something wrong with my processing?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Jim Phelps, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. Jim Phelps

    Jim Phelps Guest

    B&W film bases (and color as well, but the mask is orange) are never
    'clear'. Film base material is somewhat gray in B&W materials, and what
    you're seeing is more than likely normal. It seems like you did a fine job.

    If it helps, the difference in the density between the three rolls is due
    to the difference in base materials used. The film that seems to have the
    clearest base is TechPan, but give yourself some experience before you try
    TechPan and Technidol.

    After the film has been in the fixer for half of the processing time, you
    can look at it. It will not be light sensitive any longer.


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    Jim Phelps, Jul 21, 2003
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  2. Jim Phelps

    tonghang Guest

    With kind advices from folks on this forum, I started doing processing
    B&W film this weekend. First attempt: 3 rolls in Rodinal: Tri-X 400,
    Delta 400, T-MAX 400.

    I'm not sure about the result though: The film margin where you see
    manufacturer's codes, is not clear, but grey. So is the bit of the film
    end that was supposed to show pure white, next to pure black. It's
    light grey next to black. The detail in the exposed frames appear to
    be OK, except no pure clear areas either. The level of grey is the
    same in the frame margins in the entire length of the rolls.

    I thought it might be due to a slight light leak when I was reeling the
    But this leak should be very very minimal, and if so I'd imagine the front
    part of the roll would be less affected than the end part, but it was
    not so.

    The 3 rolls showed different levels of grey (where it should be clear),
    with the Tri-X case being one or two stops more grey than the T-MAX
    case -- it's almost mid tone I think.

    Also the Tri-X and Delta 400 appear to have a blue cast (or is it
    grey cast), whereas the T-Max looks more black.

    Is it supposed to be this way or did I likely do something wrong?

    As to my processing procedure:

    .. presoak in water several min @68F
    .. 1+25 diluted Rodinal @68F (Tri-X=7 min, Delta=9 min, T-MAX=5 min)
    .. water bath (about @80F)
    .. Ilford rapid fixer (5 min) @68F
    .. water bath (about @80F)
    .. hypo clear (2 min) @68F
    .. I open the tank to look at the film at this point.
    .. water bath (about @80F) several min.

    Thanks, Tonghang
    tonghang, Jul 21, 2003
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  3. I think there are two effects here:

    1) B&W film is not clear, but has a grey tint to it. Different brands/
    types of film will have different levels of grey and a different
    color shade to the grey. The grey tint should be quite light. Lighter
    than the grey used frames in MS Windows.

    2) Film fogs easily. A light leak can quite often produce a uniform grey
    tint to the entire roll -- at least it can in my darkroom.

    I think what you may be seeing is the normal base tint made darker by
    the light leak.

    If the problem was insufficient fixing the film would be clear at the margins
    and creamy-white in the middle and the Tmax would be pink.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Jul 21, 2003
  4. Film is normally gray, not clear, and the amount of gray depends on the
    brand of film and the amount of development. Can you compare your negatives
    to someone else's?
    Michael A. Covington, Jul 21, 2003
  5. Michael Scarpitti wrote:
    Sounds like a good idea. This I can do, since I don't
    have other people's negs to compare with.

    Thanks, Tonghang.
    Tonghang Zhou, Jul 21, 2003
  6. Is this 35mm film or some other size? 35mm B&W negative
    film has a gray pigment in the support to prevent conduction
    of light through the base. Roll fimlms do not have this
    pigment, their supports should be completely clear.
    Tri-X is often reported to have a bluish tint and T-Max
    can have a violet tint. These colors are due to residual
    sentizing dyes in the film. T-Max, Tri-X, and Ilford Delta
    films take longer to fix than other films. Check the
    clearing time in your fixer using a small scrap of
    unprocessed film whih has been soaked in water for a few
    minutes. See how long it takes the film to become visually
    clear. Fix for _three times_ this time for the above three
    films. Longer fixing and the use of a wash aid should
    eliminate the residual color.
    Otherwise you have fogging from something. The source of
    the fog could be many things, mainly small light leaks while
    loading the tank. If you are loading in a darkroom try
    sitting in the room for at least half an hour to forty five
    minutes with no lights on. It takes your eyes that long to
    become completely accomodated to the dark. Often you will
    see lots of leak light in what at first appears to be a
    completely dark room.
    Other sources of fogging are impurities, especially traces
    of copper or other trace metals in the water used to make up
    the developer. Old film, especially if it has been subjected
    to heat.
    In general, I don't like the idea of pre-soaking except
    where its necessary as in a drum type processor. Many films
    have wetting agents and other chemicals built into the
    emulsion which make development better if they are not
    soaked out.
    I also recommend an acid stop bath, especially with a
    strongly alkaline developer like Rodinal.
    Why are the water baths so hot?
    I would recommend using a different developer than Rodinal
    and using a more conventional processing cycle.
    Richard Knoppow, Jul 22, 2003
  7. I fixed for 5 minutes for 2 rolls and 3 minutes in the
    3rd roll. All 35mm. Would longer fixing be bad for the film?
    Will try without presoak next time.
    80F or so is what the tap water is at these days (summer),
    which does not require preparing so much water to 68F in

