Negative Film Came out Clear

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by alexandergambino, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. Hello! I'm developing my friends roll of film. She shot with 35mm Ilford 400 speed B&W film. She shot it with a Pentax zx-m. I developed the film for 15 minutes, agitating for the first 30 seconds of each minute and tapping it. I then cleaned the developer out, and did fix for 6 minutes. Doing a similar process to the film, agitating and tapping. Following that I washed the film fix out and followed it with an extra rinse. Continuing it I used photo flow, and rinsed it out one more time. I then rinsed it out of the film canister, on the spool, and after 10 minutes I removed the film off the spool. The tail, was solid black, and the rest of the film was all clear. There wasn't any borders either. I still was able to read Ilford. Can anyone help me out? Thanks!
  2. Is it perfectly clear or just really faint? If clear then it may mean the film was never exposed. It's possible it wasn't loaded right and cocking the advance lever didn't actually advance the film. Or maybe she gave you the wrong roll, - an unused one.
  3. Another possibility is that the camera shutter malfunctioned, and didn't open.
  4. I agree with John.
    If the leader of the film was black and you can read "Ilford" on the margin of the film, then the film was never exposed.

    Either the camera shutter is faulty or there's been a mix up with the film, and you've been given a fresh film that was never in the camera.

    Maybe your friend's next film will be double exposed!?

    "There wasn't any borders either."
    - Not sure what you mean by that. There are no frame borders pre-exposed on film. Only frame numbers and a maker's name on the film edge outside the sprocket holes.

    BTW, 15 minutes seems a very long development time. What developer and dilution are you using?
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
  5. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    If the leader was black and the rest of the film clear, the film after the leader was never exposed to light for whatever reason.
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  6. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    Fire the camera with the back open to see if the shutter is operating.

    If the shutter is working, then she didnt use the correct exposures.
  7. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    Sigh. Another drive-by posting... :(
  8. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    thats very common. most times i see the same person posting the same question on several forums but never comes back with any replies.

    hit n run!

    but at least anyone with a similar problem searches, theyd find our sugestions which may be useful after all.
    msantanaphoto, PapaTango and wogears like this.
  9. One other possibility is that the film was improperly loaded and never advanced. I had that happen to me on my first, and only, trip to the UK. The Changing of the Guard, Number 10 Downing Street, Greenwich, the boat trip down the Thames all ended up on the same frame. The rest of the roll was blank save the edge markings. It was the first and last time in 30-years I had that happen with my Nikon FTn. I knew there was something wrong, when the camera "advanced" to frame 39 on a 36-exposure roll. No, I did not notice the rewind knob was not moving; it was covered by a flash shoe.

    Luckily my wife had her point-and-shoot; all was not lost.
  10. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    Yes, as this may be the case--the post stands as an example of a number of things that one should not do... :eek:

    1. 15 minutes is far too long of a development time unless it is below 60F or one is using a diluted developer.
    2. 30 seconds per minute of agitation is WAY too much for MANY reasons.
    3. Farting about between dev & fix without a solid STOP extends the development time. Dump, stop, and fix...
    4. One DOES NOT rinse again after Photo Flo treatment. This defeats its purpose. Read the label.
  11. Fifteen minutes is what I use for Kentmere 100 developed in Rodinal 1+50 at 20 degrees Celsius.
  12. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    Yes John, very similar to what I would do with Rodinal or its various clones. But we are not talking about a slower speed 100 ISO film or a special developer schema, or stand development, or anything like that. The opening salvo is about HP5 and someone who appears to be less than adept at the mechanics of film processing--combined with someone else who seems to have some difficulty with their camera and other things... :confused:
  13. Well, I've certainly made my share of mistakes when it comes to both shooting and processing. Only last month I was surprised when I checked the frame counter and it had gone all the way up to 39 and was still letting me shoot, - forgot there wasn't film in the camera.

    My first attempt at processing B&W film I had mixed up a batch of D-76 at the proper mixing temp (50° C) and proceeded to process the film... at the same temp. ;)
    PapaTango likes this.
  14. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    Back not too long ago, this form of photography was practiced with junky, plastic Russian cameras containing shoddy plastic or cheap glass meniscus lenses. Now I see along with pricey versions of those, the stable of bodies has grown to include our favorite Nikon, Canon, Yashica, and yes film fans, even Leica. An odd passion exists for anything rangefinder.

