Presoak?

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captainwookie

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I’m still somewhat new when it comes to developing, and one thing that I have yet to figure out is presoaking film. I pretty much follow the instructions in the film’s data sheet, and as of yet I have not ran across any film that had a presoak listed as step one. Am I missing something? Why and when should I consider doing a presoak?
 

Flotsam

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I got into the habit of using a pre-soak when I was using a Jobo processor. Now that I am back to inversion I stuck with a two minute pre-soak for the sake of consistancy and perhaps it promotes even development by wetting the emulsion evenly before the developer is introduced.
 

JackRosa

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As a matter of fact, Ilford experts do NOT recommend a pre-soak for Ilford films.
 

Ole

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It also makes it easier to avoid air-bells through the crucial first part of development, since the film is already well wetted with water.
 

noseoil

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A presoak helps with staining developers, it allows for a more even uptake of the solution with PMK or Pyrocat-hd. Another reason is to remove the anti-halation backing prior to processing.
 

kaiyen

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Many of the modern films do not require a pre-soak (and some, like Ilford, specifically recommends against one) because they have various stuff in them that makes them more receptive to developer right off the bat.

I don't use pre-soak anymore at all on 35mm (I shoot only Ilford and Kodak, though), but I still do with 120. Maybe it's because I like all the crazy colors that come out :smile:

I might consider using pre-soak with some of the "older" emulsions, like Efke or something. I haven't read specifically on whether one should or should not use it with those films.

allan
 
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captainwookie

captainwookie

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Thanks for all the replies. Being self taught, I sometimes have the feeling that I’m missing something very important from time to time. Most of the photography books seem to mention a presoak, but none of the data sheets that I’ve used have ever mentioned it.

Will films that would benefit from a presoak mention it in their data sheets? Or is this just something that one learns on their own?
 

titrisol

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Kodak reccomends against it in their old books, and Ilford in their datasheets.

However, I use it as part of my SOP, haven't bothered to check it there si a difference with not-presoaking.
I started presoaking in the late 80s/early 90s to avoid non-uniformitites with short development times (3-4 min) with APX100 and FORTE films in tropical conditions
 

Aggie

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The few times I have not pre soaked the Ilford film I use, I have had problems with it. When I presoak I have not had a single problem, other then brainlessly taking the whole top off and dumping the developer with out thinking of what I was doing.
 

mark

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It can't and does not hurt. Just fill up the tank, swish it around a little, let it sit, and get your chemicals ready. I have never had a problem with presoaking illford films. Doing it just makes me feel better about the development. With roll films, if I ever had trouble with development it happened when I did not presoak and was in a hurry.
 
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captainwookie

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Well, I'll have to give it a try sometime. Does a presoak effect development times? Will everything be the same with the addition of the presoak, or will I have to do a search for the new time?
 

JackRosa

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Aggie said:
The few times I have not pre soaked the Ilford film I use, I have had problems with it. When I presoak I have not had a single problem, other then brainlessly taking the whole top off and dumping the developer with out thinking of what I was doing.
-------

What kind of problems?
 

Sjixxxy

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Ole said:
It also makes it easier to avoid air-bells through the crucial first part of development, since the film is already well wetted with water.

I was having issued with air-bells on some 35mm a while back. Started adding two drops of Edwal LFN to the developer, and haven't had any since.
 

Aggie

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JackRosa said:
-------

What kind of problems?
Streaks, uneven development, air bubble marks. These problems only occur when I do not presoak. Reading through the thread, I am not the only one who has troubles when they didn't presoak, ask the others what their problems were as well.
 

Flotsam

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I was definitely having problems with nasty uneven development in my Jobo before taking their advice on a _long_ 5 min. pre soak. Solved the problem entirely.
 

Mateo

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JackRosa said:
-------

What kind of problems?


For me it's not a fear of possible problems, if I don't presoak my film I am garranteed to have uneven developement. I use Ilford film and think that maybe this data sheet is intended for roll film only. Your format says that you shoot 8x10, I'm surprised that you haven't run into this problem yourself. Obviously your mileage may vary depending on agitation, developer and film.
 

rbarker

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I learned to presoak 35mm and rollfilm 40+ years ago, and have been doing it ever since, notwithstanding Ilford's more recent suggestion not to. Whether that's why I've never had air bells or uneven development, I'll never know. But, the concept seems reasonable.

On the flip side of the coin, however, I don't presoak sheet film prior to developing in trays.
 

fingel

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It depends on the developer you are using also. When I use Diafine I don't presoak, I think it would actually interfere with the development since it is a two bath developer. Everything else gets a presoak.
 

mark

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Aggie said:
Streaks, uneven development, air bubble marks. These problems only occur when I do not presoak.

Same troubles here. It taught me to slow down and doo all of the proceedures. I have not tried not presoaking with sheet film. It is such an inconsequential amount of time I really do not see the hassell. My prep takes exactly five minutes which is my presoak time. Why do I presoak for five minutes? Because that is as long as my chemical prep and jog to the fridge for a frosty, nonalcoholic, beverage to drink while processing takes.
 

Blighty

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I started using a presoak with MF some years ago when I first used Dixactol and I've used it ever since regardless of film/dev combo. I'd heard about this technique many years back but had initially shyed away from using it because (I heard) it lowers the contrast of the neg. Something to do with the water inhibiting developer take up in the first instance. Personally, I don't see much, if any, difference in contrast between a pre-soak/non pre-soak neg. However, I can say that it does give me even development with no air bells. Regards, BLIGHTY
 

Bob F.

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Blighty said:
I started using a presoak with MF some years ago when I first used Dixactol and I've used it ever since regardless of film/dev combo. I'd heard about this technique many years back but had initially shyed away from using it because (I heard) it lowers the contrast of the neg. Something to do with the water inhibiting developer take up in the first instance. <snip>

As you suggest, it seems that one should increase times slightly if using a presoak, which may be why some people report lower contrast. Ilford recommend reducing their "small tank" times by around 15% if using continuous rotary agitation, but Jobo say to use "small tank" times if using a 5 min pre-soak. That seems to say to me (assuming they are both right, which seems reasonable) that a pre-soak needs increased time over non-soak...

Cheers, Bob.
 

fhovie

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In "The Negative," Adams stated that it takes 20 seconds for one bath to replace another. If you take a good development time at 10 minutes and subtract 20 or 30 seconds from it, the difference will be about 1/3 stop at most. - Not enough to make a good neg into a bad neg. I always presoak and calibrate my times accordingly. Presoaking removes the antihalation layer and allows the developer to enter the emulsion more evenly. I also agitate the first 30 seconds as well.
 
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I've always pre-soaked all formats of Ilford film and would not take a chance any other way. It just makes sense to me to swell the film let it drain then add chemistry. With the film swollen it seems to me that it will recieve the developer more even to the film base. Not just vertically but to the thickness also.
 

Konical

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Good Evening,

Being unaware of any real disadvantages with pre-soaking, I continue to do it. An advantage I think was not mentioned above is that a pre-soak of the proper temperature will help adjust the tank or drum to the appropriate developer temperature. (In my case, it will usually cool, since I prefer my indoor environment to be a bit above 68 degrees.)

Konical
 
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