Update on developing film disasters….

28 Dec

I have been facing serious problems on developing film.

over agitation, squeege streaks


Problem solved. Read on if you want to know how…

I use a Paterson tank with plastic reels and use the paddle twisting method to provide agitation. I’ve tried the following changes:

– change the way I pour in and pour out developer (fast and slow)
– different ways to twist the paddle (only clockwise, only anti clockwise, both anticlockwise and clockwise)
– use a funnel to pour develop
– inversion agitation method
– agitate gently
– agitate vigorously

Still after all these experiments, these sprocket marks are still there….
I’ve checked whether the film is properly loaded when I open the tank and it seems to be ok. 

I was about to call it a day when a web pal of mine, Khairil, said that its caused by the film having contact with each other during development.

It got me thinking that the only time the film is meant to touch is at the very beginning when I load or at the very end where I take it out of the reel. If I were to look at the sprocket marks some of them are ridiculously located. For example the film literally has to be at 90 degrees to itself (like a ribbon) for it to create the kind if sprocket marks it was creating. Impossible.

Then I realised that the film are sometimes knotted in that manner when I load it into the reel. Also, I was suffering from fogging marks at the edge of the film (like this one below)

Bukit Antarabangsa Landslide Tragedy

I had always thought that the fogging marks came from incorrect developing mix or time but didn’t want to address it until I solve the sprocket marks issue. The other thing I noticed was that the sprocket marks are most violent when using a high ISO . You should see the marks on a ISO 3200 Delta.

Then I realised.

All the issue came from the same source. Evidently what I’ve been doing the last 6 months is loading the film in a bag which allowed light to streak in. When that happens, the light would be more obvious when its able to peek through the sprocket marks. When it didn’t have sprocket marks, it caused the fogging (should have tackled that way earlier). Its also more apparent in higher ISO film because of thelight sensitivity. I check the bag. No leaks except from the sleeves. I was not careful to make sure the sleeves where I put my hand through.

With this theory, I developed another roll last night. In the dark. With a blanket and a towel on top of the bag.

The theory was proven. It had nothing to do with the way I loaded the film, just the environment. It had nothing to do with the agitation technique because it occured before any chemicals even went near the film. This is a perfect image I took yesterday.


Tree Glow

I can’t tell you how overjoyed I am. Nearly 100 rolls later. Now I can focus on the imagery instead of the process. Now I can start using zone metering and really taking control of the output.

Now I can’t wait for the magic to happen…..


Posted by on December 28, 2008 in Musings


Tags: , , ,

3 responses to “Update on developing film disasters….

  1. Brent

    May 24, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    I wish I had found this earlier! It took me a couple dozen rolls with fogging/overexposed edges before I finally figured it out. I tried changing everything– temperature, agitation technique, chemicals, reels, tank, etc. I asked friends and posted on forums but nobody’s suggestions helped. I was about to buy another new tank, thinking that was the problem, when I randomly thought to try using my changing bag in the dark. Instant improvement!

    Anyway, I just thought I’d leave a comment so you know you aren’t the only one who had this seemingly impossible, incredibly frustrating problem. I actually only found your blog this time around because I was searching for better ways to use my changing bag, as I still occasionally have issues with light leaking in around my arms.

    Thanks for posting your solution, I hope others with our fogging problem find this sooner than I did. 🙂

    • therighteye

      May 24, 2009 at 3:40 pm

      Hi Brent

      Thanks for your kind note. I’m so glad that you were able to sort of your developing issues. I too had scoured the net hoping to find a solution. It took me just under a year to figure it out. I hope others will be able to sort it out too if they encounter the same issues…..


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