Horizontal line across frames

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by marcellszucs, May 17, 2020.

  1. Hey everyone,

    I've started developing my film at home a while ago and recently I've had 3 consecutive rolls with horizontal white lines (black on the negative) across. The strange part is that the lines are not continuous across the whole roll but run across multiple frames. Please also note the marksat the sprocket holes.

    I've been using my current setup of camera body and lens for 5 years now and never had a lightleak issue. Its a canon FTql with an FL 50 1.4. I'm shooting hp5+ at iso 800 and develop it with Ilfotec lc29, fix it with Ilford rapid fixer (I make a new batch every 5 rolls). I use a paterson style tank and load my film in a bag. The lines are clearly visible on the negatives so it is not a scanning problem for sure. Please see the attached images.

    Drive link with images: horizontal lines - Google Drive

    I'm hoping someone with greater experience than me can tell me what am i doing wrong or what part of my process might be at fault.

    All the best,



  2. Hi Marcell,

    It's hard to say what is causing that white streak. It looks like a light leak from a tiny pin hole in the rear of the camera somewhere and it's getting past the film's pressure plate at one end. The streak continues right through the frames and also through the frame dividers, so that would eliminate problems with the shutter.

    Perhaps if you keep the body of the camera covered when you shoot your next roll, that might tell you if it's a light leak or not.
  3. It could still be the shutter. If there's a hole in one of the curtains, it could admit stray light as the film is advanced, including to the divisions between frames. I would check for this by pointing the camera towards a bright light and looking through the open back as the film advance is operated.
    stuart_pratt likes this.
  4. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    I would guess that it is a physical scraping of the film. If it was a light leak the spot would be much brighter when the film stopped advancing and the light continuously burned into the film.
    bgelfand and stuart_pratt like this.
  5. I think James' comment above is logical wrt to a light leak from a pin hole affecting more during dormant periods, but physical scraping of the film? Not sure that would affect three films on the trot? Also, the line is a bit wavy, and you'd normally get a pretty straight line, if it was something scratching the film in camera. I think John's suggestion is the most likely.
  6. The wavy line does make me doubt my explanation too. Also I'm trying to think of a scenario to explain James's objection - can a pinhole in the shutter curtain somehow be obscured except during the actual movement of the film across the gate? Let's hope the OP will try my suggestion and report back.
    stuart_pratt likes this.
  7. Maybe this is happening during rewind. The slightly wavy line could be explained by light coming in from a slightly different angle as the camera orientation is changed with respect to the dominant light source. But why only during rewind? Perhaps there is a miniscule pinhole at the door seal that only only gets exposed when the body is under some tension/torsion during rewind? Looooooong shot!
    marcellszucs likes this.
  8. It is dark on the negative which means exposure to light, but that did not necessarily occur in the camera. It could have occurred in processing. You might check your changing bag and tank for a very small light leak.
  9. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    Are you using inversion agitation, or rotation ? If the latter, this might explain the slight 'waviness', as the film is moved past the (possible) light leak in the tank. No idea about the marks between the sprocket holes, though. Do you have another tank you could try ?
  10. Are those frames interspersed throughout the roll or are they at one end or the other? If interspersed, do they occur in a pattern e.g. four frames with the line then four without then four with, or is it random?

    Do the marks at the sprocket holes occur only with the line, or do they also occur separately, too.
  11. Thanks for all of your insightful replies.

    Here are some more information based on what you've said:
    1. The shutter seems to be in perfect form. Even while the advance mechanics are operated.
    2. I've never thought of a rewind issue but what Stuart says is very compelling. This would explain why its so random and wavy as the film wobbles a bit while under some stress.
    3. I'm using rotation while developing. But my film tank is a few months old and I had multiple rolls developed in it resulting no light streaks.
    4. The lines are randomly situated on the roll. One thing that is similar in all the rolls that there is always a streak on the last 4-5 shots.
    One more thing that caught my eye the last few days is that the light streak is clearly visible on the very end of the roll too. Where it is fixed to the cartridge. That part never crosses the shutter! I does'nt even leave the cartridge until development. Strange!

    So almost all of you think it's a camera body issue and not a development issue? I have an almost identical body I'll shoot a roll with that too to get some more info.

  12. I'm beginning to wonder if this is a manufacturing fault with the film.
  13. If you use a changing bag, it could be a pinhole in the bag. However, the localisation of the streak to the middle of the film tends to make that explanation unlikely. Do you wear a luminous watch while loading the film by any chance?

    Add in the fact that it affects film that remained enclosed in the cassette while in the camera and that limits it to either: A manufacturing fault with the film, or a light leak somewhere in the processing chain.

    You say the end of the film is nearly always affected? Is that always the end closest to the outside of the developing spiral?

    Check your developing tank for light leaks.

    Lastly - and this is a very outside shot - some plastic tanks are partly transparent to infrared. Any chance that a remote-control or shaft of sunlight played on the tank while the film was in there?

    And FWIW, I've never had any light-leak problems with a digital camera. And it does make me wonder what the great attraction of film use is these days. Reliable pictures, or a chancy PITA? Seems like a no-brain choice to me, but each to their own.
  14. John: Yes, I've always found this unlikely but I have no other explanation as of now. I've contacted Ilford on the issue.

    Rodeo_joe: Yes these lines are too wavy for scratch marks and too straight for tank or loading bag pinhole. I do not wear anything on my wrist while developing. Yes it is always the end that is closest to the outside. No visible holes on my tank. I'll try to tape down the end of my bag next time too. I develop my film in the kitchen so no IR blasters either.
    For me analog photography is about paying attention. If the process is slow and stretches through multiple days from making a shot to scanning I tend to slow down and appreciate the process itself and the end result as well. I'd never make money out of film. This is just for me. Each to their own I guess.
  15. OK . . . What kind of reels are you using? Plastic or steel? Is it possible that you are damaging the emulsion when loading the reels? This do look a little like "pinch" marks.
  16. I’m using plastic reels and they have this ratcheting “self-loading” mechanic. When I get them out I feel no stress in them.
  17. You can also get 'cinch' marks through stress on the film. It doesn't have to be scratched or bent for this to happen. It was a problem with rollfilm if it was pulled too tightly on the take-up spool. The friction between the film and backing paper would be enough to cause marks similar to what the OP is getting.

    So, any chance that your camera's wind on has become overly stiff and is stretching or stressing the film?

    Sorry, but I don't buy this 'film slows me down' business. You can take your time over any process or medium, and once the film is scanned, you've ended up with a digital image anyway. In fact I tend to spend more time on an image in Photoshop these days than I ever did dodging and burning in the darkroom.

    Oh, BTW, you're over developing your film. Those edge markings are far too dark, and from what I can see of those negs on a light box, the highlight density is far too dark as well.
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  18. Assuming you load the reel from front (frame 1) to end (frame 37a in you example above) with the last frames, the frames that always have line, on the outside of the loaded reel, I suspect an problem with processing, not the camera.

    One quick way to check is buy a roll of color film, shoot it, and have it developed commercially. If it also has the line, then it is the camera. If it does not have the line, then the problem is in the processing.

    What type of processing problem, I cannot say. It could be anything from a light leak in the changing bag or even the tank, to static electricity generated in the changing bag. How is the humidity in the air where you are?

    In any case, commercial processing will eliminate either the camera or the processing.
    marcellszucs likes this.

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