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  1. #1
    Todd Adamson's Avatar
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    Horrible result with Rodinal

    I've been doing some of my own developing now for several months, using rodinal. It's pretty dependable, seems like I can't really screw it up. Til now, the only minor issue I've had was getting the fix level a little low, so I had some edge effects, but they were no big deal. But I developed a roll last night, and the scans are all messed up.....very posterized. I'm hoping someone has seen something like this and can tell me what the problem is. I guess it's possible it's the scanner, but I suspect the developing process somehow. It was Rodinal 1:25, for 10 minutes, with agitation for 5 seconds every minute. I've done this many times, and never seen anything like it. Same bottle of Rodinal, always. The film is LegacyPro 100, and is from a 12-pack out of which I've used 7 or 8 rolls already, with no issues.

    This was done just the same as the last few times I've done this, except for a couple of differences I would have assumed to be minor:

    1. The tank and reel. I've been using a cheapo plastic setup, but I got a Kindermann stainless steel tank with two reels on eBay this week, and used those. The tank and reels arrived clean, but were obviously not new. I washed them thoroughly in soap and hot water, then rinsed them thoroughly before use. Any possibility the new tank could have anything to do with this?

    2. Possibly old fix? I'm using Clayton RF19 Rapid Fix. The stuff I used as been recycled for at least 4 or 5 rolls, and this recycled dilution has been stored for 2 months or more. I don't time my fix, but rather I just fix a scrap of film concurrently in a small dish, then let the roll in the tank fix for a minute or two longer after that's done. This time I noticed the fix seemed to take longer.....maybe 3 minutes or more for the scrap. But it did ultimately clear, so I wasn't too worried about it.

    I've included a sample from this roll, along with a close crop.

    Anyone seen a similar effect before, or have ideas?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails LP100_roll_38_002_WTF_full.jpg   LP100_roll_38_002_WTF.jpg  

  2. #2
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Either underfixed or film touching in spiral, or exposed to light before fully fixed. Possibly a refix could correct. If not, it was exposed to light.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  3. #3
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Well it's NOT the developer no film developer would cause that, sounds like incomplete fixing.

    You need to fix for double the clearing time.

    Ian

  4. #4
    Todd Adamson's Avatar
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    Thanks for the fast replies, guys. That may well be my problem. As I said, I fixed for longer than the clearing time, but only by a little. I certainly did not fix for double the clearing time, and the fixer was most definitely losing its efficacy. So, assuming it wasn't exposed to light (and I'm fairly confident it was not), you think a refix might help? I will try that!

  5. #5
    MattKing's Avatar
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    What sort of agitation regime do you use when the film is in the fixer? If some of the fixer is getting trapped adjacent to certain parts of the film, it may become exhausted, leading to localized under-fixing.

    In any event, Ian is right - you need to fix for at least double the fixing time - with adgitation.
    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

  6. #6
    Todd Adamson's Avatar
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    Thanks, Matt. My agitation, once each minute, was five inversions. I'm not gentle, but I'm not really shaking it up hard, either. Just go from one hand to the other, with a small twist each time, so that by the time I've done five inversions, the tank has been rotated fully, if not more. This is how I've always done it, in my limited time doing this. I have only used Rodinal, and I've only developed twenty or so rolls, with more than half using a stand protocol, unlike this time. But that's the agitation I use for the developing.....I've been much less rigorous about fixing

    So based on the replies here, I'm definitely going to be more careful about fixing, both making sure the fixing time is double the clearing time, and also paying more attention to thorough agitation!

    In this case, my first serious issue with development, the fix was potentially more dated and more used than in other cases, but it's still the first time this has happened, which leads me to ask the question:

    Is there a difference between the steel reels and the plastic ones with regard to "access" of the film to chemicals, and need for agitation? In other words, even though this may have been caused primarily by old fix, is it possible I would have seen no problem, or less of a problem, had I used the plastic reel?

  7. #7
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Adamson View Post
    Is there a difference between the steel reels and the plastic ones with regard to "access" of the film to chemicals, and need for agitation? In other words, even though this may have been caused primarily by old fix, is it possible I would have seen no problem, or less of a problem, had I used the plastic reel?
    With 35m steel reels yes the film is wound tighter in the spiral, it's never cause me a problem but if fixing's borderline it would be an issue.

    Ian

  8. #8
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Todd:

    Depends on the reels and tanks.

    For instance, did you use less chemistry in the steel reel tank? If so, it will exhaust more quickly.

    Also, some reels are designed for use with longer films. They do that by providing a narrower space between each layer of film and steel in the reel. So if you don't get the film correctly into the reel, it is more likely that two layers will contact each other. In addition, with each layer of film being closer to the next, there is of course less room for chemistry between them. So if any chemistry is being trapped, it will exhaust more quickly.

    By the way, you may want to consider continuous agitation for the first 30 seconds of fixing. Kodak at least recommends that, plus further agitation at 30 second intervals.
    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

  9. #9
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Here's the $64,000 question though, which nobody seems to be asking - when you look at the negatives themselves, do you see anything abnormal in them, or are you relying on the scanner to tell you what's normal and abnormal? I'm not saying you shouldn't apply greater rigor to your fixing regime (and start by replacing your fixer more often - chemicals are cheap by comparison to the images captured on the film, which may be irreplaceable), but have you looked into what could be going wrong with your scanner? Any deeper discussion of scanning issues is better handled over at Hybridphoto.com, the APUG sister site. There are some really skilled folks on that site who could provide you with immediate diagnosis if there is any scanner issue.

  10. #10

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    I'm not buying it. In 25 years of committing every kind of silly darkroom mistake imaginable, I've never seen anything like that. In 10 years of playing around in digital, I see that effect often. I'm betting it is in the scan.

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