Dark circles on image (semi-transparent on the negative)

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by Fiodor, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. I can see them on the negative, and it is not dirt stuck to the film. It seems to be something about the process.

    It never happened to me in the first rolls I processed. I came back to processing with the same batch of D-76, after a year and a half hiatus. So I saw these circles on the image I am posting, but then I saw again a roll I processed some days ago (also after the hiatus), and I can see some circles on certain images, but because they are more subtle I didn't notice them before. The image I am posting is the one where there are more circles and they are more noticeable.

    So, in this thread How to know if mixed D-76 has expired? , when I concluded that the processing was successful, now I could say that yes, the images are well developed, but there are these circles which shouldn’t be there and which weren’t present on the negatives processed with more fresh chemicals.

    What are they? Is the problem the developer or the fixer? Or the stop bath or something else?

    Also, in the roll of the image I’m posting, there are some marks in the borders of the film. Look at one of them in the third image.

    I think I saw them on a previous roll, processed with fresh chemicals. But they are more numerous in this roll. Probably they have nothing to do with the circles… but what are they?

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    SJ04   007.jpg
  2. Might be bubbles on the film in the developer, which will slow it down. (No development until it goes away.)

    Tradition is to tab (bang hard) the tank on the table right after pouring it in, to
    help dislodge the bubbles.

    Well, hopefully there are no bubbles before you pour, but some can form during
    pouring. If there are bubbles after mixing (fresh developer), let it sit until they
    go away.
  3. They certainly look like air bells stuck to the film.

    I usually put a doubled-up towel on the worktop, so that I can bang the tank down fairly hard without causing damage to tank or worktop. Another technique is to smack the tank into the palm of your free hand.

    I suspect that your agitation isn't up to much if air bubbles stick to the film long enough to leave marks that visible.

    Agitation routine (always use inversion agitation - a 'twiddle stick' isn't very efficient): Fill the tank as swiftly as possible; bang the tank a couple of times; invert twice, leaving the tank upside down for a couple of seconds; repeat the inversions every 30 seconds until 30 seconds before the dev time is up; empty the tank, allowing about 10 seconds for emptying; pour in your rinse water or stop bath.

    As above during fixing.

    Oh, another thing. I've seen some plain daft techniques shown on YouTube videos. There is absolutely no need for fancy wrist-gymnastics while inverting the tank. Just tip it smartly upside down anyhow you like - the agitation is done by air bubbling through the spiral. In fact silly figure-of-eight wrist or tank movements probably result in less efficient agitation.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
    AJG and Sandy Vongries like this.
  4. Thank you.

    Yes, air bells. It makes sense.

    So probably it has nothing to do with the fact of my D76 being too old…

    I agitate the first 30 seconds of the first minute and then 5 every 30 seconds. I think this is the most standard (though some people do it 10 seconds every minute). Anyway, I always rap after the agitations, two times. What I have never done is to agitate immediately after pouring, but I pour, I agitate 30 seconds, and then rap.

    I could rap also in between the pouring and the first agitation. I know the first minute is crucial. Do you think that the lack of rapping after the pouring could cause these bubbles to appear and create these marks?

    Or maybe am I not rapping hard enough?

    I also need to watch more attentively if there are bubbles before pouring, as Glen_h said. I think not, but who knows, I am only worried about the temperature. But the developer is always quiet for several minutes (at least 30 minutes but usually more) because it is submerged in cold water waiting to reach the 20ºC.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  5. No, it definitely is not 'standard'.
    I don't know where you got that idea.
    One or two inversions every 30 seconds is more than enough for short developing times of 6 or 7 minutes. That could easily be cut down to one or two inversions per minute if the developing time extends to 10 minutes or more.

    All you're trying to achieve by agitation is to mix oxidised developer with fresh, and it doesn't need constant sloshing of the tank to do that.

    There seems to be a prevalence of 'noobs' making stuff up and spreading their fiction as gospel-truth on the internet.

    Read some actual paper books on the subject, or listen to a few old farts like myself that have 'been there and done that' for a few decades.

    If air bubbles continue to plague you, a surefire cure is to add a small quantity of wetting agent (one or two drops) to your developer, or use a pre-bath of water + wetting agent.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  6. I think some have suggested the first 30 second agitation before, but:


    just says every 30 seconds (small tank) or every minute (large tank), where it
    seems that large tank is actually a basket of reels dunked into a large tank of developer.

    Diafine also suggests one minute, and in this case too much agitation isn't good.
  7. Well, every book or article I read, or class I attended, indicated 5 seconds every 30 (or 10 every minute if you prefer so). Kodak itself recommends 5 seconds every 30 in its D76 paper.

    I am sure there are other methods, I am just telling you the information I got, including the one coming from the manufacturer of the developer I use.

    I know that the exact quantity of time is not crucial; the important thing is to move the liquid a bit once in a while.

    How much time do you take in doing these "one or two inversions"?

    How do you decide if you do one or two?
  8. I found that there are different approaches to the first minute. Some (including Kodak or Ilford) don’t do anything special in the first minute. While others agitate the first 30 seconds and then let the tank sit for the remainder 30 seconds. And others agitate the whole minute.

