What did I do wrong?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Loopy, Sep 3, 2005.

  1. Loopy

    Loopy Member

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    So I attempted to develope my own film today.

    I developed old Agfa 400, in Kodak T-max developer (7 min) Stopped with water for about 3 minutes and fixed for 5 minutes.

    My film turned out, but there was still a bit of coating (?) on it, so I'm assuming I didn't fix it for long enough. Also it looks as if it was unevenly developed, for one half seemed darker than the other.

    So I tested another roll. This one I developed at 7 minutes, stopped with water for about 3 and fixed for 10 minutes.

    This roll didn't turn out at all. White runs along the entire film, you can barely make out images, and half of it is just black.

    The only thing I did differently was the time change in the fix. I have no idea how old these rolls are, my assumption is over 3 years. Also while processing , the first roll I would turn the tank upside down to agitate it, like instructed in the Ilford guide I found. I thought this might contribute to the uneven developement, so while processing the second roll I turned the little dohicky in the tank, like I remember doing in school.

    Anyways, I'm curious as to what I did so wrong on the second roll. I hope this makes sense, and thanks in advance.

    Cheers,
    Loopy
     
  2. Loopy

    Loopy Member

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    Just to add, I kept the temp at 20 degrees C, while washing. Or tried too. After a couple of minutes my tap water temp tended to drop.
     
  3. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    I'm not sure about either case...I've never used this combination and I just guessing here, but:

    You may be right about the fixer with the first roll, its a common issue with TMax films. I'm not sure about AGFA. Maybe someone else will chime in here.

    What do you mean by white running through the second roll? Is it translucent or completely opaque? Could it be undeveloped emulsion? Perhaps the film was wound onto the spool too tightly and made contact with itself. This is a problem that crops up with every roll that I develop on steel reels. But mine are usually limited to a frame two; not the whole roll.
     
  4. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Joey
    why are you stopping with water for 3minutes?. this will definately give you problems. stop for the recommended time with an acid stop or alkaline mix others have recommended, but the stop should not be more than 30 second.then into the fix for five.
    the streaking is because the film is still developing unevenly in the 3 minute stop
     
  5. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    sorry joey , should be loopy
     
  6. Loopy

    Loopy Member

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    Well I figured since using an acid stop would be about 30 seconds, then water should be more. That was my logic. I do have a stop, but would rather use water.

    So if I do use water, should I stop for the same amount of time. No long than 30 seconds?

    As for the white, not sure what it is. Its semi-translucent. Possibly undeveloped emusion. But I'm not even sure what that looks like to tell you the truth. Its been about 5 years since I've developed film and I've never experienced it before.

    Thanks for all the quick responses!
     
  7. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    This may be a silly question but was your tank filled with chemicals?
     
  8. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Donald beat me to it, but yes, did you have the correct quantity of chemicals in the tank? If there was not enough then there would be a lesser developed half of the roll along its length.
     
  9. Loopy

    Loopy Member

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    As far as I know. I filled it up with water to measure how much would fit. I measured for one roll and for two. The measurements I used were for one.

    I will attempt again when I get home from work. I'll get it eventually :wink:
     
  10. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    You can use water as a stop without problems. Anchel and Troop even go so far as to say that it is better than using acid stop with modern films and papers(sidebar, pg. 103) and Ilford recommends it as well. Fill the tank 5 times with 10 seconds of agitation per fill. I usually cut the development time slightly (30 secs) and have never had any problems.

    The white streaks could be improperly fixed areas of the film. I have seen this when the film was not loaded just right on the reel, which allowed one part of the film to touch another part, resulting in an area where the chemicals could not reach properly. That area of the film was milky looking and would clear if re-fixed.

    I don't know why the film would be dark in places other than if it had not been exposed properly.

    As for temps, you might have reticulation (cracks in the emulsion) if the temps were wildly off, but not the results you mentioned here.

    Scans would be great if you can manage it.

    - Randy
     
  11. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Loopy
    With film you will open a whole can of woopa.. without stopping the development . Maybe it is just me but I can see no reason for you not using a acid stop bath, you are just asking for trouble.
    Some problems are not apparent at the contact stage and if you shoot, develop , contact for a period of time and then decide to make some enlargements you may be in for a terrible surprise.
    I see this all the time with clients coming to me with film processed at other labs in the city and when I go to larger size all the problems become evident.
    Sorry buddy but use a stop and save yourself some argro.
    Bob
     
  12. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I've always used an acid stop bath, but Grimm (The Basic Darkroom Book, 3rd Edition, 1999) recommends "at least two complete changes of water in the tank within 30 to 60 seconds" for water stops.

    How is this unevenness distributed? For instance, are early frames darker than late frames, late frames darker than early frames, or does the darkness vary from top to bottom (in landscape orientation) within all frames? In the last case, I'd agree with others who suggested you might not be using enough chemistry. (How much did you use and in what type of tank? Stainless steel tanks generally take 250ml for one 35mm roll, while plastic tanks usually take 300-400ml per 35mm roll.) If the density changes with the position in the roll, my first guess would be that it's a matter of film exposure rather than development. Check the darkness of the frame numbers and other markings on the film; if they look to be the same across the entire roll, then that supports the hypothesis that you're seeing exposure (or subject) differences.

    A critical quote appears out of order:

    I think the change to your agitation routine may be to blame here. Agitating by rotating the central rod is likely to set up currents that will cause uneven development and/or fixing. (Or so I hear; I've never actually tried this agitation method.) The advice I've seen is that if you must agitate in this way, you should combine it with horizontal movement -- sliding the tank back and forth a couple of feet on the tabletop. In theory, this should dampen the regular circular movement of fluids and improve the evenness of development.
     
