Trying to solve a surge/ bromide drag problem with 35mm negatives (semi-stand development)

Little People

A
Little People

  • 0
  • 0
  • 58
Marseille-9.jpg

A
Marseille-9.jpg

  • 0
  • 0
  • 60
Marseille-16.jpg

A
Marseille-16.jpg

  • 0
  • 1
  • 44
Marseille-6.jpg

A
Marseille-6.jpg

  • 0
  • 0
  • 46
Marseille-5.jpg

A
Marseille-5.jpg

  • 0
  • 0
  • 46

Recent Classifieds

Forum statistics

Threads
180,559
Messages
2,492,023
Members
95,099
Latest member
DB26
Recent bookmarks
0

Fragomeni

Subscriber
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
864
Location
San Diego
Shooter
Multi Format
Posts about surge and bromide drag when using stand and semi-stand development come up fairly often, and I’ve read just about every thread on every forum that touches on both topics but I’m still at a bit of a loss.

Caveat: This isn’t an opening to have yet another discussion debating the merits of stand or semi-stand development. It’s a tool that works well when called for. I’ve used it for years and it works well for me. Regular time and temperature also works well. Just trying to solve this particular issue so let’s please stick to that.

On to the problem. The following are all of the factors at play in how I’m developing. I’m including example test images to show the problem and how it changes based on changes in the development technique. Those are just quick iPhone photos from the negatives on a light table so ignore all the dust and stuff.

In the case of these negatives, I’m using semi-stand development (Tri-X in HC-110 1+119) in a Patterson tank with Patterson reels, I’m getting stripes in line with the sprocket holes in areas of continuous tone (mainly open skies). The strips are wider areas with greater density directly below the sprocket holes, and in between more narrow less developed stripes in line with the spaces between the sprocket holes. On the positive, they appear as lighter wide stripes between darker narrow stripes.

First, my understanding is that surging produces areas of greater density in line with sprocket holes on the negative so I’ve been thinking that’s what I have going on but I’m unsure and would like to confirm. Is this surging or bromide drag?

As mentioned, I’ve been reading everything I can find on this and common responses are that surging on 35mm occurs with too vignerons agitation causing an increase in fluid velocity through the sprocket holes resulting in greater development below them. In an attempt to resolve the issue I did a few tests.

Test 1: I agitated gently at the beginning of development by rotating and revolving the tank slowly and gently for three revolutions. Placed the tank down and tapped it to release any possible bubbles and then let sit for half of the development time. Then agitated with 3 gentle agitations using the same method previously mentioned then completed development by letting it sit. This reduced the stripes but did not eliminate them. Look in the sky:

44C073E2-0D5D-4C55-90B9-4C1C17ACEF0E.jpeg

436655E0-6D7E-4E61-84C4-55A9EF7C89FE.jpeg


Test 2: I then decided to try without agitation at the beginning of development and with the same 3 gentle rotating revolutions at the midpoint for agitation. I figured that maybe, if it’s in fact surging, the agitation at the beginning might have been the cause because the developer is at its strongest at the beginning. However, this test produced more pronounced stripes. Again, look in the sky. Also, ignore the bottom edge of the film in this example as that density difference is just because the film is still wet in this example:

C0764E9A-5D7F-41E8-A452-E49483872C83.jpeg

5C4402A0-2678-45E1-85E0-3676D146A7B5.jpeg


In my reading, another common remark is about incomplete fixing with many people stating that semi-exhausted fixer could be the problem and with some respondents stating that upon re-fixing the stripes disappeared. Based on that, I made sure to use fresh fixer and I also re-fixed previous tests to see if the stripes cleared and they did not.

I’m now thinking that if it’s not surge marks and is instead bromide drag, my minimal agitation may not be frequent enough to eliminate the drag since the first test above with gentle agitation did reduce the artifacts but the test with no initial agitation produced more pronounced stripes. So now I’m considering a minimal agitation protocol based on what Sandy King and some others have described in previous threads. In methods like that, a few more frequent very gentle agitations are used progressively less frequently as development progresses.

If anyone can confirm what is actually happening in these negatives it would be very much appreciated and helpful as I get it resolved. Thanks very much in advance.
 