    In this regard, I read a book by Gonzalez Casanueva, an Argentinean photographer who used the Zone System method (I don’t know if there is an English translation of the book). He treats the first minute differently than the rest of the time. He says that if you do a 3 minute water pre-soak at the same temperature as the developer, you don’t need to agitate during the first minute, because the pre-soak already ensures a uniform developing. And if you do agitate the developer after the water pre-soak, you get more contrast (and grain) than needed. So he proposes pre-soaking for 3 minutes and then the first minute of developer just let the tank sit.

    But, if for some reason you decide not to pre-soak, then you have to agitate the first 30 seconds to get a uniform developing. This is what I am currently doing.

    If I continue with this method, I think I will rap the tank after the pouring (again, do you think the omission of this action could be the cause of my marks?)

    And if I am still getting the marks, I will pre-soak.
  9. Also, it is usual for the edges of the film, where they touch the reel, not to develop well.

    I think that is what you show in the view of the negative strip.

    Also, for 120 and other paper backed roll film, it is not unusual for a small light leak near the
    edge if the paper doesn't seal tightly. Normally not into the image area.

    For 35mm, there can be light leaks through the light trap, which will show up near the beginning.
  10. It's likely air bells however I have never seen them this numerous. Maybe they are water droplets that formed on cold film "condensation". This happens when film is removed from the freezer / refrigerator and not allowing the film box to warm up before opening. Also, condensation can form if you take your camera outdoors, from a warm area. Again rodeo-joe is likely spot on.
  11. Yes, it could be this. Or maybe it is about the fixer, as someone in another forum told me (the film doesn’t get transparent in those edges in contact with the reel). Or both.

    Thank you, Glen_h.

    Yes, but these are not light leaks. I think light leaks happen to me when I load the film under full sun, when I don’t have other choice.
  12. @alan_marcus|2 Are you suggesting that the marks could have been produced not in the development process, but before?

    Do you mean when the film is shot and it is still cold? Or when you develop the film still cold (if it was in the refrigerator before)?

    This roll wasn’t in the refrigerator before shooting. It was in the refrigerator (not freezer) the day before developing. The day before, I took it out and then I manipulated it when it was still cold (I mean, I loaded it into the spiral). Do you think that loading a cold film could cause these marks?
  13. I wouldn't have thought it would to that, but I don't live in a high humidity area.

    Keeping factory sealed film cold is usually a good idea. Then let it warm up before breaking
    the factory (moisture) seal.

    If you put it back in the refrigerator or freezer, you want it in a sealed dry container.
    That probably means one with a dessicant, as otherwise it is hard to be sure it is dry.
    And then warm up again before unsealing.

    I wouldn't have thought it could form drops like that, but yes you can get condensation on
    cold film in a warm humid environment.

    Sweaty hands in a changing back might do it, too.
  14. Condensation of water droplets may occur
    @ Fiodor -- Water droplets will condense on cold film just like water droplets form on a cold beverage glass. If you unrolled cold film in the darkroom to coil it on a reel, this is likely the moment water droplets formed. This cold be the answerer. It can occurs when cold film is unwrapped and loaded into the camera. It more likely happens in the darkroom. However, I have been wrong more than 1000 times!
  15. Okay… But… There wasn’t any water during the loading on the reel. I mean, it was a dry film, just a bit cold. How can droplets be formed?
  16. @Fiodor -- What is the cause of the water droplets on a cold beverage glass or on the inside of a window or mist on the bathroom mirror? Answer -- Air can hold lots of water in the form of water vapor. Droplets of water condense on cold surfaces.
  17. @alan_marcus|2

    I see… But I still don’t understand what you mean. I can see and touch the water on a window or on a mirror. But the leader of the film was not wet. I touched a bit the film in the dark, and it was dry, at least on the corners and also I touched a bit in the middle of it. It didn’t feel like it was wet, or that there were droplets on it. And anyway, it is just water, how could this cause low density circles? Are you saying that these droplets stayed there for some hours until they were in contact with the developer?
  18. @alan_marcus|2
    And what is the solution? Just to remove the film from the refrigerator some hours before loading it on the reel?
  19. Still inside the moisture seal container with dessicant inside.

    A lot of things can happen. One is that water makes the film surface sticky, such
    that one layer sticks to the next, as you unroll it.

    With paper-backed roll film (not what you show), it can stick to the paper.
    While there have been known problems with some batches of Kodak film
    where the numbers come through, as well as I know, that can happen to
    any film if the film/paper gets damp.

    As far as I know, if film gets wet, and then dries before anything else is done,
    then it is fine. If it sticks to something, then it is not fine.

    There are stories of recovered film after dropping a camera in the lake, which
    usually come out not so bad. I think best is to keep it wet until ready for
    developing. (And with battery out of the camera.)
  20. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I would suggest treating the film as you would a camera that had gotten very cold - seal in a zip lock with the air pressed out, and allow to warm up gradually. If I were doing it, at least overnight.

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