Removing dust from negs
I am using a Durst M600, old model but working great. However, I often have dust marks on my prints (I do not have a big experience with enlarging). My question is: What do you use to clean the negs and make sure there is no dust on them? I use a small soft brush, the kind that shoot air jet when you press them, but it does not work well. For your information, my negs are stored in dedicated plastic sheet, and I always where cotton gloves when I manipulate them. I work with 35mm and 6x4.5 negatives. Any feed back would be really appreciated.
I assume that is a condenser light source as opposed to a diffusion light source. If so, then dust specs will always be more noticable on your prints. You may want to check into diffuse lighting. But keeping the dust off the negatives in the first place can be a real challenge if you are just hanging them in a room somewhere to dry. I hang mine in a 6 inch pvc pipe 3 1/2 feet long that is mounted on the wall, I then cover the top opening and let them hang dry. It's in a utility room where the washer and drier is, it can be a dusty environment-----that is the only location I put it. I have very little dust on my negatives, it always amazes me how clean they are given where I put them! When there is a dust spec, the diffuse lighting will greatly minimize its impact on the print and is easier to spot.
Hope this helps.
Patrick, there are quite a few methods of removing unwanted particles from film, prior to enlarging.
You could do a search of the forums, it should show some things to do.
Obviously the best way is to have spotlessly clean negatives, not easy, but reasonably possible.
I myself use compressed air from a compressor, in which the air is filtered. I originally had compressed air in a small pressure pack affair. This was a good system using a one off purchase, of a trigger and nozzle attachment. This trigger and nozzle attachment, went onto all subsequent cans.
I also use removeable magic tape. Removeable magic tape is the same strength adhesive as used on the post it notes. By placing fresh removeable magic tape on the offending dust spot, you can often remove the spots easily and painlessly from your negatives. Removeable magic tape adhesive, is of a strength that it will not pull or damage the emulsion, when applied directly.
If this doesn't work then I resort to more aggressive methods. I use Cotton bud tips dipped in Kodak film cleaner, which isn't available anymore. I believe Isopropyl Alcohol is pretty much the same as Kodak film cleaner, others should be able to add what is best here.
After this stage, if the dust spot is still there, then it is usually embedded into the emulsion, spotting starts to look good.
You could, in extreme cases, resort to re-washing the film, hoping that the emulsion will swell enough to allow you to gently, and I mean gently, remove the unwanted debris.
When I'm enlarging a negative, it is not uncommon for me to spend between one to ten minutes ensuring that the negative is as clean as is humanly possible.
Clean negatives really make printing a pleasure, in fact I can safely say, I only have to spot about 10% of my prints. I have though, taken a long time in getting to that stage.
This should give you some food for thought.
Good Morning, Patrick,
Welcome to the world of enlarging--and dust.
If dust or dirt is embedded in the emulsion, there's not much you can do about it once the negative is dry. The only cure is being meticulous in your processing technique, using water filters, and, possibly, distilled water.
Usually, the problem is caused by airborne dust which is attracted to negatives after they are dry. Using an anti-static device (brush, cloth, etc.) can help a lot; grounding the enlarger may be a good idea. Being very observant and careful as the carrier is inserted into the enlarger will help detect the last-second dust which wants to settle on negatives. The problem is usually greater in low-humidity environments. Keeping the darkroom clean helps, but careful negative brushing, sharp eyes,
and persistence will pay off.
I just thought of something else.
I use a loupe to scan the negative which is held in the negative stage, which is held over a light box.
This way you can see every spec of dust, lint, hair and any other unwanted particle.
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Thanks all for your fast answers. It is really appreciated. I noticed that I am far behind you with my poor enlarging experience. I do not know really much about diffusion and condenser light. The light of the Durst M600 is going trough a first glass, parallel to the floor, and then going through a second glass at 90 degrees (going to the base board), and the trough the lens. I will do a search regarding diffusion and condenser.
Chuck: I really love the idea of a tube or plastic tube to put the negs in for drying. I am going to the hardware this afternoon and will pick a nice one.
I saw someone recommending a polonium brush. But I suppose those are not that popular any more...
Patrick, my method is next: I have built myself wooden "box" sizes 25cmx35cmx200cm. Closed form all side except front, there are "doors". My doors are from wood, but you can use plastic foill or whatever. On top is stick for hanging negatives. You can use wardrobe (empty) closet if it is tall enough (35mm film roll of 36 exposures is about 1,60 meters long, so about 2 meters is enough, giving room for hanger for film and manipulation).
So, while film is in final fashing, almost at end of washing I fill flower spray bottle with water. With that bottle I spray all inside of my "film dryer", that is inside side walls and top and bottom walls, including inide side of "doors". Water collect all dust, "glue" it on inside side walls of dryer and dust which is in the air inside of dryer, water drops "catch" them and with water drops dust falls on bottom of dryer.
That way I get rid of dust during film drying.
Bosnia... You don't have to be crazy to live here, but it helps...
No things in life should be left unfinis
I clean the neg with an anti-static brush before loading the carrier. Then I hold the carrier under a strong sharp light and use compressed air.
Here is another thought..... Thoroughly disassemble and clean your enlarger. Sometimes dust in the head will dislodge and drop to the neg after you insert the carrier.
In response to Matti's observation ("I saw someone recommending a polonium brush. But I suppose those are not that popular any more...")
Good Afternoon, Matti,
I sense a bit of tongue in cheek in your comment. At any rate, I fully intend to keep on using my Staticmasters as long as cartridges are available for them. I probably won't be adding them to my diet, however.