Success! Well, some anyway. The film edges are still ever-so-slightly overdeveloped, but nothing like before. It isn't even noticeable on some frames.
If I were smart I would have done some portrait-orientation shots with the sky in them, but I think this one does a good job of showing how edge highlights aren't completely blown out. Yes, it's a little underdeveloped (stupid math error on my part, I got the time wrong), but probably not enough to invalidate the test.
I gave my reels a good scrub-down with hot water and a toothbrush, I loaded my reel tightly, left a bit of airspace in the tank, and I [i]increased[i] my agitation (thinking I just wasn't getting any fresh developer to most of the film). Ideally I should have done a few test rolls changing one thing at a time so I could single-out the problem, but patience isn't one of my virtues! I'll keep experimenting, especially with agitation, but I've at least made some progress thanks to all your help.
Hej Thomas, and thank you for some nice words!
There really seems to be "two schools" about even/uneven development and smooth/not that smooth agitation. I think there is some voodoo in the smooth line; a lot of people have, no doubt, found a certain interval and a way of moving the tank that works – it works for them and that's good; but there is in this line I think, if not voodoo, at least some amount of luck. What I called "my general idea (complete substitution of chemicals... each agitation period, even if in few periods)" is, honestly, not very much my own, it is based on long discussions with a professional on surfaces and liquids. Just moving around the film in the developer, slowly or quickly, for example doesn't produce sufficient substitution of fresh development agents for the bad substances. And if the developing time is, say 10 minutes, the unevenness is not, as far as I understand, caused by the accelerated activity of the fresh development agents at different parts of the film surface during the agitation period (10 to 15 seconds), but by the fact that fresh developer is substituted at some part of the surface but not at other parts, and then, in the interval between the agitation sessions, developing is proceeding more effectively at some part compared to others.
In view of this, the trick seems to be to arrange reels, tanks and liquids such that each time you agitate the substitution of the good for the bad is as complete as possible, then there will be an even substitution all over the film surface (I think!).
Hej Då och Good luck Scruff McGruff!
I was excited and hopeful until I developed the next roll which turned out to be a complete disaster. I did notice something that I hadn't before though:
Can anyone explain why there is a gap in the overdeveloped edges? The only explanation I can come up with is that the reel is affecting development somehow despite the good scrub-down I gave it. This is incredibly frustrating, enough to make me consider throwing in the towel. It's just not worth it if I can't produce a decent negative.
Thanks for the info on this thread. I am also dealing with 10% voodoo, and maybe another 10% macumba) but my problem is the opposite. I get quite even darker edges on my prints, and if my understanding is correct I am under agitating?
Scruff McGruff! No needs for towels!
First, you say "I loaded my reel tightly"; I don't know exactly what you mean, but by looking at your earlier filmstrips you have marks at the edges that show not 100% proper fixing. The whole film should be totally transparent. Now, the emulsion seems to have been very tight attached to the reel rings, making it impossible, it seems, for the fix to reach the whole film surface. When you load the film try to push the film back such that the BACK side of the film is as tight as possible to the real, leaving the emulsion as free as possible for the chemicals to the their job – nothing is going on during the process at the back of the film, EVERYTHING happens at the emulsion side. Loocking at your picture your edge problem is a little bit special: very sharp and also VERY narrow, normally bad agitation will not be that sharp and narrow, according to my experience. Maybe you should try to refix the filmstrip above! If the edges are nor properly fixed (as I judge from your film that you show earlier), then the edges are less transparent and perhaps will show up as these lighter edges when scanning (or printing). Just one new suggestion!
Second, if this is not your problem, try the method suggested earlier: double size of the tank compared to the reel with the covering chemicals (not just a little bit of airspace), fix the reel such that they don't jump around when you invert the tank; try control with dilution or temperature to have a developing time around 10 minutes (not less), agitate gently by inverting and rotating back and forth the tank for the first minute, roughly the interval 8-10 times during 15 seconds, agitate in a similar way 10-15 seconds every minute (or every second minute); make sure proper fixing (at least 2-3 times clearing the base, use the piece you normally cut away when loading the film to make sure the fixing time).
Third! If this doesn't work, try the plastic line suggested above! I would suggest a Paterson 1 liter tank with the “big mouth”: when inverting that tank the chemicals will leave the reel when upside down, making the movements of the liquids penetrating the surface properly when turning back, doing this several times (that is more important, I think, with these tanks compared to quick filling etc!); the film has more space in these reels than in the SS reels, and they don't jump around when moving the tank - I think these tanks are quite good.
Give it a new try before you cry in your towels! I'm quite sure you will solve it!
trhull, can only say what I have said above, it should, I think, give you clean and even developed and fixed negatives.
