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  1. #21
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by h.v. View Post
    Just a couple questions for clarification: rotating how? The normal inversion agitation or something like holding it upright and turning it in clockwise and counterclockwise motions? Something else? If the contrast isn't up to par, adjust my times in what direction? More agitation or less?
    Boy, is this a lot harder to describe then to show!

    To induce rotation, add it as you invert.

    Your wrist(s) can turn in two different ways. One will turn a tank in the same way as a turntable would, while the other will cause the tank to invert and then return to vertical. You need to combine the two types as you agitate, and you need to randomize the directions of the turn and the inversion.

    If you use two hands to hold the tank for the agitation (one on top, and the other on the bottom) and invert the tank, most likely you will see the rotation happen automatically.

    And as for contrast, increasing the time will increase the contrast, while decreasing the time will decrease the contrast.

    If you need to experiment with adjusting the time, try adjusting it 10% at a time.
    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

  2. #22
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    I also can't quite tell from what you've said whether you agitate for the first 30 seconds or not. That's very important.
    I'm not quite sure what you consider dark blobs in the shot with the sky. I see grain that could be in the pattern of light and dark areas of sky - clouds on a blue sky aren't hugely different in B&W. If you're printing with an enlarger, how does it look? If you're only scanning, it could be something from that.
    In the shot with the guy sitting in front of the billboard, I also see a darker stripe running through the middle third that looks like a drying mark to me. Is your last rinse with distilled water and a few drops of photo-flo? That can help. The white spots by the guy's head on the billboard look like dust. That could be on the negative or on the scanner, tough to tell. Hanging film to dry in a very clean place is important, too.

  3. #23

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    What stop bath do you use?

    You need to tell us everything you do in your developing process. As others have suggested good random agitation for at least the first 30 seconds is key. I found I got uneven development when I used a water stop bath. I switched to a regular acid stop and it got the issue under control.

    I've had mottled looking negatives when I went in and out of a warm house in winter into sub zero temperatures. I believe water condensed on the negative in the camera. There are all sorts of reasons you can have uneven skies that is why it is imperative you tell use everything you have done.

    I wouldn't believe the hype about home developing. Yes it is the way to get the best negatives but commercial developed negatives can get you 90% of the way there providing you use a fairly conventional film and shoot it in a conventional manner. If you get some niche B&W film and shoot it at your own personal EI and then try and print it in the darkroom after commercial processing then yes this can be noticeably sub par.

    There were three things that really improved my negatives, avoiding "stand" developing, figuring out a good agitation method (not too fast and not too slow), and using an acid stop bath.

    The way I see it a good commercal lab will give you evenly developed, dirt and scratch free negatives. Developing at home gets you slightly better tonality and things like shadow detail once you've tweaked your process. Now tell me what would you have a bit better shadow detail or evenly developed skies? The problem with home developing is it deals in subtleties. Starting off with home developing is rough if you don't follow the manufactures instructions to the letter and are careful. It isn't rocket science but just about every corner I cut in the beginning I lived to regret.

    The question you have to ask yourself is what are you going to notice more a lack of shadow detail because you didn't get to shoot and develop for your personal EI or a massive patch of unevenly developed sky. If I could go back in a time machine and send my first 30 home developed rolls out for commercial processing I would, but I wouldn't learn anything.

    In the end once you get your process down you will save tons of money processing at home. It also expands the realm of films you can try out. And of course you can tweak your whole process to get prints that have an amazing amount of tonality. I shoot digital as well and it really is amazing what you can get from a properly exposed and developed roll of film.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by winger View Post
    In the shot with the guy sitting in front of the billboard, I also see a darker stripe running through the middle third that looks like a drying mark to me. Is your last rinse with distilled water and a few drops of photo-flo? That can help.

    While I usually tell people to start off by following the manufacturers directions to the letter I have to say this advice about photo-flo is dead on. You only need a few drops in 500mL of DISTILLED water for your final rinse. Too little and it is ineffective. Too much and it leaves a visible residue.

  5. #25

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    I know this may sound a little far off, but I had trouble loading film onto a steel reel, originally learning on a plastic patterson... I found myself handling the film so much more with the steel reel, and switched to the patterson. I don't know, some people have a similar problem with the patterson, etc.

    My point: the scratches seem to be a handling problem, and so therefore, maybe, so are the blobs/smudges, too much handling before the development process.


    I personally like how the grain looks, it adds to the atmosphere of the photos and gives them a journalistic look.

