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  1. #1
    handle2001's Avatar
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    Troubleshooting Negatives

    Hi Folks!

    I finally got a Patterson tank and the requisite chemistry in the mail yesterday. I processed one roll of Delta 400 and in my haste I dumped the developer a full minute early, so only half the roll gave me any usable frames, c'est la vie. My second roll was much more successful, and I was able to get 24 usable frames out of it. My question is that when I scanned in the negatives there were several defects and I'm not sure if they're the result of something I'm doing during processing or a problem with the camera itself. I'm using the bog standard processing procedure as laid out in Ilford's "Processing your first B&W Film" document. This is Delta 400 film, and I'm using Ilfotec DD-X at ~21°C for 8 minutes, followed by Ilfostop and Rapid Fixer at the appropriate times for each, then letting the tank sit under a running faucet for 10 minutes. After that the strips are hang-dried over the tub for about an hour.

    First Problem: Negatives are too dark / Positives are washed out and too light. Here's a raw scan:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here's the same negative with the colors inverted in GIMP:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I can't tell if these are underexposed or under-processed? I've only had one roll of film from this camera processed by a camera store, and they did a really terrible job so it's hard to compare.


    Second Problem: Weird black squiggles:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    For this image I inverted the colors, jacked the contrast WAY up, then turned the brightness WAY down, and got this image which is pretty usable, but there are a ton of flaws in it.

    Okay so it makes my pictures come out old and retro looking, but that's not what I was going for. I wanted clean images with no visible grain, and that's clearly not what I got. Part of it I believe is that the 400 speed film is a bit grainier by default than I expected. However I'm not sure why those little squiggles keep showing up. They showed up on the first roll as well. Someone somewhere suggested it might be dirt in the camera? Again I've not used this camera before so I have nothing to compare it with except my other camera which I use to shoot color that gets developed at my local C-41 pharmacy, and it has had no problems. It might be worth it to run a color roll through this camera and have it developed professionally to see if something similar happens. I'm worried though that this is the result of my developing process somehow. The negatives I had done at the photo store did not have these squiggles on them, at least not that I could tell.

    Thanks everyone for your help!

  2. #2
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    Troubleshooting Negatives

    The negatives that are a bit thick(dark) is a sign of overdevelopment. You can decrease the developing time or temp. It could also be that you over exposed in camera, but the film edges look a bit darker so I assume it's probably over development. Fog is also a possibility with expired or improperly stored film.

    The lines may be scratches in the emulsion as they are black. Dust and dirt would be white when inverted on the computer or wet printed. You would want to check with a loupe. If you don't have one a camera lens filpped works fine, or even a simple magnifying glass.

  3. #3

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    Over development would result in increased contrast, highlights would increase in density but shadows would not.
    This appears to me to be over exposure. Contrast is not too high (might even be a little flat) and shadows are full also.
    The rebate area looks a bit fogged too, which could confuse the exposure issue and would flatted the effective contrast (shadows would be fogged as well, making over exposure difficult to say for sure).
    Also, one software's "raw scan" may not be the same as another's.

  4. #4
    handle2001's Avatar
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    If it is overexposure, would over-developing help compensate? Someone else also mentioned that temperature could be an issue, which struck a chord because the room I'm developing in is only tangentially heated to around 16-18°C, and it's entirely possible the developer is cooling faster than it should. My next step was going to be processing at that room temperature with the proper time adjustments to avoid major temperature fluctuations.

  5. #5
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I find this site useful when I am trying to help others evaluate their negatives: http://www.ephotozine.com/article/as...negatives-4682

    And I usually warn people that if they are scanning their negatives, the scanner and the software add their own variables.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  6. #6
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Collier View Post
    The rebate area looks a bit fogged too, which could confuse the exposure issue and would flatted the effective contrast (shadows would be fogged as well, making over exposure difficult to say for sure).
    Yes, it does look fogged. And there are sprocket hole "shadows" visible near the imprints "ILFORD" and "DELTA" that might indicate a general light leak. Which might help explain that apparent fogging. Note that those shadows are also mirrored more faintly directly below on the bottom rebate.

    There is also another fainter sprocket shadow beneath "PROFESSIONAL". Fainter would mean that those frames were wound quicker between exposures, while darker would mean those frames sat in the same place longer between exposures.

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  7. #7

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    The 'black squiggles' are dust that was on the film at the time of exposure, which would have stopped light reaching the film. if it were dust on the negatives at time of scanning they would show as white squiggles. It could easily be dust in the camera, in which case clean the film track with a lightly-moistened cloth or fingertip (but DON'T touch the shutter curtains!) or gently blow it out with a can of Kenair, then clean your camera bag or 'never ready' case.

    If the film was bulk-loaded, it's possible that the dust landed on the film during loading. I find it's best to avoid film bulk-loaded by others; it may be cheap but I'd rather have clean negatives - your mileage may vary.
    Last edited by kevs; 03-02-2013 at 02:57 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    testing...

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by handle2001 View Post
    Hi Folks!

    I finally got a Patterson tank and the requisite chemistry in the mail yesterday. I processed one roll of Delta 400 and in my haste I dumped the developer a full minute early, so only half the roll gave me any usable frames, This is Delta 400 film, and I'm using Ilfotec DD-X at ~21°C for 8 minutes,


    Thanks everyone for your help!
    There is something else wrong here. If you dumped the dev only one minute early so 7 mins instead of 8 there is no way that by itself this should have resulted in only half the roll giving usable frames. If 8 mins is the recommended Ilford time then 7 mins should give very printable negs albeit a little underdeveloped or maybe not even a little underdeveloped given that 7 mins is probably the time that many users having tested their film decide on.

    pentaxuser

  9. #9
    winger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by handle2001 View Post
    If it is overexposure, would over-developing help compensate? Someone else also mentioned that temperature could be an issue, which struck a chord because the room I'm developing in is only tangentially heated to around 16-18°C, and it's entirely possible the developer is cooling faster than it should. My next step was going to be processing at that room temperature with the proper time adjustments to avoid major temperature fluctuations.
    If they are over-exposed, then you'd want to decrease the development time. Which is actually a method many of us use regularly.
    If your temp was lower than 20C/68F, then you'd normally need more time to get the same result as at 20C/68F. Chemicals work faster at higher temps. On the Ilford site, there's a chart for temperature compensation. I do remember that if the time for 20C/68F is 9 minutes, then the time for 18C is around 11:15 minutes.

    Personally, the edges look fine to me, so the development was likely alright. Are you also sure you mixed the developer as per the instructions? If the developer was too strong, then less time and a lower temp would all balance out as well.
    I agree that the squiggles look like dust on the film at the time of exposure (they look like cotton to me, though I can't guarantee it).

  10. #10
    EASmithV's Avatar
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    How are you scanning? that looks like you used a regular flatbed scanner. You need a scanner that has a transparency adapter to properly scan film.
    www.EASmithV.com

    "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."— Dorothea Lange
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    RIP Kodachrome

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