Black spots on P3200 negs developed in pyrocat
I just developed some 35mm TMZ in Pyrocat HD (glycol version premised from PF) and found tiny black spots all over the negatives. The spots are of varying sizes, but all tiny (the size of dust particles except round). The edges of the spots look to be slightly fuzzy, but they are totally black. No donut shape.
The film was shot at EI of 50-800, all of the same subject. Developed at 1:1:100 at 71F for 9 minutes with agitation for 1st 30 seconds and for 5 sec at each 30 sec interval. Developer was mixed with distilled water and I used plain tap water at 71F as a stop (rinsed twice). Fixed in Kodak Rapid Fix w/o hardener for 5 minutes, agitating as I did for the developer.
This has been my standard procedure to do 35mm film in pyrocat in the past with no problems. The only things different today are the film type and the age of the concentrate. The chemicals were purchased from PF in August '06 and the bottles were slightly less than half full.
The resulting negatives (even the one shot at EI 50) were all very under exposed, but I was guessing on the development time and was going for low contrast. Whatever EI turned out to be best was what I planned to use in the future (even if it was 50). From what little I've found about 3200 speed films with pyrocat (after my present experiment), the correct time might have been closer to 20 minutes.
I have read a lot about people's experiences with apparent "pin holes" and other clear spots, but I couldn't find anything about black spots. This particular roll of film was divided into three lengths of about 10 exposures each all of the same subject and identical lighting. Two were developed in Rodinal and showed no problems.
Oddly enough, the spots are only in the image area and get fainter as the images get fainter (with higher EIs). But, they are not in the same place on each frame and I cannot account for them in studio, nor do they appear in the Rodinal frames.
So... I'm assuming that this is somehow due to contamination or crystalline precipitates or some such thing, but I'm curious if anyone else has experienced anything similar. Checking the color of solution B, it has a very slight brownish tint to it, but it looks the same as a newer (Jan 07) bottle of solution B that I have never previously opened. I have no means of measuring pH.
I plan to shoot a short roll of HP5+ and try the same developer, just to get a sanity check. Then I will try the newer developer to see if there's any difference.
Here is a scan of a couple of the spots. My scanner is a real POS and dust magnet, but this is not a bad representation of the shape and appearance of the spots. The larger frame is the entire 35mm frame just as a size reference.
Well, I tried HP5+ in the same developer done the same way, but with a development time of 15 minutes. Negatives looked good at EI 400 and got a bit dense by EI 50, just as I would have expected. Also no black dots. To the naked eye, the contrast seems a little high, but that might just be due to the stain. I haven't tried to print them.
This is reminiscent of my experience with Tmax 100 and Pyrocat that I posted about some time back. Extremely thin and the frame numbers didn't even show up (just as in this case with TMZ). It could, of course, have something to do with this particular batch of pyrocat, but I won't know for sure until I break out the new batch (which is only a year old - LOL!). In any case, I pitched all the TMX negatives, so I can't check them for little black dots...
Oh well, enough whining. Back to the darkroom now to try HP5+ in TFX-2.