Sirius Glass

Subscriber
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
42,598
Location
Southern California
Shooter
Multi Format
Friends do not let friends use stand or semi-stand development. Get new friends and use a Jobo processor.
 
OP
OP
Fragomeni

Fragomeni

Subscriber
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
864
Location
San Diego
Shooter
Multi Format
Looking at another one of the rolls that was in Test 2 in my initial post. This has me leaning toward bromide drag as the problem. This is a vertical pano and in the sky there is horizontal striping. In this case the stripes appear more narrow and extend all the way across the film:

(Again just an iPhone shot — ignore the blurriness from my unsteady hand)

6272A53B-5262-413B-BF2C-E2DD7BA7F03E.jpeg


I have another test developing now, using a minimal agitation method that I’m hoping gives me the benefits I’m looking for from semi-stand without the issues. I’ll follow up with the results of that shortly.
 
OP
OP
Fragomeni

Fragomeni

Subscriber
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
864
Location
San Diego
Shooter
Multi Format
I never experienced bromide drag or surge, so I can't say for certain.

Have a look at surge/bromide drag.
View attachment 321351
Source: https://thephotographyprofessor.com...roblems-what-to-look-for-and-how-to-solve-it/


See poorly fixed negatives.
View attachment 321352
Source: https://www.ilfordphoto.com/common-processing-problems/

Hope this helps.

Thanks for this. Yea, this is why I’m a little confused as to what it is. Whatever is happening in your first example looks like the opposite of what I have. Notice in that example, the areas directly under the sprocket holes is substantially less dense with much denser stripes aligned with the spaces between the sprocket holes. Whereas in my examples, the areas directly inline with the sprocket holes is more dense in the negatives with less dense stripes aligned with the spaces between the sprocket holes. The example with the poor fixing further reassures me that this isn’t a fixing issue as that doesn’t look like what is happening with my negatives.
 
OP
OP
Fragomeni

Fragomeni

Subscriber
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
864
Location
San Diego
Shooter
Multi Format
I’ve just completed another test (Test 3). This time I used a minimal agitation scheme that I’ve used with success before. It produces a little more highlight density than semi-stand but works pretty similarly. I used the same dilution for the developer and all other factors remain the same as well. For development, the negatives were developed for 30 minutes with 30 seconds initial agitation at the start and 10 seconds agitation at the 10 min and 20 min marks. This seems to have reduced the effect the most out of the tests but it is still not entirely eliminated. Since the highlights are a little more dense this time it’s very difficult to see in the negative but is a little easier to see in the positive so just sharing the positive here:

1D3EC071-D57A-4749-B42D-9E21C0159C19.jpeg


So whichever this is (surging or bromide drag), what this and Test 1 are telling me is that increasing the frequency of agitation is helping. If I went this direction, I might try further diluting the developer to offset the slightly increased highlight density (but I haven’t done that with HC110 so not sure if going too much more dilute would cause it’s own problems) and increase the agitation interval to maybe 10 seconds every 5 min or something like that.

I don’t have the energy to do another test and will be busy the next few days so if anyone else has ideas I’m all ears.
 

MattKing

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
Messages
40,452
Location
Delta, BC, Canada
Shooter
Multi Format
I can't decide whether we are seeing artificially increased negative density in the areas adjacent to the sprocket holes, or artificially decreased negative density in the areas between the areas adjacent to the sprocket holes.
The former may be due to surge arising from excess flow, while the latter may be due to some strange exhaustion patterns where there is decreased flow.
 

grat

Member
Joined
May 8, 2020
Messages
1,945
Location
Gainesville, FL
Shooter
Multi Format
Caveat: This isn’t an opening to have yet another discussion debating the merits of stand or semi-stand development. It’s a tool that works well when called for. I’ve used it for years and it works well for me. Regular time and temperature also works well. Just trying to solve this particular issue so let’s please stick to that.

Apparently it doesn't work. If I complained that every time I baked a cake at a quarter of the right temperature for 4 times the appropriate time, it didn't come out right, I would be laughed off every baking forum on the internet.

So what problem with ordinary development are you trying to solve?

How many reels, which tank, and how much developer are you using? At 1+119, are you certain you've got enough developer to fully develop your negatives?

Are you agitating with the swizzle stick, or just rotating the tank? If you're only rotating the tank gently three times, you're not agitating-- you'll get more agitation just by pouring the developer in. If you must use semi-stand development, at least get a decent initial agitation via the stick.
 

