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  1. #1
    Sino's Avatar
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    Help needed: overdeveloped (?) 1/3 of 35mm Tri-X.

    Now, here's something i came through for the first time:

    I was at a state building taken over by students. Sitting in the balcony, watching the guys drinking cheap wine and arguing about politics etc etc. Decided to take out the camera and shoot some portraits, as it was 5 in the afternoon and the light was fantastic.

    Same day, i take the film [a new Kodak Tri-X @ 400, one of these that when developed, read "K'odak" instead of "Kodak"] to the darkroom and develop it with Kodak's [...K'odak's] instructions for the TMAX dev. That's 4,5 minutes at 24c, with agitation every 30 seconds. Wash, fix, wash, photo-flo, done. Hang it up, check the film with a white piece of A4 paper and everything seems fine.

    Yesterday, i go back at the darkroom to unhang it, cut it and print the first tests of the shots. And discover that the lower 1/3 of every exposure in the film is darker. To me, it looked like overdevelopment, but i made sure that i used the right amount of developer so the whole spiral was covered. Of course, being a newbie in this, it could be something completely different or... i don't really know.

    Has this ever happened to anybody else? Is this overdevelopment or something else? Is there a way i can fix it except dodging/burning at the printing stage -- which i tried with OK-but-could-be-better results...

    Thanks in advance,
    -Sino.
    Close your eyes to see. This will take a while.

  2. #2

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    Is there a possibility that there is a fault with the camera shutter? Is it a vertical travel focal plane shutter? Were all affected frames taken with the same shutter speed?

    I had something like this with a new camera many years ago, but the focal plane shutter travelled horizontally and my frames were uneven left to right.

  3. #3
    Sino's Avatar
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    The camera is a new Canon EOS 30, so i doubt if the problem lies in the shutter... After all, i've only shot like 6 or 7 films with it until now, and everything else was normal after developing. This is the first time something like this happens to me...

    -Sino.
    Close your eyes to see. This will take a while.

  4. #4
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    If it's printing dark, the negative is thin in that area, and it's local *under* development. That's most likely caused by either insufficient liquid in the tank, despite attempts otherwise -- it can also happen if you had one reel in a larger tank, especially Paterson style plastic, because the reel can ride up on the center column wind up high and dry for part of the development. Other marks of this problem are that the edge of the density change will be soft, and at the same position in all frames, and may show bubble marks when examined with a loupe.

    However, if the negatives are dark in the affected strip, the line is uniform within each frame but varies between frames, it's probably a shutter problem as previously suggested. If the second curtain catches on something (like a film chip) near the end of its travel, or the spring has gotten partially released, it'll overexpose a strip at the (image top, usually) edge of the frame. This could happen even with a new camera; it only takes one chip of film in the wrong place to do it.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  5. #5

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    Good Morning, Sino,

    Although the following is an unlikely senario, I'll throw it in anyway.

    Back in the 1970's, I discovered that one of my student yearbook photographers was making an error which had never occured to me could happen. We were using D-76 1:1 as our developer. He put his film on the reels, then poured in the stock D-76, and ONLY THEN added an equal amount of water to achieve the 1:1 mix. Naturally the film at the bottom of the tank got heavier development that the rest, especially since he was using a daylight tank which had a small opening and took a good while to fill. May I assume that you have the T-Max Developer already diluted properly before starting the processing?

    This seems like a long shot, but I can't think of any other explanation for your problem.

    Konical

  6. #6
    Sino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Qualls
    If it's printing dark, the negative is thin in that area, and it's local *under* development. That's most likely caused by either insufficient liquid in the tank, despite attempts otherwise -- it can also happen if you had one reel in a larger tank, especially Paterson style plastic, because the reel can ride up on the center column wind up high and dry for part of the development. Other marks of this problem are that the edge of the density change will be soft, and at the same position in all frames, and may show bubble marks when examined with a loupe.