  13. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    This sounds like it might be fogging, is your darkroom completly dark when you are loading the film? Try turning out the lights and sit there for 15 min. If you can see anything it not dark enough.

     
  14. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    When you say half is black, do you mean half the length of the roll or half of the height of the roll? If half the height then you did not have enough chemicals in the tank or, if the tank holds more than one reel, the single reel may have slipped up the centre column when you inverted.

    The white translucency sounds like under fixing to me, but you have so many other things going on, it's difficult to tell, and given you fixed for 10 minutes it does not seem likely...

    Any chance of a scan? It's easer to diagnose when you can see what's there.


    Cheers, Bob.
     
  15. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    It sounds like to me that there wasn't enough developer to start out with. Perhaps the spool inside the tank moved up the column during the process and the film didn't get sufficiently soaked in the chemistry? This has happened to me a couple of times, and then I decided to just fill the tank all the way up every time I develop film, and no more problem.
    If you had half the film white, and half black, I assume the black/white divides the film in the long dimension, along the whole stretch of the roll.
    So to sum up, it sounds like partial underdevelopment in your first attempt but proper fixing, and it sounds like partial underfixing in your second attempt but proper development.

    You can use either an acid stop bath, or a plain water stop bath. Both are acceptable methods. If you use an acid fixer, you're likely better off with acid stop bath, so you don't neutralize the pH of the fixer since developers are alkaline. If you use an alkaline fixer, a water stop bath might be preferred, or the acid stop bath would neutralize the fixer pH as well. But as long as you're careful and test your fixer with a piece of scrap film every time you use it, none of the above should matter much.

    Hope that helps,

    - Thom
     
  16. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    It sounds like your tank is for two rolls but you are developing one roll with just enough chemistry to cover that roll. If this is correct as you invert the tank you will produce bubbles in the tank leaving the top half of the roll under-developed. I learned this the hard way on some negs I can never shoot again. Always fill the tank with developer even if you only have one roll of film.
     
  17. Loopy

    Loopy Member

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    Thanks to everyone for such great help.

    Tonight I tried to process another film, and by using your advice I was able to make a idiot-proof list of instructions for myself.

    And I'm happy to say it was a success!!!

    I think I went wrong with a couple places. Mainly the amount of chemicals used, combined with the sliding of the roll on the spool. I did some testing with water and found that it slide up quite easily when I flipped it.

    I also think my stop timing had something to do with it. I cut it down to just over 30 seconds.

    Everything worked out great, and I can't thank all of you enough!

    Well I have about 5 rolls of undeveloped film that need developing so I'm off.

    Thanks!

    Cheers,
    Loopy (Jen)
     
  18. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    It is my humble opinion that there in lies 99.99% of your problem. It something that does happen when inverting - especially if you are being frugal with the chemicals.

    As to a couple of the other points brought up - just to reinforce the points:

    a) I have learned processing with water as stop, and usually use two changes of water (as much as will fit in the tank - more volume is better in this case, and hey - its almost free!), time= 30-45 sec. Never had any issues with a multitude of developers and almost every film available in stores.

    b) I have used several agitation techniques with a paterson tank. I gave up on inversions... well, because I develop in my kitchen and those "spill proof" lids really eran the parentheses... I have used the rod to rotate, and I have used a swirling motion (like swirling ice cubes in a drink) when I felt gentler agitation was called for. I have yet to have a unevenly developed negative - both 120 and 35mm.

    Of course, as a relative beginner, I am just conveying to you my experiences and the only reason I don't try everything else suggested (re agitation and stop bath) is that I feel more confident in my limited abilities when not "fixing what aint broke" and maintaining as few variables as possible, so that I can concentrate on evaluating any ohter changes I make.

    I am very glad you finally had success - I am sure you will have many a success!

    Cheers,

    Peter.
     
  19. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    MAYBE! Some see no reason for a stop of any sort
    given their way of processing. A few have and do mix
    the fix with the developer.

    There is though a reason to use an acid stop. If the
    fix is an acid fix the quick rinse in an acid stop will
    maintain the acidity of the fix.

    I don't worry as much as some. As you know I use
    chemistry once but very dilute so as not to waste.
    The next roll or print has fresh clean solutions in
    which to do it's processing. Dan
     
  20. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    What was the recommended use by date on the film package?
     
  21. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Throw the remaining films away and buy a fresh batch of films and chemicals.
     
  22. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    You can keep your spool at the bottom of the tank by putting an empty spool (or multiple empty spools, depending on the size of your tank) above the one that's loaded with film. This should let you use the recommended amount of chemistry for a single roll rather than filling the tank and wasting chemistry. Foaming (as noted by raucousimages) shouldn't greatly reduce the volume of liquid chemistry, but it might reduce it slightly, so going over by a few milliliters can be reasonable insurance.
     
  23. Loopy

    Loopy Member

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    I couldn't even tell you. I didn't have the package and there was no date on the canister. I could make out faint images of my ex, so we're talking at least 3 years old.
     
  24. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Rubber band.

    When using only one reel in a two-reel tank, put a rubber band around the core above the spool to keep it down. Otherwise the reel will creep up the core, even when using the "twiddly stick". That results in only half the film being procedded, and all the images will be unusable.

    New Paterson tanks come with a whide plastic clamp for this purpose, but they have a distressing habit of going missing very quickly. A rubber band does the same job, and is far easier to replace.
     
  25. Loopy

    Loopy Member

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    Excellent idea, Ole, I've just been keeping the extra reel on top.