Film Dark Spots

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by sharonz, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. Hello Everyone,

    I am new to film photography and new to this forum. Hope everyone is doing well! I just purchased a Ricoh GR1 on eBay and tested to see if it is working properly. I tested with a color film and just got it developed and scanned. I noticed there is a dark spot on three of the photos in the same location. I noticed the spots are on the film frames of those pictures too (light spots) However, not every frame has that spot, only 3 frames/photos out of 36. Please see the photos attached below (I circled the dark spot on one of the photos). I am wondering if that is something that comes from the developing/scanning process or something wrong with the lens? I don't see any issues with the lens from the naked eye.

    Would really appreciate it if anyone here could give me some help! Thanks in advance! 000070460016.jpg 000070460025.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2020
  2. It looks like something in the light path. Set your camera to time exposure (B), open the back, release the shutter and look through the lens from the back of the camera to see if something is there.
    The reason it was on some pictures but not others may be linked to the aperture setting in those particular shots. If the problem was on 3 consecutive frames, it may also be possible that something was just obstructing the light path temporarily and got shaken off.
    In any case, I don't think it is a processing issue.
  3. Who scanned the images?
    Maybe there was a lump of dust in the scanner light path.
  4. OP says it is also on the film.
  5. Thank you so much for your reply! Unfortunately this camera does not have time exposure function. I looked through the lens from back of the camera by changing aperture settings in a darker environment, but did not see anything there. It happened to two consecutive frames, but the third one is after a few frames. I am sure at least for one of them I used f22, so if something is blocking the light path, would think it would also block the light path and show that dark spot when I used larger aperture setting?

    could it be something happened when developing the film?

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2020
  6. When you say "films" I assume you mean frames. You shot one film with the camera, right?
    A small aperture like f16 or f22 is more likely to show a particle in on the rear lens element than f4 (just an example).
  7. Thanks. I missed that!

    I once suspended a tiny ball of BluTack just behind the rear element of a lens; just to see how visible it was*. The further the lens was stopped down (the bigger the f-number), the more sharp and visible the shadow of the ball became. It was almost invisible with the lens wide open.

    So +1 to suggesting it's a lump of muck on the rear element of the lens.

    * I don't recommend repeating the experiment, because it left traces of BluTack on the metal surround of the lens. Not on the glass though, luckily.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
  8. Thank you both for your reply! It is really helpful for a newbie like me to understand what's going one better. Agree with you both that it probably something with the rear elements of the lens. I cleaned the back of the lens and just tested with another roll with different aperture settings, hoping to find out exactly where the dark spot would appear with the f-number. And also hope that it's just some dust that went away after I cleaned it up. I really couldn't see any scratch on the rear lens, only saw two little dust within the lens, and they are not on the same spot where the dark spot is on the film.

    I am still debating if I should keep the camera since I got it for only $300 (I think it was a bargain when the seller claimed everything seems to work properly). The seller is not a professional camera seller, just selling vintage stuff online, and I guess someone sold him this camera. So I am thinking if this spot would go away with cleanup or if it only shows with f22, I am wok with not use that setting going forward.

    Curious what would be your thoughts on this if you were me? I really want to have a pocket camera that I can take everywhere with me, but only have a limited budget (no more than $500). Appreciate if you guys think there are better options within this budget!

    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
  9. Ah, well you have to remember that the image is upside-down in the camera. So although your spot appears to be close to the bottom of the image, the dust (if that's what it is) will be closer to the top of the camera.
    Only? Ouch! That's about 3 times what I'd consider a fair price for a camera like that, but it appears to be the going rate.

    Sorry, but I have to ask. Why film?
    500 bucks will get you a very nice digital compact with image quality that'll put any 35mm film to shame. No dodgy processing and scanning involved; just to end up with a digital image that will always look worse than one straight from the camera.
  10. Haha, a fully working Ricoh GR1's on-going rate is about at least $500 now on eBay... I just like the colors and moods of images from a film camera, and don't mind waiting for processing and scanning.

  11. Film adds a mood?
    Not my experience in 50+ years of using the stuff. Mood is down to lighting, subject, composition, exposure, etc. - all things that are in the photographer's control and nothing to do with the camera or medium used.

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