Vertical lines in B&W 120 negatives
So this is my first post and I'm relatively new to developing B&W film. Thanks to Jason Brunner for getting me started. I've used the search function but I don't think I've found one that describes the same problem that I am having. My negatives have very thin vertical (top to bottom) parallel lines that seem consistent throughout the whole negative including the sections in between shots that should not have been exposed to light.
The lines are always grey and in very light areas such as the daytime sky the lines appear darker than the actual image, while in very dark areas the lines appear lighter than the actual image. It happens regardless of shutter speed or aperture.
I shoot using a Rolleiflex T purchased from one previous owner using Kodak T-Max 400 120 film.
I use a Patterson plastic tank and reel, load the film in a dark bag and develop my film as follows, all at 22°C (71.6°F), all solutions prepared using tap water. I use 600mls which is more than enough to completely immerse the film but does not completely fill the tank. I invert in a figure '8' and twist the tank each time to ensure consistent development.
Pre-soak - tap water, 3 mins - tap to ensure no bubbles
Developer - Ilford ID11 powder 1:3, 13 mins - 1 inversion every 15 seconds
Stop bath - Ilfostop 1:19, 45 seconds - 1 inversion every 15 seconds
Fixer - Ilford rapid fixer 1:4, 5 mins - 1 inversion every 15 seconds
Wash - running tap water, 2 mins
Rinse - Ilfotol 1:200, 2 mins soak, no inversions
I then shake the reel to get rid of any excess water then remove and hang the negative using metal film clips top to bottom and let it dry naturally ensuring I don't touch the negative.
What could be the problem here? Light leak? Tank contamination? Too much wetting agent?
I suspect it may be something to do with the chemical concentrations or timing I am using with the Kodak T-max film as the very first roll I developed from this camera (still in the camera from the previous owner) was a Fuji Neopan 100 and came out perfectly clear without any vertical lines.
Edit: I should mention I am scanning straight from the negative using an Epson V500. The lines are visible on the negative itself.
Last edited by avantster; 04-15-2009 at 08:27 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I've never seen this. Thinking about it, as you say the lines are lighter than the dark areas, and darker than the light areas, almost suggests that they are mechanical rather than silver in makeup. Can you scan, or observe an area, maybe in the strip between images, at high magnification to determine if it is a silver image, or a scratched (or somehow disturbed) surface? And on which side of the film? Maybe something in the film transport of the camera, like on the pressure plate. This would be a rare factory problem for Kodak film, in my experience.
Looks like grit in the camera transport system. The lines are too "defined" for a processing / chemicals issue IMO. Are the rollers in the camera corroded and pitted? I've seen this on 35mm - the worst was a customer who'd dropped the unused film on the beach before loading it and filled the felt light trap with sand.
The lines are absolutely straight which suggests that the film has been dragged over something that that has "scagged" the film.
"Why is there always a better way?"
As Bob suggests, check the roller system on the camera to make sure the rollers are spinning and not stuck. Also check the pressure plate. On some Rolleiflex models there is a 35mm/70mm setting in addition to the 120 setting on the plate. if it is set on 35mm it might be causing this issue. Either way it definitely looks mechanical.
That looks like what i get on 35mm film when I forget to open the light trap on my bulk loader all the way, and drag the film through it.
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I've had similar lines when dragging 120 film thru a 620 box brownie. It was really hard to wind on. Next time I filed the 120 spool more and it was fine. So I agree with George, it could be mechanical.
As for your processing technique, I'd suggest extending your final wash a bit longer. Also, most people agitate with one or more inversions each 30secs or a minute (I do 2 per min). Not that it matters if you get the contrast in your negs that you want, but an inversion every 15secs wouldn't even let the developer settle by the time it runs back into the tank.
Thanks for the response guys.
Having checked the camera more thoroughly, I believe you are right that the problem is mechanical. Thinking back, I have found it more difficult than usual to wind the film, and after opening the camera back in daylight I found these curious tiny purplish brown curls - obviously scraped off the film!
I checked the pressure plate and rollers which are both in great working condition. Eventually I realised I've been loading the film incorrectly, under one of the rollers instead of over it. The instructions I had for loading the film were for a slightly different model. Live and learn.
I have just run a fresh roll of film through and it seems to be working smoothly now. Will report back after I develop it if the problem isn't solved.
Ooops, I just read the last post by OP. I shall leave my reply, however, to show how wunnerfully kenowladgeable I truely be.......(VBG)
Withe the modern Rolleiflexes other than the T, the film goes under a bar which tightens the film. But not the T. I forget if the T has a roller. If it does, are you, perchance, loading the film under the roller ala the other Flexes?
Last edited by Anscojohn; 04-16-2009 at 08:42 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: not reading all the posts before reply--dumb!
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
Thanks for the response anyway John, you are absolutely correct!
I guess that's what happens when you choose the T as your first Rollei :-)
Originally Posted by avantster
In 1968, I worked one summer for an outfit doing convention photography. We shot Rollei Ts. To speed film loading, the dryer kid, in free time, would take empty spools, open the roll, put the leader in the empty roll; turn a coupla turns; then rubber band the two-together. On a job, when we finished a roll, we wound it tight; pulled it; licked the paper, stuck it away. Popping the already threaded spool in, then unwinding, and popping the full spool in; we lined up the arrows, closed, wound to one, and were back shooting in less time than it takes to read this.
The cameras were not babied and lasted forever. We used only the T model because that kind of loading procedure could only be done with the T. Although I have owned several Rolleis, I always loved the T, including that little angled shutter release. You may, somehow, someday, "outgrow" the T; but it shall always be special to you.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA