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  1. #1
    ZoneIII's Avatar
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    Pinholes in HP5+ sheet film.

    I'm leaving on a 4 to 5 week photographic trip and since I was low on my standard sheet films Tmax 100 and TRI-X, I decided that this is the time to switch films due to Kodak's bankruptcy and the uncertainty of future product availability. Since I have always liked HP5+ in roll film formats, I'm trying it in sheet film. I stocked up on 4x5" and 8x10" HP5+ and ran my Zone System testing. Years ago, I shot a small amount of HP5+ in sheet film formats and noticed that it seemed to be susceptible to pinholes but since I shot very little of it, I didn't know for sure if that was a fluke or a problem with the film but I did file a mental note to watch for it if I shot HP5+ sheet film in the future and I seem to remember reading a warning about this problem years ago somewhere. (I never had the problem with HP5+ roll film.) I use standard dilution stop bath (ascetic acid) and I'm guessing that that is the problem. It has never been a problem with any other film. Has anyone else had this problem with HP5+ sheet film and, if so, how did you deal with it? Did you dilute your stop bath or just use plain water. (I do like a acid stop bath for abrupt development stopping and to preserve fixer.)

    As a side note, one really sees how this film's E.I. responds to increased development times when testing it and why it has a reputation for being pushable!. In fact, for expanded development, the film is too fast for my taste and I will probably switch to a slower film but it's too late for that now. I'm leaving on my trip too soon to switch and start re-testing now.

    Anyway, if someone has dealt with pinholes with HP5+ sheet film, I would appreciate your comments.

  2. #2
    cliveh's Avatar
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    When you say susceptible to pinholes I’m not sure what you mean. Unless you are stabbing this film with a pin I don't know what you mean.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  3. #3
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
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    Never had a problem with HP5+, but have not used a lot of 5x4. Can't imagine that there would be any problem as Ilford's QC is always excellent. Usually pinholes are caused by overly strong stop bath when following a very active developer. I never use a stop, just a water rinse and have never had a problem.
    Clveh, pinholes are usually caused by small bubbles of CO2 forming in the emulsion, producing small black spots on the prints.

  4. #4
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony lockerbie View Post
    Never had a problem with HP5+, but have not used a lot of 5x4. Can't imagine that there would be any problem as Ilford's QC is always excellent. Usually pinholes are caused by overly strong stop bath when following a very active developer. I never use a stop, just a water rinse and have never had a problem.
    Clveh, pinholes are usually caused by small bubbles of CO2 forming in the emulsion, producing small black spots on the prints.
    I thought that was caused by undissolved metol particles.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  5. #5

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    I use HP5 in 4x5 and 8x10 with Rodinal and acid stop and have never seen any pinholes.

  6. #6
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    Pinholes are often caused by air bubbles on the surface of the film during development. Pinholes due to stop are only possible with a carbonate developer, and even then pinholes of this type seldom occur in modern films.

    So, try a prewet. This usually solves the problem if it is due to air bubbles.

    PE

  7. #7

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    you might also try a water bath between your developer and fixer
    some suggest they don't have pinholes when they DON"T use stop bath ..
    i haven't use stop bath in 30 years, but have never NOT used a pre wet bath
    never had pinholes in any film, ilford or kodak, maybe i am just lucky ...

  8. #8
    ZoneIII's Avatar
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    Sorry for the delay in thanking you for your responses. I thought I was set to receive notices of replies but apparently I wasn't.

    To the first response: Pinholes, when discussing film, are tiny spots where the film is damaged and clear. They can appear similar to film that had dust on it when the film was exposed. They are usually caused, at least in my 45 years of experience, from the sudden change in alkalinity when film goes from developer to an acid stop bath. This usually isn't a problem but I remember reading long ago that Ilford films were (at that time, anyway) prone to pinholes and I even experienced what I believe were pinholes years ago when I used some Ilford HP5+ sheet film. The only time I have ever experienced pinholes was with Ilford HP5+ sheet film long ago so I was watching for it this time. I noticed them when I was reading density patches with my densitometer while doing testing which I just finished today.

    I do use a water pre-soak for all my b&w films so that's not an issue. Also, I can't see why pre-soaking or not pre-soaking would have any effect one way or the other with pinholes. It's my understanding that pinholes can be caused when gases are released from the emulsion (in some cases) when the film goes from the alkaline developer to the acid stop bath. When I experienced this years ago, I did some research and what I came up with was that Ilford films (at least HP5+) can be prone to pinholes when an acid stop is used.

    I don't like to use a plain water stop because I like an abrupt development stop and also I want to avoid carryover of developer to the fix.

    I have contacted Ilford technical support about this but I haven't received a response yet.

    I just completed my calibration testing so I'm going to check out one other possibility. I do my Zone System testing by placing a Stouffer's step wedge over the film in the holder to get 31 (actually 33 because I modified the wedge to give me DMAX and fb+fog readings) exposures on the film with a single camera exposure. I'm always very careful with my film so I virtually never get dust on it (see my videos on YouTube to see how - look for videos by Tom Johnston or ZoneIII). However, my step wedge gets a lot of handling so there's a slim possibility that I may have had a little dust on it. Also, there are three surfaces involved that could cause what might appear to be pinholes if dust were on one of them. Now that I'm done with testing, I'll check that out but what appears to be pinholes on the film are not in the same locations on each sheet of test film. I really doubt that that's the problem, though. I have never had this happen when testing any other film.

    So, for now, I'm going to reduce the concentration of my stop bath. I was just wondering if anyone else experienced this. It is (or was) a known problem.

    Again, thanks for your responses.

  9. #9

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    Simon Galley of Harman/Ilford is an active participant here and always offers the option of sending Ilford the film, which they will analyze to determine whether or not it is an emulsion fault etc. I highly doubt there is a problem with the film.

    Also, you did not say what type of developer you are using, which would be important. This is because as PE pointed out, pinholes from CO2 are not caused simply by transferring a substance from an alkaline solution to an acidic solution. It is the Carbonate alkali specifically. So this is not going to happen with a developer using a Borax or Metaborate alkali. And even if you were using a Carbonate developer, current Ilford and Kodak films are well hardened and this problem is unlikely to occur.

    One thing some people like to try with an acetic acid stop bath is to mix it at half strength (although capacity is reduced). You might want to experiment with that. Or, use a running water stop bath. It should be running water, and thorough.

  10. #10
    Rick A's Avatar
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    If you suspect it's the acid stop causing pinholes, either dilute by 50% or switch to a water rinse between devlopment and fixing. I use stop diluted half strength with most film/developer combos except PMK Pyro, then I use two water rinses. If your developing times are long enough, the extra development using water for the stop is negligable, however it does use up fixer a little faster.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

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