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  1. #1

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    B/W Reversal disaster

    Today I tried to mix my own chemicals for bw reversal and tried it to process a roll of Rollei Retro 100 (the one that it is supposed to be identical to Agfa APX100 -and it seems to be).
    I tried a variation of the Ilford reversal recipe using rodinal 1+10 instead of their paper developer and a potassium permanganate bleach.
    Until now I had used the Foma reversal kit which seems to be very similar with very good results both on Fomapan R and Agfa scala.
    Well, the film came almost transparent, the emulsion was extremely soft and it was like it was about to melt.
    The leader of the film was crystal clear as it should be but the unexposed parts (between frames and above the sprockets) were clear too but covered with the soft emulsion instead of being black.
    I first noticed that something was wrong at the light exposure step when I realised that the film wasn't milk white coloured as it should but similar with a normal processed negative. Still, there was some image on it (I cannot recall if it was negative of positive, negative probably). After I fixed the film (with my normal tetenal thiosulfate fixer) it was almost transparent with some very weak positive picture on the soft emulsion.
    A total disaster!
    I suspect that the 7gr sodium thiosulfate crystals I added in the 600ml first developer (rodinal 1+10) were too much or that the bleaching time was too long (5min) but still I cannot figure out what went wrong. Any ideas?

  2. #2
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    Too clear film / no image -> probably too much thiosulfate in FD. I made my first reversal experiment with Ilford recipe and Agfa APX 100 and got completely clear film. I removed all the thiosulfate and got a usable image. Maybe you should start without thiosulfate and start adding it very carefully (0.7 g instead of 7 g, or so!) if the highlights are not clear enough or contrast is too low. I used Neutol NE as developers, bleach and clearing bath per Ilford recipe and Agefix as fixer at the end of the process.

    I had no problem with emulsion, running APX100 at 24 Celsius. Paper emulsion went very soft, though. Try to reduce temperature a bit and agitate more gently, and use a hardening fixer if available.

  3. #3

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    I've been playing around with black and white reversal processing recently, but havent had that problem yet. I use a potassium permanganate and sodium bisulfate bleach for five minutes with constant agitation followed by three minutes of constant agitation in a sodium metabisulfite clearing bath. That does make the emulsion soft, but I really havent had a problem with it so far except for a few scratches caused by my fingernails.

    The developer I use is Dektol 1:2 (paper stringth) for 12 minutes with constant agitation at 68 degrees with no thiosulfate, and I dont see a problem with the highlights. I dont know if the the fogging of the highlights is an overstated problem or if using paper strength Dektol is increasing contrast and counteracting any highlight fogging. At the moment, i'm kinda leaning toward it's an overstated problem because I have no problem overexposing my film and having perfectly clear highlights (And i've dont that in quite a few frames so far ). I'd say try again using no thiosulfate just to see how the film looks. If you think the highlights are foggy, add a little thiosulfate each time you develop until you're happy with the highlights.

    I use Ilford FP4+ and Arista.edu 200. I've learned that my EI for FP4 is about 32 and 50 for Arista.edu 200. I dont know about your film, though. Perhaps do some bracketing and find your personal EI. that might help the highlights a little (Maybe. I'm not really sure. I've only been doing reversal processing sporadically for the last few months, so I'm no expert )
    "I have captured the light and arrested its flight! The sun itself shall draw my pictures!"

    -Louis Daguerre, 1839-

  4. #4

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    Nothing against DIY at all. Have you considered DR5?

    I am a paying customer. David is a great guy. No financial incentive in my recommendation.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by jforney View Post
    Nothing against DIY at all. Have you considered DR5?

    I am a paying customer. David is a great guy. No financial incentive in my recommendation.

    I'd recommend DR5, as well, but I've never sent in any film to be processed. I've heard and seen lots of good stuff about David Woods' process.It might be good for us both to send in a roll to see how a pro lab processes a roll and compare it to our own processes. I've personally been wanting to send in at least one roll for a while, but I've been too caught up in my experimenting to spare a roll. Now that i've got my process down, though, I'd like to give DR5 a go.

