How clear should my negatives be? HP5+ in Rodinal

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by mellais, Jan 6, 2022.

  1. Hi,

    A potential fixer issue;

    HP5+ shot @1600 and developed in Rodinal (semi-stand). I'm new to this combo. Films get developed without problems but my negatives come out slightly fogged even after very thorough fixing.

    The fixer comes from an older opened container but tested ok before use.

    In the photos you can see that the base is almost clear but still shows fog.
    I have ruled out film storage issues.
    Is the fixer done or is this what it's supposed to look like with this film/developer? It's the same film clip in both images attached;)


    Otto 20220106_154628.jpg 20220106_154603.jpg
  2. That seems a bit dark but I remember HP5+ being dyed somewhat dark. How old is the film. I had very poor shelf life with HP5 and the fog got noticeable quickly. Still worked OK. I don't think it's a fixer issue if more fixing time doesn't improve it.
  3. These negative appear too dark (fogged) to me or perhaps over developed. A proper developer solution has an additive called a “restrainer” that mitigates chemical fog. Your negatives will print up OK provided the fog is uniform.

    As to the fix, you can easily test the fix. In the light, dip a snip of film in the fix and swish it about. The film enters the film opaque and after a few minutes, becomes milky and then transparent. Time this reaction (time to clear). The safe fix time is double the clear time.

    I can’t speak for this film but many 35mm films have a noticeably gray base tint. This tint is not present on wide roll counterpart films. This base tint is intentionally added to 35mm film to reduce light piping. Not seen on rolls with paper backing with its flat black backing.

    We are talking about unwanted exposure due to light transmission contained by the interfaces, base, emulsion, topcoat etc. This action is similar to the action of fiber optics. Light piping will fog film at the edges due to exposure to light during loading and unloading.

    Cine film often has an added carbon black back coat called a RemJet. This is removable jet black back coat of carbon held in place by cid plastic binder. During developing, Cine film is placed in a alkaline solution to soften the acid plastic thus allowing the RemJet to be easily buffed off with a soft cloth.

    Anyway, if you suspect the fixer solution, you can safely re-fix in the light. Generally, if the fixer is substandard, the film will be blotchy (not uniformly discolored).
  4. From the graph on the data sheet, the base density is about 0.2.

    The second one is such that light goes through the film twice, and
    I suspect looks close enough to usual for me. The first one looks
    darker, and most has light through only once.

    Developing for 1600 is pretty much overdeveloping, so one should expect a little more fog.
    If the film was a little old, or stored in less than ideal conditions, you might get a little fog.

    Refixing is easy, best with new fixer.

    You might look closely and see if the gray has grain or not. The film base density should
    be a uniform gray dye, without visible grain.
  5. From the edge markings and cuts in the sprocket holes, I think the two images are from the same section of the negs. I agree though, the second one looks close to normal to me, especially if you consider the paper underneath, presumably white, is a bit grey in the image. Support it side on in some new fixer with only half of it submerged and then see if the two halves look any different.
  6. Under-fixed film has a 'milky' appearance that is slightly diffuse. In view of the fact that the 2nd of those examples is simply dark, and doesn't diffuse the lettering underneath; it's my opinion that it's fogged rather than under-fixed. Although the first example does show some diffusion that might be due to poor fixing.

    Over development in a 'foggy' developer would be my best guess, especially since the film has been (pointlessly) 'pushed'.
    Over developing - AKA pushing - actually does nothing to increase the true speed of a film. But 'pushing' sounds a lot more acceptable than saying "I underexposed and overdeveloped my film".
    In practise, that's almost never the case. There's always a scattering of developed film grain to be found even in the lightest parts of a negative. Especially an over-developed negative.
    Ilford's published H&d curves should be taken with a sack of salt!
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
  7. Especially since they say that they same curve applies to roll and sheet film, even though they
    don't have a gray base.

    In any case, the 35mm form has a gray base.

    Also, the second picture above is in its own shadow, so the density will look
    twice as high.

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