Gelatinous goo on my negatives

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BainDarret

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Hi All,

I've had my Beseler dichroic 67s for about 35 years and I've never had any trouble with it until now.
I've had very few issues with dust or other deposits on my negatives in the past. I keep it pretty dust free in the darkroom and am generally pleased at not having to spot prints. This has changed recently. I find when I put a negative in the enlarger it starts to "gather" little deposits of gelatinous goo on the emulsion side of the negative. On a 11x14 inch print from a 6x7 negative they appear about the diameter of a pencil lead. If I touch the spot it spreads with a consistency of something between petroleum jelly and jello. I can clean the negative with alcohol but that is a temporary fix. It seems the more I focus the enlarger the worse the droplets get. I've tried several fixes including using a brush to clean inside the bellows and related areas. I've vacuumed with a small vacuum cleaner. I've left the enlarger disassemled for weeks on end in hopes of drying up whatever is causing this. I've googled and searched but find nothing that helps me fix this. So my question is has anyone else had a similar experience and how was it dealt with? Thanks in advance for any insight.

Mike
 

glbeas

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If you slip a sheet of plain white paper in the neg carrier and fiddle with the enlarger do you get the spots on the paper? And try a sheet in the neg stage without the carrier too, it may point to a source if it really is coming from the enlarger.
 
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BainDarret

BainDarret

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If you slip a sheet of plain white paper in the neg carrier and fiddle with the enlarger do you get the spots on the paper? And try a sheet in the neg stage without the carrier too, it may point to a source if it really is coming from the enlarger.

Hi Gary,
Thanks for the reply. I tried that except with a blank piece of film that I fixed and washed for this very purpose. Indications are that it is happening while the film/negative is in the carrier in the enlarger. I just can't figure out what is doing this.

Mike
 

Luckless

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Do the deposits still form if you flip your test negative around so the emulsion is on the other side? - It could be something causing a reaction with the emulsion itself.

Have you tried a different film stock?

Anything that could be causing an out-gassing or other vapours in the area? How old is all of your film/chemistry?

Will a sheet of photo paper cut to negative size act the same way?

What kind of light source are you using? Will the film react the same with to a similar light outside of the darkroom?
 

AgX

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Anything that could be causing an out-gassing or other vapours in the area?

I experienced all kinds of plasticizer diffusion out of PVC material used in photo gear. Often causing a mess.
BUT I do not see in this case that such would just drop onto or condensate on the film. Put some larger paper or such above the film stage and see what happens to it.
 

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I experienced all kinds of plasticizer diffusion out of PVC material used in photo gear. Often causing a mess.
BUT I do not see in this case that such would just drop onto or condensate on the film.

I was thinking less an issue of the gel substance itself condensing on the film, and more vapours that could react with the film to make the gel on the surface. - If it were merely condensing out then I would expect it to be showing up everywhere, rather than only being noticeable on the film. Plus if it were a fully film centric problem without an interaction with something else, then why would they have only noticed the issue while it was in the enlarger, rather than before they got the negatives that far along in the process? (But it could also be thermal + Film that sets things off.)
 

MattKing

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Assuming you orient your negatives in the negative carrier with the emulsion side down, if it is appearing on the emulsion side of the negative, it is coming from below the negative carrier.
Check the bellows on your enlarger, and the lubricant on the focus mechanism and the lens - all below the negative.
 

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I was thinking less an issue of the gel substance itself condensing on the film, and more vapours that could react with the film to make the gel on the surface.

The only jelly that could be produced would be melted/dissolved Gelatin, but then the negatives would be ruined, what they are not...
 

glbeas

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What is your procedure for putting the negative in the carrier and then to the enlarger. There may be something on the work surface or where you store the carrier to check on. Seems to me if there was anything in the bellows getting on the film it would also be coating the rear element of your enlarging lens.
 

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If possible try your negatives in another enlarger. If the problem doesn't occur then it is most likely with the enlarger. If it happens with another enlarger it would be with the film or processing. Could be heat reacting with something on the film.

http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
 
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BainDarret

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Thanks for all the replies!


