Bellows flare occurs when some of the light coming through the lens hits the bellows and not the film. It then reflects onto the film. Light travels in a straight line. Unless you have a lens shade that exactly matches the film (so no light coming through the lens goes elsewhere), which is virtualy impossible, you will get some bellows flare. A lens shade, which you should use all of the time in all kinds of lighting conditions, helps a lot, but the only absolute solution that is guaranteed to work is to use a camera one size larger than the negative size. Bellows flare is the reason that for my 8x20 photographs I use a 12 x 20 view camera with an 8x20 back. If you are using 4x5 film, use a 5x7 camera with a 4x5 back, etc. That is impractical when using an 8x10 so at the very least, use a good lens shade. We use the folding rubber shades available from Harrison and Harrison.
Michael A. Smith
Thanks for sharing your solution to internal bellows flare. My darkroom
(still not completely functioning yet, but the goal is to have it working by
year's end) is being set up to handle film for 5x7 and enlargemnets to 11x14.
I'm looking at a compendium type lens shade for my modified 5x7 Seneca
with the WF Ektar 135/56.3. I think I'll get the Lee system of compendium
shade and filter holder, but it will have to wait due to the cost (like $400+ as
the Ektar would require SK Grimes to make an adaptor to except the Lee system,
an additional $75+). I'll try to fund this next year. In the meantime I don't want
to delay getting started with all this new equipment and processes.
Plus I've got many unprinted 35mm negatives to print that I've been using
for the past 4 plus years. I haven't even used the 11x14 Versalab washer yet!
I'll continue to shoot 35mm ( with a Russian Zorki camera, always in my pants
pocket, a copy of the Leica II, though I've added a Leitz 50mm frameline finder),
as this approach to photography is vastly different from the view camera.
Also, I'm aprrenticing someone with a keen interest in black and white
silver printing and helping him setup his darkroom with the necessary chemicals
Sure the Panatomic-X film could be cut to 4x5. I've used some of it when I
had a Graflex SLR 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 camera and cut to that size. But the two cuts
proved too much of a hassle and the camera was sold several years ago. Also,
if this film cutting proves too tedious, there's still film available in 5x7. And since
I picked up this aerial film for about $60 on eBay, it seemed like a good project.
As far as I know, it's the same Panatomic-X of yore.
I'll add that I don't really have a darkroom. Since I live alone (well, one cat),
I've integrated the darkroom into the kitchen.
Jdef, I have had the same problem with edge density, I now shuffle my 8x10 continuously, but it is still there. Handling 8x10 takes a little more practice than 4x5. For a little while half my negs were going in the trash. Is there any way to burn in the edges?
jdef if your problem is not bellows flare as Mr. Smith pointed out, why dont you give brush development a try? I know it is a pain in the arse to develop one by one, but I develop mine in an 8x10 tray and dont have this problem. Or you can switch to 11x14 trays and see how that works.