    Also, i guess i think you're using a metal tank, since you're not using the little stick to rotate the reel, which when you rotate it, it helps release any air bubbles that may be on the film, at which points no development occurs. If you are not presoaking, you may try slamming/hitting the tank, on a surface to release these air bubbles.

    also, here's a link you'll really like

    http://www.aregeebee.net/negs/eneg.htm

  6. #26
    Hatchetman's Avatar
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    Sky blobs may be from film touching itself in areas as it is wrapped around the reel.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noble View Post
    You need to tell us everything you do in your developing process. As others have suggested good random agitation for at least the first 30 seconds is key. I found I got uneven development when I used a water stop bath. I switched to a regular acid stop and it got the issue under control.

    I've had mottled looking negatives when I went in and out of a warm house in winter into sub zero temperatures. I believe water condensed on the negative in the camera. There are all sorts of reasons you can have uneven skies that is why it is imperative you tell use everything you have done.

    I wouldn't believe the hype about home developing. Yes it is the way to get the best negatives but commercial developed negatives can get you 90% of the way there providing you use a fairly conventional film and shoot it in a conventional manner. If you get some niche B&W film and shoot it at your own personal EI and then try and print it in the darkroom after commercial processing then yes this can be noticeably sub par.

    There were three things that really improved my negatives, avoiding "stand" developing, figuring out a good agitation method (not too fast and not too slow), and using an acid stop bath.

    The way I see it a good commercal lab will give you evenly developed, dirt and scratch free negatives. Developing at home gets you slightly better tonality and things like shadow detail once you've tweaked your process. Now tell me what would you have a bit better shadow detail or evenly developed skies? The problem with home developing is it deals in subtleties. Starting off with home developing is rough if you don't follow the manufactures instructions to the letter and are careful. It isn't rocket science but just about every corner I cut in the beginning I lived to regret.

    The question you have to ask yourself is what are you going to notice more a lack of shadow detail because you didn't get to shoot and develop for your personal EI or a massive patch of unevenly developed sky. If I could go back in a time machine and send my first 30 home developed rolls out for commercial processing I would, but I wouldn't learn anything.

    In the end once you get your process down you will save tons of money processing at home. It also expands the realm of films you can try out. And of course you can tweak your whole process to get prints that have an amazing amount of tonality. I shoot digital as well and it really is amazing what you can get from a properly exposed and developed roll of film.
    Hmmm...I've explained all or almost all of my development process now. If there's anyhting else missing, then just point it out. The only benefits I feel I'm reaping with home processing right now are more affordability and quicker processing (sometimes). I don't notice a lack of shadow detail from my lab processed B&W. It is consistently good. But expensive (almost $6 for just develop and cut only). I'm pretty sure I've developed over 30 rolls by now (I go through a lot). I don't change ISO ratings or anything. I do the normal 9 mins in DD-X for HP5, too.

    I use Ilford Rapid Fixer, if that helps.

    Quote Originally Posted by mesantacruz View Post
    I know this may sound a little far off, but I had trouble loading film onto a steel reel, originally learning on a plastic patterson... I found myself handling the film so much more with the steel reel, and switched to the patterson. I don't know, some people have a similar problem with the patterson, etc.

    My point: the scratches seem to be a handling problem, and so therefore, maybe, so are the blobs/smudges, too much handling before the development process.


    I personally like how the grain looks, it adds to the atmosphere of the photos and gives them a journalistic look.

    Also, i guess i think you're using a metal tank, since you're not using the little stick to rotate the reel, which when you rotate it, it helps release any air bubbles that may be on the film, at which points no development occurs. If you are not presoaking, you may try slamming/hitting the tank, on a surface to release these air bubbles.

    also, here's a link you'll really like

    http://www.aregeebee.net/negs/eneg.htm
    Nope. Plastic patterson tank. I rotate that plastic stick for the final rinse with distilled and Ilfotol (see below). I too like the grain in those photos, they aren't the issue. I agree, it adds a nice atmosphere. I'm not big on fine grain, personally.

    Quote Originally Posted by winger View Post
    I also can't quite tell from what you've said whether you agitate for the first 30 seconds or not. That's very important.
    What I wrote on page one: I agitate 1x over 10 seconds every minute.

    To be clear, my recent development I did 2x every 30 seconds spread out over 10 seconds. So from :20 to :30 and from :50 to :60 I would do two inversions. That is different from how I normally do it.

