best way to use wetting agent?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by chris_hutchins, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. *newbie alert!*

    The first film i developed had 'orrible water marks on it so I've
    got myself some wetting agent. What is the best way to use it?
    Someone mentioned spraying it on but I can't find the thread now.
    Would you still you use the same dilution if you did this? It's
    Jessops own btw and suggests 1:500 dilution.

    cheers for your help.

  2. Buy a eye dropper to keep it in. I then add around a half a dropper to a 4 reel tank after I
    have finished washing the film. I agitate the film for around 30 sec,. and then pull the reels
    out one at a time. I take the film off the reel and run a squeege once down the film from
    top to bottom and then hang it in a bathroom till dry. If you do not have a squeege you
    can use a clean sponge or run the film between your fingers. A squeege is best. Rinse out
    the tank and reels before you dry and use them again.
  3. Here is how I do use it. For a two-reel tank, 3 or 4 drops is good, and then agitate for 30 seconds just to make sure the film is covered well. Hold the film at a 45-degree angle when it is out of the reel for a few moments. This will allow most of the water to run to the edge and then down the film as opposed to running down the frames to the bottom. Then hang your film wherever it usually dries. In my experience, the longer the drying time, the less likelihood of spots. Using fingers or a squeegee can sometimes result in long scratches down the length of the film, although some people swear by it.

    - Randy
  4. Don't use the wetting agent on film still on your reels. Instead put the film in an open tray and wash it there.
    Some wetting agent buildups can make the loading of the reels difficult as you use it.
    Same thing applies (although because of a different reason) with the stabilizer from e6 procedure.
  5. Dear Chris,

    A very reasonable question. However, I would like to suggest that when using any product you are new to, read the instructions included and follow them exactly as written. After you have some experience with the product you may feel that the procedures can be improved to match the way you work.
  6. I forgot to mention that I use Photo-Flo (200) so 3 drops is about right for me. Since you are looking for 1:500, try 1 drop for a two reel tank, or 2 drops at most if 1 drop seems not to do the trick. As for scum buildup, if used in the proper dilution, and the reels are washed as they should be after each use, you should not have any problems. If you don't dilute enough, you can get scum on the film, tank, and reels that may cause problems.

    You can wash outside the reels as Alessandro suggested. Just take the film out of the reel and carefully hold each end in your fingertips. Be sure not to hold it too far from the end as you may touch the end frame. Lower the film into a tray and see-saw it by raising and lowering each hand opposite the other so that the lower part of the film slides back and forth through the water/wetting agent. Repeat a few times and then go on as before to dry.

    - Randy
  7. Well, you sure have some options here Chris! My own method is one drop per
    reel, agitate for 30 seconds, then pull it out after 2 minutes. The only
    consistant results I got with a squeege were scratches on my negs, so I just
    hang it to dry now. Works for me. Like sugessted, follow the instructions, and
    then tweek your method if you don't like the results.

    I use distilled for most of my mixed photo chemicals-- better safe than sorry. By the way, are you certain you washed the film REAL GOOD prior to the rinal rinse in wetting agent? Heaven forbid you contaminated that!
  9. I have seen some really nice fine grain with the old tm400 and D76 by another photographer. Then he tried distilled water D76. Hugh grain resulted. Beware as my results were the same as his. Chicago water.

    Follow instructions with the photo flow. Lots of people say a few drops. I get water spots that way. 1:200 works fine for me.

    Get a rubber ear syringe from the drug store and wash down the hanging film top to bottom several times. Rinse syringe as new 10 times and before and after use. Store so it drains into a bottle.

    Don`t squeegee as sooner or later you will drag a piece of debris down the whole roll for a nice long wavy scratch. Sponges are worse as there is no way to clean them. Fingers aren`t too good either.
  10. Mix wetting agent with distilled or de-ionized water, never keep it more than 2 days, it will grow algae but you won't see it for a long time and the stuff is merrily eating away at your emulsion.

  11. NEVER squeegee, NEVER use your fingers! Don't take the chance on something scratching your film. Just hang the film to dry with a clothpin on each end.

    As far as using wetting agent with the film on the reels, go right ahead. Just rinse the reels well before before letting them dry.
  12. Here's something else. The instructions I found mentioned NOT agitating the film and photo-flo. After washing, with the film still on the reel, I drop the (stainless steel) reel into a bucket of diluted photoflo. The reel is fully covered of course. After a minute, pull out the reel and let it drain a little, and then remove the film, and squeegee with my fingers, making sure to be gentle. The film dries in an film dryer within 10 minutes and I'm off to make a contact sheet.
  13. Everyone has their own method that works for them. And I would'd ever suggest them changing.

