Weird swirls on sheet film

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by HMFriedman, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. HMFriedman

    HMFriedman Member

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    I've got strange silver/blue swirls in the emulsion of recently developed FP4+, like Schleiren lines when oil mixes in water. These are NOT drying marks, which I get rarely, but my diffusion enlarger light source prints through nicely. This blue color unfortunately makes an excellent contrast mask, leaving markedly lighter swirls within smooth toned areas in my final prints. Soaking in distilled water, then Permawash and rewashing did not remove these 'swirls'.

    My development sequence has not changed for years:

    1. 1 minute presoak
    2. Tray development with Xtol 1+3
    3. Acid stop bath
    4. Sprint fixer
    5. Rinse 5 times in tap water
    6. Permawash
    7. 20 minute wash in tap water
    8. 2 minute soak in distilled water ~200ml + 2 drops of Photoflo
    9. Hang diagonal to dry.

    Any ideas on what caused this and (hopefully) how to remove it?

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2011
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Any scans that we can look at to help diagnose the problem?

    PE
     
  3. HMFriedman

    HMFriedman Member

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    No scans, unfortunately. Perhaps when the negatives are dry, I can try my cheapo document scanner and see if anything useful results.

    I am pretty-much an analog guy.
     
  4. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have seen swirly eddy like density effects when experimenting with very dilute developers. I'd check the developer first. Then I'd look to agitation. Just a SWAG.
     
  5. garysamson

    garysamson Subscriber

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    What is your agitation procedure?
     
  6. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Could it be the anti-halation layer not washing all off?
     
  7. HMFriedman

    HMFriedman Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions so far.

    I don't think this is a development issue, but for your interest, my agitation is continuous, by the typical shuffle method. I rotate the stack of negatives every third cycle though the stack. The silver density seems excellent and uniform throughout the negatives, but the swirls exist on all the negatives developed at that time.

    The anti-halation layer is an interesting idea, but I have no idea how to test that theory or why it should happen now. Again, I have been using the same film, water, chemistry and technique for upwards of 1,000 negatives without this occurence (plenty of other mistakes along the way, though).

    Keep the ideas coming ...

    Henry
     
  8. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    I would re-fix, now and then re-wash

    Simon. ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited.
     
  9. HMFriedman

    HMFriedman Member

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    Simon -

    Thanks for your suggestion; this site is such a great resource.

    I tried re-fixing with TF-4, which did not eliminate the swirls. I'll try a thiosulfate fixer next, just to have done eveything possible, but I am not getting my hopes up. I wonder if using a hardening fixer originally has doomed my further efforts. I am sorry to have lost these negatives, but more concerned that I don't know what caused the problem in the first place...
     
  10. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear HM Freidman,

    So difficult without being able to see the negs....

    My first thought was incomplete fixing, how long did you fix for ? next instinct is that it is a agitation issue, but as you have such a well defined sequence and discipline and no issues before that is unlikely, next thing we would look for is a chemistry issue ( usually incomplete mixing ).

    We actually have never recommended pre-soaking of any of our film products, but it does not matter as it would not cause any issues.

    As it is an ILFORD Photo product it can obviously be returned to the factory for checking with our technical service.

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  11. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Just a very far out guess--- how many different trays do you use? Is it possible there was some residue in the tray that mixed or changed the chemistry? If you are going to sacrifice one of the negatives, have you tried an emulsion cleaner such as PEC12. It wouldn't hurt to send one to Ilford as suggested.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  12. terrywoodenpic

    terrywoodenpic Member

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    I agree with this, especially if the film is slightly milky in this area.

    It would be unusual for it to be anti helation backing as this is remove by the alkali in the developer.
    It would not hurt to try a soak in some old dev , followed by a rewash.

    Were you processing two films at once? That can cause some strange effects.?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2011