Don Heisz

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2021
Messages
2,651
Location
Ontario
Shooter
35mm RF
Maybe the only times this doesn't happen with stand/semi-stand is when the reel is put in the tank with the sky upside-down. So 50% of the time - coin toss.
 

Sirius Glass

Subscriber
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
42,598
Location
Southern California
Shooter
Multi Format
Maybe the only times this doesn't happen with stand/semi-stand is when the reel is put in the tank with the sky upside-down. So 50% of the time - coin toss.

Skies work better on the left side of the film during development than the right side so turn the film over between developing and stop bath.
 
OP
OP
Fragomeni

Fragomeni

Subscriber
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
864
Location
San Diego
Shooter
Multi Format
Apparently it doesn't work. If I complained that every time I baked a cake at a quarter of the right temperature for 4 times the appropriate time, it didn't come out right, I would be laughed off every baking forum on the internet.

So what problem with ordinary development are you trying to solve?

How many reels, which tank, and how much developer are you using? At 1+119, are you certain you've got enough developer to fully develop your negatives?

Are you agitating with the swizzle stick, or just rotating the tank? If you're only rotating the tank gently three times, you're not agitating-- you'll get more agitation just by pouring the developer in. If you must use semi-stand development, at least get a decent initial agitation via the stick.

Most of this is covered in my initial posts. I prefer minimal agitation schemes overall for the improved micro contrast, tonal compression, and for its usefulness in managing images shot under variable condition. I don’t use it all the time but I shoot in enough varied conditions where it is a proven and useful tool to get what I need.

1+119 is more than enough developer. 1+500 is the point where HC-110 tends to fail. Dilutions up to that can work very well. The minimum amounts of dev per roll that many people reference are based on old Kodak docs that are relevant to lab processing with fast times. Much smaller volumes of developer can be used though up to that limit.

And as mentioned, I don’t use the agitation stick because that’s the one sure way to cause surge marks in 35mm. I use a rotating revolving agitation that works well with formats 120 and up.

Maybe the only times this doesn't happen with stand/semi-stand is when the reel is put in the tank with the sky upside-down. So 50% of the time - coin toss.

Skies work better on the left side of the film during development than the right side so turn the film over between developing and stop bath.

Yea, these two points are what I’ve been thinking about today. It would be easy enough to just mount the film so that the skies are toward the bottom of the tank. I’ll try that when I’m back to see if that’s enough to eliminate the problem. It’ll be a few days until I can try that but will report back.
 

MattKing

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
Messages
40,452
Location
Delta, BC, Canada
Shooter
Multi Format
1+119 is more than enough developer. 1+500 is the point where HC-110 tends to fail. Dilutions up to that can work very well. The minimum amounts of dev per roll that many people reference are based on old Kodak docs that are relevant to lab processing with fast times. Much smaller volumes of developer can be used though up to that limit.

I respectfully disagree.
The Kodak capacity recommendations are conservative, but mainly because they are designed to protect against the effects of localized exhaustion with films that, overall, have a lot of image containing density (e.g. high key portraits or snow/beach scenes). In a lab environment the operator cannot count on all the films having average or less than average overall image density.
For development in tanks (as compared to trays) you need ~ 6.25 ml of concentrate for each roll to be confident of avoiding unwanted localized developer exhaustion. That means 750 ml of working strength developer for each roll if you are using 1 + 119. If you have negatives that have lots of near transparent shadow areas, you can stretch that further.
 

grat

Member
Joined
May 8, 2020
Messages
1,945
Location
Gainesville, FL
Shooter
Multi Format
1+119 is more than enough developer. 1+500 is the point where HC-110 tends to fail. Dilutions up to that can work very well.

1+119 is a ratio, not a quantity. The question is, is there enough actual developer chemistry to fully develop 478.8 cm2 of negative? Two reels with 500ml, you're getting just over 4 ml of actual HC110 solution (not chemical, solution) for nearly 1 square meter of film.

With little or no agitation, you're relying on concentration gradients to redistribute exhausted solution away from the film and bring in fresh solution, and I suspect this is where your process is breaking down-- even if it works for 120 film, 120 has a very different distribution (nearly twice as wide, half as many loops around the reel, and is only 432 cm2).

