Weird film spotting problem

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Darkroom317, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    Anyone know what is causing the issue in the attached film scan? I don't think it is from bubbles because it only happens with Fomapan. I have used several different films and have never had this problem. It is not in every frame either. It has ruined many of my photographs over the past year but this one is the worst. Also is there a printing solution for images with far less spots? The film is Fomapan 100 and the developer in Rodinal 1:50.

    120N001551APUG.jpg
     
  2. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Nice photo. If you suspect it is the film, why keep using it? Never had problems with Kodak, Ilford, or Agfa (now gone).
     
  3. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    I am already switching over to FP4+ but I am curious about the problem. I know several other members that use this film and haven't had these problems.
     
  4. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    These look like air bells to me. If they are, the solution I found to air bells is to rap the tank hard after agitation. It seems to me more important to catch this early in processing, when it is still dry. Once the film is totally wet, bubbles would tend to move around.
     
  5. fotch

    fotch Member

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    OK. Well, you could try a plain water wetting before the developer?
     
  6. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    Bill, that is exactly what I do. That is what makes this so confusing.

    I should also mention that I use water for stop as people have reported issues with stop bath. I also don't pre-soak the film. Should I start?
     
  7. ajs77306

    ajs77306 Member

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    I agree with Bill. That is exactly how I would have responded. The tank-tapping should help.
     
  8. ajs77306

    ajs77306 Member

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    Why not use a chemical stop? I am not convinced that pre-soaking would remedy the issue.
     
  9. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    Chemical stop is known to cause pinhole problems with Foma emulsions. As I have said I rap the tank on the counter after each agitation.
     
  10. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Both Kodak and Ilford say NOT to presoak film.

    What is your agitation scheme. Does it include rapping the tank sharply on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles?
     
  11. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    OK, I hear you rap the tank.

    A long time ago, I'd occasionally get air bells and I established a routine that I follow. I've never had air bells since.

    Pour developer in and invert about 5 times, then rap hard 4 times. 30 seconds later invert about 3 times and rap hard about 4 times... Continue on the pattern every 30 seconds but after a while not rapping as hard or as many times.

    But I use a standard developer (D-76 1:1). Do you stand develop the Rodinal?

    Maybe your procedure is similar. If so, then I'd doubt air bells and we'll need to dig for other possibilities.

    I don't have an opinion to offer about pre-soak. It may help but if you add a step you don't need you will just waste time.
     
  12. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    My agitation scheme is as follows. Pour the developer in, then rap the tank on the counter. I then agitate for 30 seconds with inversions. I then agitate 10 seconds of every minute. I rap the tank after every 10 seconds of agitation. Air bells were my first thought, However, I use this same agitation scheme with Tri-X and Plus-X without problem. I do stand develop sometimes but only with Tri-X that has been pushed. No problems there either.
     
  13. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Got me stumped, will have to wait to see what other opinions come in...
     
  14. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    I always use continuous agitation, that means that I invert the tank, wait for 2 seconds (time for all the fluid to reach the top) and the invert again. If you have a tank which is real hermetic, you can do this with one hand and use the other hand e.g. for reading. The developing time reduces this way (20-30%). But air bubbles (and bromide streaks) will never be a problem.
     
  15. br549

    br549 Subscriber

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    I used to get air bells with 120 film (but not with 35mm for some reason) so instead of a 30 second initial agitation I started going a full minute, and reducing the overall time of development a bit. Solved the problem for me.
    Good luck!
     
  16. AgX

    AgX Member

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    In theory the emulsion has influence on the affinity for airbells adhering. So a pre-bath with a weak solution of wetting-agent including agitation could help.

    But whereas most of the artefacts look like airbells adhered to the film for part of the development process, those artefacts left above have not a pronounced ring around bit a shallow halo instead. That puzzles me.
     
  17. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I had problems with air bells on my film and got rid of them by making sure I tap the tank, firmly, several times.

    Previously, I was a bit hesitant to hit the tank too hard for fear of cracking the plastic or denting the metal tanks because my processing area is an old style, cement laundry sink. I was afraid the hard surface would damage things.

    The solution to the problem came at the suggestion of another APUG member: Use a rubber mat.
    You could use an old mouse pad or whatever but I use a 12" square piece of rubber floor mat.

    Now, I can rap the tank as many times as I need to, almost as hard as I want, and I don't have to worry about hurting anything. Having the mat also reminds me to tap the tank often.

    Not sure this is your solution but I think it makes an interesting aside.
     
  18. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Could the OP's problem be caused by condensation on the film pre- or post-exposure?

    +1 for presoaking with a few drops (literally) of wetting agent; it works for me and is certainly not a waste of my time; if you want fine results use good film and a fine process. Why go to all that trouble to compose, meter, focus, correctly expose etc if you don't give the film the best treatment? It's like an artist not washing his brushes because he couldn't be bothered, then wondering why his colours are always polluted!

    Cheers and HNY all,
    kevs
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2013
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi darkroom317

    just after your film is fixed
    have you looked at your negatives ?
    are the spots / stains there, or is it after the film
    is washed ...

    maybe ...
    it isn't airbubbles when you process but
    water stains when you dry your film ...
    what kind of water are you using, are you a user
    of photoflo or a similar product ?
    some folks use distilled water for their final rinse before using
    photoflo, and from what i remember using too much photoflo
    can cause problems, it only takes a drop or 2 in the water ...
     
  20. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    I use regular water for wash and the photoflo. I do soak film in distilled water before photoflo with 35mm because I have had water spotting issues that for some reason don't occur with 120. The photoflo is mixed with distilled water in both cases. I don't know if the spots are there right after fixing. The issue is in the emulsion. These spots have a lower density that the surrounding area. Again this is only happening with Foma emulsions.
     
  21. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    So now the other question. Is there anything that can be done in printing that can fix some of the images that only have one or two spots?
     
  22. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Anytime you have darker spots (like you have), it is practical to "spot" on the negative to make the area lighter on the print. Then on the print use spotting dye to camoflage the retouching better.

    But the big spots like you have may prove challenging. Especially if they are in the skies. If they are in bushes or some other area that is easy to camoflage, you have a fighting chance.
     
  23. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    Thanks I will look into that. It isn't like I have anything to lose. What would I use for spotting the negative.
     
  24. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    The classic tool is pencil. Also there are dyes - a famous one is New Coccine. Or opaque. You might try a red watercolor.

    Do the retouching on the base side so you can wipe it off if you make a mistake.