Weird Stains on Film

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Michael W, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    I saw this today & have no explanation for it, wondering if anyone here can help. I was in a share darkroom processing some film & also chatting with a woman who doing her film. I processed a roll in Rodinal, used water stop, the supplied fix & hypo clear then washed & dried. Film was perfect.
    She did 3 rolls of 35mm FP4 in Tmax dev, stopped in the supplied stop bath & then used the supplied fix & hypo clear. So very close to what I did at the same time.

    When her film dried I noticed that all the rolls had a weird brown stain on them as if they'd been soaked in coffee. Even stranger the stain wasn't consistent over the film. Each roll was about 80% stained but had patches that were clear film base. These clear patches were random shapes & randomly distributed along the roll. The film had been on plastic spirals in a Paterson tank but the film had been loaded correctly. I had idly observed her as she processed & it looked like she did everything correctly.

    I suggested she re-fix a strip to see if that cleared it but I had to leave so couldn't stick around to see what happened. Based on the above description, has anyone seen this before & know what causes it?
     
  2. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    Actually sounds like the film wasn't loaded on the reel properly. The stains are likely where the emulsion was pressed up against the back of the preceding layer of film and therefore received no chemicals. Sometimes people will have trouble loading the film onto the reels and keep trying and pushing. The film, once "caught" should easily walk into the reel. Sometimes people will push, twist and struggle to force it onto the reel; they're forcing it because two or more layers are in the same "thread". If the film doesn't walk on easily - take it all off and start again. This happens often in shared darkrooms because there's often someone waiting for their turn and the "struggler" doesn't want to keep them waiting.

    Ask her if she was a "struggler" when she loaded.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Sounds like insufficient fixing, and the damage may well now be permanent.

    Ian
     
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    Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    The film was loaded correctly (I saw it coming off the reels after the wash) & it was also properly developed even in the stained areas.
    Ian is more likely correct as I didn't particularly observe her fixing technique although she is reasonably experienced. Still doesn't explain the clear patches. The fix itself was good as my film had no problems.
     
  5. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Hello goldie. You said:

    "When her film dried I noticed that all the rolls had a weird brown stain on them as if they'd been soaked in coffee. Even stranger the stain wasn't consistent over the film. Each roll was about 80% stained but had patches that were clear film base."

    Clear film base sounds like these patches weren't developed. Could it be that the film jammed while loading and unjammed sometime after development? That would explain becoming clear after fixation. If her reels were not dry that could explain jamming. It doesn't explain the brown stain though, but you can't be sure about her developer.
     
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    Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    By clear film base I meant that it looked like regular properly processed film, ie no brown stain. The image was correctly developed across the stained & unstained areas.
    I'd be surprised if the dev was the problem, it was Tmax dev fresh from the Kodak plastic container.
     
  7. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Oh, my theory is not valid then...
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It can't be the developer, can only the fixer which may not have been that fresh. You need to keep the film leaders and do a Fixer clearing test, just drop the undeveloped leader in some fixer & time roughly how long it takes to clear. Fix for double that time.

    Fixer is one thing you have the least control over in shared/communal darkrooms, so be vigilante.

    Ian
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    was the brown stuff kind of metalic looking?
    it it isn't the fixer not clearing the film
    it could be dichrillic fog ...

    i have had that on sheet film, but never rolls ..
    and it is removed with farmer's reducer ...
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's difficult to get dichroic fogging with modern films but contamination with fixer in the developer will cause it, it's much more frequent with with monobaths, which is the only time I've seen it..

    It doesn't cause that much of a stain though, certainly not like described here.

    Ian
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i got it years ago when i used tmax developer and modern film ( tmax 100 )
    it might not be common, but it happens sometimes.

    if your friend's film has a greenish brown metalic sheen,
    have her use potassium fericyanide (farmer's reducer ) to bleach her film.
    it will get rid of the fog ...
     
  12. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    And the image as well!
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    like making tea, it has to be done " just right" :wink:
     
  14. Leigh Youdale

    Leigh Youdale Member

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    Over the last week I've done some sixty or seventy 5x7 proof prints and in today's run about 50% exhibit the pink stain effect when dried. Yesterday's were OK. I'm almost certain it's exhausted fixer (not fixed properly) or too short a wash but possibly a combination of both. Anyway, I've cleaned up now so will try with fresh chemicals in two weeks.
    I've never had the problem with film, but then I always use one-shot developer and discard chemicals after 2-3 films (which is all I ever do at one time). I can't link the problem that started this thread directly to this experience with paper as the stain didn't show until the prints were half dried.
     
  15. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

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    These are the exact symptoms of exhausted fix.
     
  16. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Goldie, I agree with Poohbah and others, it seems like the fixer was exhausted or not used for long enough. Solution = reload film onto spiral, place into fresh fixer, rewash and dry. I saw this *so* often at Uni - it happened to me a few times too.