    For the 3 rolls, I'm getting prints made. Will see how they
    come out. I'll probably try some different developers next:
    Microphen, ID-11 perhaps. I'd like to try T-Max also, but
    it comes only in 1 gallon size and the cost is 2X. Not sure
    about the benefit. Rodinal comes in nice small size liquid
    form. Probably last long too.

    Tonghang Zhou, Jul 22, 2003
  8. Tmax film is somewhat more sensitive to process issues, so I would avoid
    What do you exactly mean with this? Are you saying that Tmax films differ
    from other films regarding processing tolerances?

    Severi Salminen, Jul 22, 2003
  9. Jim Phelps

    Andrew Price Guest

    On Mon, 21 Jul 2003 19:17:11 -0700, "Richard Knoppow"

    Why is that, Richard - because of the 400ASA film-speed?
    Andrew Price, Jul 22, 2003
  10. It is, along with Ilford's Delta films. They use t-grain technology which
    gives finer grain at the expense of fussiness in processing. Is it a good
    trade? Try it for yourself. Most think so, but a few vehemently disagree.

    Jim MacKenzie, Jul 22, 2003
  11. Rodinal has many virtues but tends to be grainier than
    other developers. I also originally interpreted the poster
    as saying he developed at 80F. He actually develops at 68F.
    I am a little concerned about the use of a highly alkaline
    developer like Rodinal at high temperatures where emulsion
    swelling may be a problem.
    Rodinal is very handy and works well with nearly all films
    but is not usually the optimum developer for them.
    Richard Knoppow, Jul 23, 2003
  12. Richard Knoppow wrote:
    Thanks for the advice Richard. BTW, how does one do the two
    bath fix? Doesn't sound like just go fix it again, or it
    wouldn't be more economical than 1 fix.

    Tonghang Zhou, Jul 23, 2003
  13. Just read about Kodak having changed the film base for Tri-X,
    and the development times changed as a result. Perhaps the
    Rodinal instruction is not yet updated (1+25 7min @68F.) I see
    in the "Massive Development Chart" a time for this new film
    (1+24 6min @68F). Could this difference lead to the rather greyed
    out negs I got?

    Of course I don't have other negs to compare with, and I've never
    done this procedure before. So far, of the 3 rolls I developed,
    TMAX400 looks comparatively best to me (rather light but sharp),
    followed by Delta 400 (blue cast, denser, not as sharp), followed
    by Tri-X (heavy grey cast and unsharp). All of them have grain I
    can see very well under a 6X loupe.

    Waiting to see what the prints look like. Not sure what I can
    tell from that though.

    Tonghang Zhou, Jul 23, 2003
  14. I have always used two bath fixing for prints, but
    have never considered it for film, don't know why.
    When processing 35mm I just throw the leader into
    the fixer and fix for twice the time it takes to
    clear. Somewhere, I don't remember where now, but
    somewhere I was told that a water stop, as opposed
    to a acid stop, resulted in some development
    compensation. I tried it, and liked the results;
    SO 40 years later this is how I process film.
    Presoak for 90 seconds, more or less; develop,
    water stop, 60 seconds; and fix by time determined
    before the process started.

    When two bath fixing you fix the medium in two
    successive fixing baths for the same total fixing
    time. If you fix for 5 minutes you fix for 2 1/2
    minutes in each. After processing 75% to 85% of
    the prints the fixer is capable of the first bath
    is discarded, the second bath becomes the first
    bath, and a fresh second bath is prepared. This
    cycle can be repeated three to five times before
    starting over with two fresh baths as "A" and "B".

