Tetenal C-41, coloured spots on film..???

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Bertil, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. Bertil

    Bertil Subscriber

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    New on C-41, recent developing session unfortunately ended in a lot of coloured spots on the film, small more or less geometrical shaped spots in clean colours (cyan, magenta etc.) all over the film (seems as if on both sides of the film!). Hardly possible to see when looking right through the negative on the light board, but looking at the surface of the film from another angle it's easy to see. Also possible to see when scanning the neg (not always hard to correct in Photoshop).

    Equipment used: Jobo CPE-2, 2553 Tank, Film: Ektar 100 (120, 4x5"), Tetenal 3 bath C-41, process temp 30°C (86°F), pre-washed film in water for 5min 30°C, film #6-8 in the the same liter. According to Tetenal developing time 9 min, bleach fix 8 min in process temp 30° C. Unfortunately I think I developed for 10 min and bleach fix for 10 min.:whistling:

    What's the problem? Overdeveloping, over fixing? Contaminated chemicals? Too old chemicals? (Chemicals used little bit more then 1 month old)
    /Bertil
     
  2. gephoto

    gephoto Subscriber

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    Hey Bertl,
    I think Tetenal recommends that you use the highest temp for consistent results. I don't have the data in front of me, but I think it's somewhere between 100 and 105 degrees F. How did you see these defects? Are they obvious to the unaided eye or did you use a magnifying glass to see them? I haven't noticed any such problems with my Tetenal C-41 kit and have enjoyed how easy it is to use. Try the higher temps and see if the problem goes away.
    Best of luck and keep us posted.
    Grant:smile:
     
  3. hrst

    hrst Member

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    C-41 should always be run at 100F/37.8C, changing this will results some color crossover and reportedly saturation loss. However, it should not cause colored spots. Can you scan an example? IMO it sounds very odd.
     
  4. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Though this is probably not the problem, it's best to run your C41 at C41 specifications.

    Spots would have to be due to something spilled on the film, or some other time when a droplet of water or chemical could sit there. Any number of ways unfortunately. you can try a re blix, wash, stabilize but that's about it.
     
  5. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    The Tetenal kit from my experience produces excellent results from the 8min/30c time.

    Tetenal recommend the 8min/30c time in their instruction book if ~38c with the shorter time produces uneven results (assumedly from not enough agitation intervals in that short time period). So 30c is recommended for more consistent results.

    I had my Tetenal producing great results for a year.

    Do the spots wash off?
     
  6. Bertil

    Bertil Subscriber

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    Thank you all for your comments. I don't yet have a URL to upload images to this forum, BUT I have uploaded to the Technical Gallery a picture trying to show the spots, Grant: no problem seeing them!
    About temperature: my manual for Tetenal , Colortec C-41 Rapid negative kit says exactly what Athiril says. (I will be back have to, have to do som other arrangements!)
    /Bertil
     
  7. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Bertil that looks liked flaked off emulsion from that or another film, which can happen on plastic reels sometimes if you take the film out after development at any point and then put it back on the reel while wet. I used to do that all the time to inspect, but I never had the flakes stick to my film.
     
  8. hrst

    hrst Member

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    Can you find spots on film (or other films processed in the same tank), especially on the corners, where some emulsion is missing?
     
  9. Bertil

    Bertil Subscriber

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    I think you guys, Athiril and hrst, are on the right track! "Flakes" is the right word pointing to a solution, not "spots" as I used; and, yes, some kind of damage to the emulsion is perhaps the most reasonable suggestion. I have now refixed one sheet and just tried to wash another sheet, they are still wet, so I will wait to see if something has changed.
    Assuming that it's some kind of damage to the emulsion, rather than something with the chemicals, I started to think what I did that differed from my earlier very limited C-41 experience (5 rolls 120-film in a ordinary Paterson tank (38°/100°F) with ordinary agitation each minute, and 4 rolls at 30°C/86°F, 1 roll 120-film in a Jobo CPE-2 with a 1520 tank at the low rotating speed on the Jobo machine). First this time I used, as recommended by some sites, the faster speed on the Jobo machine; I used a bigger Tank: 2553, and with this new tank I found another method for washing which looked very effective but probably TOO effective, the water flow probably too rough, perhaps the control of even temperature during washing and stabiliser wasn't the best.
    Perhaps the "flakes" are not something ON the film surface but rather some pieces of the emulsion that is missing, due to improper treatment. Sounds promising! My recent treated sheets are now quite dry and nothing seems to have happened to the "spots", which confirms my suspicion that it's rather flakes of emulsion that is missing.