    A combination of deliberate bad practice, filters, and 'oh no you didn't' processing delivers the product. Some of it is quite elegant. Much of it is cringe-worthy and cliche.

    Talking to a large number of young film tyros, I am finding that these methods are increasingly the norm--that what we strove for as best practice is now unknown or not practiced. Effect you know. But hey, all of this resurgence is keeping film happily alive! :cool:
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  15. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    BUT if it were over developed, it should be black, not clear. His leader is black so that says anything exposed is developing... except the frames.

    The possibility the film never advanced or the shutter isn't working or the exposures were so far out noting got developed seems more likely the problem.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
    wogears likes this.
  16. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    That is correct Paul. But in the post I responded to, in which you said that the thread might result in a 'learning experience' for others--my intent was to play Captain Obvious and point out some things that beginners simply should not do. The post really had little to do with the OP's final outcomes... ;)

    As we (socially speaking) shovel more and more 'information' on the servers of the internet--a curious thing is happening. I have noted some of it on Wikipedia (contributor & editor there for 15 years) and a lot of it in other's websites and articles. Whatsit? The decline of 'traditional' methodologies and those engaged in them sharing knowledge in a comprehensive manner. It becomes a paradox.

    Sites like this must gain new membership due to all of the attrition that normally occurs. Old resources leave or are buried (a double entendre there!) and beginners take their place. A collective lore begins to emerge in the new cohorts. A running joke right now is that with Twitter doubling the character count, some are having trouble with their "eyes glazing over" at the end of a 140 character string. The new cohort likes 'less is better' and wants direct answers. Solve the problem, not explain why it happened. I fault this with the introduction of constructionist paradigms into educational systems in the 80s. Just tell me what I want to know, I can imagine the rest in my own frame of understanding. Thanks Alexa; Perfect Siri! Oh, by the way, if it is printed can I have that in 3 bullet points or less? :rolleyes:

    This thread reminds me of a recent incident involving my daughter's boyfriend, and a so-called mechanic friend of his that were working on a car in my driveway. The vehicle would not start. Motor would spin over until the battery ran down. I had already taken a bunch of things loose so that the fuel pressure at the rail could be tested, along with an inspection of the plugs and determination of spark.

    When the 'mechanic' showed up I drifted off to more germane things. Why? I watched them debate whether it was the battery or starter--and waste 20 minutes crawling under the car to fiddle with the starter. o_O Needless to say, the next day I called AAA for him and had the vehicle towed off to a real mechanic. Fuel pump issues. But something the 'mechanic' read on the internet said that...

    If something is on the internet, it must be true, right? :p
    John Farrell and paul ron like this.
  17. I recall I'd shot a roll of Tri-X at work with my Canon Pellix, and the results looked like absolute crap. It was the first and only time I'd used the Pellix, and the issues were due both to underexposure and the fact that the mirror is trash in the camera. I should have trashed them, but someone asked to see and I showed scans. The 20-year old(I work at a university) who saw it said "Oh wow, that's the best looking film photo I've seen."

    I know that digital surpassed 35mm film a long time ago, but I still pride myself in getting the best out of negatives I can get. In fact, I was showing some optical 8x10s from 35mm Tri-X not too long ago, and someone wanted to know what plug-in I'd used for the "grain effect." They glazed over when I said it was straight D76 :) .

    I've talked to the lady at the lab I use about how much unmitigated crap she has to wade through on a daily basis. She's happy for it on one hand because it keeps her going, but on the other hand she's glad when I bring her stuff because she knows at least that her chemistry is good :) . I had a page of MF Velvia out in the lab one day on the light table and someone else in asked me what I did to make my medium format look that good. I personally thought it was far from my best work, but they said "My slide film doesn't look anything like when I try to shoot it." I just left it at the fact that I use correctly stored and more or less in-date film, use real cameras :) , and actually take the time to meter the scene.
    wogears likes this.
  18. :) .

    Digital surpassed 35mm film in resolution some years ago (except for some ultra-slow copy films, that blow everything away), but "analogue" still has certain advantages as well.

    Yeah, that helps a lot. ;)
  19. What is this analogue photography?

    (or, put another way, why use an inaccurate three-syllable word to describe something perfectly described by a single word-film?)
  20. That's why I used quotation marks.

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