Sprocket surge! Reel residue from heico permawash???

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by GraemeMitchell, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. GraemeMitchell

    GraemeMitchell Member

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    I have a very subtle but noticeable sprocket hole surge situation going on with some film I just ran. I've never had sprocket surge, ever. I had it with two batches, one in Rodinal, one in HC-110. My agitation has not changed at all. The surge is subtle, but enough that I need to figure out what happened.

    Two things changed, and I wanted to see about opinions if either would likely be the culprit.

    1) and this is my suspicion, I just started using Heico Permawash a bit ago, b/c my shop was out of the usual...figured wash was wash. But I noticed heico is much slicker than my previous wash-aid (Ilford). Almost like it is soapy. I know photo-flo can coat reels and cause uneven development (not sure about sprocket surge though?), has anyone ever had a similar situation happen with permawash? That's my first intuition.

    2) I used really really fresh fix (TF-4), and agitated pretty much continuously and vigorously (for 4min). I usually don't use such fresh fix, usually it has time to settle before use. Can fixer in anyway change a density in the film like this?

    Other than that, thoughts?

    Appreciate it.
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Surge effects typically take place in the developer and nowhere else. Is it a different film? Some films are more prone to surge marks than others due to the emulsion type. Are you sure that it is not some sort of runback of water that dried unevenly and caused what appears to be a sprocket effect. If it is this latter, you will see a tiny distortion of the emulsion or base side with a loupe. It is due to the uneven drying. This does not occur on the back of some films, as they have no back coat.

    Oh, BTW, I have never had a problem with Photo Flo. I always wash my reels in hot water and always use a prewet.

    PE
     
  3. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Could it be bromide drag from not enough agitation?
     
  4. GraemeMitchell

    GraemeMitchell Member

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    photo engineer, film was tri-x. I never wash my reels b/c I never photoflo on the reels. that was why I was wondering about that heico wash... Emulsion looks fine under the loupe..as far as I can judge.

    Tim, if it is agitation, it is more likely Bromide drag (opposed to surge), since I certainly don't over agitate. I do two large but relatively gentle inversions with rotation each two minutes. Which is certainly low enough to cause problems, but since I've never seen it in over a thousand rolls I've developed this way, I couldn't figure why it'd appear now...unless somehow I managed to not be paying attention and I overfilled the tank??? I've done that before, but not for a long time.

    I'll post an example or two here from the contact sheet, I've ganked the contrast to make it obvious it. The negatives aren't nearly that wild...but you can still see there's some stuff going on. These are by far the worst examples.

    Oh, and finally, it's most prominent for the first 12 shots...so the center of the reel.

    Actually, now that I look at the sample #2 there, it does look like bromide drag doesn't it. Darn...why would it be popping up now?

    Really appreciate the help.
     

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  5. GraemeMitchell

    GraemeMitchell Member

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    Oh, and I should add, on those samples, to disregard the general increase of density gradient bleeding in. That's not on the film, but from doing a sloppy flatbed scan, film curl.

    No, it's those sprocket hole marks I'm trying to figure out...
     
  6. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    The only times I've ever seen bromide drag in my negatives (I think) was in Tri-X done in Diafine, very little agitation (a couple times every 2 mins), and then only in the sky. I don't actually know what surge marks look like - haha.

    I never get them when I dev in XTOL 1:1. But I give my tanks 5 healthy flips every 30 seconds.
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I have seen something like that in a "tight" camera. When the sprockets are so tight, or the drag on the film is so great due to the pressure plate, the film gets pressure fog or kinking fog at the site of the sprocket holes.

    It is not evident in the samples above, but the way to distinguish bromide drag from pressure fog is that bromide drag is usually heavier on one side of the site, whereas kinking fog is almost even all around the sprocket hole. How does this match up with what you see? I am just not convinced yet that it is classic bromide drag.

    Bromide drag is also lighter in the negative, while kinking fog is darker in the negative. Unfortunately, it is impossible to see the sprocket holes in the scans.

