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  1. #1

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    Uneven development driving me crazy...

    Hello,

    I have been struggling with uneven development issues for some time now and wasted so many films and money in test rolls, but I still have no clue about what is going on. Hope some of you can help.
    The sides of my negs are over-developed and the effect is much more visible in bright highlights, more specifically the sky area when it’s a clear blue day. When I use stainless steal tank and reels this phenomena seems amplified. With the Jobo plastic tank and reels, it is limited in size to the border of the negative but come with some big black blotches.
    The camera is not the cause of this because different cameras give the same problem.
    I've tried different developers also (D-76, HC-110, Perceptol, PMK, Prescysol) and only the tanning developers seem to lessen the problem.
    I thought about agitation but I’ve developed films for years and never had this issue before… Nevertheless it seems like the most probable cause but leaves me totally clueless. I’ve tried more and less agitation but to no effect. When I invert my tank I always twist it to allow lateral flow of the developer. And I always switch directions. 10 seconds is 4 complete inversions (down and up). And agitation every 30s or 1min or semi-stand (every 3min) doesn’t change much. Although less agitation seems to worsen the problem I can’t say for sure and the difference is small.
    Here are some examples of my test rolls :


    and the film that made me aware of the problem:


    Hope someone can help.
    Thanks.
    Vania

  2. #2
    winger's Avatar
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    Are you agitating constantly during the first 30 seconds? Doing that consistently solved my uneven development issues.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by winger View Post
    Are you agitating constantly during the first 30 seconds? Doing that consistently solved my uneven development issues.
    Yes, I always agitate for the 1st minute. I think the Jobo shows less effect because the developer is poured much faster than in the ss tank. Although it shows those weird blotches, and I wonder if it's the same problem...

  4. #4
    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    Bethe is right, the beginning agitation is the most important, you need at least 30 seconds of vigorous agitation to begin with. Your examples have air-bubble marks on the edges too, that's a result of too little agitation. After each inversion, bang the bottom of the tank on the palm of your hand, or on a sturdy tabletop to knock off air bubbles on the film.
    Chris Crawford
    Fine Art Photography of Indiana and other places no one else photographs.

    http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com

    My Tested Developing Times with the films and developers I use

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    Fort Wayne, Indiana

  5. #5
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Using a presoak for two to three minutes prior to development will help, along with vigorous agitation for first 30 seconds of developer. This will also help avoid air bell marks on film.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  6. #6

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    Thanks all. I should have mentioned that I use a 5min pre-soak. I do agitate the 1st minute be maybe not vigorously enough. I do one complete inversion every 2-3 seconds. Do you think I should agitate more. I do bang the tank and use distilled water. If the black blotches are air bubble it's sort of a good news at least I know how to avoid them (just bang more ).

  7. #7
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Is this roll film or is it sheet film? It looks like sheet film.

    If this is roll film, can you show a scan including the full rebate/edge printing?
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  8. #8

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    Roll, 6x6. My scan doesn't allow to see more, but the transparent surrounding of the film is clear if this is what you mean. No light leaks or anything of the sort.

  9. #9
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    I've been there with the bubbles in a Paterson; best solution I found was to use 2-5 drops of photoflo per 500mL of developer, it allows the bubbles to slip through the spiral. Without it, I can't bang hard enough to dislodge the bubbles without damaging the tank.

    I find that one inversion every second (i.e. takes two seconds for tank to go from upright to upside down to upright again) works well, which means you get 10-12 inversions at the top of each minute, plus all of the first minute.

    Do not overfill your tank. Put only the required quantity of developer in the tank (500mL for 120 in Paterson) because the air-space is required to achieve proper mixing. In fact, I suspect this is your problem - if your tank is very nearly full, you'll get mixing of chemicals only at the ends of the tanks while all the stuff in the middle will just sit there and be stale.

  10. #10

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    I sometimes have the exact same problem with 35mm film, for example:



    It doesn't seem to happen anymore, yet I have not changed chemicals, tanks, or film. I have also not changed my agitation routine. So, although I cannot conclude as to the reason I had this problem, i thought I'd at least add some non-datapoints to the solution.

    In all likelihood, the theory of overfilling the tank (leaving no air at the top) might be plausible, or, as others have mentioned, some important aspect of initial agitation.

    To be honest, I used to think the problem occurred during the printing stage (the above is a scanned analogue print) - I have not directly scanned the negatives to confirm.

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