problem in developing sheet film

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Lukas Werth, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Since some time, I am plagued by a very annoying problem when developing 8x10" sheet film for which I would really appreciate some advice. The problem is visible in the attachment, a scan of a negative which I brought back from my recent journey, and which is spoiled by it: look at the circular patches on the negative with a peculiar pattern inside, formed by respective areas of lesser density.
    The negative was developed in Sandy King's formula of Pyrocat HD (which I have used for years) in a separate dish into which it was transferred after 5 minutes pre-bath. 1st Minute continuous agitation, then once every 3 minutes, dev.-time: 16 minutes. I have developed 6 negatives in six dishes into which they were transferred, 2 at a time, from the pre-bath. When transferring I wore surgical dispensary gloves, and, this is how I can imagine the patches to be caused, I sometimes gently pressed the film into the developer, emulsion side up, with my gloved finger tips, to make sure it gets immersed.
    I have used this method for years, never encountered such problems until recently; on retrospect these patches seem to have started when I began using distilled water for the developer. They happen with both sorts of films I currently use (Ilford HP5 and Adox 100).
    By the way, I also develop 4x5" negs in a tank, and there I have never seen this problem.
    I would like to keep the distilled water, but obviously this problem would makes this prohibitive if it really causes the patches.
    Does anybody have suggestions, or has encountered such a problem her/himself?
     

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  2. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Film defect? You want to process an unexposed sheet in D 76 or the like to see if you get the same patterns.
     
  3. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser

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    My guess of the most likely cause is a dimpled bottom on the developing tray.

    You say you use gloves and press the negatives into the tray, and this could certainly be the cause but the pattern doesn't look like a set of fingers. If your gloves are powdered latex then some of the powder may be getting on the negative.

    Distilled water is not the culprit.
     
  4. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    Finger prints while loading the sheet film into the holders?

    I to use tray development and have never seen such a thing. I don't use gloves and when I press the neg down it is just to submerge it not all the way to the bottom of the tray.

    I would try processing in a developer that you don't need gloves for and see if that makes a difference.
     
  5. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    They look very much to me like the finger prints of a gloved hand, perhaps two fingers x 3 pushes.
     
  6. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Thanks for the replies which came up so far.
    My short answers:
    No film defect, as it occurs in two sorts of film.
    No dimpled bottom of the tray either, as only the backside of the film touches the bottom.
    The gloves are powdered inside (I think), but not outside.
    The patches also don't appear to be prints of naked fingers, as the pattern is different.
    And yes, they also appear to me like the prints of a gloved hand; but what could them make to appear? The latex of the gloves?
    I might text with distilled and non-distilled water, but I was hoping to find somebody who saw this before and might be able to give some advice before I start wasting my sheet films (though when I continue to develop my precious negs as I did, I am afraid I am also wasting them).
     
  7. PBrooks

    PBrooks Member

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    Try the Neoprene Gloves, they work great and are a pretty color purple. Oh yeah and they have no powder!
    PBrooks
     
  8. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    You can get nitrile gloves that are not powdered at a medical supply shop, but I don't think that is the problem. The problem could be developer or fixer from a previous sheet on the glove fingers, or simply wet glove fingers contacting dry film before the presoak. I'm almost certain they are marks from gloved fingers.
     
  9. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Powdered gloves always end up with powder on the outside. Use the blue nitrile ones, no powder and after you put them on you might want wipe your hand/gloves with 98% alcohol to make sure there is no oil on them either. Could be you accidently touched your face after putting on the gloves, latex gloves will absorb oil like a sponge, esp if they are powdered.
     
  10. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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    On my monitor the areas appear to have a crescent shape at upper left within the round shapes. I've never seen anything like that before. My recommendation would be to change the type of gloves as others have suggested and to decrease the pre-soak time.

    Joe
     
  11. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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  12. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser

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    Does that mean the tray isn't dimpled or that it is dimpled but the emulsion doesn't touch the dimples?
     
  13. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    It means both, really: neither is the bottom dimpled, nor does the emulsion touch it (film is in tray emulsion upward)

    I am at the moment not in a hurry to develop the rest of my negs, as the spoiling of the one I scanned in quite frustrated me. I have, however, touched with a wet, gloved hand a clear neg, and the marks of the gloved fingers left recognizably traces with the same pattern. I do think. simply because I have been using this method for a long time without such problems and this was the only change I introduced, that the distilled water made the patches appear. I am currently thinking of leaving the gloves away and just let slip the film into the developer without touching the fluid, and wear gloves only when I take out the film. This should work well if I don't miss the tray in the dark, what I normally don't do.
    Thank you all for the answers, anyway.
     
  14. jfish

    jfish Member

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    Like someone said, powered gloves will get some on the outside of them, and this will cause your problem. Had it happen on prints too, especially lith. I always swish my gloved hand in the chemical before I touch the film or print with it.

    Hope this helps.
     
  15. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Yes, this might help. But remember, I wore the gloves already when I shuffled the film in the water (I water different sheets in one tray, but develop them separately), and transferred the film into the developer with wet, well-watered gloves.
     
  16. mikez

    mikez Member

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    Unload all of your film into an empty film box so you can get it all going at once. I tray develop too and I've found this to help instead of going from the film holder to the water. Takes up less space too.
     
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    At first glance, it looks like 5 finger prints. You can even see the finger nails as arcs at the top. But then stop a minute.... When you push on something with your hand, the nail of the thumb is always inverted. Try it and see. So this looks like 4 fingers, but the thumb nail arc is upside down from where it should be. I've seen this before, but always with the 5th finger, the thumb, being inverted.

    PE
     
  18. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    My theory: I think maybe the tap water was hardening the emulsion somehow (maybe?) or something to that extent. They're too regular to be chemical stains. I think that if the emulsion was softened unusually so that you could have damaged it by touching it.

    Did you examine the marks up close? That way you could see if it was a depression or movement in the emulsion (which would leave it to be caused only by the gloves which we might be able to backtrace to distilled water via softer emulsion) or a residue (which should wash off and cause by powder or drying chemicals).
     
  19. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    The observation about the inverted thumb is certainly correct, but I am now quite certain these are prints from my gloved hand.
    About the nature of the marks: they are basically reduced density or reduced stain in the emulsion - and while writing this, I just got the idea I should check the ph-value of the outside of my gloves, maybe this is what creates the problem.
     
  20. jfish

    jfish Member

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    I see. I'd think the chemicals would be more aggressive with any power than water would.

    Just a thought.