If possible try your negatives in another enlarger. If the problem doesn't occur then it is most likely with the enlarger. If it happens with another enlarger it would be with the film or processing. Could be heat reacting with something on the film.

http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/

It doesn't occur when I put the negatives in an older condenser Beseler 23C. It does occur on the emulsion side which faces down toward the lens on the 67S. If I don't figure it out I will see if I can get a diffusion head for the 23C and swap out enlargers. I really would like to continue on with the enlarger I have been using for 35 years though.
 

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Have you taken the head off and carefully inspected the inside of the bellows?
 
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BainDarret

BainDarret

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Have you taken the head off and carefully inspected the inside of the bellows?

Oh yeah, I've had it apart as much as I dared. I've also left it apart to see if that would help dry out whatever causes this. There are foam seals in the head but they are still intact and show no signs of degradation. They are also above the negative stage. It's a puzzler.
 

jvo

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if as you say it only happens in this enlarger, i would "dare" to take it apart further than you have... it no more useful to you sitting on the shelf than in it's "outgassing" form.
 

glbeas

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Oh yeah, I've had it apart as much as I dared. I've also left it apart to see if that would help dry out whatever causes this. There are foam seals in the head but they are still intact and show no signs of degradation. They are also above the negative stage. It's a puzzler.
I would also pull the lensboard and look up inside to see if anything is not right. If theres nothing there the evidence suggests it getting on the film before it gets to the enlarger.
 
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BainDarret

BainDarret

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if as you say it only happens in this enlarger, i would "dare" to take it apart further than you have... it no more useful to you sitting on the shelf than in it's "outgassing" form.

I took every screw, bolt and nut out of it to get the enlarger apart. Your "dare" would have me destroying the bellows. The reason I started this thread was in the faint hope of finding someone who dealt with a similar experience.
 

Sirius Glass

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I took every screw, bolt and nut out of it to get the enlarger apart. Your "dare" would have me destroying the bellows. The reason I started this thread was in the faint hope of finding someone who dealt with a similar experience.

Time to start the "Shoot the OP" posts.
 

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It could be heat related. Why not take a lab or kitchen thermometer to see if there is a significant difference at the film level. I know that might be far fetched but many printers wait for the film to pop because of the heat before the final focus. Since you have used the same film in another enlarger with no problem, the only thing between the emulsion and the lens would be the bellows that the lens board attaches to. Remove the lens and take a cotton swab and swab the inside of the bellows. If it comes out with goo you will know that is the problem. There may be some coating that vaporizes and with the heat rises. You might have to have the bellows replaced.

http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
 

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Sirius Glass

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I agree that there may be an outgassing problem. Talk to KHB.
 
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BainDarret

BainDarret

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Just had a good talk with KHB and will follow their suggestions regarding replacing deteriorating light seals. If that doesn't work I'll be sending the enlarger to them for a rebuild.
 

Sirius Glass

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Now you are getting somewhere with this problem.
 
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BainDarret

BainDarret

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I replaced the light seals with new foam adhesive weatherstripping and the GOO is GONE! I printed several negs in a couple of different formats and there were no spots. Previously there would have been a half dozen or so showing up on the first print. My guess is that the old foam was giving off small particles as it deteriorated with age. These particles would then float around inside the bellows and land on the under(emulsion)side of the neg after the neg holder was inserted inside the enlarger. I'm hoping this is the last of this particular problem.
 

Sirius Glass

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I replaced the light seals with new foam adhesive weatherstripping and the GOO is GONE! I printed several negs in a couple of different formats and there were no spots. Previously there would have been a half dozen or so showing up on the first print. My guess is that the old foam was giving off small particles as it deteriorated with age. These particles would then float around inside the bellows and land on the under(emulsion)side of the neg after the neg holder was inserted inside the enlarger. I'm hoping this is the last of this particular problem.

See you get what you pay for at Photrio. It looks like you got your money's worth for this year.
 
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