Another question about odd film development

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by lisa_r|6, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. Again, I am a photo teacher and until this year, I have not had any true problems with students and developing that I could not figure out, this is my second issue this year (crazy) and again, thank you so much to those who helped with my first one! This issue is: The emulsion during processing gets very sticky/tacky and comes off in the development process just a bit (flakes/bits appear in chemistry as it is spilled out), but if touched while hanging after the whole process you can literally slide the emulsion off the base in chunks, slimy chunks, but chunks! Once it dries all is good, except of course for the bits of emptiness that remain on the few unfortunate negs that lost their emulsion in parts. At first I thought it was temperature, but then even in lower temperatures (range of temp that was never a problem before) this problem continues. Then I thought it was the developer so I made a fresh batch and still it continues. Again here it is not every roll, every time, which is weird as the students all develop in groups using the same batch of chemicals with the same temp and the same times and the same types of tanks, etc. What is going on? I am so confused and I truly appreciate all the experienced responses here - I seek and am grateful for your knowledge! - lisa
     
  2. What film? Some films, such as the Efke films (sold under various brands) do not have their gelatin emulsions hardened at the factory.
    What temperatures? You really want to be no warmer than 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
    What fixer? Is it a hardening fixer?
    Are you pre-soaking in water before development?
     
  3. Refresh me Lisa. What film and chemicals are you using? What is the temp you are processing the film at. What dilution are the chemicals at? What is the water supply?
     
  4. OK - here's that chemical info:I do not have them pre-wet (I used to my first year, but had to write too many tardy passes and got too many nasty e-mails from other teachers) as the period is only 55 minutes long and they actually only have about 45 mins to develop in full due to time it takes to load film into developing tanks, remember they are beginners. BUT this is not new this year. Brand I use this year IS new so perhaps the problem, I will let you be the judge(s): I have tried to be green and began to use ECO -PRO by Legacy-pro purchased through freestyle photo. BUT only for fixer so far, finishing up balance of my old go to chemicals first for developers. OK here's what I use: Clayton F76 fine grain developer at 1:4 ratio, temp range lately has been between 72 and 75, in winter the room gets cooler and it is much lower between 64 and 68. Water as stop, for one minute. Then ECO-PRO B&W neutral fixer 1:7 dilution for 5-10 minutes, I encourage them to do 7 or 8. Then they do a five minute wash. The only NEW thing this year is the fixer - hmmmm? Three of the four groups of 8 students who went today all did fine, film perfect. I am guessing perhaps the one group did something different - fixer time? THANK YOU!
     
  5. I can't see where the fixer is going to do this. as for the MSDS on the ECO Pro fixer I see nothing ECO in it over other fixers.
    http://www.digitaltruth.com/products/msds/Eco_Pro_Neutral_Fixer_MSDS.pdf
     
  6. What film are your students using?
     
  7. I would also guess that if you use a hardening fixer, your problem would be solved.
    No chance the wash thermometer could be off?
     
  8. I would also guess that if you use a hardening fixer, your problem would be solved.
    No chance the wash thermometer could be off?
     
  9. That's a non-hardening fixer. Try a hardening fixer. Kodafix is hardening, as is Kodak Rapid Fixer. Kodak's Flexicolor C-41 fixer is dirt cheap, hardening, and very good for B&W as well as color. I presume you reuse the fixer.
    Kodak, Ilford, or Fuji film doesn't need hardening fixer. Some of the eastern european films do, especially those make by Efke.
     
  10. Thank you again for all the helpful and quick and thorough responses - I am so impressed and grateful. It seems as if a hardener that was in my past fixer but not in my current fixer is needed. Is it easy to add a hardener to my current fixer so I can make it through all I still have as I buy in bulk and have this brand for some time now? Also, the students do not reuse developer and since this problem has been occurring I have not been reusing the fixer either. Rather than pouring it back in the fixer barrel, I just have been having them pour it straight into the special handling materials barrel to be taken away with other old fixer as I was afraid something was not exactly working with the fixer. I am more convinced now hat my suspicions were accurate thanks to everyone's help. Again, you are all amazing - THANK YOU!
     
  11. If we knew the film that would help. Also the wash water temp. For a modern film to have those problems are you sure the kids are not using hot water to wash the film? Anything over 90F could be a problem.
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/403762-REG/Clayton_22_9117_Fixer_Hardener_1.html
     
  12. My guess was hardener too, although Larry makes a good point about temperature. I can only speak for my own university, but we tend to have very hot or very cold water; anything in between takes a lot of work.
    Adding a hardener is very easy. Many companies make a hardening additive. Fixers often do not come with a hardening agent anymore, as most modern film emulsions do not need one. Efke was mentioned as a brand that does need them, and I think the old-school films are the only current production non-budget films that require it.
    I assume you're using one of the 'school' films from Freestyle? I would order a few rolls of Arista and some others, and some Sprint chemicals to try out yourself asap, before you put in your Spring order. We decided to stick with Kodak chemicals, since so many of the 'student' brands have little issues like that going on. But I've used the Sprint, and it works out pretty okay. The negatives aren't awesome, but it it's photo 1 or 2 then honestly the students won't be working at a high enough level that the materials are what's holding them back.
    The problem does seem to be the film though. Granted the lack of hardener in the fixer is technically causing the problem, but at you should probably be using films with their own hardeners, as students are very likely to bang up their negatives like crazy. As this the first time you've used this film?
     
