Strange spots on negatives

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Boris011, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. Boris011

    Boris011 Member

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    I have a problem with white spots on my negatives, it looks like dust, but when I inspeected negatives with magnifying glass they looked like salt crystals sticked on emulsion side rather than plain dust. I suspect that I may have fixer problem here. I use fresh fixer, mix all chemicals with demineralized water, and use all chemistry at recommended time and temperature. I use rapid fixer, wash film in running water for about 25 minutes, and do my final wash in demineralized water without wetting agent, and I never wipe the water off the film.
    Any clues?
    Thanks. 000004.jpg
     
  2. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo Member

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    That's a lot. I do get the occasional white spots but never that many or large.

    I guess you clean all the equipment thoroughly with no residue and the spots are too large to be airborne from drying, I think.

    That probably only leaves the chemicals or the water. Maybe your water has a lot of particles that stick to the soft emulsion during the wash?

    Or maybe you should replace you chems in clean bottles?

    Sorry, no answers, just guesses.
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Unless your fixer bottles have crystalized material in the lid or pouring area, I doubt that it is from the fixer.
    The most likely source is the tap water used for the wash. One way to find out would be to use the demin water for the wash too. You could use the Ilford fill and dump method, or else, do maybe 4 fill and dump intervals over 20 minutes then hang to dry.
    The other thing to try would be a wetting agent, which is what I'd try first.
     
  4. Boris011

    Boris011 Member

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    Thanks for reply.
    I keep my equipment very clean, and use only fresh chemicals and mix them with bottled demineralised water, which I also use for my final wash.
    My main suspicion is fixer... but I don't know how to prove it...
     
  5. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    Some sort of non-soluble precipitate from your tap water. I had such a problem for a while on city water. Little white specks that wouldn't wash off, but when dry would smear like talc or chalk. See if they wash off with an acid stop.
     
  6. Boris011

    Boris011 Member

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    But if it is dirt from tap water, how come that it only sticks on emulsion side of negative?
     
  7. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo Member

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    The emulsion is soft and sticky when it's wet. Very susceptible to particles.

    The acetate side is smooth so particles don's stick so well.

    Drying marks are more visible on the acetate, though because of its smoothness.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2014
  8. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    What fix are you using?
    Also, is the place where you hang the film to dry reasonably dust free?
     
  9. Boris011

    Boris011 Member

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    I'm using Fomafix rapid fixer, and dry my films in bathroom.
     
  10. Boris011

    Boris011 Member

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    I have heard that some people wipe excessive water from film with their fingers, but I am afraid that it could damage negative.
     
  11. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Are you sure they are on the emulsion side of the film?
     
  12. Boris011

    Boris011 Member

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    Absolutely
     
  13. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo Member

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    Yeah, don't do that. Better to use photo flo and the water will run off it.

    But I think you should start by using demineralised water in the whole process.

    Hopefully that will clear most of the spots. If not, try fresh bottles of chem.

    The bathroom is usually the least dysty room. Dust usually turns up as long narrow shapes rather than than the splodges you have .
     
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  15. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

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    I had this. It was crap in my water supply. installed a 10" filter housing with 5 micron filter as supplied for fish ponds and problem went away.
     
  16. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    +1 I had rust particles coming from city water supply which was solved with a 5 micron filter. For a while I could not figure out what was going on, but once I left film washing in running water for more than an hour and a half (a trip to a store took a bit long), and the film was so bad, it was obvious that it's the water.
     
  17. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    If you want to wipe then a store bought film squeegee is best option but it needs to be cleaned before each use.
    If your water is hard or full of solid bits boiling a kettle, cooling, filtering and adding a drip of surfacant is necessary, but you can reuse this as a final rinse several times. Or filter before each use.
    The advantage of a squeegee is the film will dry off and harden in fraction of time reducing dust exposure. They don't scratch even with softer film.
     
  18. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    This is absolutely not necessary unless you can't find another clean water source, and in case of film washing it is actually detrimental. As scientific studies have found, washing film with distilled water is far less effective than regular tap water. The final rinse with distilled water is only necessary to prevent drying marks on your film, and yes, I highly recommend this.
     
  19. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo Member

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    Well, the suspicion is that the OP's spots come from the 20 minute wash in running tap water.

    To check if this is correct the best way is to use the demineralised water that he already has in the whole process.

    If this does solve the problem, then he can think about a permanent solution, either a filter or buying purified water.
     
  20. Boris011

    Boris011 Member

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    Thank you for your kind answers.
    I'm gonna try using demineralised water through the whole process of film development. I hope it's just a water problem.
    This weekend I'm planning to shoot some Ilford Delta 100 in 35mm, and I'm gonna soup it in ID11 1+1.
    I'll update with results here later next week.

    Thanks again.
     
  21. timor

    timor Member

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    Total overkill, unless you live in country with real dirty water supply. I don't think so.:smile:
    I use for everything tap water; developing, fixing, washing. I have no idea where from in tap water such a large, hard particles could be found, but I think it is a bad idea to wash the film in running tap water. primarily as it is too cold and cold water doesn't wash effectively, but prolonged wetting of the film makes emulsion swollen and soft. This particular particles may came from the air. Swollen emulsion may also "rearrange" structure of the grain enough to loose something on sharpness. Modern films have very thin emulsion, even TX is not the same like in 50ties. This films do not need such a long washing time, 10 - 12 min is sufficient, but water better be of 20 -22 C. Instead of using tap for running water make yourself simple cascade for 3 liters of the water, control the flow, that this 3 liters will flow for 12-14 min and you will be in total control. Make sure, that you dry the film in relatively clean air.
     
  22. Boris011

    Boris011 Member

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    I keep my water temperature at about 20°C.
    Now I'm totally confused, If it is dirt from the air how come that it is pretty uniform?
     
  23. timor

    timor Member

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    Confusion seems to be permanent state of film photography. :D
    Well, instead of asking us you have to carefully analyze your environment and find source of this type of particles. It might be even something as stupid as dust on your sleeve brought from outside. I am not quite sure if this thing happened once or it is a constant annoyance. I would examine everything from the bulk loader to the camera inside, all the storage places etc. Water is the last place. Even if it carries some particles they should get lost, when you shake the film from the access of the water. However, if you use films like Foma, Shanghai or Lucky such a perticles may be included in emulsion already in production stage. :smile:
     
  24. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    You mentioned that you are hanging the film to dry in your bathroom. Clean the room the day before using it for film-drying then try running some hot water for a few minutes, to get some steam in the air and drag down any remaining dust, immediately before hanging the film.

    A jug style water-filter would be adequate for a source of clean washing water, although the last rinse can best be in de-mineralised water with about half the recommended amount of wetting-agent. Additionally, and obviously, check that every liquid chemical and use of water is clean of particles (perhaps by shaking them up a little then letting a spoonful dry on a dark coloured saucer, to see what is left).
     
  25. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    Timor,

    Seriously, in my case it was gung in the tap water. And it is a pretty common occurence. Infrastructure and water quality varies dramatically from one location to another. Search for some recent posts about water quality. You'll find some amazing posts out there :D
    In my case, my son did a science project analyzing our water supply for particular matter. It was a real eye-opener. That is when I bought a water filter a and a temp regulator. No more spots on my films. Or at least way less than before. I still get occasional spots when I coat my own emulsion and forget to use distilled water for soaking paper.

    Eugene.

    P.S. I also use tap water for mixing chemicals/washes, etc. I just use filtered tap water.
     
  26. AgX

    AgX Member

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    A water filter after the inlet of the municipal water pipe into a house seems standard over here since the 70s.

    Then still debris fom the own piping could be an issue.