Neopan Curling Badly

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Thebes, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. Thebes

    Thebes Member

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    Hello, all. I am getting back into film after years of shooting either nothing or just digital. I studied photography years ago in college, and although I'm a bit rusty I have a pretty strong background.

    I am used to film curling enough that it sometimes causes focus problems in a negative holder, etc.

    Yesterday I developed a 35mm roll of Neopan 1600 shot at 1000 iso, left on the reel for about 36 hours before I had a chance to mix the chemistry, souped for 8 minutes in D76 1:1 at 68f with no prerinse, kodak stop bath, kodak fixer, rinsed in 60f water perhaps less than it should have been (I live off-grid and haul all of my water), then photoflowed and dried in my rv's shower stall (we are building a cabin, so the rv is about the best place I have).

    This was at around 7000 ft elevation in northern New Mexico. Its been wet this winter and I estimate the shower's humidity at about 35-40 percent. Drying temperature would have been around 60f.

    The film is curling so badly that it is difficult to handle. I had to trim one neg strip to get it into my 6x6 sheet, rounding the corners with scissors. If I were to hold a neg strip pinching the sides to keep it straight lengthwise- if I were to drop this it would roll into a 2" diameter ring before it hit the floor. Its curling so badly that I need to weight down the storage sheet to keep if from turning into a tube.

    Any ideas on what I might do to lessen the curling? Weighting it with a book is holding it in place but its not getting any better.

    Am I likely to have any issues with sheet film? For film cameras I now only have a 35mm Minolta 7sII, but I am mostly interested in getting into 4x5 again. I've never seen sheet film curl, but I've never seen 35mm curl nearly this badly...

    At this time a humidifier would be difficult or even impossible, as would a heated film drier (the whole off-grid cabin thing). Thanks for any suggestions.
     
  2. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Idon't think Neopan (as a rule) curls much, and my Neopan 400 negatives are nice and flat. Your problem may have been that the film was stored poorly before exposure or development. Leaving the film on the reel for 36 hours would not affect it, as that is a looser wind than if it were in the 35mm cassette. You need to try to get the film into a page sleeve and then under some books for a few days. That should do it. The heated film dryer would not make any difference. Film drying at room temp should dry as flat as its going to dry. Just be patient with your film under a few books.

    If you are "off the grid" how are you going to enlarge and make prints??

    To be "truly" off-the-grid, you should do wet-plate glass negatives, and make your own printing paper, either albumen, or one of the "alternate" processes, and make contact prints by sun exposure.

    To lessen curl in the future, you can go with a non-hardening fixer. Modern films by Fuji and Ilford and Kodak (but not all others) are pre-hardened and can be fixed in a non-hardening fixer successfully. This will minimize potential curl. If you use Kodak rapid-fix with hardener, you can just omit the hardener, as it is a separate concentrate. But "in general" it is old film that curls, the older the more potential for curl there is when processing and drying.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2009
  3. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Neopan doesn't typically curl that bad (compared to APX 400 or other euro films with demonic curl).
    Did you have a high amount of airflow present for the drying stage? Film likes to dry slow, not fast. If it dries slow, the emulsion remains in tension and it takes quite a while for it to normalize. That's why it's best to dry in an area slightly on the humid rather than dry side (yep sounds counterintuitive). Also, make sure the temperature difference between what the film has been processed in is not significantly different than the environment which it dried in. i.e. don't process at 20C and then dry in 5C air.

    Kodak has always curled least and behaved best for me. Neopan somewhere in between. Agfapan demonic.
     
  4. OP
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    Thebes

    Thebes Member

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    clayne- I'll be sure to note that if I ever think of trying agfapan... I am sure any worse and I'd have significant usability issues.

    Phototone- good to know about non-hardening fixers. I never tried one, and I'll look into it next time I get some chemistry. I am off-grid in the sense that I have solar for my electric, provide for my own heat, water, etc. I was actually thinking of trying out ziatype with the 4x5's when I get the view camera- I was also thinking of trying to shoot paper in the film holder and using a process lens and holder to enlarge... I've heard of this before and I don't really have the space for an enlarger yet, though I could power one if I wanted.

    The film in question was a recent purchase from Adorama, I can't imagine that it had storage issues, but who knows. I've also been advised that rolling it up backwards for a while might help, so I guess I'll try that on the next roll before I cut it. Not much airflow in that shower, I had the door closed, but northern New Mexico is dry even when its wet and I'm sure the film dried much quicker than the two hours I left it before checking. If I had to guess at the issue, I would think that it dried too quickly... maybe I can mist the shower stall up next time before hanging too.
     
  5. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Ahh, I completely missed the NM part, Thebes. It's the absence of humidity for sure. Common trick to help with dust is to run the shower on hot for around 5 minutes beforehand. This might help in your case, not for the dust factor, but for the humidity factor. Just don't overdo it.
     
  6. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Thebes

    Thebes Member

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    Should I weight it with more than the reel? I typically used to use my reel as a weight when drying roll films, though that doesn't seem to have helped enough in this case.
     
  8. clayne

    clayne Member

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    No, just use a clothespin. Wooden or plastic, it doesn't matter.

    Heavily weighting it won't do anything. It's the emulsion tension against the base that makes film curl. Moderate humidity and even drying speed with the base is what prevents curl.