Uneven Development

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johnnywalker

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A while ago I posted a couple of pictures in the technical gallery showing some uneven development of a 120 roll film. I used a Paterson tank for these, on a roller base. The opinion that made the most sense to me was that the development was uneven because even though the tank was revolving, the reels inside may not have been. Last night I developed another couple of rolls of 120 (in a tank that would hold 3 reels of 120), this time using intermittent agitation. About 12 seconds every minute, five 180 degree inversions, rotating the tank about a quarter turn at each inversion. The film is HP5+, developer ID-11 1+1 for 13 minutes, at 20C (68F). Then Ilford stop bath for a minute with constant agitation, then Ilford Rapid fix for 5 minutes with the same routine as with the developer. Then washed for 10 minutes. I used 1000 ml each of developer and fixer (this is what Paterson suggests, and I have just read the comments in another thread that one should always fill the tank). I had an empty reel at the top of the tank. The developer were both mixed fresh of course. As you can see from the scan of one of the contact sheets below, the results are disappointing. Infuriatingly @#$%^&* disappointing as a matter of fact.
I've read all the applicable threads I could find on the subject, including Winger's. I just can't figure this out. I've probably done a couple of hundred rolls of 35mm in this same Paterson tank (it holds 5 35mm films) using intermittent agitation and never had this problem. I do almost always wait until I have 5 rolls of 35mm however. I guess it could be the fact I didn't fill the tank, but surely Paterson has some experience in these matters.
I don't have a lot of high hopes that someone is going to spot some stupid mistake I've made, but just in case.
The picture of the contact is in the technical gallery.
 

Anscojohn

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I see no scan. Do not Kodak/Ilford recommend five seconds agitation on the thirty second mark in spiral tanks?
 

Morry Katz

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Hi JohnnyWalker: My sympathies. Processing 120 can be weird at times. From the look of the contact sheet, I think that the film was not sitting on the reel properly. Looks like it was buckled and so would not develop evenly. The rest of your technique seems OK. I use stop bath for only 30 secs, and treat with Hypo Clear before the wash. A few years ago my negs were suffering streaks, and after mluch head scratching, I concluded that I was agitating too much and too vigourously. I now agitate for about 10 secs every minute. With a bit of a pause between inversions. That seems to have cured my problem. I hope you find a solution.
Best wishes
Morry Katz - Lethbridge
 

markbarendt

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(there was a url link here which no longer exists)

Here's the link.

I'd say the film wasn't on the reel right.
 

mopar_guy

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I have two stainless 120 tanks and two 120 reels. I usually process 1 roll at a time. Sometimes I was having problems with underdevelopment and it was driving me crazy. Finally I figured out that one of the reels was bent and I sometimes misloaded the film onto it. (Note to self: Throw that reel away and get a Hewes reel.)
 
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johnnywalker

johnnywalker

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John, Ilford recommends 10 seconds per minute (4 inversions).
As far as the film not being properly on the reel, I guess it could be the case, but after I get it started it goes on easily and when I'm finished it comes off smoothly. I check after the film catches on the little ball bearings to make sure it's started properly but don't know how to check if it stayed that way unless it starts to feel "sticky". As I said, it comes off the reels smoothly which I don't think would happen if the film were loaded improperly. Could be though, I'm going mostly by my 35mm experience. The 120 is pretty new to me. These are new plastic Paterson reels.
 
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I follow the consensus here, JW. Not to the same degree as my first roll, but it certainly looks as though portions of the film are getting the uneven development, not due to film touching film perhaps, but I might suppose that it was in such close proximity with the adjacent loop that the chemistry was not able to do as good a job as though the spacing were a bit more uniform. Shame on some of those negs too. But that's my 2C. I'm not at all familiar with the Paterson plasic reels. I'm a S/S man. But I honestly don't see what else it could be.
 
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johnnywalker

johnnywalker

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Thanks guys, I'll go with the improper loading, test the reels in the daylight with a sacrificial roll of film, and then practice in the dark. I'm surprised I can't feel something going off kilter when I'm loading the reel, but as I said I have very little experience in developing 120.
Thank the photo gods for APUG and the internet.
 

EASmithV

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Apart from bad loading, always make sure you fill the tank with reel and dev, even if you don't have all reels loaded. Loaded reels on bottom, of course.
 