    73 es cul

    a Salty Bear

    WB3FUP \(Mike Hall\), Jul 23, 2003
  15. Just use rapid fixer. Film does not retain fixer the way paper does.
    No advantage to doing this.
    Michael Scarpitti, Jul 24, 2003
  16. Its hard to tell exactly what Kodak changed. Film consists
    of the sensitive emulsion, sometimes coated as more than one
    layer. Above that is a layer of plain gelatin to protect the
    surface of the emulsion. The developer must penetrate this
    anti-abrasion coating so it has an effect on the induction
    time, that is, the time it takes for the image to begin
    appearing after the film is put into the developer. That
    also affects the total development time. The longer the
    development time the less the induction time affects overall
    development. Pre-soaking the film also changes the rate with
    which the developer penetrates the overcoating and gets to
    the emulsion. Of course, it also changes the rate of up take
    by the emulsion itself.
    Kodak evidently has changed the overcoating (they state
    this) and, since they are evidently using new machinery to
    coat the film, the coating itself may be a little different.
    So, just these mechanical differences will cause a change
    in the development time needed to reach a desired contrast.
    The variation may also be affected by temperature. Total
    time may not change the same way for different developers
    since they may penetrate the gelatin overcoating and
    emulsion itself at different rates.
    However, after all that, Kodak still has data sheets for
    the older version of Tri-X. If you compare the development
    times for the same developer it will at least tell you if
    the time is likely to be longer or shorter and give you some
    clue as to how much.
    Another factor, not always appreciated, is that different
    manufacturers use different contrast indexes for their
    development charts. Kodak uses a contrast suitable for
    contact printing and diffusion enlargers. Ilford uses a
    compromise value somewhere between that for diffusion
    sources and condenser sources. Agfa seems to have used more
    than one value for their data although I believe its for a
    fairly high contrast for diffusion sources.
    The difference between the required contrast for a
    diffusion source and the common type of partially diffuse
    condenser source to print on normal grade paper is about one
    paper grade. The difference in development time for making
    this difference is about 30% for Tri-X (and about 20% for
    T-Max). At the same time the film speed will vary. The ISO
    standard method of measuring film speed specifies a contrast
    about right for diffusion printing. If you lower the
    contrast for condenser printing you must decrease the
    effective speed about one stop.
    Gray negatives mean to me low contrast (unless they are
    fogged). Low contast means the development time was too
    short, or the temperature was lower than you thought (2 or 3
    fahrenheit degrees will throw off B&W development
    significantly, see the time temperature charts) or the
    agitation differed from that specified by the development
    What this adds up to is that although the charts may be a
    good guide (Kodak's are quite accurate, mostly), you must
    still do some experimenting with your particular set up.
    I would suggest that if you are getting low contrast
    negatives that you increase development time by perhaps 20%
    and see if that helps. You may have to increase more or
    I am suggesting this since you are working without
    reliable data. The time differences in the Kodak data sheets
    should give you a fair idea of where to start but you will
    need to arrive at an ideal development time by cut and try.
    Richard Knoppow, Jul 24, 2003
  17. Jim Phelps

    Frank Pittel Guest

    :> Tmax film is somewhat more sensitive to process issues, so I would avoid
    :> it.

    : What do you exactly mean with this? Are you saying that Tmax films differ
    : from other films regarding processing tolerances?

    Yes, Tmax films are very sensitive to development time, temperature and

    Keep working millions on welfare depend on you
    Frank Pittel, Jul 28, 2003
  18. Jim Phelps

    Frank Pittel Guest

    : :> > Tmax film is somewhat more sensitive to process issues, so I would avoid
    :> > it.
    :> What do you exactly mean with this? Are you saying that Tmax films differ
    :> from other films regarding processing tolerances?

    : It is, along with Ilford's Delta films. They use t-grain technology which
    : gives finer grain at the expense of fussiness in processing. Is it a good
    : trade? Try it for yourself. Most think so, but a few vehemently disagree.

    On the positive side those of us that can maintain consistant temperature,
    and agitation find that Tmax film responds well to Zone system controls.
    After a lot of time trying other films I find that Tmax100 is the finest
    film on the market.


    Keep working millions on welfare depend on you
    Frank Pittel, Jul 28, 2003
  19. Well... They are more sensitive than the indestructible Tri-X Pan, but not
    excessively tricky. I have used them happily for a long time. I don't
    think they're unsuitable for a beginner. If you're so sloppy that you'll
    mess up T-Max 100, you'll probably mess up other films too.
    Michael A. Covington, Jul 28, 2003
  20. What do you exactly mean with this? Are you saying that Tmax films differ
    Yes, actually I use them all the time. I have allways been quite careful
    with my processing and never had any problems with tmax. I just want
    to pinpoint that tmax films aren't actually _that_ hard to process
    Severi Salminen, Jul 28, 2003
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