T-Max 400 - Mottling in negatives

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GLS

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Has anyone else seen this issue with TMY-2 in 120?

I like the tonality, sharpness and lack of grain with this film, but am having consistent issues with mottling/spots on the negatives, particularly in the denser areas, although the severity varies somewhat depending on the scene. I have now seen the issue to varying degrees with XTOL, Pyrocat-HD and DD-X. I don't see this with any other film. All the films were from the same batch/box, are not expired, and have not been improperly stored.

Please see the attached example close-up.

Mottling_example.jpg


I'd be grateful if anyone could provide help or suggestions, as the occurrence of this can really ruin an image.
 
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ic-racer

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I had this issue with a 100ft roll of T-max 100 I was using for my masters thesis. This was back in 1985. I sent the roll back to Kodak and got a new roll.
 
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GLS

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Humidity can create this. The comment about expiry and storage is duly noted. Is this the first experience with this defect?

Thanks for the reply.

I have shot only three rolls of it (never having shot this film before). They were shot months apart (therefore not in the same humidity/temperature conditions), in two different cameras, using the three different developers mentioned above. All have the issue, but in terms of severeness I would say it is greatest in DD-X, and least in Pyrocat-HD. If it is indeed a humidity issue this could point to a manufacturing fault (as the films are foil-sealed).
 
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GLS

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I had this issue with a 100ft roll of T-max 100 I was using for my masters thesis. This was back in 1985. I sent the roll back to Kodak and got a new roll.

Thanks for the input. However I have shot a few rolls of T-Max 100 in the same period and they didn't have this problem.
 
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Pixophrenic

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Q to the OP: if you look at unexposed portion of the film against a strong light source, using a magnifying glass, what do you see?
 
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GLS

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Q to the OP: if you look at unexposed portion of the film against a strong light source, using a magnifying glass, what do you see?

Nothing. There is no discernable pattern, or anything else unusual in the blank portions of the film.
 
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GLS

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https://www.photrio.com/forum/threads/i-love-tmax-400-but.156882/

I had spots on all rolls and paper offset on some. Never found the cause or the solution.
Good luck!

Thanks for the link. The mottling in mine looks even worse than that, so not encouraging.

I have another box from another batch which I haven't tried yet. I could shoot a roll from that, and see if it has the same issue. The problem is, if it does the return window for the purchase has already been and gone. Perhaps I could appeal directly to Kodak in that case?
 

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Nothing. There is no discernable pattern, or anything else unusual in the blank portions of the film.
Please look closer. Is the emulsion completely transparent or there is a frosted glass patttern on it?
 

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Are you pre-washing the film? If not, the do so. If so, then do not.

Otherwise, since you are using medium format, try Ilford HP5+ or Tri-X, both at ISO 400, and develop in replenished XTOL. That will give you finer grain and better tonality than either in stock XTOL or XTOL 1:1.
 
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GLS

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Please look closer. Is the emulsion completely transparent or there is a frosted glass patttern on it?

If I look at the RAW files from the "scans" (I use my D810 to digitise the film), and crank the exposure way down (like 3-4 stops) I can then discern a grain-like pattern in the blank portions. Is this what you mean? I checked other kinds of B&W film (both T-grain and normal) and they don't show this...
 
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GLS

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Are you pre-washing the film? If not, the do so. If so, then do not.

Otherwise, since you are using medium format, try Ilford HP5+ or Tri-X, both at ISO 400, and develop in replenished XTOL. That will give you finer grain and better tonality than either in stock XTOL or XTOL 1:1.

No pre-wash, but then I have never done this for any film. I could always try it...

I don't use XTOL myself (that was a lab development). HP5+ in DD-X is wonderful though.
 

Sirius Glass

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Trust your eyes, not your scanner. Digital optical instruments can introduce digital artifacts that will having you chase unicorns. Use your eyes, a magnifying glass or a camera lens [turned around to expand the image of the negative] to better see the film surface and the mottling.
 

