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  1. #1

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    Black spots on Pan F 120 - cause?

    Last week I processed a roll of Pan F 120 which is pretty much unusable due to being covered in small black spots. Below is a detail of a neg scan of one frame - there are hundreds of these dots, more in the denser areas. The pattern seen here is present in every frame of the roll.



    The film is in-date - it was bought earlier this year from B&H and expiry is Jan 2013. It was exposed in a Zero Image pinhole camera. Processed in Adonal 1:50 (Rodinal) followed by an acid stop and Kodak Fix then Hypo Clear. I suspect the problem is a combination of the film, Adonal and acid stop. Some searching suggests that Pan F is a somewhat fragile film. Funnily enough I hadn't used acid stop for years - always used water until recently on a whim I decided to use acid stop. I have read that the Rodinal solution is very alkaline and the sudden change to acid can shock some films. Would that cause black spots, which must be some sort of silver clumping? What the hell are these black spots anyway?
    I still have a couple of rolls of the Pan F left and will test with Adonal and water stop. For now I've switched to Tmax 100 for the pinhole; not keen on fragile films. Below is the full frame positive where the black spots show as white flecks.


  2. #2
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    I don't believe the spots are the fault of the film. I suspect your water source first, or undissolved chemicals. The spots appear to be tiny flakes of some sort too often found in unfiltered water.I don't think the acid stop bath caused the problem, but there is no need to use it except to stop development more quickly. I have used plain water stop bath for years with no problems.
    You might try using distilled water for your final rinse.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  3. #3
    trexx's Avatar
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    There is added density in areas near dense areas. I would suspect developer and agitation. A very active developer and too little agitation may be the cause. In some developers the by product of development produces more active development. The developer completely developed the highlights, and the by product migrated to develop other less exposed areas.

    So what developer and how did you agitate?
    D-76 is a standard developer, although not one I use.
    Ansel Adams - The Negative

  4. #4
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    I got a bunch of tiny black specks on a roll of 35mm Pan-F. I had mixed the developer with our well water. I read somewhere on another thread that a small amount of dissolved Iron salts in the water can cause this with certain developers and films.

    I mixed another batch of developer with distilled water and there were no more black specks. The negs looked fine. Sometime later I tried filtering our well water with a water filtration pitcher, and that worked also.
    Happiness is a load of bulk chemicals, a handful of recipes, a brick of film and a box of paper. - desertrat

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by trexx View Post
    There is added density in areas near dense areas. I would suspect developer and agitation. A very active developer and too little agitation may be the cause. In some developers the by product of development produces more active development. The developer completely developed the highlights, and the by product migrated to develop other less exposed areas.

    So what developer and how did you agitate?
    Correct - there are more spots in the dense areas and less in the thin areas, however they are all over the film.
    It was processed from a very new bottle of Adox Adonal (same as Agfa Rodinal) 1:50 using tap water. I process using this tap water several times a week & have never had any marks or defects. I agitated a Paterson tank gently for the first 30 seconds and then for 10 seconds each minute. My first time with Pan F and Rodinal so I followed the Massive dev chart time which suggested 11 minutes. I think I did 9 or 10 mins as they had been quite long pinhole exposures for reciprocity so thought a slight pull was prudent. Exposure & development look fine - I was happy until I noticed the spots.
    In the same week I did some rolls of Tri-X in the Adonal & acid stop with no defects or anything unusual. I've processed 4x5 and 8x10 HP5 using Xtol and the same tap water with no marks.

  6. #6
    trexx's Avatar
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    I was going to say that the image looked of pinhole flare. The slow speed of Pan-F produced the highlight flare. Nothing wrong just part of pinhole photography.
    D-76 is a standard developer, although not one I use.
    Ansel Adams - The Negative

  7. #7

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    All the frames on this roll have the black spots, even ones that weren't aiming into the light. Also, I have since switched to Tmax 100 in the pinhole with no quality problems.

  8. #8
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Not to be the voice of reason here...

    I think the shot looks beautiful with the spots.

  9. #9

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    Well, first off, the image is not unusable, learn how to spot.

    Second, dark spots are usually not the film's fault. Pinholes could be, but dark spots are usually development issues.

    Third, use distilled water for all development. You'll be surprised at the difference in clarity in your negatives.

    tim in san jose
    Where ever you are, there you be.

  10. #10

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    I use well water too and never had this issue once. But all wells are not created equal, so I guess it could be. I have no other theory on the matter, just wanted to add my 2 cents incase you mixed new developer with distilled water and it didn't work. I use distilled water for a final rinse to reduce marks after drying, but not for the chemicals. It couldn't hurt though.
    Last edited by jordanstarr; 08-14-2011 at 12:21 AM. Click to view previous post history.

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