    I would offer to process a roll of your film myself, but our processes are so similar that I dont think I could process your film any better than you could. I think I might try paper developer if I were you, because I've learned through my own experimenting that the developer needs to be fairly strong.
    "I have captured the light and arrested its flight! The sun itself shall draw my pictures!"

    -Louis Daguerre, 1839-

  6. #6

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    alxsav try to use half strength permanganate bleach, halves only the permanganate part, not the sulfuric acid.
    Then reduce the overall amount of silver solvent in the first developer and try to conduct your development at exactly 18°C.
    Use an hardening fixer is paramount.
    I'd also use Kodak D-19 as the developer, not Rodinal and do the trials on 3/4 frames max not on the entire roll, this way it's much more cheaper.
    Keep posting results, it's extremely interesting.

    It's generally good to uprate the film if you'll going to use hypo in FD.

  7. #7

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    @jforney, I 've have tried DR5 once, the results were ok but since then I 've got excellent results with the foma kit and my own processing. On the other hand, as I live in Greece, postage and turnaround time is quite an issue to me.
    @Alessandro Serrao, I tried rodinal since it is used by Jens Osbahr http://home.snafu.de/jens.osbahr/pho...r_reversal.pdf and I had it available. I will try today with Neutol, no thiosulfate in FD and half the permanganate in BLEACH. I will also reduce the bleaching time to 3min from 5min. Do you think to continue using Rollei Retro 100 or switch to an ilford film (I 've got PANF and DELTA100 available)?
    Anyway, I will try again and I will report the results. And a question: Has anybody, ever, used exactly the Ilford process and got good results? I 've only got emulsion jelly spread on the film base.

  8. #8

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    There is one problem with BW reversal that has not been stressed enough.

    Every film is unique and requires "unique" process. That means you cannot take one procedure from the internet and apply it on every film. Some films have very thin layer and do not require halide solvent (especially more sensitive films) and some do (especially low-speed films). I believe dr5 is just perfectly calibrated process for every kind of film separately.

    Moreover, some films are more suitable while some are less. I recommend reading film overview on dr5 website to get some starting point.

    There will be fomapan r 100 in 120 format, so if this is the problem why you experiment with APX, I suggest to wait few months.

    Otherwise, I would begin with films already tested, like Ilford HP5+ and so. There is a very good "recipe" by Jens Osbahr that uses bleach based on permanganate. You don't have to use rodinal like he does. I was very succesfull with PQ developer in Foma kit. To be complete, HP5+ in 1+10 fomadon lqr (included in the kit) for 15min, without solvent, constant agitation. I used dichromate bleach however.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by alxsav View Post
    Do you think to continue using Rollei Retro 100 or switch to an ilford film (I 've got PANF and DELTA100 available)?
    I've never used the Rollei Retro 11, but I dont know why you wouldnt get good llford says PanF as a slide is very contrasty. I believe Ilford says PAn F is best for copying text (black text on a white background), but you might could use it in very low contrast scenes.

    I cant look at the ilford PDF atm because it's not wanting to load on my computer. I have a printout of it somewhere that I cant seem to find



    Quote Originally Posted by alxsav View Post
    And a question: Has anybody, ever, used exactly the Ilford process and got good results? I 've only got emulsion jelly spread on the film base.
    I only used it as a guide. Here's my process


    1) Dektol 1:2 @ 20C/68F for 12 minutes with constant agitation for 12 minutes.

    Ilford Recommends their developers, but I dont have any in stock here, but I always have Dektol (And it's easier for me to store bags in my limited space than bottles, so I use powder whenever possible). I found the developing time and agitation recommended by ilford made my film a bit dark, so I went with constant agitation for 12 minutes.