    I'm not quite sure what you consider dark blobs in the shot with the sky. I see grain that could be in the pattern of light and dark areas of sky - clouds on a blue sky aren't hugely different in B&W. If you're printing with an enlarger, how does it look? If you're only scanning, it could be something from that.
    In the shot with the guy sitting in front of the billboard, I also see a darker stripe running through the middle third that looks like a drying mark to me. Is your last rinse with distilled water and a few drops of photo-flo? That can help. The white spots by the guy's head on the billboard look like dust. That could be on the negative or on the scanner, tough to tell. Hanging film to dry in a very clean place is important, too.
    The dark blobs are a bit more subdued as I tried to edit them out (sacrilege I know!). But they're still there if you look closely. The sky was overcast, by the way, and pretty flat. I don't do wet printing, but you're right it could be the scanner. I haven't had this issue with 35mm, but with 120, if the negatives are very curly and untamed, these random marks do appear in things like skies because of the varying distance from the scanner. 35mm may have a bit of variation if it is curlier, but it's generally pretty flat (or is made flat by the scanning holder).

    My last rinse is always with distilled water ant a tablespoon of Ilfotol wetting agent (same thing as Photo-flo, I hear). I was recommended by an APUG member to do this in light of my constant water mark issues I would get upon looking at dried negs: rinse in regular tap water for about 7 mins at 20°C. Then I pour out the tap water, put in distilled water and Ilfotol, turn the little plastic stick a few times and let it sit for 5 mins. Then I let it sit in the tank for 5mins before taking it out, shaking off excess water, and hanging it. Then I use the chamois 1-2x.

    There is relatively little dust in the bathroom I used to process the film.

    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    Boy, is this a lot harder to describe then to show!

    To induce rotation, add it as you invert.

    Your wrist(s) can turn in two different ways. One will turn a tank in the same way as a turntable would, while the other will cause the tank to invert and then return to vertical. You need to combine the two types as you agitate, and you need to randomize the directions of the turn and the inversion.

    If you use two hands to hold the tank for the agitation (one on top, and the other on the bottom) and invert the tank, most likely you will see the rotation happen automatically.

    And as for contrast, increasing the time will increase the contrast, while decreasing the time will decrease the contrast.

    If you need to experiment with adjusting the time, try adjusting it 10% at a time.
    Basically, do random movements just short of violently shaking the tank around?

    I do use two hands on my tank. I found holding the bottom with one hand and the top with the other kept me from maintaining the tank in an upright position. I hold it by the sides, with both hands, with two fingers on the bottom and one on the top.

    Ok lots to respond to and correct. The film was developed last night but today was a bit crazy so I haven't been able to scan the negs yet. I will try to do some of that tonight and post back my results.

    Quote Originally Posted by heterolysis View Post
    Most spots/blobs are uneven development and/or drying. A good pre-wash will help the development issue, and a good pre-dry squeegee can help reduce water spots. I find 35mm is especially problematic when drying. When I started doing colour processing, in which a pre-wash is a necessary step, I really started to notice the difference it can make.

    Careful how you handle the film when loading it onto reels, and what it comes in contact with in the process, so as to reduce finger prints/dust. However, I find dust on the scanner is generally a bigger problem than on the film itself.

    I agitate for the first 30, then once a minute. If you're not using a stock developer solution, make sure the working solution is mixed well or else the concentrate may be mostly sitting at the bottom of your graduated cylinder when you start to pour.
    I have a squeegee but I've been told ad nauseum not to use it as it will scratch my negatives. That being said, I still got water residue marks, so now I use a chamois per request on apug (I think it was Matt who suggested it awhile back). Chamois can still scratch, I know, but I seem to have less issues with scratching.

    The dust in the second photo is most certainly from the scanner or faint dust on the negatives. That one is just a straight scan, no dust removal.
    cities & citizens - edmonton street photography (mostly), 100% film

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by h.v. View Post
    Hmmm...I've explained all or almost all of my development process now.
    Well I must have missed where you explained what you stopped with and how. Water stop for me was definitely a culprit in uneven development. I suppose I could have been more on the ball with agitation when I used the water stop. Some times I filled up the tank and shook and emptied it rather quickly and refilled it with water and shook some more. Sometimes I filled it with water and did minimal agitation for a few minutes. There are a lot of little details you don't think about in the beginning that have a profound effect on your negatives. What makes it worse is beginners tend to be inconsistent which makes tracking down problems even tougher.

