Pre-dev soak disaster ~ comments?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by zinnanti, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. zinnanti

    zinnanti Member

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    Hi -

    I shot my first batch of 4x5. This was a test batch, so no serious images were lost. This might be a bone-head post, but I'm interested in comments.

    This is Ilford Delta 100 developed in hangars in Ilfosol-S. The camera is a well cared for Omega 45D. Film was fixed for 3:45 minutes in an Arista 1:9 dilution.

    Pursuant to advice, I gave the film a pre-development soak. As I was pulling the film from the holders, they wound up in the soak for anywhere from three minutes to 30 seconds. There was nothing separating the film sheets - they were lying on top of each other in a 8" x 10" tray. (That's probably where I blew it.)

    The soak water looked ink filled (obviously after turning the lights on after fixing).

    The negatives had fogging and "staining" which varied from negative to negative. It seems that the negatives on top had the least damage, but still had "burn" marks. I attached examples.

    My development room is light tight (I think) and the film was developed in total darkness.

    I am trying to figure out what factor it may have been.
    - Was it soaking the film without separation?
    - Was it my luminescent GraLab (which was easily three feet away from the film)?
    - Do I have film holder (not hangar) issues?
    - Are there light leak issues with the camera? (I doubt that because all the artifact is in different areas.)
    - Is it necessary to do a pre-development soak?

    I also noticed that there was zero contrast in the film. The tones seemed deadened, even with good sharp shadows when I shot the scenes.

    Thanks a bunch for any comments.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Subscriber
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    You need to soak completely each sheet otherwise they will stick together.
    So one at a time you plunge a sheet in the soaking water.
    This way when the sheets get into the developer you will be able to shuffle them without any trouble.
    I see uneven development because they sticked together.
    You should fix film at 1+4 not 1+9
     
  3. CBG

    CBG Member

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    A couple of thoughts / observations / guesses. I can't diagnose from this sample of results, but maybe you have a slight bellows leak, or maybe you got some light stuck film from the GraLab timer's luminescent dial. Three feet seems kinda close to me. I'm pretty casual about how dark a darkroom should be, but I wouldn't get near that close.

    I don't think the presoak is necessarily the culprit for the density variations on your film - but maybe it could be - I wouldn't use a presoak as a holding tank as I unload film. I'd unload all films completely, then presoak all for same time, agitating to prevent films from adhering to each other, then move to developer etc... Keep everything uniform. Who knows what the difference between a thirty second, or a three minute presoak is. Adding one more variable to the process is akin to asking for issues. Add to that, the chance that without initial agitation, films might start to stick together.

    The inky colored presoak water is probably just sensitization dies or anti halation dye leaching out of the film.

    Maybe your scan boosted the shadow contrast, since your shadows don't look as bad as you describe when I look at the reproduction online.

    Best,

    C
     
  4. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Member

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    Guillaume has probably hit the nail on the head. Looks to me like uneven development, you need to shuffle continuously in the water soak and development stages, after placing the sheets in one by one (not all at once), and don't try to process too many at once... I find six to be a good number.
    The colour of your pre wash is just the anti halo dyes, and is quite normal, good luck with it.
    Tony
     
  5. John W

    John W Member

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    FYI, that inky coloration is perfectly normal. It's a dark anti-halation backing on the film, there to prevent light from bouncing back through and potentially causing a "halo" effect around bright areas (thus the name). This backing comes off during processing, in your case during the pre-soak.
     
  6. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Nothing wrong with 1:9. I use fixer much more
    dilute than that. Of course less capacity and
    more time in the fix the more dilute. Use
    it more dilute and be done with it. Dan
     
  7. OP
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    zinnanti

    zinnanti Member

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    Thanks everyone. I appreciate the comments. I'm picking up another Yankee tank so I can unload into hangars, then soak with good separation and then develop. After another test, I'll report back on the thread.

    Just to be on the safe side, I would like to replace the bellows on my Omega 45D. If there's any information out there about doing that without destroying the camera, I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks again.

    Tony
     
  8. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council
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    There are a number of factors that would cause your problem. I would start with the obvious and work down to the most remote.

    I think Guillaume Zuili has probably nailed it in post #2.
     
  9. Lowell Huff

    Lowell Huff Inactive

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    With modern emulsions and chemistries, there is no need or advantage to pre-soak. It is just time you won't get back!
     
  10. glbeas

    glbeas Subscriber
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    Have you done a check in a darkened room with a flashlight inside the camera for pinholes in the bellows? Small ones can be patched and I've heard of some that cover the bellows with the darkcloth while shooting to deal with tiny pinholes in the pleats of thier bellows.
     
  11. OP
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    zinnanti

    zinnanti Member

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    I ordered new bellows from Toyo today. When I bought the camera, the bellows were described as "light tight." When I went to pick it up, there was electrical tape all over the bellows. I figured I would just change the bellows and be done with it.

    Toyo has an incredible parts stock. Believe it or not, I can also get replacement bellows for my Mamiya C33 (c. 1968).
     
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