    I will soon make a new try and be more careful in the later stages of the process, and see if this is the solution!
    Now, developing 4x5" sheets and 120-film (negative colour film) with the proper Jobo film holders in a 2500 type Jobo tank, should I use the slow or the fast rotating speed?
    Many Thanks for your smart comments!
    /Bertil
     
  10. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Since the frame is ruined anyway, run your finger over the flakes, they look like stuck on flakes to me, or place the film on a flat surface get a stanley knife go to cut the film, but instead of cutting, turn the blade over 90 degrees so its parallel to the film surface, run it over the surface of the film and flakes, and see if you feel bumps with the knife etc, or try scraping one off.
     
  11. Bertil

    Bertil Subscriber

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    Good idea Athiril, I just tried, using a razer blade. It looks as if some"flakes" are ON the surface and possible to cut/scraping away (typical on the non-emulsion side!) and some not. The explanation should reasonable be that some "flakes" are "hole" in the emulsion, and some of these emulsion pieces are to be found on the film surface. Sounds reasonable to me, at least.
    (BTW, a frame/sheet with this damage to the emulsion in not totally ruined, at least with scanning and with a quite easy retouching nothing looks wrong; though perhaps not optimal for a regular print.)

    Thank you Athiril for your interest in the issue and very good suggestions (have never experienced this kind of emulsions problems, but your choice of the word "flake" rather than my "spot" really pointed to what seems to be a reasonable solution!)
    /Bertil
     
  12. hrst

    hrst Member

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    But if it's true, it's a VERY interesting phenomenon... Modern color films are so well hardened and so robust that I find difficult to damage them! And this kind of damage sounds very peculiar... It really should not have anything to do with too low temperature, or too low rotation speed, or things like that... It has to be something more dramatic, or a serious problem in the film or the chemistry.

    Please keep us updated if you find anything!
     
  13. Bertil

    Bertil Subscriber

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    Thank you hrst for your interest in the issue. I will this weekend try to expose some rolls/sheets and be very careful in the processing the first roll in my old chemistry. If everything works Ok I will assume that my earlier treatment was defect, particularly I think my last washing method was too agressive. If i get the same problem, though being very careful, I will mix a new liter C-41 and see If that will solve the problem, in that case it seems reasonable to assume, I think, something is wrong with the old chemistry.
    BTW, in view of my earlier experience of C-41 with agitation quite similar to ordinary B/W development in an ordinary Paterson Tank, and one try with the Jobo machine using the low rotation speed -without any problems! - I felt that the faster speed, especially for development of 8-10 minutes at 30°C, was a kind of exaggerated type of agitation. On the other hand I read the latest Jobo CPE machine (Jobo CPE +) deleted the slower speed as not needed. Well, I don't know. But perhaps you are quite right that modern color emulsion is so robust that what I managed to achieve (!) is very peculiar. I will make a new try and at least go on with the fats speed. I will keep you informed of the results.
    /Bertil
    PS. I scanned with my Epson 4870 several of these ugly looking negatives and several of them was very good without any retouch!! DS
     
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  15. GeorgK

    GeorgK Member

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    Once I had a similiar problem. It turned out that this were actually fine glass flakes from my storage bottles. C-41 Developer is quite alkaline, and the glass of the bottles (cheap one-way beverage bottles, no real labware) was edged by the developer; the flakes stuck to the emulsion during processing and produced a lot of "defects" in the finished negatives.

    Georg
     
  16. hrst

    hrst Member

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    I can't believe that any agitation you can do in a tank could cause this kind of defects.

    Georg's point is interesting. If you can separate the "flakes" off the film using a sharp knife, you can try if they are flexible or not by bending them carefully. I know this won't be easy as they are very small :smile:. But this way you could see if they are glass.
     