    Quote Originally Posted by h.v. View Post
    I don't notice a lack of shadow detail from my lab processed B&W. It is consistently good.
    You have to compare a negative shot at box speed and processed at a lab with a negative shot at your personal EI and home developed to tweaked specifications. For example I shoot TMAX 100 at ISO/EI 50. I shot a test roll and reduced the development and agitation a bit. I then used a Zonemaster II to analyze the negative. My target on my condensor enlarger was a negative shot in noon sunshine with white cloth (like a bride's dress) and black cloth (grooms tuxedo in open shade) that could be printed with a number 2 or 2.5 Ilford filter.

    The problem I found with all this is if you don't have a dark room and either a good knowledge of how a negative/print is supposed to look or an electronic means of objectively quantifying contrast it's tough to know how good you negatives really are. I developed for a long time and just scanned in my negatives. They seemed okay because I didn't have anything to compare them to. Once I got a darkroom set up and got a piece of equipment that could tell me what I was dealing with in an unbiased fashion I dialed things in pretty quick and it made a big difference. I still scan a lot more than I wet print but my negatives still benefited from the tweaking. They scan like a dream. I can import scans into Photoshop and play with curves and there is tons of detail in the shadows and highlights are well behaved.

    Honestly if I am shown a print made from 100 ISO film from Ilford/Fuji/Kodak shot at box speed and processed at a commercial lab I won't be able to tell how it was processed or who manufactured the film. But once you get a side by side comparison of carefully custom processed negatives you see the difference. That's why when people claim home processing results in "the most beautiful negatives you've seen" I say take that with a huge grain of salt. It is a long road to match the results from a good commercial lab and an even longer road to exceed them. It's not some instant process. I wish people wouldn't oversell the process. The switch makes sense from a financial point of view. It doesn't need to be oversold.

    Anyway stick with it and let us know your results. I've learned a lot from my screw ups and even more from other people's mistakes.

  9. #29

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    H.V.: Why did you abandon Ilford's instructions? 10 seconds of agitation each minute is good. 4-6 inversions with a little twisting action here and there in 10 seconds is fine. Don't shake it violently. The little bit of twisting when inverting is to help break up flow and keep things random. At the end of the 10 seconds when you put the tank down, tap it firmly on the table to dislodge air bubbles.

    Initial agitation of 30 seconds to 1 minute is usually standard. Make sure you start initial agitation as soon as possible. Assuming you are pouring the developer into the tank, do it quickly, and begin agitation right away.

    For the final rinse in distilled water with Ilfotol, follow Ilford's mixing directions. You only need 5ml of Ilfotol in a liter of water. You can even use less. More can apparently be bad. If you are using a tablespoon of Ilfotol, that sounds like way too much. Maybe it is leaving residue.

    When you hang the negatives to dry, I suggest not touching them, squeegeeing them, wiping them etc. There is no need for any of that and all it does is increase the risk of scratches and other problems. 35mm negatives need to be as free from surface defects as possible.

  10. #30

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    Ok, I'm almost through scanning the negatives I processed with the increased rate of agitation. The marks still seem to occur a bit, so I dunno. I will try the prewash and 30 seconds of pure agitation, with randomized twisting, though.

    Noble:

    I meant after my post, which explained things further, including stop bath and everything, that most everything should've been explained regarding my development process. But if I missed something you still need to know, then just ask. I always shoot at box speed, whether something is lab processed or not, so I think I'm able to compare fairly between home and lab processed film. I do have a darkroom. Well, ok, not a permanent room dedicated to film development, but a bathroom does work, does it not? Yes, I don't have "good knowledge" of how everything is supposed to look. I do lack the decades of experience that seems to be de rigueur on APUG. If I made things sound contrary to that, then I apologize. There isn't a feasible location for me to do wet printing, and based on how some of my electronic editing works, I don't know if I'd get the same results I want anyways. I figure I might as well try developing before wet printing, which will also be something I will likely become frustrated with. Scan like a dream -- I wish. Once they leave the bathroom, dust becomes a problem on my negatives.

    Michael: I didn't really abandon their entire instructions. I just made edits to it for my own use based on my initial results with processing. My first negatives were very coarsely grained and flat. One of the things I was told I could try is to agitate less. I don't remember where I found that information, but nonetheless I used it. Tablespoon = 5mL of water. The spoon itself says 5mL and I use roughly 1L of distilled water each time, so I think I'm good there. I need to wipe them down still because otherwise I still get water marks on the negatives, so I use a chamois. Sometimes I will leave it and use the chamois after the initial drying.

    I'll try the earlier suggestions and use it on some FP4 tonight or tomorrow, I guess...if this doesn't work, I might go back to lab processing until I can figure this out.
    Last edited by h.v.; 06-01-2013 at 07:12 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    cities & citizens - edmonton street photography (mostly), 100% film

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