MattKing

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Thanks for the link. The mottling in mine looks even worse than that, so not encouraging.

I have another box from another batch which I haven't tried yet. I could shoot a roll from that, and see if it has the same issue. The problem is, if it does the return window for the purchase has already been and gone. Perhaps I could appeal directly to Kodak in that case?
You should reach out to Kodak Alaris in any event.
profilm@kodakalaris.com
Most likely you will be referred to someone with Kodak Alaris in the UK.
 
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GLS

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Trust your eyes, not your scanner. Digital optical instruments can introduce digital artifacts that will having you chase unicorns. Use your eyes, a magnifying glass or a camera lens [turned around to expand the image of the negative] to better see the film surface and the mottling.

It's not a digital artifact. As I said, other B&W films digitised with exactly the same method do not show this grain when the files are manipulated in the same way.

Regardless, I have just now had a closer magnified look with the naked eye, and can just about see this grain (or "frosting") pattern. What then does this signify @Pixophrenic?
 

Pixophrenic

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The core of the problem is that this effect is quantitative. It may be more or less obvious, depending how long a particular film spent on the shelf of a dealer after it was delivered there. I think but cannot confirm that somewhere when a film is transported across the ocean, it gets accidentally mistreated in some way. I am not making any accusations or assumptions here. A simple test for any film that I worked out would be to submerge it in an alkaline solution (any developer or a 0.1% sodium carbonate), so that it covers the film to its half width, and then treating it with any fixer on its entire width. If you can see a difference in appearance between the two halves, there it is an explanation to your mottling. Obviously, this is easier to do with a 35mm film. It is in the behavior of the emulsion, not in the image itself. What exactly causes it, I have no idea.
 

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Please tell the batch number and expiration date. The number (same as on original package if you kept it) should appear engraved in the margins of at least one frame. It will help with the discussion.

I thought the earlier issue was with the backing paper master roll before the film was spooled, though Kodak’s explanation somewhat contradicted my theory (without satisfactorily answering why the number offsets were so unrelated to the actual frame number).

So I would say it’s not your fault.
 
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GLS

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Please tell the batch number and expiration date. The number (same as on original package if you kept it) should appear engraved in the margins of at least one frame. It will help with the discussion.

I thought the earlier issue was with the backing paper master roll before the film was spooled, though Kodak’s explanation somewhat contradicted my theory (without satisfactorily answering why the number offsets were so unrelated to the actual frame number).

So I would say it’s not your fault.

Batch 0155 001, expiration 05/2019.

I thought the backing paper issue was limited to print-through of the backing paper numbers, and didn't cause any mottling?
 

AgX

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I thought the backing paper issue was limited to print-through of the backing paper numbers, and didn't cause any mottling?

That print-through of numbers is the new artefact, never reported this way in the old days.

A mottling effect has been known in the past. That was stated to be caused by prolonged storage under very humid conditions.
Whether your artefact is of that kind is still to be established.
 
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Pixophrenic

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If I look at the RAW files from the "scans" (I use my D810 to digitise the film), and crank the exposure way down (like 3-4 stops) I can then discern a grain-like pattern in the blank portions. Is this what you mean? I checked other kinds of B&W film (both T-grain and normal) and they don't show this...

This must be it. It could be mistaken for grain, but it is not, because it also shows on an entirely unexposed and undeveloped film that has been through a sequence of "alkaline solution-wash-acidic fixer". It is also not a typical reticulation, as it is much finer. Since it shows on a 120 film that is sealed from air for the most of its useful life, it should not be caused by a noxious vapor. The real problem is that its appearance is variable. If you can get your hands on a 400 ASA film which is past expiration date and do not expose and develop it, just cycle through solutions as above, you should see it in its most basic form.
 

NB23

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Oh man, Kodak have ditched all their chemists and engineers and now they’re back at making film thinking it would be easy?

I plan on never shooting 120 kodak again, after their tmax100 and tmax400 fiasco. When foma has a better QC than kodak, this says a lot.
 
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