    However, if the negatives are dark in the affected strip, the line is uniform within each frame but varies between frames, it's probably a shutter problem as previously suggested. If the second curtain catches on something (like a film chip) near the end of its travel, or the spring has gotten partially released, it'll overexpose a strip at the (image top, usually) edge of the frame. This could happen even with a new camera; it only takes one chip of film in the wrong place to do it.
    Hello Donald, thanks for the absolutely informative post. I shall repeat all things about developing until i learn them by heart! =)

    But, here's more information about the development of the film: one of the first things i learned was "if you're using the plastic tanks [which hold two film spirals each] always put another spiral in, even if you're developing only one film". That is, because other darkroom users had problems with the spiral not sticking at the bottom properly and moving upside down during development. So, that can't be it either. The density change though, is soft and at nearly the same position in all frames -- a wavy line near the bottom 1/3 of every exposure. And the negatives do have bubble marks!

    There's one thing that i remembered today, after lots of thinking and a long coversation at the "Photoshop"...

    When i was washing the film after developing and before fixing, i accidentaly opened the wrong tub, and the tank was filled with hot -not boiling though- water before i realised it and stopped it. Now, can this have caused overdevelopment?

    Thanks again,
    -Sino.
    Close your eyes to see. This will take a while.

  7. #7
    Sino's Avatar
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    Konical, of course not! That's really funny though, trying to imagine how someone could first throw in the developer and after that the water, and not think that there's something wrong with that!

    Thanks,
    -Sino.
    Close your eyes to see. This will take a while.

  8. #8

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    Good Evening, Sino,

    It's not hard to imagine from a sixteen-year-old. Each year I taught, I encountered someone making some kind of mistake that I had never before dreamed of--usually on a research paper.

    Konical

  9. #9
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sino
    But, here's more information about the development of the film: one of the first things i learned was "if you're using the plastic tanks [which hold two film spirals each] always put another spiral in, even if you're developing only one film". That is, because other darkroom users had problems with the spiral not sticking at the bottom properly and moving upside down during development. So, that can't be it either. The density change though, is soft and at nearly the same position in all frames -- a wavy line near the bottom 1/3 of every exposure. And the negatives do have bubble marks!

    There's one thing that i remembered today, after lots of thinking and a long coversation at the "Photoshop"...

    When i was washing the film after developing and before fixing, i accidentaly opened the wrong tub, and the tank was filled with hot -not boiling though- water before i realised it and stopped it. Now, can this have caused overdevelopment?

    Thanks again,
    -Sino.
    If this happenend on the first rinse, it's possible the hot water could have accelerated development locally where it contacted the film, even while it was washing away the developer to stop development. If you use a Paterson style plastic tank, which fills from the bottom, it could even do so in a manner that could be mistaken for low developer level -- but I wouldn't expect it to leave bubble marks; those come from standing with the developer not moving, and a bubble in the hot water would cool so rapidly I wouldn't expect the bubble to leave its own mark.

    However -- if you're using the Spanish "copy" of the Paterson tank, and agitating by inversion, you should be aware (according to reports) that the light baffle in this tank type can trap as much as 100 ml of liquid after inversion. That would be enough, if you were using just enough liquid to cover the film initially, to cause the problem you see (since 35 mm probably uses about 250 ml in the first place, this could easily remove 2/3 of the developer from film contact, at least part of the time). The recommendation I've read, from Lex Jenkins (over on photo.net) is to agitate this type of tank only by twirling with the swizzle stick, never by inversion, unless you use at least 100 ml more than the minimum liquid to cover the film as specified on the tank.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  10. #10
    Sino's Avatar
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    Thanks again, Donald, for all the advice and information you're giving me here. I guess i'll find out on the second Tri-X i'll develop, without forgetting which tub is the hot water one. I used a plastic no-name [after so many years of usage, i couldn't spot a name on it] tank, so all you're guessing could be true. And i'll use more developer/fixer the next time, just in case...

    -Sino.
    Close your eyes to see. This will take a while.

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