Anscojohn

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John, Ilford recommends 10 seconds per minute (4 inversions).
As far as the film not being properly on the reel, I guess it could be the case, but after I get it started it goes on easily and when I'm finished it comes off smoothly. I check after the film catches on the little ball bearings to make sure it's started properly but don't know how to check if it stayed that way unless it starts to feel "sticky". As I said, it comes off the reels smoothly which I don't think would happen if the film were loaded improperly. Could be though, I'm going mostly by my 35mm experience. The 120 is pretty new to me. These are new plastic Paterson reels.
******
Jo Johnny Walker,
Well, maybe there are too many young, upstart mavens at Ilford. ASA development since the 1950s with D76 has been 30 continuous, 5, 5, on the half minutes.
In my experience, there are too many uneven development problems caused by variations from this established procedure. Why, even my twenty year old Rodinal poop sheet calls for ASA development. I wonder if anyone on APUG has posted problems with uneven developemtn, who also uses the old ASA regimen?
And, after going to the link to your negs, my guess would be film touching due to uneven loading. But that's only a guess.
 
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johnnywalker

johnnywalker

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Thanks John. Hopefully that is it. I'm sitting here practicing loading (the reels are ok). Another dozen or so tries and I'll be able to do it with my eyes closed! :smile:
 

DLawson

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Thanks guys, I'll go with the improper loading, test the reels in the daylight with a sacrificial roll of film, and then practice in the dark.

Last week I developed my first ever roll of 127. That was some ancient and horribly fogged VP. But the second roll wanted to teach me some humility. It became my sacrificial practice roll after frustrating me too long trying to get it to load.

What I found with that one and my 20+ year old Paterson reels was that the film loaded fine until it made a full circle. And then, with the way I was holding the reels, it popped out at the end. If I kept slight inward pressure on the reels, it tracks just fine. But I never would have figured that out in the dark.

Oh, it also pointed out that I need to be less cocky and trim the film corners like every starter guide tells me.
 

Anscojohn

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Thanks John. Hopefully that is it. I'm sitting here practicing loading (the reels are ok). Another dozen or so tries and I'll be able to do it with my eyes closed! :smile:
*******
Good-oh.

But I must needs tell you the SECRET!!. Your valuable film only loads perfectly in the dark if you load those reals with your eyes closed.

I NEVER have loading problems once I recongized the importance of keeping my eyes closed in the dark!. Well, hardly ever......
 
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I haven't used ASA development for 12 years or so and never have any problems. There are many ways to achieve great results developing film and photography in general...

I agree with this, but don't dismiss the ASA regimen. To me agitation is a contrast control, and I vary it based on what contrast I want in the film and what the contrast was in the scene. So sometimes I do agitate 5s every 30s, and other times I agitate 10s every 3m. The total developing time has to be adjusted, of course.
This is how I tune my negs to my paper of choice. If I didn't have that tool it would be hard to build a system that gets my negatives right every time. Like this I waste much less paper, and the printing is much more straight forward every time.

To get there, I experienced some problems too. So I started by shooting scenes of normal contrast, where I could use my 'normal' developing regimen of agitating 10s every minute. I learned how to load the reels properly, how to agitate the tank properly, and as I saw my problems disappear, I gradually moved to shooting scenes of higher contrast, thus extending the agitation intervals to every 2m, every 3m, and I am yet to have any problems since.

Developing film is not rocket science. I believe that it's all about getting a few very basic things right. It is important to agitate the tank enough to get fresh chemistry evenly across the entire film plane. It is equally important to get the film loaded correctly. If you're using single shot chemistry it's important to get the chemicals properly dissolved and mixed with the water, etc... Beyond that, I believe it is all about repetition and not changing what works unless you are forced to.

- Thomas
 
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I'm using dilution to determine contrast but there are certainly many ways - agitation, time, temp... whatever works for the individual. I guess my point is, anytime someone claims one way is the only way, or even the best way... I become suspicious.

Oh, and nothing personal here, Anscojohn. Just trying to make a larger point. All the best. Shawn
 
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rmolson

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I really do share your pain. I went through the same thing several months ago. I use SS reels and tanks and a Paterson unit. and still had buckles I finally got some toy night .vision goggles and taped a + lens to the it so I could see fairly close up .And lo and behold even using a Nikor auto loader I caught some buckles. And I have been doing this since Hector was a pup. I have a theory totally unsupported, that roll film is getting thinner or getting older my sense of touch is going …nah couldn’t be me.
 

Anscojohn

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I'm using dilution to determine contrast but there are certainly many ways - agitation, time, temp... whatever works for the individual. I guess my point is, anytime someone claims one way is the only way, or even the best way... I become suspicious.

Oh, and nothing personal here, Anscojohn. Just trying to make a larger point. All the best. Shawn
******
Nothing personal taken, Shawn. I am extremely open-minded and thick-skinned, and anyone saying differently is a fool, a knave, and a rogue!! (VBG) ~:smile:+>}}
 
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