underfixing causing thin negs?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Poohblah, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    i just got back from a shoot and developed my film only to pull VERY thin negs out of the fix - as in, no lettering or bar codes on the sides, etc. i think the developer was dead, but my classmate thinks that i underfixed my negs. his film, which he developed the same day with the same chemicals, turned out better, but still slightly thin. now, i've had underfixed negs in the past but they've never looked thin. is my classmate right?

    and finally, is there any possible way of saving the negs? this really pissed me off, as they were great photos...

    by the way, i was using Pan F 50, he was using Tri-X 400, both of us developed from the same gallon of D76, me for 6.5 minutes and him for 7.5 minutes. both of us fixed with the same Ilford rapid fix, me for 4.5 minutes and him for 7.5 minutes. both chemicals were at the stock dilution.
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,918
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Underfixing cannot cause what you see! It is underdevelopment for one reason or another.

    PE
     
  3. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,894
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Did you pour the fix in before the developer?
     
  4. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    that's what i thought... i didn't see his reasoning for underfixing causing thin negs...

    nope. besides, there is still some density where the leader was and in the shadows... but nothing more.
     
  5. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,124
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Jacksonville
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What PE said is irrefutable. The fixer wasn't the problem. Exhausted fixer usually leaves a stain that is quite obvious and can be remedied be refixing in fresh solution, but time and temperature in unexhausted developer is responsible for thin or dense negatives assuming they were correctly exposed.

    Six and a half minutes seems way too brief a time to me. At least two or two and a half minutes longer would have been a better choice.

    If there is detail in the negs, you could try dipping them in selenium to intensify what's there. There are threads on apug you can search for recommended procedures (I've not ever done it.).
     
  6. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    in the past, i've had absolutely wonderful negatives come from Pan F in D76 for 6.5 minutes, and that's what the box recommends for the developer and temperature i'm using. i think the developer was exhausted, but that still doesn't explain why my classmate got better negs than I did.
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,918
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, 6 - 9 minutes should be enough, but the edge markngs are not strong. That is the clue here. Development was lacking.

    PE
     
  8. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,894
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Perhaps the developer had been diluted? (Just another stab, here!!)
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    18,004
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Did you use developer that had already been used? Did you dilute developer that had already been diluted?

    Did you and your friend both process at about the same time, or could something have happened to the developer in the interim?

    [edit: Suzanne and I are stabbing simultaneously]
     
  10. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,265
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Or contaminated! Perhaps the developing tank/reels/whatever, wasn't cleaned properly, with some remaining fixer in there?

    It's a strong contender if the developer was fine before.

    - Thomas

    [edit: lots of stabbing going on :D]
     
  11. Larry L

    Larry L Subscriber

    Messages:
    36
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Your experience sounds like my first couple years of learning with Kodak Microdol-X. Lack of development for some reason is the cause.

    I've gotten some results with problems like this soaking the negs. in a 1:3 solution of Kodak selenium for 3-5 minutes. Should pickup at least one contrast grade. Should be able to see density gain over a light box. If already cut into strips do 1 strip at a time so you can compare the difference. Wash well after soaking.
     
  12. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    good call! knowing the students in the photo classes at school, that is extremely likely. my classmate and i processed at exactly the same time, perhaps it is possible that the contaminated developer rose to the top being less dense than the uncontaminated developer?

    i'm going to develop at home using my own chemicals from now on. in 4 weeks of school, teach has already said that 1 gallon each of bad developer, bad stop bath, and bad fixer were good. the stop bath was indicator stop bath to boot, and it was neon purple!
     
  13. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,887
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Gang darkrooms are often sad places to work, although they could be much better if people put a little effort into them. The one here at work is not as bad as some, but the kids still run into all sorts of problems that one would never have when working in your own personal darkroom. I used to suggest to the kids that they process film at home and then make prints at school. Many of them thanked me later because they ran into a lot less frustration and ruined film due to contaminated/exhausted chemicals, melted film in the drying cabinet, dust, scratches, poor washing, etc...

    - Randy
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    18,004
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    No, this is not likely, but it is possible that your classmate was processing in a clean tank, and your tank had some fixer in it from a previous session, which would do unfortunate things to the developer.
     
  16. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

    Messages:
    1,455
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    Location:
    Adelaide, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Was it at the right temperature? I processed two rolls one day in early winter, forgot to check the temperature, and found out that 10 degrees too cold makes a lot of difference...similar results to your description.
    Havent had any problems with the group darkrooms here so far, but we have 2 full time techs to monitor things.
     
  17. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    7,077
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Basin and Range Province
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    It's not the fix, unless you got some in the developer using a dirty tank, and your classmate didn't. He could have had a higher temperature, or he could have given his negs more exposure to begin with.
     
  18. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

    Messages:
    250
    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    Wirral, Engl
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    And the moral of this tale is ' always mix your own chemicals ' so you know where they've been.
     
  19. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

    Messages:
    635
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    Penwithick,
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Hi, Pooblah.
    Glad you have decided to develop your precious negs at home from now on. The other way to go would be to keep your own bottle of concentrated liquid developer such as Ilfotec HC, or Kodak HC-110 and work with fresh developer each time, used one shot and discarded after use. This is the way to consistent results and these developers are very economical indeed, with excellent keeping properties.

    John.
     
  20. Stew

    Stew Member

    Messages:
    88
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Location:
    New Brunswic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Did you agitate the developing tank enough? That might make the negatives thin.
     
  21. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    how much constitutes a single shot? does 20 ounces for 2 rolls of 35mm film sound about right? or will 20 ounces develop more than that before becoming exhausted?

    i'm getting ready to order this stuff on the internet, my local camera shop closed down this past saturday :sad: there are others around town, but i'd rather not drive 20 minutes each way and still not get everything i need. i know they have the chemicals, but not changing bags, etc.
     
  22. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

    Messages:
    635
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    Penwithick,
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I dilute HC-110 1:63 with water. I measure 8ml with a syringe and add water to make a total volume of 500ml. This does one film. Use once and discard... I prefer this high dilution for various reasons but the standard dilution is 1:31 or 16ml to make a total volume of 500ml. That will do 2 films in about half the time. At this ratio, a 1litre bottle will develop around 124 films. Hope this helps.
     
  23. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  24. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

    Messages:
    635
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    Penwithick,
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
  25. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,459
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    North East U.S.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The method John refers to calls for mixing a working solution for each batch of film, It can only be used once. But it's only one part of developer concentrate to 31 parts of water, in the case of Kodak HC-110 Dilution "B". In the case of your 20 ounce tank, that would be roughly .6 ounces of concentrate to 19.4 ounces of water (these measurements are much easier of you use mililiters instead).

    There are several different dilution ratios documented by Kodak, and a few others in common use, especially Jason's 1:49 dilution which is documented here in APUG and his website. (see http://www.jasonbrunner.com/hc110.html) and http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/products/chemistry/bwFilmProcessing/hc110.jhtml)
     
  26. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    haha i read too fast now my last post makes me sound like an idiot.
    i'd rather mix a fresh batch every time than have some old stuff sit around for months and possibly get contaminated or precipitate.
    yes i agree millitres are much better but i'm using ounces for comparison's sake since that's what teach has us use for a 2-reel tank. i'll definitely mix everything in ml's.

    2 more questions:
    1. can i mix the chemicals with tap water (which, where i live, is very clean) or do i need distilled water?
    2. can i substitute a dilute distilled vinegar mix for stop bath?