In the last couple of months, I've seen odd density variations in my Plus-X and FP4+. On the long edges of each frame is a subtle area of increased density which runs the lenght of the frame.

I develop in a steel tank with steel reels of course. For the last couple of years I've been using water as a stop bath as I was told I risk pinholes in the film when using stop bath of too strong a concentration. Rather than determining the correct concentration, I switched to water as it is 'supposedly' as effective as stop bath.

I switched back to stop bath for my most recent roll of film and the density problem also disappeared. There were no other process changes. Is it possible that a water stop bath is less effective in stopping development at the edges of the film where it is in contact with the reels?