And as mentioned, I don’t use the agitation stick because that’s the one sure way to cause surge marks in 35mm. I use a rotating revolving agitation that works well with formats 120 and up.

I don't have this problem. I rotate gently, constantly, for 10-15 seconds in one direction, let it coast a bit, then reverse direction for 10-15 seconds. No drag, no surge, no weird banding. The rest of my agitation is done by picking up the tank, rotating along the Y and Z axes 3-4 times every interval. But I also use normal dilutions, and generally follow the guidelines for small tank developing.
 

snusmumriken

Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2021
Messages
630
Location
Salisbury, UK
Shooter
35mm
You are getting darker lines (i.e. more development) in line with the sprocket holes, and given that you are using a homeopathic dilution of developer(🙂), surely the lines must be caused by streamers of fresh developer? But I have no expertise, I am only trying to reason logically. As I understand it, bromide drag inhibits development.

I get fidgety when I read posts on Photrio from people who use Paterson tanks with rotary or figure-of-eight or whatever unorthodox styles of agitation and very dilute developer and then report problems of this kind. It typically seems to be with HC-110. Paterson tanks are designed for inversion. Upside down, the chemical drains to the lid down the sides of the tank; and on turning right way up the chemical refills the tank from the bottom of the spiral via the funnel, forcing the chemical up through the spiral. That all takes 2 or 3 seconds to perform. It seems to me that if you do any other style of agitation (apart from an initial twizzle with the stick when you first add the chemical), you risk having inefficient agitation, because the inner and outer routes within the tank effectively form a maze. Obviously that isn't the case with stainless steel tanks.

By the way, you don't happen to stand the tank on a warming plate do you? Just trying to think laterally about possible causes.
 

Alan Johnson

Subscriber
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
2,654
Post 4 here suggests for Tri-X in HC-110 1:100 agitate at 7m, 15m etc.
Your pictures suggest that developer is flowing through the sprocket holes and causing greater density on the negative when less agitation is used.
 

pentaxuser

Subscriber
Joined
May 9, 2005
Messages
16,623
Location
Daventry, No
Shooter
35mm
It typically seems to be with HC-110.

That prompts me to ask another question

Fragomeni, is this the first time you have used either the 1+119 ratio with HC110 and semi-stand agitation of the one you describe or have you not used HC110 at all with semi-stand prior to this occasion . If you have used HC110 and semi stand with success then isn't it a question of changing each of the variables of dilution, minimum quantity of HC110 or agitation regime in turn until the defects are eliminated?

pentaxuser
 

john_s

Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2002
Messages
1,739
Location
Melbourne, A
Shooter
Medium Format
Maybe with developer so dilute there is more sensitivity to unevenness. I use very dilute developer and somewhat minimal agitation and I use a generous amount of developer, 1 Litre per roll. My rationale is that I want to minimize the deterioration of the developer while wanting local exhaustion in the emulsion to produce the contrast-shifting effects of minimal agitation. Fairly vigorous agitation for two minutes to start and then the occasional intermediate agitations are just a couple of gentle rolling over end to end with a small twist each time to randomize the flow pattern. I don't get any such sprocket-related marks.

I started using big developer quantities in the days wen I used PMK which definitely deteriorated in the tank. Using a larger quantity without altering the dilution rate improved that situation.
 

250swb

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
768
Location
Peak Distric
Shooter
Multi Format
I’ve just completed another test (Test 3). This time I used a minimal agitation scheme that I’ve used with success before. It produces a little more highlight density than semi-stand but works pretty similarly. I used the same dilution for the developer and all other factors remain the same as well. For development, the negatives were developed for 30 minutes with 30 seconds initial agitation at the start and 10 seconds agitation at the 10 min and 20 min marks. This seems to have reduced the effect the most out of the tests but it is still not entirely eliminated. Since the highlights are a little more dense this time it’s very difficult to see in the negative but is a little easier to see in the positive so just sharing the positive here:

View attachment 321354

So whichever this is (surging or bromide drag), what this and Test 1 are telling me is that increasing the frequency of agitation is helping. If I went this direction, I might try further diluting the developer to offset the slightly increased highlight density (but I haven’t done that with HC110 so not sure if going too much more dilute would cause it’s own problems) and increase the agitation interval to maybe 10 seconds every 5 min or something like that.

