Dropped disposable in the sea

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by steve_johnston|9, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. My girlfriend dropped her disposable camera in the sea and still wants to get it developed. I heard somewhere that sea salt in film could damage the lab machine. Is this true ? They are the only lab for miles around and I don't want it to cause them problems.
  2. Assuming the camera was completely submerged, the film will be water soaked. The biggest danger to the film will be allowing it to dry before processing. Best if you keep the film wet. Place the camera in a container of water and take it to the lab wet. I can assure you that saltwater soaked film presents no danger to the lab. If anybody thinks otherwise, a freshwater bath will cleanse the film.
  3. Yeah, Alan's right. But if I were you, I'd go ahead and start with the freshwater baths myself. Change the water until there's no trace of salt remaining (taste it). That will remove any argument. The lab folks might balk at dealing with a watersoaked camera, but it's only the outside cardboard that will be affected by the water.
    BTW, I have resurrected a camera this way once before. It got dunked in salt water, and was immediately submerged in fresh water, and the water changed out several times. I just let the camera dry out completely for several days before loading batteries back into it. Worked fine, as if nothing happened. The camera? A Nikon FG.
  4. I'm not so sure the film won't be water damaged. I work in a lab and many times people have brought cameras in that have been in water. The film was still wet when they were loaded in the C-41 machine and every time water spots and dye blotches were seen in the shots. You'll still get an image, but it will be a damaged one.
  5. I agree with Scott. Usually water soaked film (especially salt water) will effect processing. It wont ruin the machine, but will have an effect on the film and any film run after it until the chemistry is completely flushed.
  6. Photo developers are mainly water, developing agents plus salts. Not sea salts but nevertheless comparable salts. Seawater is about 3.2% sodium chloride. How much residue salt could a roll of 35mm film contain? The carryover rate (surface plus absorbed) customarily used to calculate replenishment rates 5ml per roll. Using that value the amount of salt contaminate will be about 0.175mg. Now one raisin weighs about 1000mg, we are taking about 1 3/4 milligrams of salt or slightly less than two slices of a raisin cut in 1000 parts.
    Given that the typical one-hour film machine has a developer tank volume of about 10 liters, the ratio of this contaminate will be 10,000,000:0.175. That's not much contaminant. I will bet the pull of the moon will have more effect by changing the specific gravity of the developer.
    Now if the dunked in seawater camera is cleansed by a dunk in fresh water, the residual contaminate will have about the same effect as a few human tears added to the developer. I can tell you that some of my tears diluted more than a few film machines.
    Real and true gobbledygook from Alan Marcus
  7. Sounds like a new Hipster Lomo trend to me...
  8. I wasn't taking about contamination of the tanks being the problem. I was referring to the fact the film itself will have water drop spots and dye bleeding as a result. This happens even when the film is still wet being loaded into the C41 machine.

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