Drying Negatives

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by robert_bedwell, Jun 29, 1999.

  1. I am back into the darkroom after many years away. I don't like my negative drying process. After soaking my negatives in Photoflo for about 1 minute I then attempt to remove the excess water from the negatives. I have used my fingers, a sponge and a squeegee and I don't really like any of them. My fingers, after dipped into Photoflo never seem to be straight or even enough to remove the water. The sponge seems to leave water on the negatives. Although the squeegee does the most effective job of removing the water I am afraid of scratching the negatives. I hang the negatives vertically to dry. This is the only area giving me problems. Your help is appreciated.
     
  2. Have you thought about just letting your film hang? I have used both
    Kodak Photoflo and Edwal LFN(?). I think that I like the Edwal
    product better. Anyways, you don't need to wipe or squeegee the film
    when you use a drying chemical. At least one guy on this forum just
    uses a distilled water wash and hangs it up.
     
  3. I grasp the opposite ends of the film and quickly pull it tight a few
    times. If you do it quickly enough it snaps & makes the beads of
    water jump off.

    <p>

    Cheers,

    <p>

    Duane
     
  4. LFN is definitely a superior product to Photoflo. Use LFN and let
    the film air dry. If you are in a very dry area with high static
    electricity, you will have to fashion a drying bag to keep the dust
    off.
     
  5. Here's the method I have perfected over the years for my 35 mm films
    after I scratched a few negatives using a squeegee:

    <p>

    1) Soak the film in a wetting-agent solution preferably made with
    demineralised water.

    <p>

    2) Put the spiral in a salad centrifuge (in Germany you can buy these
    things for something like 3 to 5 USD) and rotate it at the fastest
    speed you manage to maintain for a minute or so. The speed will be the
    faster the better the centrifuge is balanced. If you wish to process
    one film only, put a balancing mass into the centrifuge on the side
    opposite to the film. With two identical films in identical sprials it
    works best.

    <p>

    If you then take the film out of the spiral, there is no water left on
    the surface, so there are no drying marks, and the films dries fairly
    quickly.

    <p>

    With 120 films, the method should work, too, provided your centrifuge
    is big enough to take the spiral(s).

    <p>

    Years ago, I read the suggestion in a book to do the same thing with a
    spin dryer for laundry. Thank god, I tried it with a test film w/o
    anything on it, because the centrifugal force made the film collapse
    under its own mass.

    <p>

    I don't think you will be able to generate such forces using a
    manually driven centrifuge, because with such a lightweight plastic
    thing, even small deviations from perfect balance (as are inevitable)
    will have the effect of making it very hard to drive the thing faster
    than at moderate speeds. (The steel drum of the spin dryer will
    hardly feel an unbalance even if you fail to insert a balancing mass.)
    Still, even at these slow speeds, the surface water is extracted.
     
  6. I think there's one of those salad spinners in the kitchen somewhere,
    hasn't been used so don't think it will be missed :)
     
  7. or try photowipes by premiere...the little green lintless wipe...oh
    they do deposit some lint but it is never permanent and can be blown
    away by canned air after the film is completely dry...also your film
    will dry much more quickly with photowipes,,some rules apply for
    correct usage.. never use a wet photo wipe on film...wipe quickly and
    don't stop the wiping motion once you've started...use a clean
    photowipe on each successive wipe and save your used wipes for a hand
    towel or spills in the darkroom..they are green so remember to
    recycle... they won't work on plate film so don't even try....hang to
    dry your plates...
     
  8. Here's my procedure:

    <p>

    After the photoflo, I wrap the reel in a papertowel (fold the
    papertowel over once, put the reel on one side, then fold the rest of
    the papertowel over the other), then use a hard snapping motion much
    like playing with a yo-yo. Do this about 10 times, then hang your
    film to dry. I rarely ever have problems.
     
  9. Instead of Photoflo I use the liquid you put in the dishwashing
    machine to prevent stains on your glass, much cheaper. I add some of
    that to the last rinse and leave it 1 minute. Afterwards I hang my
    films (in case of 35mm) and use a sponge which is hidden in a piece of
    chamois leather, which works perfectly fine. My 4*5's I do not touch
    after the last rinse, I just hang it and use papercloth to suck the
    drips from it several times. Never had chalk-stains here either.
     
  10. Robert, Many years a fellow photographer explained to me how to dry films & not have water spots. After fixing and running through Photo Flo, he would hold the film by the leader and crack it as though it were a whip. Seems to "Snap" the water/photo flo off the negatives and I have been doing this since the early 1970's. Hope this helps.
    David Huffman
     
  11. Robert

    <p>

    Rinse for a couple of minutes in distilled water and a couple of drops
    of photo-flo. Don't wipe or touch the film an any manner. After
    drying, handle with cotton gloves and put in sleeves ASAP. I've used
    other types of soaps or detergents in the past and these often leave a
    residue.
     
  12. This is currently a huge issue for me. Spots on my negs. The spots on the shiny side of the negs are not overly
    worrying because I can easily wipe them off with a lightly dampened peice of lens cleaning paper. After that I
    simply use my lens dust blower to blow off any tiny specks of paper. But it is the spots and tiny pieces of
    debris that are somehow sticking to the silver halide coated side of the negs that are killing me. They leave
    white spots on my prints.

    I develop in my apartment and hang my negs in my bathroom. It was fairly dusty until recently. So I went on a
    massive cleaning spree. Wiped down every surface, threw away things I didn't use aymore and mop my floor daily.
    But still there are some spots on my negs. It is strange because in the past I didn't have much of a problem
    with spots on the silver halide side of the neg. So I recently cleaned my developing tank and reels and removed
    all the silver halide residue.

    I am at a loss. I don't use photo Flo. Never have. Nothing against it. Just never got around to using it.
    Does it make a huge difference as opposed to not using it? Kodak the pussies have stopped sending Photo flo to
    Thailand along with many of their other products. There's another brand of photo flo here called kiwi. But the
    bottle doesn't have diluting instructions.

    Would using a hair dryer damage the negatives?

    But I am thinking of buying one of those JOBO Mistral II film dryers but they are expensive. I've read all the
    different suggestions on these forums. I also snap my negs like a whip to remove excess water before hanging them
    up to dry. I use to use a folded piece of lens cleaning water to soak up most of the water and that definitely
    did help. But its the dust on the silver coated side of the negs that is my biggest problem. If anyone can
    offer any other suggestions I would be most grateful.
     
  13. Re photo flow, "Does it make a huge difference as opposed to not using it?"

    Yes. Huge.

    As far as dust goes, I live in dusty Burbank, CA, it's always breezy here and hills have been burnt recently to there's not much foliage holding the dirt down. I have a small bathroom, I turn on my shower full hot for a few minutes before I pull my film out of the washer and photo flo to raise the humidity in the bathroom and get the dust under control. I have little to no dust problems and NO water spot problems.
     
  14. Use a wetting agent, Photo Flo or other. Use the tiniest amount possible. Don't premix. Add it directly to the final wash.

    I add a scant droplet per tankful using the Ilford method, washing in the tank. I prefer distilled water for the final wash. If your tap water is reasonably free of lime or other potential contaminants, use it.

    After washing, suspend the negative strips diagonally. This encourages the water to gravitate toward the lowest edge and drop cleanly off the lowest corner. Any spots or uneven drying will be confined to the unexposed film margin.

    With 35mm you can use something as simple as paper clips and rubber bands to suspend the negatives at both ends. With medium format film I use hemostat clamps. Those springy plastic clips often sold with darkroom supplies for suspending negatives are useless for this method.
     

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