Wasting film...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by lft, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. lft

    lft Member

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    Being that I am short on funds, I've decided to start a home darkroom up and take a couple of shortcuts so I may continue my hobby for photography in a cost efficient manner. I use TMax Developer for Tri-x 400 film, and it is yielding awful results. Often, 8 or 9 pictures in a row just aren't getting developed, which is very frustrating. What I am doing is going into my garage at night (which is pitch black), load it up, use TMax, wash for a minute instead of stop bath, Kodak Fixer for 6 minutes, wash for 10 using about 68 degree water. Am I doing something wrong? Should I not be using TMax developer? Or is it possibly the pictures itself that produce the washed out results or no results at all?
     
  2. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    If you want to save some coin you should switch developers.TMax is too expensive.Have a go with D-76.
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Well, if you're using TMAX film, it's highly unlikely that you shouldn't use TMAX developer!

    When you say they are not getting developed, do you mean they are coming out as clear frames or black frames? Also, is the text at the edges of the film coming out in these areas?

    If the edges of your film are clear with distinct writing, frame numbers, etc. then the developer is doing its job and either yourself or the camera is to blame for the missing frames.

    Developing in a liquid which you are regularly agitating, it would be impossible to selectively process some of the film.

    If you suspect the camera then run a cheap roll of C41 colour film through it and have it processed at a local mini lab. This will either eliminate or determine if your processing is the problem or if it is the camera (or operator!).


    Steve.
     
  4. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Could you be more specific about that? Do you mean that these frames still have the coatings they had when unprocessed?
    If so, the film wasn't loaded properly.
    Are they just blank, transparent film base?
    If so, there's a problem with your camera.
     
  5. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear lft,

    Congratulations on your first efforts. Take heart that you have generated some useful frames with the blank ones.

    If some frames are developing properly, it is not the developer. As noted above, a more detailed description and/or a post of the results would help narrow it down quickly.

    Neal Wydra
     
  6. domaz

    domaz Member

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    Maybe not enough developer to fill your tank? Are you diluting properly and filling up the tank to it's rated capacity?
     
  7. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    If you are getting some images and not others, it's not the devs fault, something else is going on. The dev will cook whatever is placed in it.

    Welcome to b/w. These first few rolls can be tough, but hang in there, it gets better.
     
  8. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Member

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    You wouldn't happen to be shooting a rangefinder, would you?
     
  9. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Modern Kodak films all have writing in the rebate (the section outside of the perforations), this will usually include information about the film and the frame numbers, these are exposed when the film is packaged, by a special machine. If the writing is nice and dark, but the frame is blank then it's usually the camera. If the rebate is blank as well, then it could be a processing issue, although usually it's all or nothing. If you have frames where no processing is taking place or only part of the frame is getting processed, and there are spots where the emulsion is still present, then your probably not loading the reel properly and the film is touching in places.

    Could you post a scan of some of the frames with the problem and include the rebate, would give a better idea of what is going on, if we could see it.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    lft

    lft Member

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    Well based on the information provided by you all, it was definitely the cameras fault. The frame numbers did come out nice and bold, and so that is good. But now I have a different question: how do I control contrast and grain while developing? I would like some very contrasty photos with a little bit of grain, but I do not know how to control that...any help? thank you for all your quick responses as well, they were very helpful!
     
  11. trexx

    trexx Member

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    Exposure determines density, development determines contrast. More development higher contrast. The fact sheets for films will show the CI, contrast index, for a given development time. Increase the dev time will increase the CI, see the PDF for Tri-X.

    To developer you choose will determine grain. If you are wanting the appearance of grain Rodinol would be a good choice. My favorite for producing images that show grain.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2009
  12. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    trexx summed it up well, but I would add one thing: grain is usually best determined by film choice. Development certainly can affect grain, but the film's inherent grain structure will the main determinant. Kodak Tri-X processed with a fine grain developer is still going to be grainier than Kodak T-Max 100 or Ilford Delta 100 processed in a high-grain developer.

    Also, developers that result in grainy results usually provide high sharpness, too. Whatever makes the image sharp in development generally makes the grain sharp, too. That's why reportage shots shot on films like Tri-X and HP5 Plus tend to be so gritty and bold.