Dust on Film

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by vincenzozanghi, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. Hello,

    Recently I have run into an issue with some of my prints. When preparing to enlarge I try to dust off my film strip but still somehow I get specks of dust on my prints. Are there any tips or tricks to help with this? I usually use air and anti-static cloth.
  2. Make sure there is no air movement around the enlarger. Ground the enlarger or negative stage.
    vincenzozanghi likes this.
  3. Keep the humidity up at 40%, but not higher than about 50%. Then do the above and what you're doing.
  4. SCL


    Switch your furnace to off while processing, if you have forced air,
    vincenzozanghi likes this.
  5. by ground do you mean attach a physical ground wire to it?
  6. is that why some of my film feels sticky sometimes?
  7. Film definitely should not feel sticky! Just how high is your humidity? Another cause might be too much wetting agent when the film is processed.
    vincenzozanghi likes this.
  8. Yes, attach a thin wire to the negative stage from an electrical conduit, outlet box, or maybe plumbing pipe.
    vincenzozanghi likes this.
  9. It is, as they knew very well in the days of film, really impossible to eliminate dust. Minimize, yes, but eliminate? No.

    The answer is blowing in the wind -- it's called "spotting"

    The Photography Catalog
  10. How could I forget Spotone? I spent so many hours with it.
    Tony Parsons and robert_bowring like this.
  11. Be careful “dusting off” emulsion - it’s easy to embed that particle in it with even the lightest wipe. And the tiniest bit will scratch the surface if dragged across it by a brush or cloth. I use a Zerostat anti-static “gun”, which I originally bought decades ago to use on my vinyl records. I point and squeeze to neutralize static electricity, then gently blow the dust off with clean, dry air (eg canned). And even that isn’t perfect.

    Dust is still a problem with digital photography. It gets inside every device and onto sensors etc in cameras, lenses, filters, scanners etc.

    What I find most interesting is that I spend as much time “post-processing” digital images as I did optimizing emulsion-based pics. Instead of de-dusting the negs and prints, I “heal” the same flaws in scanned images. Instead of push-processing, burning, dodging etc, I tune the images electronically. Turning a RAW image into a great print can be every bit as labor intensive as emulsion photography. And Mr Murphy is clearly a photographer - that lone unnoticed speck will definitely appear at a critical location in the final image ;)
  12. Any electrical device made in the last 30 years or so should already have any exposed metal parts connected to the mains 'earth'. Otherwise it's not legal to be sold.

    Used goods sold through a dealer also have to meet current electrical regulations.

    The exceptions are double-insulated electrical goods, which usually have a plastic outer casing, and obviously you can't 'ground' a lump of plastic.
  13. Defying all logic, since enlargers are invariably used near water, few of the old ones have a ground connection.
  14. what do you mean by wetting agent?
  15. WOW! so cool thanks for sharing!
  16. Never heard of such a device! Gonna have to buy one now because I love film and vinyl!
  17. Thank you guys all so much! I have only been shooting film for 2-3 years now and appreciate any help I can get. It's great to know the photography community is full of people that are willing to help newbies like myself!
  18. Wetting agent- check out Edwal LFN and Kodak Photo Flo 200. You'll hear pros and cons but I've used Photo Flo for about 50 years with no problem and no water spots. I've never used LFN but people seem to like it better than Photo Flo.
    robert_bowring and AJG like this.
  19. I just Googled the Zerostat to make sure they're still available, and they are. But I was a bit shocked at how high the price has gotten - they're now $80! As I bought mine sometime in the early to mid '70s and it still works fine (as do those of many friends), I can vouch for the value as long as they're still made as well. Then again, I have about 1000 LPs for which I paid $3 to $5 new, and good vinyl today costs 10+ times that much. So maybe I'm just being a crusty old curmudgeon :)
  20. In 1993 I wrote an article for Shutterbug magazine titled "Defeating Dust." My advice remains valid today. You can find the article on my website here:
    Defeating Dust
    ajkocu likes this.

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