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Old 17th May 2022, 08:10 AM
loganca loganca is offline
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Default Having terrible luck with home B&W film development

A couple of months ago I decided to stop shipping my film off to a commercial developing lab and instead develop my B&W film at home. It's something I'd wanted to do for a long time and finally decided the time was right. Unfortunately, I've been repeatedly running into an issue that has me stumped and I'm hoping someone here might have some idea where I'm going wrong.

Let me start out by saying that I've been trying to systematically eliminate possible causes and so far I've concluded that:

a) It's not a camera or lens problem since I've experienced the same issue regardless of which cameras/lenses I've shot my film with.

b) It's not a scanning problem because I can see the issues when I look closely at the negatives.

c) Despite the fact that we do have hard water in our area, I've developed my latest roll using only distilled water for mixing the chemistry and all wash/rinse steps and the issue persists.

d) It's not caused by a light leak in my darkroom where I load the film as I've also used a changing bag and that hasn't eliminated the problem.

For some background, I'm developing Kodak 35mm Tri-X 400 shot at EI 200 in Kodak HC-110 (the original formulation) at 68 degrees Fahrenheit, dilution E (1:47), for 6.5 mins (I've also tried Dilution B for 5.5 mins). I've developed rolls using either a steel Nikor developing tank and a Hewes stainless steel reel or, most recently, a Jobo 1520 tank and 1501 reel. Stop bath is Ilford Ilfostop and fixer is Ilford Rapid Fixer. The film is washed using the Ilford method and a final rinse is done in a mixture of Kodak Photoflo and distilled water. I've been following the Kodak instructions for agitation: 5-7 inversions in the first 5 seconds of developing, followed by the same number of inversions every subsequent 30 seconds until development is complete. Film is hung vertically to dry for 24 hours before it is cut, sleeved and scanned.

Now to the issue: every roll of film I've developed, regardless of the camera/lens/tank/reels/developer dilution has resulted in at least a few frames showing one or two light (high density) streaks - normally down the long dimension of the frame. It's occurred once or twice along the short dimension of the frame as well, but almost always down the long dimension. So this doesn't appear to be surge marks or Bromide drage since it seems completely unrelated to the film's sprocket holes.

Here are a few images illustrating the problem (I've darkened them a bit to make the issue a bit more apparent):







The last image is from my first roll developed using the Jobo 1520 tank using inversion agitation and it's the most subtle of all occurrences, but it's still there.

FWIW, most of the frames on these rolls have turned out fine so I feel like I'm close to a workflow that sort of works, but this issue persists and it's starting to make me regret embarking on my own film developing.

If anyone has a theory on what could be causing this issue, I'd love to hear it. It's starting to drive me a bit nuts
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Old 17th May 2022, 08:23 AM
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B&W Neil B&W Neil is offline
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Have you tried a few drops of wetting agent in the final wash ? If not try this and use nothing else on the film - just hang up to dry.

Neil.
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Old 17th May 2022, 08:47 AM
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That looks like fogging to me. Possibly the film cassette felt or a small leak in the light traps in the camera(s) back?

Mike
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Old 17th May 2022, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by B&W Neil View Post
Have you tried a few drops of wetting agent in the final wash ? If not try this and use nothing else on the film - just hang up to dry.

Neil.
Yes, I use a mixture of Kodak Photoflo and distilled water for the final wash, then hang to dry without using a squeegee.

For the first few rolls, I was filling the developing tank with distilled water, adding 2-3 drops of Photoflo, doing a few inversions and letting the film sit for 30 seconds before removing it and hanging it to dry. Jobo recommends not using a wetting agent in its tanks or with its reels so, for my last roll (last image above), I removed the film from the Jobo tank/reel, immersed it in a separate container holding the Photoflo mixture and let it sit for 1 minute. Then I removed the film and hung it to dry. I got streaks using either method, although the streaks in the last (Jobo) image are much more subtle than the others.
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Old 17th May 2022, 08:51 AM
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That looks like fogging to me. Possibly the film cassette felt or a small leak in the light traps in the camera(s) back?

Mike
I initially thought that as well, but this has happened with three different camera bodies (Pentax KX, Nikon FM, and Leica M-A) and multiple rolls of film
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Old 17th May 2022, 08:57 AM
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Have you tried pre-wetting or pre-washing the film?

Regardless of what you might read or hear it could help solve some more of your problem.
I do it especially with large format film.
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Old 17th May 2022, 09:01 AM
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And looking at the scenes you've shown here, did you use a lens hood?
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Old 17th May 2022, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
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Have you tried pre-wetting or pre-washing the film?

Regardless of what you might read or hear it could help solve some more of your problem.
I do it especially with large format film.
On the recommendation of someone else, I did try pre-wetting one of the rolls of film and it seemed to make no difference.
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Old 17th May 2022, 09:05 AM
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And looking at the scenes you've shown here, did you use a lens hood?
I used a hood on the Leica, but not on the Pentax or Nikon. I used a B+W yellow filter on the Nikon and Leica but not on the Pentax. So i've tried lots of different combinations to no avail.

FWIW, I've shot many rolls of film using the Nikon and Leica with the same setups and had them professionally developed, and these streaks never showed up on those rolls.
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Old 17th May 2022, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loganca View Post
On the recommendation of someone else, I did try pre-wetting one of the rolls of film and it seemed to make no difference.
How long is your pre-wetting?
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