    PE
     
  8. GraemeMitchell

    GraemeMitchell Member

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    PE, to be honest with you, on the one roll it's bad on, I can't really tell what the heck is going on. It almost seems different from frame to frame. In general I think it is decreased density into the frame next to the sprocket hole. But, and not to sound nuts, in some it looks like a band of increased density into the frame, but rather inbetween the sprocket holes. It's hard for me to judge even with a loupe. I'll need to do a good scan of the edge and bump up the contrast.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "even all around the sprocket hole." These light/dark spots are very clean though. Like nearly have a sharp edge to them.

    But here is the interesting, part. This roll had another problem which I didn't think was connected, but may be. There is a perfect line running down the middle of it. Very thin. Perfectly straight. Like a perfect scratch. It ran from the leader to the end. I'd never seen anything like it come out of my gear, and i saw it before I ever saw this development problem. It confused me to the extent that I sent a note to the people I know at Kodak to discuss the very rare possibility of it being the film. But if you're saying this other phenomenon could be due to the camera winding too tight...that seems like it'd explain a long perfect scratch too... Odd part again though, is that this is gear I use all the time (Nikon F5) and that sees a lot of film. Never with these effects.

    I'm actually going to go back and confirm that it's on other rolls. I've not really done that thoroughly after my initial panic. Is there anything that could cause this in manufacturing or spooling???
     
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  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    If it is tight winding, then there is a manufacturing defect that can cause it. If the cartridge is crimped too tightly, or the spool does not move freely then you can see scratches and fog marks from the stresses around the sprocket holes as the winder tries to pull the film and the rollers that the film runs over in the camera.

    By even, I mean that the foggy area looks like a rather even halo around the sprocket holes. But, you say it is decreased density, so the theory of stress induced fog falls by the wayside actually. Decreased density points to bromide drag.

    PE
     
  10. GraemeMitchell

    GraemeMitchell Member

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    I got excited about connecting those two problems!

    I'm going to do a scan of that film edge and see if I can read it better. I'm having a hard time by looking at the negative.

    I'll post it in a bit.
     
  11. KenS

    KenS Member

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    edge density

    Graeme,

    My thoughts first turn to the reel on which the film was processed. Unless plastic reels are cleaned regularly and 'properly' after your film was immersed in 'Photoflo' or other such rinse agent, there is a possibility that you may residual emulsion within the 'channels' which 'absorb' the surfactant and transfer it to the edges of your film.. thus increasing developing activity along the film edge.

    Might I suggest a good scrubbing with you mother-in-law's toothbrush with some dilute bleach to properly clean the reel.

    Ken
     
  12. GraemeMitchell

    GraemeMitchell Member

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    Okay, these scans probably aren't going to help much. But I did a light one around the sprocket holes w/ increased contrast, and a dark one into the film edge w/ increased contrast. In the dark one the decrease in density does roughly correspond with the sprocket holes. Which suggests bromide drag. But around the sprocket holes it is certainly not even...which is odd too. But then again, I don't often examine my sprocket holes like this...maybe they're always like that. But I don't think so.

    Then there's that weird squiggly line of increased density outlining the problem area in the fra,e. Would that be a product of bromide drag too?

    Huh. Anyway. This, + the scratch makes it about the ugliest roll of film I've ran in sometime. Luckily the rest were okay. But I do thank you all for helping me look into it.
     

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  13. GraemeMitchell

    GraemeMitchell Member

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    Ken, I gave the reels a thorough scrubbing in hot water! And I plan to change back from Heico wash aid to either Ilford or plain sodium sulfite. Just to rule it out.

    But before I deal with it again. I want to figure out if it was my agitation. That'd be the easiest solution...w/ the exception of me not having any idea what changed from the countless other times I did it w/o problems.
     
  14. erikg

    erikg Member

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    Graeme said he does not use a wetting agent, or at least he doesn't put the reels into it. I'm thinking it looks like bromide drag. I had a similar issue a few years back. I was adjusting agitation and I found the point (for me) of too little. I increased the agitation and the problem went away. Why did you get this issue now? Who knows, sometimes these issues can really be tough to track down.