Film processing problems?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by jeremy_parker|5, May 17, 2015.

  1. So,
    I am in the very embryonic stages of shooting strictly 35mm, and while I love it, i'm having some issues and i'm not sure if it's a camera problem, a processing problem (Walgreens), or something else.
    Here are a few examples:
    Now for the last few rolls i've developed at the same Walgreens, 90% of them come out as expected with one or two with the weird tones and coloration? However with my last roll, this happened to about the entire roll. I'm not even sure what the problem is, but the color's either blown out like in ex. 1 and 3, or the color's completely off, like in ex. 2.
    The camera is a Nikon F3 and these were shot on your basic Kodak 400 ISO using a Nikkor 50mm 1.4. The camera and lens were my grandmother's and had been used heavily, but it's just started doing this more frequently so i'm not sure what the problem is.
    Any help would be greatly, greatly appreciated.
  2. Where are you getting your film? If you get an image at all, it's not your camera.
  3. Just purchasing it from any drug store, it all being well before the expiration date. I am definitely getting an image but as you can see in the examples the colors are sorta funky. Not sure if it's underexposure or poor processing?
  4. Walgreens is stopping negative processing. Many already have. The location near my home could no long get fresh chemistry and was
    working with nearly exhausted chemistry. As C-41 nears exhaustion contrast, color accuracy, and saturation suffer.
  5. AJG


    These look like underexposure to me, and the scanner is trying to do the best it can from the little it has to work with. Did your ASA/ISO setting on the camera get changed from 400 to a higher number (1600 or 3200)? Did the camera get switched from auto exposure to manual? The F3 can select the shutter speed if you pick the f/stop if you have it set for that. It also requires a battery to operate the shutter and meter. Check those first before assuming that processing is the problem.
  6. SCL


    On the surface, it looks to me primarily like an exposure issue. Were you shooting in manual mode or aperture priority? What ISO did you have dialed in? Did you have exposure compensation dialed in?
  7. Thanks for all the responses!
    ASA was set to 400, shooting in automatic (A) (which from reading the manual I assume is the setting for aperture priority because it adjusts the shutter speed by metering + whichever f-stop...?) exposure compensation was set to 0, but the batteries were about a week old, so maybe that was the problem?
    It's just so odd because it seems to happen sporadically, like i'll get really nice shots like these:
    and then randomly i'll get a few that look like the above; except for this last roll which was basically entirely underexposed or whatever this odd green/brown blow out is.
    Again, I really appreciate all the help.
  8. SCL


    The pictures you tagged as liking, basically have some slight overexposure compensation due to the lightness of the peoples' skins. In your case, the batteries, although only a week old, may have drained from age on a shelf before you purchased them, or perhaps the camera was left on and drained them. In the future, always do a battery check when you plan to shoot, it can prevent a lot of disappointments. And, yes, the issue could have been in processing, but unlikely. All of the Walgreens stores in the Chicago area stopped in-house processing some time ago, so it might be worthwhile to check with your store and see if the roll was sent out for processing, and to whom, or was processed in-house. The F3 is a terrific camera, and when operated properly, should deliver much better results than those you initially sent links to.
  9. All the images look under exposed. The brightest part of the
    image looks fine but the shadows ran off the bottom of the
    film range into mush or oblivion.
  10. Thank you so much, I will definitely be doing more regular battery checks; The Walgreens I use develops in-house, taking under an hour each time. So my final query is this: being that i've been shooting exclusively on automatic- which if I understand correctly means the camera does its own metering, setting its own shutter speed; if i'm shooting outdoor as in the blown out examples above (which a 400 ISO roll of film should be more than capable of capturing), do the underexposures mean that my camera is metering the light incorrectly when set to automatic, signaling another problem?
    Or perhaps I'm setting the exposure when hovering over the wrong part of the image I want to take, making the camera meter a blue sky while underexposing everything else?
    Assuming those are the only two possibilities for this consistently underexposed roll?
    Again, so very much appreciated, thanks.
  11. Check the shutter curtains on the F3. Something looks wrong with a couple of those sample photos, similar to shutter capping, bounce or tapering.
    And check your meter readings against the charts on Fred Parker's Ultimate Exposure Computer. Those all look at least two stops underexposed.
    But overall the film processing is a mess. Find a better lab.
  12. I agree with the other posts about the under exposure.
    The F3 should have 2- 1.5V Silver Oxide batteries. There was at one time a single cell 3V battery that would fit in place of the 2 silver oxide batteries. They were notorious for testing good but failing under camera load causing shutter and exposure problems. If you have one dump it and get 2 fresh 1.5V batteries.
    On the F4 with MB21 the battery check button will show batteries to be excellent (both lights on a 2 light system) but the film advance motor will stall during film advance due to the batteries being weak. Now if you activate the meter by pressing the shutter button half way and then press the battery check while the meter is active you get a more accurate reading of the batteries. Similar was true for the FA which uses the same batteries as the F3.
    Activate the meter then press the battery check button for best results.
  13. If you look at the negatives, it isn't hard to see underexposure. The negatives will be almost transparent orange, with a slight gray cast on brighter parts. For normal exposure, there should be both fairly clear (orange) parts and fairly dark parts, and maybe some other colors.
    The Walgreens around here all send the film out, and only return scans and prints, not negatives.
  14. SCL


    Back to your question of meters set exposure of scenes to 13-18% gray. So, for instance, if you meter off a sheet of pure white paper, the camera will underexpose to adjust the tone down to 18% gray, and if you meter off a sheet of pure black paper, the camera will overexpose to adjust the tone up to 18% - and the two pictures will be indistinguishable from one another. So, although you can set the camera to autoexposure, you may need to dial in compensation depending upon the brightness of subject matter and how much of the overall scene it occupies. A typical scene will include both light and dark, so the system averages it out. Lastly, when you shoot in the sutomatic mode, if you read your manual, you will see that when you set the exposure to the automatic mode the camera does not automatically adjust both the shutter speed and aperture, you must select the aperture manually and the camera will select the proper shutter speed based on the metering of the scene to expose it as if it is predominantly 18% gray.

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