Thinking of giving up on B/w altogether..Can someone help?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mark, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. mark

    mark Member

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    I don't have a darkroom nor will I be getting one soon. No matter what I do or how careful I am the negs come out messed up some how. I think I finally have the exposure thing worked out but that is a small part of the process. I have exposure and visualization going for me. That is only half the process and the rest has got me down.
     
  2. mhainz

    mhainz Member

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    What part of it are you messing up? Developing the actual negs? How are they coming out "messed up". Don't make any hasty decisions like giving up just yet!!
     
  3. mark

    mark Member

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    This time there was uneven development and I did nothing different than the last time when I got gouges, but even development. I am using a Unicolor drum, I do everything the same each time, in the same manner, and something new pops it's head up. Out of forty negs I have maybe five that are printable the rest are damaged in some way. Granted I did not always have the unicolor drum and things seem to be not as bad with it.
     
  4. mhainz

    mhainz Member

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    Not that familiar with the unicolor drum system. are you having problems loading the film evenly in the first place? Have you ever tried the Patterson tanks and Spirals? They're pretty easy to load and with those you only run into problems with 36exp rolls which sometimes don't want to go all the way on.
     
  5. Art Vandalay

    Art Vandalay Member

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    I take it you're using a drum roller. Make sure to use at least the minimal recommended total volume of liquid. Use filtered or reverse osmosis water from the supermarket or at home if you have a good tap filter with charcoal. I used to have trouble with staining and it was due to the chlorine in the water supply.
     
  6. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    format?
     
  7. Art Vandalay

    Art Vandalay Member

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    I assumed you were using sheet film and if that's the case have you tried prewetting the film before adding the developer?
     
  8. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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    A couple quick ways to troubleshoot your processing

    1) check your camera - run a roll of slide film through and have it processed at a decent lab. Exposure problems that are equipment related will show up.

    2) Start from square 1

    New chemicals
    Mixed at factory recomendations with distilled water at proper temperatures.

    Process your film at rated speed at the manufactures recommended time.


    3) if your problems are actual damage to the film then you need to determine whether it is happening in camera or during processing.

    Inspect the slides you shot earlier for damage.. If no damage inspect your reels for damage/burrs/etc Often damage to film during processing occurs while loading onto the reels.. best thing is to practice loading a blank film in the light until you can do it smoothly.


    ----

    Lots of people here have developed their own preferrred mixes, temperatures, film speeds, etc.. This is fine once you have established your own baseline.

    The best place to start is at the stock mixes. Old chemicals/old film/etc are not good to play with if you are having problems..

    I hope this helps.
     
  9. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    developer?... actually more info on all aspects is probably required
     
  10. Art Vandalay

    Art Vandalay Member

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    Hmmmmm. Where'd he go? MARK ARE YOU THERE?
     
  11. mikewhi

    mikewhi Member

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    Maybe he's out shopping for a digital camera.......
     
  12. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

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    :smile:

    Or maybe he's just pulled his digital camera out of the Unicolor drum again - sure is hard to get those stains off the sensor! :wink:
     
  13. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Or someone should tell him NOT to try to put the B&W film in the digi camera. :tongue:

    Hey Mark don't give up there's always a way to overcome these things.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2004
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  15. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    Mark, don't give up! Tell us what you're using, and what the negs look like.
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've printed one of your negs in the neg exchange, and I thought it was fine. As I recall you're shooting 5x7" BPF 200 in Pyrocat-HD. 40 negs is hardly more than a roll of 35mm film, so keep at it. If you've got exposure under control, you're further along than most people.

    To address the uneven development issue, try a presoak, if you aren't already using one.

    To address the film handling issues, try a less fragile film for a while, like Tri-X, HP5+, or FP4+. One issue with the East European films is that they don't have a protective layer in general, so they need to be handled more carefully. Drum processing is a good way to do this, but even that can take some practice. I was surprised the first time I had scratches with Efke 4x5" in a Nikor tank, and I realized that I just had to pay more attention when I was removing film from the reel, and Tri-X had been letting me get away with a little sloppier technique until then.
     
  17. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Just want to Ditto what David Goldfarb said. 40 negs is nothing! After 2 years or so of 4x5" and a well over a couple of hundred sheets of film I still manage to massacre at least one or two negs in every session: and that's using Ilford film in Jobo reels and a CPE-2 in a proper darkroom!

    When starting out it is always a good idea to make life as easy for yourself as possible, so do as suggested and use good quality film; pre-soak; make sure you have enough developer in there, (both to physically cover the film and to provide enough developer for the film area so it does not become exhausted) and be gentle with the film. Make sure you are rolling on a level surface or you will get uneven development as more of the dev flows to one end of the tank. Reverse rotation every 30 seconds or minute. Jobo recommend the fast speed on the CPE-2. This is about 70 RPM: if you are rolling much less than this, try speeding up if your equipment allows it.

    Make sure the film is not slipping in the drum and getting stuck together. You have propably already seen this but if you have not done so already, go to: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/unicolor/ for info on using the Unicolor drum.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  18. mark

    mark Member

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    Geez guys, I had to sleep.

