Recommendation for dust control?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by zinnanti, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. zinnanti

    zinnanti Member

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    I'm shooting 4x5 and 8x10.

    Does anyone have a good cure for dust on film? I'm running an ionizer. But, the impact is nominal.

    I'm in inland southern California. So, there's plenty of dust.

    Thanks -

    Tony
     
  2. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    3M Filtrete filter in your air handling system The Filtrete Ultimate Allergen Reduction Filter is the finest one and should help a lot. They also make other air filters as well.
     
  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    You can try humidifying your home. The bulk of particulate matter that makes up dust is comprised of dead skin cells, and pet dander(more dead skin cells). The use of "hepa" filters with a whole house air handling system, or a portable single room air "purifier" is highly recommended.
    Rick
     
  4. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Tony,

    I find working inside a changing bag to be the easiest way to control dust. I only go up to 4x5 but I do use Graphmatics. Badger Graphic Sales has some nice tents that should work well for 8x10.

    Neal Wydra
     
  5. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

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    When you say "dust on the film," do you mean you are getting dust on the film during or before exposure, which creates clear spots on the film and black specks on the print, or do you mean dust on the film during printing, which creates white spots on the print? The solution is different for each problem.
     
  6. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Clean out the film holders. Vacuum. Run a brush under the groves where the slide goes. Blow out the light trap.

    A good room air filter where you load film. I use a Hunter with HEPA filter.

    Clean both sides of the dark slides and place it in the holder 1"

    Stack the ones you wish to load on a clean surface.

    Load the film and close.

    Place into a suitable bag to keep dust off the dark slide and holder. If you let the dark slide get dusty, you will get dust back into the light trap and it will migrate to another film.

    Extend the camera bellows and vacuum out the inside. Place camera in a dust free container.

    When you go to take a pic, remove the holder from the plastic bag, clean the outside of the dark slide, make the exposure keeping the dark slide clean, replace the dark slide and put the film holder back into the plastic.


    The only dust can now come from the air when you extend the bellows to make a pic. I have no idea how to control it.

    I keep my camera sealed up and all the film holders in a plastic picnic cooler that zippers shut. Clean clean clean is the secret specially that light trap and film retainer rails.
     
  7. zinnanti

    zinnanti Member

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    Thanks all. BTW - It's dust while loading film, not printing.

    I'll try the suggestions and I'm sure there will be a big improvement.

    Tony
     
  8. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

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    Hi Tony,

    I live in rural Iowa and drive a great deal on gravel roads and photograph in dry, dust filled environments. I have cut way down on dust problems by following the same basic procedure outlined by Ronald Moravec in post 6. The key is to create as many barriers between the film and dust as is practicable.

    I would add to Ronald's post that static electricity is your enemy. When I clean both sides of the dark slides in the darkroom, I use an anti-static cloth. In the field, I again wipe the film holder with the anti-static cloth before it goes into the camera. I try to pull the dark slide out slowly and evenly to cut down on static build up. If there is dust floating inside your camera, pulling out the slide can create a charge which will attract the dust to the film. Gravity works and the dust will usually end up in the sky portion of the negative (which is toward the bottom of the film when in camera). Also, I use a 3M vacuum designed for vacuuming out photocopiers. The vacuum has a special filter to trap all but the most microscopic dust. I found one cheap on the auction site. If using a regular vacuum, do so in one room and load the film in another. You can also make sure the power unit of the vacuum is away from the camera or film holders if using a regular vacuum.

    I know it sound anal to go through all of this. It is worth the few extra minutes spent vacuuming and wiping when loading film as opposed to having to spot each print. Personally, I hate spotting prints.
     
  9. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    What Ronald said, and two other little things -
    When loading the holders, wear a plastic apron or lab coat, or something that is not cotton, to minimize your own lint. I made this change in the 70's working in graphic arts transferring large film images, and it made a real difference.
    Turn off the air cleaner when you get ready to load holders to minimize air movement in the room.
    The earlier comment about humidity is helpful too. You can load film anywhere that is dark, so if you have a space in your basement (if you have one) or some such place higher in humidity, it will help minimize static electricity. I have used a bathroom in the past (some don't have a window, so it's easy to light-proof) and control humidity with the shower.
    OK, three things.
     
  10. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Humidify.
     
  11. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I also try to keep the film holders clean after loading. Just before inserting into camera, remove dust from the edges of the holder and the darkslide. I'm worried dust can get on the film when you pull the darkslide in the camera.
     
  12. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    I plan on dedicating a small space as a clean room... well sort of... with humidity control and an oversized stand-alone filter system. I think I'll load my film holders nekked to avoid clothing lint. I wonder if I should shave everything??
     
  13. bill spears

    bill spears Member

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    Yes I always strip to the waist when loading !
     
  14. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Then you have dead skin to contend with. If CSI can find it, so will your film. :D
     
  15. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Dust is a minimal problem for me.
    I have a room humidifier which keeps my dark room between 50% and 60% RH.
    I also use positive ventilation with the inflow arriving through a Filtrete filter.
    Holders of all sizes are kept in ZIplock type bags unless being loaded, exposed, or unloaded for development.
     
  16. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    Hmm, maybe I should rub down with baby oil before loading film to trap the dead skin cells. Hey, body builders do it... so why shouldn't I?

    [looks in mirror at shiney skin and thinks, "Oh crap... cover up that pudgy old body and just put up with the lint!!"]
     
  17. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    for me, when loading film holders at home, I use the shower...

    just wait, I'll explain. Since I'm in sunny So Cal too, I know what you're talking about re: dust :smile:

    I run the shower on HOT only for a minute or two, give it enough time to steam up nicely. The idea of this is to let the steam grab any dust particles out of the air and take them to the ground. So, after all my family's gone to bed, I run the shower for a minute or two, then close all the windows(after letting the steam and water vapor go out the window, or use the "exhaust your butt smells"(as my little bro calls it) fan in the ceiling(my preferred method).

    Then i close the lid of the toilet, and sit down, with the empty film holders on the sink counter next to me, and the box of film sitting on the magazine box in front of me.

    I also make sure to thoroughly rid myself of any static before loading film as well.

    Of course loading in the dark :smile:. I got some black velvet-type material that I clothespin over the windows in the bathroom, and its as light tight as I need, no problems so far!

    -Dan
     
  18. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    I read a tip somewhere that said to tap the film holder on edge against something hard or your hand before placing on the camera back.
    Apparently if any dust etc did make in to the film holder this tip will help dislodge the dust and move it off the film.
     
  19. trudee yama

    trudee yama Member

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    Finally, an advantage to us photographers living in Hilo, HI. We receive an average of 126" of rain per year. It's almost impossible to keep the humidity in my controlled darkroom 60%, it's usually 70%. When I don't run my air conditioner with dry control, can read 80%! Our electricity is highest in the nation so can't afford to run my air conditioner 24/7. When it rains day after day, after day, I've gone 2 weeks without dusting, (there's very little dust). No suggestions, above posts pretty much covers all bases, just had to vocalize. {There are plenty of other issues we have to contend with, for one - lens, film, paper grow mold).