  13. Lisa,
    First rule of teaching photography -- stick with standard materials.
    You are using off-brand film and chemicals that might be nearly identical copies of Kodak standards but it's always true that you get what you pay for.
    Having developed film for 40 years now and occassionally taught others, I would highly recommend that you have your students shooting Kodak Tri-X, and developing in Kodak D-76 with Kodak Rapid Fixer. If you use that combination, it's very, very difficult to screw up. And if they do, it will be there fault, not the fault of the materials. It's a matter of eliminating variables so you're not runing around figuring out was it the film, was it the developer or was it the kid.
    The stuff from Freestyle might be perfectly fine and they certainly have great prices. But if a kid is in the class doing this for the first time and can't get consistent results, they might very well give up and not try again after the class is over. It would be a shame for them to miss out on the fun of photography because they thought they were screwing up when it was really bad film/developer etc.
    Craig
     
  14. I have been using the SAME film and other SAME chemicals sans the new fixer since 2005 and NEVER had this problem before, hence my confusion and bewilderment. I appreciate all the help from people, but I do KNOW that I am very careful not to have more than one variable, I treat it as a science, and I am very careful to help my students find success. This IS why I am asking around to you who have done this for so many decades so I can see if you have ever found this to be a problem. Thank you for the advice. Please know I am only asking because despite everything being the same EXCEPT the fixer, that this is an all new problem this year only of the last seven. Also, I have noted that the flakes of emulsion are emerging from the developer and stop washes before the fixer is even used as I have been a detective and noticed them in the liquid spilled from the tanks prior to the fixing step - sooooo? Anyway, thank you!
     
  15. Of all the LegacyPro fixers, the Eco Pro is the only one not made by Kodak. Most of the LegacyPro chemicals are made the same company that makes them for Kodak now. You can get D76 replenisher from them too even though Kodak has discontinued it.
    Again I ask, what film are you using?? I would speculate Arista.EDU Ultra or possibly Arista Premium.
     
  16. To Clay, you are correct I am using
    Arista EDU and have been for this is
    seventh year. To all other replies:
    I have been using the SAME film and
    other SAME chemicals sans the new
    fixer since 2005 and NEVER had this
    problem before, hence my confusion
    and bewilderment. I appreciate all the
    help from people, but I do KNOW that I
    am very careful not to have more than
    one variable, I treat it as a science, and
    I am very careful to help my students
    find success. This IS why I am asking
    around to you who have done this for
    so many decades so I can see if you
    have ever found this to be a problem.
    Thank you for the advice. Please know
    I am only asking because despite
    everything being the same EXCEPT
    the fixer, that this is an all new problem
    this year only of the last seven. Also, I
    have noted that the flakes of emulsion
    are emerging from the developer and
    stop washes before the fixer is even
    used as I have been a detective and
    noticed them in the liquid spilled from
    the tanks prior to the fixing step -
    sooooo? Anyway, thank you!
     
  17. If it is the Arista.EDU it is Foma and it is now hardened but there were some bulk rolls that were not as good with the Q.C. but that has been fixed and the Q.C. is now top notch because they had a very costly fail and discovered that they had to improve.
     
  18. Sorry missed that I already said the
    rest - long Friday - please forgive.
     
  19. Sorry missed that I already said the
    rest - long Friday - please forgive.
     
  20. Lisa I used to be a teacher to simi adults. I understand Friday ..... :)
     
  21. Also, I have noted that the flakes of emulsion are emerging from the developer and stop washes before the fixer is even used as I have been a detective and noticed them in the liquid spilled from the tanks prior to the fixing step - sooooo?​
    What type of thermometer is being used to check the chemical temperature before use?
    This style
    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/62011-Legacy-Pro-2.25-inch-Luminous-Dial-Thermometer
    will become inaccurate if dropped, error can be 2°F to 10°F or more. Compare 3 or more in the same solution, 2 or more with the same reading are likely to be correct.
    Are any measures being taken to control chemical temperature?
    A little ice can do a lot to lower water/chemical temperature.
    --------
    Tips for loading stainless steel reels: cut the film end as square as possible, takes practice to do in the dark. For reels with a center clip spring make certain the clip is in the center of the reel. Fold the film over, emulsion to the inside, align the edges, crease for about 1/4 inch at the end of the film, use the crease to center the film in the reel, push the film in until the end touches a support bar, gently cup the film between the thumb and index finger so that it just fits in the reel, roll without pulling. Have students practice on their own time, once you learn you never forget.
     