I don’t have the energy to do another test and will be busy the next few days so if anyone else has ideas I’m all ears.

If increasing agitation is helping doesn't that begin to chip away at your own argument for semi-stand development? While we are all looking at the surge marks or emulsion drag we aren't looking at the additional indicator for poor technique in the edges of the film, especially noticeable in images 3 and 4 that show an underdeveloped wavy edge in the rebate, but not evident in your latest test using more agitation. Insisting on using semi-stand development and weak developer because you encounter lots of varying light conditions is like throwing the baby out with the bath water, either way you look at it your are compromising something on the roll. One thing I'd also address is the myth you support that using the twizzle stick is a guaranteed cause of surge, what it does is distribute the developer along the linear length of the film and not across the film, and where do you have problems, yes, across the film.
 

Don Heisz

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2021
Messages
2,651
Location
Ontario
Shooter
35mm RF
Is there any chance there was fixer residue on the reel when you poured in the dev? You can see the streak of lesser density that corresponds with the space between the sprocket holes starts at the top edge of the film and flows downward. And it looks like it has pooled at the bottom of the film, preventing complete development of the bottom rebate number. That is exactly what would happen if there was dry fixer on the reels.

1668250451558.png
 

Todd Niccole

Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2008
Messages
31
Shooter
35mm
Try a presoak in distilled water for 5 minutes with initial agitation for 30 seconds then, develop as normal with whatever initial agitation used. In playing around with stand/semi-stand development I have had significant bromide drag only once that I can recall and maybe a few lesser examples. I think the presoak has eliminated this issue.
 

NB23

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2009
Messages
4,231
Shooter
35mm
why was stand or “semi” stand ever a thing in the first place?

Yeah, there is ALWAYS someone that will say that Black is actually not black but yellow.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
2,631
Shooter
35mm RF
So you want the answer while telling everyone that you apparently know the answer but you don't want to hear it? OK.

This is like the man who goes to the doctor with a big bump on his head. The doctor asks him how he got the bump. The man says he likes to hit his head against the wall because someone on the internet says it will make him smarter. The doctor tells him to stop doing that. The man says, I don't want to stop, tell me what we can do about the bump....

You need to increase your agitation until you don't have problems. Or just stop stand developing which is the obvious solution. You should maybe use the developer according to the instructions of the manufacturer who tested it every which way, like MattKing stated above. Or just listen to the people here who have decades of experience. You will notice one thing. We will all say stop stand developing if you don't want problems.
 

paulbarden

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2014
Messages
1,760
Location
97333
Shooter
Large Format
Apparently it doesn't work. If I complained that every time I baked a cake at a quarter of the right temperature for 4 times the appropriate time, it didn't come out right, I would be laughed off every baking forum on the internet.
I don't really care if someone insists on using "stand" development (though my own tests demonstrated that the cons far outweighed any perceived benefits), but it seems to me if you're presented with the same problem no matter what you attempt, then its clearly not working and you ought to consider an alternative.

My suggestion - since tonal compression and "micro-contrast" is your goal, use a Pyro developer and quit effing around with "stand" development.

Or just listen to the people here who have decades of experience. You will notice one thing. We will all say stop stand developing if you don't want problems.

This.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Messages
1,279
Location
South America
Shooter
Multi Format
fragomeni,
As grat (and others have said) 1+119 is a ratio that doesn't imply an amount of developer.
I use for sunny HP5+ @500 1+109, (5.5ml of the old Kodak syrup) adding distilled/demineralized water to make 605ml of total solution.
In my tests that was the minimum amount of HC-110 I found enough, while really compensating.
I do that with 2 gentle twisted inversions + 2 taps in the beginning, and 2 more + 2 taps every 5 minutes , 21C 14m, modern condenser enlarger. This is very little agitation: only 6 delicate inversions in total.
I don't use the second reel in the tank, just the one with film.
If your tank allows, you can roll it too, instead of inverting it, so the developer flows in the other direction.
 
Photrio.com contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
To read our full affiliate disclosure statement please click Here.

PHOTRIO PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Ilford ADOX Freestyle Photographic Stearman Press Weldon Color Lab
Top Bottom