    -5x7-pyrocatHD-Efke PL100- 3 or 4 negs at a time. I've been using 500ML of developer. The uneven development was a perfectly straight 1 inch deep of what looked like double the development time. Like I said there was nothing different about this time from last. Maybe I am just in a funk, and getting discouraged.

    Thanks for the comments guys. I realize that 40 negs are just a drop in the bucket but I never had these problems with roll film. With that I was pitching negs because the subjects were lacking not because there was physical damage or screwed up development.

    I have read and reread the stuff on the LF forum and have trouble shot everything with the tank.

    Thanks for the support folks
     
  19. Andy Tymon

    Andy Tymon Member

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    Mark, I take it you are using an 11x14 drum- were both feet on the drum in the same orientation? If you use 500ml of developer it could take awhile to fill the tank. I use an 8x10 tank and to process my 5x7 film(two at a time) and try to get it the developer in there as fast as possible. Are the streaks on the long side or the short side of the film?
     
  20. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Yup - know what you mean: with roll-film, you just plonk it on the reel, drop it in the tank, lid on tank, turn on the light, fill with developer and agitate, flip - flop, every 30 secs or whatever, drain, stop, drain, fix, drain, wash.... no worries!

    With LF: remove negative from film holder. Drop film holder on floor (hopefully AFTER removing negative - not while dark slide is half removed and neg still in holder). Scramble about in dark trying to find film holder. Give up looking for film holder. Realise you just put negative on the dusty counter top while looking for film holder. Gingerly cast about for negative on dusty counter top. Find negative by putting great big finger print in the middle of it. Blow on negative to remove most of the dust. Spittle gets mixed in with blown air so now have dusty negative covered in spittle spray. Say naughty word.

    Then, things start to go really wrong...

    Been there, done that, burnt the tee shirt in fit of rage...


    Cheers, Bob.
     
  21. mobtown_4x5

    mobtown_4x5 Member

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    my $0.02 from someone who has been there, done that................


    1.Start out with a film that is a little more durable and forgiving like Tri-X.

    2. Learn to develop your film in trays. Even if you still insist on mucking about with the drum business, you will want to know how to do that one super-important irreplacable N+2 neg in a tray.

    If you follow this advice I'm sure your "hit rate" will go way, way up.


    Good luck-

    Matt
     
  22. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I shoot and process a lot of Efke PL100 in 120 Roll Film, 5x7 sheet and 8x10 sheet.

    I process exclusively in Pyrocat-HD. I tank process the 120 roll film and I tray process the sheet film. I get equivalent (and excellent) results in all three formats.

    Efke 100 is very susceptible to scratching and other forms of handling induced damage. There are a number of APUG threads that deal with this problem. With sheet film in a tank, many workers advocate the use of fiberglass screens to keep the film separated from the sidewall of the tank.
    Developing in a tray, I use a multi-compartment slosher tray with a single sheet of film in each compartment.

    It is important to pre-soak Efke 100. In tank development, several workers simply add the appropriate amount of concentrated Pyrocat-HD to the soak water in their tank(s) - after soaking the film for 5 minutes.

    I use two trays, one with soaking water and one with Pyrocat-HD. I place the sheets of film in my slosher tray and put it into the water bath for 5 minutes with intermittent agitation (I use a talking timer). After the 5 minute soak, I move the slosher tray into the developer and use continuous gentle agitation for 30 seconds. Then I periodically gently agitate according to the agitation plan I have decided to use in the developing session: Minimum agitation - 5 seconds per minute: Semi-Stand - 30 seconds initial gentle agitation followed by 30 seconds of gentle agitation at the halfway point.

    Hope this helps.
     
  23. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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    heh.. pardon me for giving advice on processing roll film :wink:

    I tried using a Unicolor drum too.. it's in a corner gathering dust and I now use hangers in a tupperware tub. Problem free ever since the change.

    cheers,
     
  24. Max

    Max Member

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    I'll second (or third or whatever) ditching the drum for trays.

    I did the drum thing with 8x10 for about a year. Even with a pre-soak, I still had occasional problems. One solution I heard was to fill the drum with water before putting the negative in.

    At that point, I decided to just go with the trays.

    I did have some scratches at first, but it gets better very quickly - and I've never had a problem with uneven development in the trays.
     
  25. mark

    mark Member

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    I am really good at doing one neg in a tray at a time. I can get two almost consistently but any more than that I say my prayers and hope there are no gouges and I have read and talked to people, and have been shown what to do but it never fails I get some serious damage on two of the three negatives. I switched to the Drum to control the dust and other various pieces of foreign matter that were showing up. I have to process in the bathroom that is used by three people and I live in the desert SW so dust is a major problem. I have considered using a stronger film. But I need one that will definately go N+2 as the landscape is pretty monochromatic. Will tri-X go to N+2? I am shooting PL100 at 64 and when I shot Delta 100 I shot it at 64 as well. Would I shoot tri-X at 320 or even 200?

    The streak is on the short side in an 11x14 drum, the feet are oriented and I am hand rolling it on a level floor.

    I feel better about life this morning but not much.
     
  26. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    I had problems with various techniques ( scratches and uneven development in trays & daylight tanks); & have finally settled on dip n dunk with metal hangers & tanks. Doesn't take much space; and I get good results using Rodinal and TF4 with Efke 25 & 100. One less area of frustration.