  22. What is so funny is I am using a thermometer that I got at Walmart fot $5.00 digital and it seems to work for me...... I think that if the emulsion is falling off it is just that something is too warm.... You said you saw it after developer... Another thing to check is of that bottle developer was diluted with hot water or if it was not even tested for temp. The super dark frames made me think of the temp being too high.....
     
  23. I also use a digital thermometer but I also have other types to check things with, one of which is an old and very fast acting mercury thermometer. All new thermometers are checked against this one to see how accurate.
    Arista.EDU Ultra is a good film, I am currently shooting it in 120 and 4x5. I have a roll somewhere in 35mm but have not tried that yet.
    How old is your film, when was it purchased? Perhaps it may be bad to begin with, a bad batch or roll.
    As far as heat in the developer, I wish I had another roll of it and could test it to see at what temp the emulsion comes off the base. Maybe 120 is close enough to the same, I have a few dozen rolls of that in the freezer.
    What speed are you using??
     
  24. :) Rule 1 all details. I doubt it is the fixer as I would have heard of other complaints. Lisa we are not trying to be Ass Holes we just need to know everything and we are old men and young men OK a few women... Who have done all of this for years and years. None of us mean to berate you or your teaching but there has to be another problem and you say it is only a few so we need to get it down to that.
     
  25. Lisa, I'd go back and check the specs on the Eco fixer. I can't speak about that brand with any experience, but I can tell you that Moersch - which is a very expensive, and supposedly "the best" brand - had a list of films/papers that were not to be used with their environmentally friendly chemicals. Turns out it actually had my favourite darkroom paper on it :(
    It's also possible that the film was from a bad batch. I haven't heard anything about bad batches of Arista, but then again our lab fee doesn't cover film, so I've never had to deal with an entire batch before.
    There are a lot of reasons why the emulsion could flake off. Arista shouldn't need a hardener though, so it may not be the fixer. First thing is to see what (if anything) the fixer's spec sheet says about your film. Assuming that it doesn't note a problem with that particular emulsion, then I would develop a roll yourself, and see what's up. You're probably going to be a lot more careful than even your most discerning students, and that will help a lot.
    If you don't get any problems, then it's almost certainly a temperature issue.
    If you get particulate during the process, but your emulsions stay on, then one of your chemicals is old/unsuitable for the emulsion, or not mixed well enough.
    If your emulsion still flakes off, then either the film is ridiculously old (unlikely), or the fixer needs a hardener.
    It is also possible that the Eco fixer is very slow to harden, and requires treating the negatives with kid gloves until fully set - which is some time after they are technically dry. In which case your chems are fine, but probably not suitable for educational use.
    If you get problems when developing your own film, I would look into new film and chemical systems. I used Kodak almost exclusively, but it's not necessary: many of the 'budget' chems are basically Kodak product, and the majority of those that aren't still do an okay job. However, every "educational" system is designed under the impression that you're using all their stuff. Ilford, for instance, will test and guarantee all their chems with most Kodak, Efke, and other films. Many educational brands do not do this. If you're mixing brands, that may be part of the problem.
    If you're not able to get good results yourself with the chems you're using, and you want to stick with environmentally sound products, you should think about switching to chems that are all from that line, and use the recommended films.
    That said, I'm 99% sure that when you develop your own film, everything will turn out fine. You said the period is 55 minutes long, so I'm assuming that your students are high schoolers. If that is the case, then it's probably all their fault for being impatient and half-assed about the whole thing. At least, that was my experience teaching high school.
     
  26. Bad batches of emulsion are very rare, but do occasionally happen.
    So far I haven't encountered any defective b&w film emulsions, but did buy a box of Mitsubishi b&w RC paper that had extremely fragile emulsion. It was so fragile even the slightest touch on the wet emulsion caused scratches. I had to print with generous borders and handle the paper only by the edges.
    Lisa, I'd suggest clipping a short length of the same film the students are using - 6-12" would be enough. Doesn't even need to be exposed in a camera for this test. Mix batches of the same chemicals they use. Use standard agitation. You can do all of this in the light, so you can see what's happening. See if you can reproduce the problem.
    If you can't reproduce the problem, that would indicate the problem occurs somewhere else in the process. Perhaps someone used hot water *and* shook the tank like they're making a martini (I'm surprised by how often newbies think aggressively shaking is the correct technique, even though there are plenty of illustrated and video tutorials showing the correct technique). Perhaps the emulsion has been scratched in the camera or when handling in the dark, making the emulsion vulnerable to sloughing off when wet.
    But try some test strips yourself to see if you can reproduce the problem.
     
  27. Totally understand your frustration with this. What Larry said about quality control -- "there were some bulk rolls that were not as good with the Q.C. but that has been fixed and the Q.C. is now top notch" -- was what I was getting at, not intending to criticize your teaching. The non-Kodak/Ilford products are perfectly fine most of the time, but don't necessarily have the same quality control as products that go out under their own names even if they are coming from the same source. Glad to hear QC has improved.
     

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