I finally developed the negatives from my first 4x5 shoot last few days using d76 1:1 and the Unicolor drum processing.
A few problems:
1. Keeping the film seperate. I came up with a 'O' ring that I cut to divide film on the main 'V' channel. Works ok. But then the negatives stuck together on the edges of the film, where they lie side by side along the other ridge...it's a \ instead of the main 'V'. 4 negative edges have stuck together so I have to devise something else. But what's going to clamp on a \ shaped piece of plastic? Anyone else have this problem??
2. Alot of dust specs on the film! Now I understand why people pay a premium for quickload/readyloads! lol Ok then, how do I at least minimize this bad problem? Should I buy a changing bag? If so, which one?
3. One negative has a blue dot, about 1/4" along the side...was this too from touching something?
4 And lastly, I scratched, no, gouged the emulsion straight off on 3 images, I think while getting them out of the canister?? (I found the black silver emulsion actually on the film after the photoflo) Wow. Never realized how clumbsy I am apparantly! Are all sheet films this sensitive? Am i doing something terribly wrong?
Thanks again for all the sugg. dev. and times! And sorry for all the questions/problems as well. But this combines problems both from behind the camera to inside the darkroom problems! lol
1. I use a plastic clothes pin on the middle V part, and it keeps the film separated when doing 4x5's. Just like in this web page here: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/unicolor/
2. I live in a pretty dry climate, but don't really seem to have this problem. I do load my film in a changing bag, I'm not sure if that hurts or helps, though. I use my bathroom as a darkroom, and usually run a little hot water or take a hot shower before doing anything with film. Make sure your film holders are clean as well, and that there's not a lot of dust floating around your bellows!
3. I've seen this before once or twice, and I'm pretty sure you're getting this because of the film touching another piece of film.
4. Probably you just need to be a little more careful. I've noticed, however, that some films seem to scratch a little more than others, for me anyways. Maybe it's just me being clumsy.
If I can be of any more help, let me know!
Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
It sounds like you are too clumbsy for large format work... you better just stick to 35mm. Seriously though, it takes awhile to get used to it. The plastic clothspin thing works great. I actually usually only process two sheets at a time due to my baby budget, and the risk of F'ing everything up. Dust is a major problem in my darkroom, but for some reason, no problem on my negs. I either use a closet or a changing bag and never have specs (now I just totally jinxed myself). Keep you chin up, it will get easier.
How cool that you're moving into the format. See, for every one of you a thousand Western Hemisperians move into digital. We're a small group, but we're tough.
Anyway, the scratching comes from the way you load the film into the drum. I used to get this all the time. When you curve the film in your hand to load it, if you curve it over on itself or if you let go of it when it's touching another piece of film, it scratches. It happens pretty easily, apparently.
The blue dot is probably anti-haltation dye that did not wash out. If you wash the film again, for longer, it should come out. If you do not pre-rinse the film sometimes, the dye stays and is stubborn. When you do pre-rinse the film you will see all the dye, or alot of it, when you dump the water before adding developer.
In my experience, changing bags are hard to use and seem to cause dust if there's the least bit of static in the bag. Use a changing tent if you can find one; they make all the difference in the world. To minimize dust, just make sure you both blow with canned air and brush the holders every time you load them. If you got them used, you should seriously blow through the light trap. Light traps seem to also be dust traps.
Hope this helps. Welcome to the format!
Hey Chris, Welcome to the LF...in regard to the dust problem, I have found that vacuuming the holders periodically (slides pulled and traps and septums vacuumed) goes a long way to solving the problem. Brushing and blowing helps but sometimes just seems to move dust around. Additionally, I use a conventional plastic trash bag on the inside of my changing bag to reduce the chance of dust originating in the bag transferring to the holders. There are a variety of retouching methods for the negatives with dust spots.
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For dust spots on the neg, I'll often retouch with a soft lead pencil.
To avoid dust spots, don't use a changing bag. The changing tents, where the fabric does not contact the film or the holders are better, but a darkroom (or a dark room) is really the best.
I usually brush out my holders with a Kinetronics anti-static brush.
Wear a hat when you are loading. Some of that dust may be dandruff.
Store holders on edge rather than flat to prevent dust from settling on the slides and working their way onto the film when the slide is pulled.
Some people swear by ziplock bags, but some say that they cause their own static problems. I don't use them in general.
That's a GREAT idea, to store holders on their sides! One of those far-too-simple-to-have-actually-thought-of ideas.
As for the baggies, I have never had a problem. And they work better than any thing else I have used when in the field.
I picked that up from my friend Stephen Longmire, who may eventually find his way to APUG. He does swear by ziplock bags, by the way.
Thanks Guys for the encouragement! I needed it! LOL
I actually tried the plastic clothes pin first (I had to cut the head about 1/4" so the film would fit...and this cause quite a bit of scratching in itself on the first batch. So I nixed that and went with the cut ring. So it sounds like you guys aren't having the same problem along those other / ridges. I bet then I just have to find a wider clip on the V channel. Maybe I'll try another clothes pin based on everyone's success and cut it more carefully without any rough edges to scratch film.
Thanks for the suggestions for the horrendous dust! Lead pencil sounds good...as well as I found neg. dyes (Dyene and Marshalls for ex) at B&H.
Great suggestions on cleaning my holders. I got these all used so maybe that'll help. My darkroom is the outdoor shed as well so maybe this was also contributing to the dust...I found this Harrison tent that might be worth the money at Calumet: http://calumetphoto.com/syrinx/ctl?PAGE=Co...&type=SPDSEARCH
It's either spend the money on this, and a static brush, or start spending $2.25 for quickloads vs. $.84/sheet. Woudn't take long to pay that tent off! lol
I bet you're right David on the other scratching done by myself. Besides it was my first time loading, unloading (I think I did some damage at this step as I just couldn't get the film out of the holders w/out bending the edges inward so I could grasp the end and pull out. I bet I did some damage here) and processing...I had a ton of opportunities to scratch the hell out of these lol
Well Brian, maybe you're right....I just to darned clumbsy for lf! lol
(True story: Mentioned my into to lf the other day to this photographer I met by chance. He just sold all his 8x10 equipment last yr and went all digital! Boy, makes ya feel 'old world' lol But just LOOK at the size of this neg. compared to 35mm! WOW! )
Thanks again for the suggestions guys! This is a bit harder than I thought it'd be; but I'll eventually get it!
Get the tent! It is definitely worth it.