  17. Bertil

    Bertil Subscriber

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    Finally I think the problem is solved! Something must have happened to my chemistry; no doubt I overreached the 6 weeks which the Tetenal manual says is the durability for used and mixed developer with at least 4-5 weeks; I stored it in brown glass bottles, but the top contained some air and I didn't use some ant-oxidation spray. After some try with this chemistry, changing to the low rotation speed on the Jobo CPE-2, keeping all chemistry and washing water and stabiliser very close to 30°C the result was as disappointing as before.

    I don't doubt that the "flakes" came from damage to the emulsion: at the bottom of the thank after stabiliser a lot of flakes glittering in clear cyan and magenta colour, and no doubt at certain spots something was missing in the emulsion with shapes close to flakes!

    Mixing a new liter chemistry and running this evening two sheets of Ektar 100, the same procedure, temperature and care as above, the sheets came out nice and clean! Very, very satisfying to say the least!!!
    Perhaps the chemistry wasn't just a little bit old, some contamination may perhaps be a better explanation. After all it was just something like a week between my first roll with the Jobo machine, without any problems, and the next developing session that started the "flake" problems. I used tanks and film holders bought second hand on eBay from many different sellers. Perhaps the first lesson is to be very careful with cleaning the stuff before using it; I just used them, they all looked nice and clean, never thought of starting by cleaning everything. Maybe that was the beginning of the problems.
    At the moment I'm quite Happy!!
    /Bertil
     
  18. GeorgK

    GeorgK Member

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    I still can't imagine why an outdated developer should remove the emulsion in flakes. This simply does not make any sense.
    Try to see it the other way: The developer contains flakes (wherever they might come from). The flakes stick to the emulsion during development, leaving the underlying area undeveloped. Some of them come off at later steps, producing the impression of "holes" in the emulsion (which are in fact just undeveloped areas).
    Ordinary brown glass bottles are (in my experience) not suitable for sorage of C-41 developer (as well as other highly alkaline developers). Use borosilicate glass instead, or PETE plastic bottles (although HD-PE may be okay for a few weeks).

    Georg
     
  19. Bertil

    Bertil Subscriber

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    Hello Georg, you may be quite right about what makes sense in this case. I did suspect that some particles in the developer might cause the problem, so before I run the last film in the old developer I filtered it and did find at the bottom of the filter some needle shaped crystals, but not shaped in anything like the "flakes". Using that filtered developer still ended in a lot of "flakes" on the film. I agree outdated developer shouldn't cause this to the emulsion, that's why I suspected that it might be some contamination due to not sufficiently cleaned equipment.

    But after all I'm in fact NOT really happy this morning!! After careful inspecting my last two sheet when completely dry, processed with the newly mixed chemicals, I found 2 small "flakes" on one sheet, and 3 small and 1 quite large on the other!
    I have now followed your advice and changed to to plastic bottles and filtered the chemistry.
    Though we are supposed to have very good water supply in the area, I will probably use distilled water next time I mix the C-41 stuff.
    /Bertil
     
  20. Bertil

    Bertil Subscriber

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    Dear Friends: Good News! I have today developed 4 sheets 4x5" of Ektar 100 WITHOUT any sign of these "flakes"!!
    First, as I said above, I did follow Georg's advise to use plastic bottles rather than glass (I changed for the developer and the bleach fix); I have several times filtered the chemistry; the rest close to what I did before and using the fast rotating speed on the Jobo machine.
    The ONLY THING THAT CHANGED THIS TIME – with the result of NO "flakes" – is that I bought myself a new digital thermometer (Amarell Electronic, quite expensive, I think: $85.00) from the chemistry lab shop at the University, in order to have something Really Reliable about the processing temperature. It turned out that my older thermometer (belonging to the Jobo equipment) showed 1.8°C TO MUCH! Thus, my "problematic flake producing" Tetenal C-41 processing had consistently been performed at too low temperature, perhaps something like 28.2°C (82.76°F) rather than 30°C (86°F)! (Though, obviously, underdeveloped no problem producing OK scans from these "flake negs"!)
    Could this too low processing temperature explain the "flakes"?? (Why no "flakes" on the first Jobo processed film using the same incorrect thermometer that came with the Jobo equipment?)
    Best Regards
    /Bertil
     
  21. hrst

    hrst Member

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    No, too low temperature cannot explain the flakes in any way. It is either in developer (from water --- did you use tap water? ---, Tetenal chemicals or from bottle), or you have defective or SERIOUSLY abused film.
     
  22. Bertil

    Bertil Subscriber

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    hrst: Yes, I agree, I would expect that low processing temperature should just cause incorrect development, rather than these "flakes". Now, everything went much better when I used freshed mixed chemicals; though the first two sheets with the new chemicals still had some small "flakes", they now seem to have gone (let's hope!). Carefully inspecting these 4 dry sheets from today, I can't see a single trace of these ugly "flakes".

    I suppose the best explanation (!?) is that something went wrong with the old chemicals (depending on age, bottles, or dirty equipment ?) and that "flakes" were around for some time, hard to get rid of, needing filtration and a lot of washing of bottles and other equipment. Yes, I used tap water, but next time I will use distilled/technical water – just to be sure.

    My 4x5" sheets of Ektar 100 – with and without "flakes" – are from the same box (and some "flake negs" from another box but the same emulsion, newly bought and valid till 02/2012).

    No doubt, nice to have some well developed very clean 4x5" colour negatives - my very first! Hope it will be more of them, but no more "flakes"!
    /Bertil
     
  23. Bertil

    Bertil Subscriber

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    Bad News, I got "flakes" again! Developed 4 sheets 4x5" Ektar 100 yesterday, carefully processed them the same way as some days before with the happy result of no rainbow coloured "flakes" – this time at least some 10 flakes on each sheet, though quite small. Don't know what to do with this shit!
    Perhaps there is something with the Ektar 100 emulsion, particularly in combination with Tetenal C-41 and 30°C process temperature, as some of you have suggested. Next time I will try the ordinary 38°C (100°F) style, and I will also try some other emulsion. (At least one good thing with these "flakes" is that the picture isn't totally ruined, in most cases it's not possible to detect them after scanning even when strongly enlarged. But quite puzzling, and disturbing!, that these "flakes" come and go.)
    You will probably hear more from me about this – sorry!
     
  24. hrst

    hrst Member

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    This is not normal by any means, and it cannot be a temperature problem nor a "compatibility" problem. Don't waste your time in trying different temperatures as it won't solve the problem in any way (you are just encountering some randomness). (But in the future, do your C-41 always in correct temperature, that is 37.8 degC, no matter what Tetenal or Rollei say).

    Although it's possible that it's a problem in film, I would try to start by contacting Tetenal. I've had some bad results with their stuff, however not with their C-41. Also consider asking Kodak for help. I think that they could analyze the exact problem.

    But, if you want to go on by yourself, I'd suggest you to get some other C-41 chemistry than Tetenal and keep everything else (film, water, containers etc) exactly the same. This way you maybe could rule it out.
     
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  25. Bertil

    Bertil Subscriber

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    hrst: thank you for your response and good advise. I think you are right, when these "flakes" started all over again I thought it would be reasonable to contact both Kodak and Tetenal, since I think I have done everything very carefully, save not using distilled water when mixing the chemicals. No doubt, it would be quite interesting to hear what they have to say and what's the problem,
    BTW, I have just uploaded in the Standard Gallery 4 picture (The bridge, 2, 4, 5, 6 nov.) from these "flake" negatives; it's only the negative showing picture from nov 5 that's free from flakes, and I haven't in any way corrected for the "flakes" in these pictures, in other pictures with great light and even surfaces one can sometimes really see the problem in the scan.
    /Bertil
     
  26. Drikusniet

    Drikusniet Member

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    Reading through I keep seeing, that with the first run of fresh chemicals there is no problem, and later there is. Are you sure that the bottles you are using have been used for the same chemcal before in that bottle? It could be that a chemical reaction has been taken place between some residu in that bottle and the new chemical.