The Bubbles Strike Back

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Ljusdahl, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. Ljusdahl

    Ljusdahl Member

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    Hi peeps.

    I developed a 120 roll of T-Max 100, in a small metal tank & reel, with T-Max developer for about 7 minutes. However, I'm having a severe problem with black circles. If I understand correctly they're caused by bubbles stuck on the film during the developer.
    There are more bubbles in the centre of the reel, and a lot of bubbles close to the edges of the film. Running my fingers down the edges of the film I can tell it's not smooth/straight where the marks are. If it's of any relevance, I have very hard water in my area.

    I used a few drops of wetting agent in the developer as I've heard it helps prevent bubble marks. Perhaps I used too much and caused too much foaming inside the tank? Then again I almost filled the tank with developer so there wasn't much space for foam and to play around in.

    I agitated the tank the first 30 seconds and then 5-7 seconds every minute. At times I went a bit "hardrocker" with the agitation (in retrospect I guess this would cause even more bubbles) but then again I made sure to bang and thud it often and well.

    So, any ideas what I did wrong? :confused:
     
  2. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Ljusdahl

    Please confirm the marks are black on the negative or black on the positive, a bubble would cause a clear spot on the negative, I get corn flake particles on negatives they are little black spots... white when you scan them as negatives...

    Never had bubbles myself...

    Noel
     
  3. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    Getting rid of bubbles is easy. Each time you agitate finish by giving the base of the tank a sharp rap against a hard surface. It dislodges them.

    David.
     
  4. Ljusdahl

    Ljusdahl Member

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    Noel
    They appear as black "crescent moons" on the negative.

    David
    I may have forgotten to do that the last few minutes. Is that enough to ruin it?
     
  5. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    It appears you may have "pinched" your film if you are seeing "crescent moon" shapes. It indicates the film has creases and folds, probably adding while loading the film on the the spiral, that now appear on your negatives.
     
  6. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Ljusdahl,

    I assume you also did the "bang the tank" thing so I will toss in my two cents. Years ago I used tap water for mixing the chemicals but I would occasionally get air bells. Now I use distilled water to mix all my chemicals except hypo clearing agent. While I have used Xtol almost exclusively over the last 9-10 years (I can't believe it's been that long), I have occasionally used D-76, Rodinal, T-Max and PMK Pyro and I never get air bells. I also must say that I use a jobo rotary system nine out of ten times, but still no air bells when using the conventional tanks. For washing, I use well water from the tap that goes through a water softener. Final rinse in distilled with PHoto-flo (I just rinse the reels in hot water, no special cleaning).

    I don't know if the distilled water actually helped, but it's cheap and I'm sticking with it.

    Neal Wydra
     
  7. pesphoto

    pesphoto Member

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    I would agree with Snapshot on this one. Sounds like you accidentally creased the film somehow during the film loading process.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I would add the question - did you prewet your film before adding the developer? Using a wetting agent in the developer can help but tends to cause a lot of bubbles to form. A prewet helps precondition the film and reduces the effects of the bubbles from the wetting agent.

    A wetting agent in a developer is a two edged sword.

    PE
     
  9. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    I would also highly recommend a water pre-soak prior to development at the same temperature as your developer.

    Personally I would not recommend adding wetting agent as this can cause frothing especially when agitating the film.

    The only time I've had air bells/bubbles on the negatives is when I didn't pre-soak the film first.
     
  10. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    The combination of your observation that "Running my fingers down the edges of the film I can tell it's not smooth/straight where the marks are" and the crescent shape pretty much confirms that the film got bucked somehow - probably when loading it on to the reel.

    I would not put wetting agent in the developer - all that agitation is bound to froth it up (mine tends to come out pretty frothy as it is when I dump it). In any case I do not think air-bubbles was your problem here so unless you get them in future, carry on as normal, but be more careful when loading the film on to the reel :wink:...

    Good luck, Bob.
     
  11. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Just some info from Kodak Photo-flo bottle lable:

    "Kodak Photo-Flow Solutions should not be added to developer solutions"

    Vaughn
     
  12. Ljusdahl

    Ljusdahl Member

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    Thanks for the great answers everyone!

    After that horrid roll I developed another one. This time I was more careful with the loading, and gave it a good bash against my working surface after each agitation. I got a lot fewer "cresent moons" than the first roll, but still quite a few at the edges and start of the film, and a few in the frames.

    Then another roll, this time having practised loading in daylight. Even better result than the previous, with marks only in the beginning of the film and a couple along the edges. However the first frame got partially damaged by one.
    So it appears the marks was indeed a result of pinches and buckles. The technique used to lock the film to the reel IS pinching, so I don't know how to get perfectly clean negs from frame 1 to end. It seems pretty Impossible.

    Oh and I read the label on my kodak photo-flo but I can't see any warnings like Vaughn mentioned. With the next batch of developer I'll try without.

    Thanks for your time. I'll be back :D
     
  13. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    May I suggest you try a Paterson or similar dev. tank. The Paterson has a ratchet system which IMO is a great aid in smooth loading of the film, providing the reels are completely dry of course.

    For 120 I find it easier to start the film off by gently pulling it over the two small ball bearings (Paterson) rather then pushing it. This helps prevent 'kinks'. Also are you looking at a lot of the film while it is still wet? I've 'kinked' a few frames while trying to thread wet film back on the spool. It pays to be patient and wait until the film is dry before you start looking at them.
     
  14. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    I'm glad you've determined the source of your difficulties. At least you can address the problem and attempt to resolve it. Nothing is more frustrating than wondering what the issue could be.
     
  15. Ljusdahl

    Ljusdahl Member

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    With my next roll I will definitely try on a Paterson reel. I just recently figured out how to get 120-film onto it, seems it was a lot easier than I thought (contrary to everything else in photography:D).

    AGREED! Thanks for your time!