Dust on film

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seadd

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I've been successfully developing films on my own for some time now. I use Ilford LC29 and Rapid fixer, wash film in water and rinse it finally in distilled water to prevent limestone from accumulating on the film. This last step, I do in a pretty silly way, I just hold the film with one hand and pour the distilled water on the film and let it slide downwards.
Then I just hang the film and let it dry.

With this method, I have two problems:
- Sometimes, I used Patterson rubber tweezers for removing water from the film. Maybe it's just a placebo, but I think I scratched the film with it
- Whatever I do, I get a lot of dust accumulating on the film. Maybe it's just my room where I let the films hang.

Questions:
- Is it generally acceptable to use tweezers, or should I just let the film dry with all the water drops on it?
- Is there a proper way to remove dust from film, specially the dust that won't "blow off"?
- I've seen people mention various washing solutions for films. Is there an accepted standard for that?
- Is there a tutorial on the web that answers all of these basic questions, so I won't have to bug people on this forum with beginners stuff? :smile:
 

Sirius Glass

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Try using PhotoFlo after the distilled water rinse.

After the film is dry try a bulb blower; a very soft brush; or last of all canned air held away, not close to the film.

Steve
 

Anon Ymous

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A wetting agent, combined with distilled water should give you good results, in relatively short time. I use 2 drops of photo-flo 600 in about 350ml of distiled water and that does the trick for me. I just put the reel with the film in the solution for about 1' and that's it. Afterwards, I wash the reels under running water, using a toothbrush. It is said that wetting agents tend to build up on th reels (plastic) and cause problems. After that, I usually squeegee the film with my fingers (clean, washed!) that I have previously dipped in the photo-flo solution. I let the film dry in my bathroom, which has to be clean. Any dust can settle down if you run hot water for some minutes. The humidity takes care of that. My problems with dust spots are minimal so far. Anyway, regarding squeegees, make sure that it's absolutely clean, without any dirt/grit and wet it with the photo-flo solution. As you see, I don't use one, but prefer my fingers. It's very easy to be absolutely sure that they're clean. In the final analysis, if you don't squeegee your film, it will only take longer to dry...
 

Blighty

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Personally, I wouldn't use tweezers (also known as squeegees) because of the risk of scratching the film emulsion. Distilled water seems like a good idea. I've heard lots of people use it. I always soak the film in a 'wetting agent' after washing and then hang the film up to dry in a drying cabinet. I currently use AGFA Agepon wetting agent. You could easily rig up some kind of very basic wrap-around screen made from an old shower curtain or something similar to keep the worst of the dust away. This is what i used before I had the cabinet and it worked well! Regards, B.
 

Anscojohn

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I've been successfully developing films on my own for some time now. I use Ilford LC29 and Rapid fixer, wash film in water and rinse it finally in distilled water to prevent limestone from accumulating on the film. This last step, I do in a pretty silly way, I just hold the film with one hand and pour the distilled water on the film and let it slide downwards.
Then I just hang the film and let it dry.

With this method, I have two problems:
- Sometimes, I used Patterson rubber tweezers for removing water from the film. Maybe it's just a placebo, but I think I scratched the film with it
- Whatever I do, I get a lot of dust accumulating on the film. Maybe it's just my room where I let the films hang.

Questions:
- Is it generally acceptable to use tweezers, or should I just let the film dry with all the water drops on it?
- Is there a proper way to remove dust from film, specially the dust that won't "blow off"?
- I've seen people mention various washing solutions for films. Is there an accepted standard for that?
- Is there a tutorial on the web that answers all of these basic questions, so I won't have to bug people on this forum with beginners stuff? :smile:
******
The key is in the film's developing instructions: Dry in a dust-free place.
 

JBrunner

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Clean and de-dust your work area, final photoflo rinse, no squeegee, ad a humidifier to keep dust down, consider an air cleaner/filter if the humidifier doesn't do the trick. I live in a low humidity climate (about 20-30% usually) I got an air filter thing, and it helped, but the humidifier virtually eliminated all my dust issues, as I learned dust can't float in humid air.
 

Ian David

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Yes, humidity does wonders. It has been between 40 and 90% humidity here for the last few days (and nights) - not a speck of dust to be seen in the air or on my films!
Ian
 

Larry Bullis

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JBrunner and iandavid's advice is right on. If you leave some trays of liquid (like the wash) full of water, that usually helps. A dry darkroom is hell for dust. Some people empty all the trays, and wipe the sink dry. Then, when they see the dust is getting worse, they clean and dry even more, and the problem compounds rapidly.

Of course, if you want MORE dust, you can always rub your film on your cat. Works great.
 

Uncle Goose

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if you want good dust protection without breaking your bank then go to a hardware store and buy a big PVC tube with 2 end-caps you can open. while you are there also buy a few metal strips with pre-drilled holes and a few nuts and bolt so you can make feet so the tube doesn't fall. you can make a construction for hanging the film using a metal wire coat-hanger. With this your film is more protected against free floating dust, won't cover the whole 100% but it sure helped me a lot fighting embedded dust in my film.
 

Tony-S

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I've been thinking about this as well. The PVC tube was precisely what I was considering, but my plan was to put a HEPA filter on one end and a blower motor on the other to pull air through the tube. I suspect the film would move around inside, potentially causing scratching. Crazy?
 

Andrew T

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I just try to keep it simple. Once my film's washed, I run the shower in my bathroom for a bit to accumulate some humidity, use 2 drops of Edwal LFN wetting agent, hang it up to dry, and try to keep the bathroom door closed. Humidity is pretty low where I am and I haven't had much of an issue with dust.

Now my school's darkroom is another story.....
 

JBrunner

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I've been thinking about this as well. The PVC tube was precisely what I was considering, but my plan was to put a HEPA filter on one end and a blower motor on the other to pull air through the tube. I suspect the film would move around inside, potentially causing scratching. Crazy?

I think it could be made to work, but it sounds kinda like a butterfly hammer.
 
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