    2) I cant get my hands on sulphuric acid, so their recommended bleach is out of the question for me. I mix a two-part bleach: Part A is Potassium Permanganate and distilled water; Part B is Sodium Bisulfate and distilled water. I bleach for five minutes with constant agitation (which I believe is Ilford's Reccomendation).

    3)Sodium metabisulfate clearing bath. I dont remember what Ilford's clearing bath is. I do constant agitiation for 3 minutes

    4) Re-expose to light: 1 min to 1 1/2 min 16-20inches away from a 100-watt light bulb. I think that's close to the ilford recommendation

    5) Redevelop: Dektol 1:2 for 4 minutes. It's done to completion, so as long as you develop the film fully, the time really doesnt matter, IME. I wouldnt leave the film in there for an hour, but a little over 4 wont hurt, I dont think. I'm not sure with how little you can get away with, though, so I wouldnt go with less than 4 unless someone has a reason not to

    6) Fix. I use TF5 and use their fixing time and agitation. I dont have the bottle with me, and I cant remember the fix time/agitation off the top of my head.

    I've read in a few sites that fixing is optional since the last bit of silver left in the emulsion after bleaching should be developed completely. You probably should fix, though, in case there's a bit of undeveloped silver left in the emulsion, though

    7) Final wash: Ilford method

    8) Dry

    9)Mount

    10) Enjoy





    I do have a wash step between all the steps. I use distilled water at 20C/68F. I fill the tank up, agitate a bit, then dump in to an empty distilled water jug (They come in gallon sizes here in the States. I dont know what size bottles are avaliable in Greece). I take my used chems and washwater to the hazardous waste dropoff. Here in Decatur, Alabama, they do a collection once a month. I save up for a few months then take a truckload for them to take care of

    Good luck with your process. I hope it works out better in the future


    Edit: I also use a stop bath after each develop step. You might can get away with water, but I have so much stop bath at the moment that I dont care if I'm exhausting it more quickly than I should

    Also, I've noticed that I get a two stop loss of speed with my process. That's not a problem because I have a tripod and my Pentax's have fast lenses. I'm not sure how to get more speed out if the film. Perhaps someone more experienced can chime in (I'm still a bit of a newbie, and I dont claim to be an expert. I'm just posting what I've found to work)
    Last edited by Existing Light; 06-18-2010 at 01:46 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    "I have captured the light and arrested its flight! The sun itself shall draw my pictures!"

    -Louis Daguerre, 1839-

  10. #10

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    Second try, second failure though a educative one.
    I keep on using Rollei Retro 100 (aka agfa apx100). I used Agfa Neutol WA 1+7 without any hypo and I skipped the CLEANING (POTASSIUM METABISULPHITE+water) step. For the second developer I used the first bath again (in Foma style).
    When I opened the tank after bleach to expose the film, it had the usual "creamy" character though on the yellow/brown side (no cleaning?) The image was clearly visible. Then I exposed the film the usual way (Foma style again) by moving the reel near a 100w bulb for about a minute on each side of the reel. Then I made the Second Development step and after that I looked again at the film and I was almost ok though it still had that "creamy" character more on the brown side. Success I thought until I poured the fixer and the image was gone. The fixer (tetenal) washed the most of the image and left the clear base.
    I assume that since there were image before fixing, that image consisted mainly by the unexposed emulsion that left after bleaching. It should have been exposed and developed. I suspect that the exposure to light was not enough (I don't think that the developer was exhausted after just one film and this was Neutol 1+7, quite strong). The start of the film which was on the top of the reel received more light and it was more black.
    I exposed for around 2 minutes like I did a lot of times with Fomapan R and Scala.
    How much time should I expose next time? Lets say 5 minutes? I think that overexposure is not critical but are there any limits? Exposure with the film on the reel isn't the best but on the other hand messing with 1,5m wet film is not convenient and since I have seen it work a lot of times why shouldn't work now.

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