Kodak, generally speaking from experiences, like to put those funny dyes in to freak out everyone :wink: Tri-x always comes out some sort of weird colour when dumping out the developer. Portra films do as well. But Fuji 400H c-41 doesn't dump out weird colours and I can't think of any other B&W film that does besides tri-x... though I guess fomapan might leave a tiny bit of blue in the developer. I've not used plus-x or whatever else kodak produce in B&W, though, so I can't comment there. I also don't mix my own developers beyond dissolving microphen occasionally so I didn't know it prevents pinholes.
    To be honest I feel horribly cheated in my formal photography learning between two different schools no one ever told me that developers changed the look of films :sad: I just bought any ol' stuff off the shelf and never wrote down in my notes what developer I used on what film, even if I wrote down that I push processed the film a stop or two :confused:
     
  19. j4425

    j4425 Member

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    Well, I've alway's presoaked. Usually just fill up the tank and spill it out. Never really noticed any difference in the amount of time I presoaked for. Actually, a lot of people I spoke to claim it isn't necessary on today's modern emulsions. Who knows.. .I'll continue to presoak only cause I'm so used to it now..
     
  20. hka

    hka Member

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    Stay on that what you are thinking is good for your films...
     
  21. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    Ilford's literature for at least some of their films recommends against presoaking due to the possibility of uneven development. I always thought presoaking helped to achieve even development, especially with short development times. In any event, I no longer presoak my films. When I first began developing my own film, I had some problems with air bubbles so I started presoaking. At some point I stopped the presoak and I've never had the problem with air bubbles again.
     
  22. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Kodak's T-Max films have dyes in them that come out in the first step or two, and more with the hypo clear (if you use it) or final rinses. I'm pretty sure at least some of Fuji's B&W films do this, too, but I don't shoot a lot of them, so I'm not positive of that. IIRC, Fuji Velvia 50 creates a distinctly green color in the pre-soak water. Overall, I'd say about half the films I shoot produce markedly colored output from at least one step of their processing.