    I use 2-4 drops of PhotoFlo per reel added to tap water, swish it around a bit, squeege twice and hang in the shower. Never a water spot, never a scratch. And almost never a dust spot.

    Our house is dusty and I think minimizing the time the film is wet is the key. Hence squeegeeing. Maybe I just have a good squeege.
  14. Question for those who got scratches from squeegying: how do you know the scratch wasn't from something else like a grain of sand in the camera? Thanks.
  15. Scratches from squeeging will leave a long scratch down the film in a more or less straight line. Grains of sand would impart smaller, more random scratches.
  16. Moderator's note: Forgive me for being a net nanny but I'm seeing a sudden increase in the use of ALL CAPS. Let's please remember our netiquette: all caps usually is interpreted as SHOUTING! In order to minimize the risk of misunderstandings and hard feelings, when you wish to make an emphatic - not angry - statement reserve the caps for a single word, surround the word or statement you wish to emphasize with *asterisks* or, if you want to bother with HTML, use italics. Thanks -- Lex
  17. Lots of good feedback been given;particularly removing the film from plastic reels before rinsing(it does screw up the reel). I do ask however just what difference distilled water makes to the developer?
  18. I'm surprised people say not to use wetting agent while the films are still on the plastic reels because it leaves a chemical build up. Wetting agent is afterall just a mild detergent, aimed to break the surface tension of water and hence help things dry more evenly. I've only used wetting agent (ilford) on 50 or so films in my reels, so the experience of the others may be worth bearing in mind.

    If you are in the UK, Boots (or other chemists) sell little 5ml syringes, which are perfect for wetting agent at 1:200 (works out neatly at a syringe per liter of water). I pour it into the tank after the final wash, use the agitator for a few seconds and let stand for 30secs. If more than one film in the tank, I leave them in it while I remove and hang up each film in turn.

    An alternative to a squeegee is Bounty kitchen roll (don't ask me why this particular make, it just seems to be just right). Take a piece and roll/fold into a 1-2inch strip (underside to the outside). This can then be folded around the hanging film and with gentle pressure from your fingers as you move it slowly down the film, can be used to squeegee or soak up excess water off. Same as with squeegee it must be dust free (but using one new square and throwing away ensures this) Once started keeping moving smoothly to the end of the film.

    The bottle says when mixed wetting agent keeps for 7 days. When processing films, its used at such low dilution that you can afford to use on one film/tank and then discard. However I keep a litre bottle mixed up for use when cleaning/recleaning prints or negatives and that stays mixed and useable for several months.

    If you ever run out of wetting agent, a good alternative is a few drops of washing up liquid - does same job.
  19. Try a mix of:<BR>
    - 1 litre aqua dest. (deminerialised water)<BR>
    - 2ml Agfa Agepon<BR>
    - at least 10ml of pure (&gt;90%) Isopropanol<P>
    Let the film soak for around 1 min. in this solution and then drain. The solution can be re-used.<P>
    If you wish you may squeege the film--- some like fingers or chamois leather and others like kitchen paper--- or just shake to remove excess (salad centrifuges are also popular).<P>
    Don't worry about getting wetting agent on your reels--- substances like Triton-X are, afterall, included in many commercial developers to improve consistency. Just remember to give them a good cleaning and rinse after use.
  20. What is this about photoflo? In about 300 rolls of 35mm, 100 rolls of 120, and maybe 50 4x5 sheets, I've used exactly two liters of 1:200 photoflo. Stored in a plastic water bottle. Used over and over again. My negatives have not turned to jello, slime has not grown in the bottle. This is over the course of a couple years. Mixed with tap water. The water bottle is clear plastic.

    Can someone explain this anomaly? Maybe my tap water is toxic, and cannot support bacterial life. In any event, I generally use the same dilution until I accidentally spill it. Which happens about once a year.
  21. Stuart: every wetting agent is not a merely mild detergent, there are more chemical compounds in it.
  22. Use wetting-agent at the lowest concentration comensurate with fully dispersing the water. My preferred wetting-agent is Paterson's Acuwet which I use at 2 drops per 100ml of rinse water. I live in a hard water area but find this perfectly adequate. Also, I mix the water and wetting agent in ajug by first mixing the w/a thoroughly with a little water and then topping up the jug. Keep frothing to a minimum.
    Dunk the reel in the for about aminute with gentle agitation. Then remove the film from the reel. DO NOT SQUEEGEE. I llow the film to frin for about 20 minutes before turning on the film-dryer.

    If Paterson w/a is not available then try Tetanal Mirasol.
  23. phew!

    Thanks for all your responses. There's definitely a few options there. Hopefully I'll find something that suits me.


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