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  1. #1
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Sheet Film Storage and Handling

    Hi,

    I've just started enlarging 4x5 negatives, and to my dismay I'm finding that many of my negs have severe dust contamination. Blemishes that did not show up in contact printing them are now very apparent and irritating.
    One thing that I don't understand is that I usually don't have this problem with roll film, which is odd, because their negative area is much smaller. I store all my negs in PrintFile sheets in acid free binders in a humidity controlled location.

    1. How do you dry sheets?
    2. How do you store them?
    3. How do you handle them?

    My own answers:

    1. I hang them up from clothes pins in a room where the air stands still at all times (same room I hang my roll film).
    2. In PrintFile sleeves.
    3. With white lint free gloves, I use a camel hair brush and dry compressed air to dust them off before printing, same as my roll film negs.

    I don't understand why I'm having this problem. Do I need to work with sheets differently than I work with roll film?

    Thanks,

    - Thom
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  2. #2
    reellis67's Avatar
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    That's basically how I store and handle my 4x5 and 8x10 negatives and I don't have any more problem with them than I do with the roll film negatives. It seems very odd that the small negatives, which would have to be magnified more than the 4x5 negatives, are showing less dust than the larger negatives. Are they the same brand of film?

    - Randy

  3. #3
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Randy,

    thanks for replying. It's Tri-X, FP4, TMY, J&C 400. All of them I've used in both formats, and only the sheet film is giving me grief... It's so weird.

    - Thom
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  4. #4
    Reinhold's Avatar
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    Are the contaminants embedded in the emulsion or "stuck" onto the film? That happens before the film is fully dried, and isn't a storage problem.

    Are you using a squeegee or otherwise sweeping the water off of the roll film negs before hanging them to dry? That may explain why they have fewer crumbs, compared to the 4x5's which cannot be effectivley de-watered before drying.

    Be certain to use a final rinse in filtered water with a few drops of Photo-flo. You might even consider de-ionized (distilled) water for the final rinse if you have a lot of mineral in your water which can create a calcium scum.

    I'm not a big fan of clothes pins. Too many barnacles, too big a bite on the film, and they tend to "drool" water down onto the negative. Try plain, simple spring clamps from a stationary store. Even a fuzzy string from which the clips are hung can shed dust & debris. I hang the clips from metal rods instead. Take a look... http://www.classicbwphoto.com/Darkroom.html

    If the contaminants are loose "floaters", then you have either a static electricity or storage problem. Static electricity is generated when two pieces plastic (the film and the PrintFile sleeve) are separated. If you want to continue using plastic storage, consider using a paper sleeve for the negative. It'll reduce static and makes handling the negative easier too.

    Last night I dried 9 big 8x20 inch negatives in a home built drying cabinet, this morning I stored them in folded sheets of Light Impressions Apollo tissue. I have 8 more negatives to process today. I don't fool around when it comes to crap on my film...

    Don't let the dust bunnies bite...

    Reinhold

    www.classicbwphoto.com

  5. #5
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Thanks for the ideas, Reinhold. I'll go home and examine my negatives closer.

    - Thom
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh



 

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