Problems in the darkroom
Thanks for taking a moment to read this. I've done a bit of film developing at home, enough to feel comfortable doing it.
Tonight I was developing Ilford 3200 with Ilfosol 3, fixing with a Photographers Formulary fixer. After the process was complete I took out the "developed" film and the emulsion was completely gone. All I had left was a length of clear plastic.
If anyone knows what I did to accomplish this I would appreciate any insight. I would like to avoid this in the future!
If you don't even have edge markings, then you fixed before you developed. You are far from the first to do that. Some well-labeled and carefully placed beakers are the best solution. And this is one that most don't do twice.
Was the emulsion really gone, as in sloughed off, floating in the fixer? Or just no image?
You didn't mistake 68-degrees F and do the processing at 68-degrees C?
I have setup three trays with dev/stop/fix and spent 13 minutes in stop, 30 seconds in fix and no third tray.
And I have carefully measured out 1 part of developer, asked my wife what 9 times 3 was and carefully rinsed out the beaker and developed my film in 27 ounces of water.
So stuff like this will happen in the future. Sorry.
I have a hard time believing that the emulsion is gone. It would have to go somewhere. Most likely ending up as sludge or sediment in the bottom of your tank. You would have known if the emulsion was somehow removed.
The more likely scenario would be a mistake in developing such as accidentally mixing up the order of the chemicals such as using fixer before developer. That's a relatively common rookie mistake. One that many first-timers make.
If you used fixer before the developer, the film will come out perfectly clear with no image or edge numbers. That could look like there is no emulsion.
Test your chemistry with a short piece of film. You can do it in the light.
Use a piece of film about an inch long. Drop it into a beaker of developer. It should turn completely black. Put it in stop bath then fixer. Rinse briefly then dry. You should have a perfectly developed clip of film that is completely dark.
Next, try another test roll of film that is exposed and processed the right way. Be sure that your chemistry is properly mixed and at the right temperature. Use extra care to ensure that all chemistry is used in the correct order and according to manufacturer's instructions.
If all goes well, you can be fairly certain that you got your chemistry mixed up. If either of these tests don't work, we can look into the problem but the best way to straighten it out is to eliminate the easy stuff first.
Don't worry. Just about everybody makes mistakes like this when they start out.
Remember Thomas Edison's famous quote: "I haven't failed 1,000 times. I have simply discovered 1,000 ways that don't work."
It helps to label the developer and fixer containers. A good last minute check of the liquid's odor before use also helps. Fixer has a distinctive smell.
If you have no numbers on the edge of the film, Winger got it. You mixed up your fixer with your developer. This same post pops up about once a month. Nearly everybody has done it. This same problem was the subject of my very first APUG post.
Clear film with edge markings (i.e., brand, type of film) = not exposed = camera problem or you developed an unexposed roll.
Clear film with no edge markings = you fixed before you developed. SH
Two more possibilities: The fixer was a bleach-fix intended for C-41, or the developer was spent/oxidised. I don't know much about Ilfosol-3 and its longevity. Is it possible for that to be the problem?
Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder
All things considered, the wrong processing order seems most likely.
i did that a few weeks ago, and i've been processing film for a while (30+ years! ).
Originally Posted by calebh
its the mistakes that help us remember how much fun it is when things work out :)
Yes, mark your containers. :)
Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch
I have three glass measuring cups, bought from Wal-Mart. (I use them for mixing and pouring, not measuring. I use them because they have handles.)
Using paint markers, I put labels on them and nothing else ever goes in those cups except what's on the label.
Ever notice how doctors and nurses in hospitals always read the medicine bottle twice before giving anything to a patient?
Wouldn't hurt to develop that habit in the darkroom. :)