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It's not quite that simple; edge darkness doesn't vary linearly with amount of agitation. If only one edge is too dark in prints (too light in the negatives), it could be that you don't have enough solution volume. There might be other problems, too. Overall, I suggest you start a new thread so as not to get too completely different problem discussions mixed up in one thread. In your new thread, post more details, such as your film format, tank type, developer used, how much developer you're using, agitation technique, etc.
Originally Posted by trhull
If you mean the dark areas that remain dark up to the edge (at the base of the cliffs, for instance), that's probably just because those areas of the film saw so little light that there was nothing to overdevelop.
Originally Posted by Scruff McGruff
I wouldn't worry about this. I see similar marks along the edges (near the sprocket holes) of my 35mm film developed in SS reels, but I do not see the sort of underdevelopment along the edges that Scruff is seeing. In other words, they're completely different effects. The sprocket hole marks don't seem to cause any problems for me, so I personally don't worry about them. Maybe I should, but I have yet to see any suggestion that they'll cause any long-term harm, and they certainly don't affect the image area, so I don't really care about them.
Originally Posted by Bertil
Scruff, you might want to check YouTube for some videos of film development. Perhaps you can emulate somebody else's agitation style and get better results that way. (Unfortunately, I don't have any URLs handy, although I know such videos are available on YouTube.)
If you buy another type of tank, a Paterson, AP, or similar tank may be a good choice, as Bertil suggests. In addition to his reasoning, these tanks include rods that can be used for rotary agitation -- you can agitate in either (or both) of two ways: using inversion or by rotating the rod. Most people seem to prefer inversion agitation, but a few prefer rotary agitation. It's conceivable you'll get better results with rotary agitation. Buying a tank that can do either type will give you more options, and therefore a greater chance of finding a method that works well for you.
I use T-Max 400 in SS tanks, both single tanks and double, and I agitate as Kodak recommends with 5-7 inversion in 5 seconds every 30 seconds. I have not had anything like what you are getting. Looking at your two images, I would inspect your camera again. The shot with the dog seems like an overcast day and the desert shot looks very bright. I think you may have some wicked flare from inside the camera. Not a light leak, but a reflective surface or need of a lens hood. I didn't see the marks on your film edge like agitation problems.
Ah, but if you look at the corresponding top edge, you'll see this can't be the case. Also see the following image; this was a 1/4000s, f/22, lens-cap-on, completely black control shot. Obviously, it is not completely black! I think this probably shows my problem(s) better than a complex photo.
Originally Posted by srs5694
A friend pointed out that chemically-speaking, an unexposed emulsion shouldn't have any density when developed so there is probably a light leak somewhere in the system. It probably isn't in the camera, as I've gotten good results in lab-developed film shot with this camera, so I'm guessing the leak is in my changing bag or tank. Probably the tank, as there is such a defined pattern, but I'll set up some experiments to test where it is.
You can see that there does appear to be some sprocket-hole surge, so my problem may be partly agitation-related. Could the surge-like pattern be caused by the light leak in a tank too, though? Hmm...
Also, I have no idea what is causing those longitudinal lines, but one step at a time.
On this test roll, I loaded the reel and agitated more doing the fix step to get rid of those marks. I was successful in getting rid of the marks but you are right-- these seem to be isolated phenomena.
Originally Posted by srs5694
I've looked at quite a few videos and can't seem to find any major differences between my technique and that of others. I understand this is the likely cause, but I feel like I've tried everything. Hopefully my tank/bag leak tests should shed some light (couldn't resist!) on the problem.
Originally Posted by srs5694
Thanks for the tank advice. I just have a hard time accepting this as a solution because obviously others use the same equipment with great success. That said, if there is a problem with my particular tank I don't have any qualms about getting new equipment.
Originally Posted by srs5694
Last edited by Scruff McGruff; 05-15-2009 at 04:47 PM. Click to view previous post history.
This image shows why problems can be so perplexing if they have multiple causes. The sprocket surge is one thing; but I seriously doubt that is much of a problem. Your friend's comment that a totally unexposed segment of film should have no density (above film base/fog level) is true; but other things can make film "developable." Physical stress, for example.
All this being said, I just don't have any "aha" moments for you; and the more people suggest things to you, the more confusing it might become.
As far as Kodak's "ASA Standard" agitation is concerned, I can assure you that this dinosaur would never invert a SS tank that number of times in five seconds. For your interest and edification, I actually counted the number of agitations I did in a roll I souped this after noon. Three gentle inversions in five seconds. How gentle? A mild "click" of the reel in the tank each way. I did notice (amazing how routine things are notice when we look) a slight natural ca. 1/16 wrist turn.
I keep a darkroom rag on the SS cap, too; rarely have I found any that does not leak upon inversion and that might contribute to a slight wrist turn.
Oh, and yes, the good solid "thump" of the heel of other hand before putting the tank back down on the working surface.
With development as a cause, it has almost always been in those automated, roller processors running at too fast a rate--but you are not using one of them. What a conundrum!!
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA