My first film - interpreting the results
Well, this morning I developed my first film. I was trying to follow the instructions to the letter, so it was 35mm HP5+ in ID-11 1+1 for what was supposed to be 13 minutes, with 4 inversions in the first 10 seconds of every minute.
What I wasn't expecting was the developer temperature to go up when I got it in the tank. All the chemicals had stabilised at about 20.4 c before I started, but in the tank the developer went up to 21.5, so I referred to the Ilford chart from their website and stopped development about a minute early. I don't know how critical this is. To tell you the truth, I got in a bit of a panic because I had a bath of water at 23c ready in case temperatures dropped (per the instructions...), when I could really have done with a 20c bath instead.
The only real problem is with the first 8 frames or so, where there are dark areas around and between a lot of the sprocket holes, same shape as the holes, where the film hasn't cleared. The first two frames have a dark bar across them too, so I think there was a problem loading the film onto the reel (I had to have 2 tries at that). This effect becomes less obvious by frame 8 but doesn't disappear altogether until frame 15. The images themselves are fine apart from the first two.
Overall the negatives seems a little on the dark side. I wonder whether they are a little overdeveloped, because according to the Ilford chart I should have stopped development a bit sooner than I did at that temperature. They still have what appears to my inexpert eye to be a fair range of tones, they just seem a bit darker overall than HP5+ that I've had developed by the lab.
Anyway, I have a few more grey hairs than I did when I started, but it was a lot of fun and next time I'll be ready for the temperature change and have a cool bath ready. Any suggestions about the dark areas and the overall darkness would be much appreciated.
Congratulations!! Isn't it fun... and satisfying to pull the reel out and see some negs!!
Two points... you may have over agitated a bit. Sometimes those dark areas around the sprocket holes happen with too much agitation. Try just three inversions each minute. As for temperature... consistency is more important than accuracy, and I think it's best to try to keep all the chemistry at about the same temp. And try to keep it consistent by using the same thremometer.
Second point... I tend to use D-76 (ID-11) at 1:3 for thirteen minutes. (For Hp5 rated at 200), so you may want to do some tests with different dilutions. It just seems at 1:1 dilution, the development time should have been a bit shorter.
Best of luck with it all.
Consistancy is the key, for developmnet time follow the chart for the initial temperature then don't change anything.
Originally Posted by Suzanne Revy
I also use the same thermometer, start the timer when the solution is all placed in the drum, and start to pour developer out when the timer goes off.
I do it the same way, everytime and as a result I know the process is not to blame for "surprises".
I think you are probably right on the bands and I agree with Suzznae on the sprocket marks, both are the most logical explaination.
I agree with the others about the marks around the sprocket holes. I can't be sure without seeing the film, but from the description, the marks sound like "surge marks," which are areas of uneven development caused by fluid turbulence around the sprocket holes. Reducing agitation (number of inversions or the vigor with which you invert) usually handles the problem.
As to the dark bars, is your film wrinkled? I've seen something similar once or twice, apparently caused by a single wrinkle in the film. My hypothesis is that this set up uneven fluid flow, but with the wrinkle running top-to-bottom on the film, it caused an oscillating pattern of uneven development for a few frames.
In addition to the comments about being consistent, I'd add that the times in charts should be considered starting points only. Issues like your personal agitation style, thermometer calibration, etc., can affect degree of development. What constitutes "optimal" development also varies depending on your enlarger, paper, personal preferences, etc. Ultimately, you'll have to start making enlargements to decide if the development is optimal, and it may take some time to decide what works best for you. In the meantime, don't be overly concerned; just practice and try to be consistent.
Just be resigned to the fact that you are going to ruin a bunch of film at first and do not give up. What you find is that you fuss over things that don't matter and that you miss the things that do. Each film and developer also has it's own quirks, which is why many recommend that you stick with a single combination when you start out.
The bumps make it all the more rewarding when finally start getting things right every time.
art is about managing compromise
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
Thanks for all the replies and encouragement! I've attached a jpeg of a few strips of the negatives, to illustrate what I mean about the marks. You can see the dark bar across the first one and some strange marks on the film just before it.
I've spent most of the afternoon over the lightbox and I am quite pleased with what I see. Where I bracketed my shots I generally prefer the one with an extra stop over what the meter told me, which I suppose is the same as exposing at 200 ASA and sticking to the standard development. I've Les Maclean's book and I've been reading about film tests, but it seems pretty complicated so I'm going to have to read it through a few times.
The strange mark before frame 1 looks like the shape of a film leader.
How did you load the film on the reel? Starting with the back (highest number)? Seems weird to me.
If that is the case, I think you did not cut of the leader and it it stuck on the film, thus preventing any developer from touching the portion of film underneath.
It is only an assumption. Could you explain in detail how you loaded the film on the reel? It might help us to give an anwer to the strange mark.
I see what you mean, but it is simply coincidence because I did cut off the leader, and now that I think about it I wonder if I had a problem loading the film into the camera and opened the back to adjust it right at the start of the film, which could explain the area that it shaped like a leader.
Originally Posted by argus
I was using a Paterson tank and reel, and I loaded the film in the normal way. I did have a problem to start with because the film jammed and I couldn't twist the reel back and forth to load it, but it was OK when I tried again. It does look like there was a problem with those first couple of frames, but I couldn't see anything obvious when I took it off after development.
Originally Posted by jdef
Thanks Jay. I had some test shots on this roll with a kind of still life arrangement that I set up, including a black leather jacket, a natural wool colour Arran sweater and an 18% grey card. I metered from the grey card and at the suggested setting there was significantly less detail in the black jacket than there was with one stop extra, although the highlights in the sweater still seemed full of detail. I was getting excited because this matched what I had been reading about (meter for shadows etc), so I thought "ah, I've proved to myself that this is true". As you say, it will be interesting to see how those negatives print.
Kevin (who admits that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing)
I think you've got a light leak somewhere in the system. When loading film into a reel and you bend it so it kinks it's usually distinct (usually cresent shaped) marks. Your negs look like dodgy bulk loaded canisters, which show smilar density (the black bits) at which point I throw them out.