straight scratches on my negatives, why?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by deniz_g_l, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. [​IMG]Hello,
    Lately, I have had a problem with my negatives being scratched with long straight lines.
    I have tried to isolated every single process to find out, where in the process this happens, without luck.
    The scratches occurs at different places, however, mostly on the mid - or lower mid of the image.
    It occurs randomly on the negatives. In other words, some on the first part of the roll, and some could occur on the last part.
    It would be really helpful if anyone have an idea about, where they could come from.
    My workflow underneath, step for step, for a deeper insight in where it could have gone wrong.
    My workflow:
    Shooting on a Leica m6 with a 50mm summicron
    I only shoot on Kodak Tri-X (non-expired).

    Develop with Kodak D-76 in a Paterson tank, which carries 3 wheels.
    Stop with vinegar
    Fix with Ilford Rapid fixer
    Final wash is with desalinized water and adox adoflo - wetting agent
    I hang dry the negatives in the bathroom
    I cut them and archive them in folders
    I scan them on a Nikon Coolscan 4000ed using the sa-21 head.

    Attached some examples... how do I even do that?
  2. Scratches are a mechanical problem, so chemistry or other issues doesn`t have to do with it.
    There use to be four sources for the scratches:
    1. Film canister rim (usually they work right, forget it at first)
    2. Camera rails (some cameras are really annoying: not the case on my M6TTL)
    3. Negative drain (very likely if you use an squeegee tool)
    4. Particles on water (very likely if your flter doesn`t work)
    What do you think?
  3. SCL


    You said you shoot Tri-X, but do you reload cartriges or use fresh cartriges for each shooting session? If you're reloading, I'd check the light traps for imbedded dust/dirt. If fresh cartriges and scratches are on the emulsion side of the film then you are looking at possibly some nicks or dirt where that side of the film touches any part of the camera; if the scratches are on the other side of the film, possibly some dirt on the pressure plate. BTW your samples aren't showing up.
  4. Attached some examples... how do I even do that?​
    1. to post inline photos reduce them to 700 x 700 pixels and preferred 100K or less, larger get posted as a link. Upon clicking on the confirm button at the end of your post a screen comes up with a text box for the label for a photo with a browse button beside it, press the browse button and select the photo from your computer, then follow the prompts.
    Photos on an image hosting site can be linked to by placing a link in the post.
    2. readers not familiar with the M6 should look at the user manual before posting comments about the camera as it loads differently from most 35mm SLR's.
    3. I suggest getting 2 rolls of cheap B&W film, process one straight from the cassette without exposing it, and run the other through the camera before processing it. If both have scratches its your processing, if only the exposed roll has scratches its the camera. Of course you can use your TriX for this test.
    4. If you use a squeegee to remove water from you finished film before drying get rid of it and start using a wetting agent such as PhotoFlo in the final rinse.
    5 +1 for the previous posts.
  5. #1
    Mr. Angel, I doubt that the problem is coming from the Leica, as I always keep it nice and clean. And even just got it back from service.
    As I use a wetting agent, hereafter, I just let the negatives hang dry; the problem can't be from a squeegee tool.

    Particles on water, I don't belief that the water can leave these lines, however I also use desterilized water for the final wash.

    If you look at some of the (now) attached photos, you might notice that two parallel straight lines occur sometimes. And the only thing I can think of, is the wheel inside of the scanner.
    However then I read this:

    #2 Mr. Lewis, I only use fresh cartridges.

    #3 Mr. Monday, I'm of the same idea regarding the 'test', and I try it out. However, do you think the nikon coolscan 4000ed is able to make those scratches, see below:

  6. Water doesn`t scratch film... are the particles on water when squeegeeing the film. The rubber on the tool catch a particle and scratch the film making perfectly straigh lines on it. If you don`t touch the film from the loading to the scanning, obviously the problem should be either on the canister rim (not likely), on the camera rails (believe me, some cameras are ugly on this, even serviced Leicas, -not in my experience, I repeat-), or as you say, in the scanner transportation process (I have no clue on this).
    Notice that some scratches can be seen on the film directly with a loupe; check them before scanning.
  7. If you suspect the scanner, get it out of the equation. Fortunately, that is easy to do. You need:
    * a loupe, which you have. If you don't own something labeled a "loupe", use your 50 mm lens.
    * skill at using it. You have negatives that are known to be scratched in a known location. Practice until you are sure you can easily find the scratches.
    Now run a roll of film through your normal process and look carefully at the negative before scanning it. If you found scratches, you have ruled out the scanner. If not, run it through the scanner without looking at the scanner's output. Look for the scratches again with your loop. If you find them, you know the scanner is the problem. If you don't find them, look at the scanner output to verify they didn't happen this time. If they did happen, practice some more with the loupe.
    If you have ruled out the scanner, look carefully at the scratches with the loupe before you try to narrow down the step in which they occur. Are they scratches into the surface of the film? If so, which surface? If not, they must not be scratches in the normal sense of the word, but rather caused by physically creating a latent image.
    When I was young (11th grade) and learning to process film, I would sometimes run a fingernail across the surface of the film while loading the film into a processing reel. It would develop as a dark line. That's not your problem here, because the scratches are too straight, but remember that if they are an actual dark line within the image itself, they happened before development.
    Moving from what I know to what I can guess, I'm 95% certain that this is happening in the camera or in the scanner. This is because the examples that you have shown us all show lines in either one of two places or else in a narrow band of the film. (I haven't measured them on my screen, so I'm only 50% sure that they always appear in one of two places on the film.) That regularity can only be caused by a very carefully controlled transport of the film across a surface capable of causing scratches (if it is damaged): the camera or the scanner.
  8. It's unlikely the two prominent scratches are from the roll, unless the roll was laying about on the floor. Try another roll. If they are in the same place then they are from somewhere your film crosses all points in your camera. I don't know the scanner, but that is unlikely (although this DID happen to me by a company).
  9. To get rid of the camera idea, just wind through a length of film and inspect that. You may well be able to see the scratches on it under a magnifier and strong light. If there aren't any on that, it means they are probably somewhere else. I would always be suspicious when something comes back from a service and this issue seems to stem from then.
  10. I am not familiar with your scanner or the film head. After looking it up on the web I revise the test.
    Shoot, process, and dry a roll of film.
    Once dry inspect the film with a loupe. Scratched film-return the camera to the service center for warranty repair.
    No scratches- load the SA21 and scan the negatives.
    Examine the film with a loupe. Scratches on the film- the head is at fault, repair or replace.
    No scratches but lines in the scans- the scanner needs optical components in the scan path cleaned.
  11. Deniz,
    If the scratches are on the same place on each film you have done, then I would assume it is the camera at fault, but the photo of the Ferris wheel hasn't any scratches by the looks of it and the one of the mountain has a scratch only extending half way into the image. I can't see if the scratching is on the emulsion side or not, but that is another thing to be looking at for an answer.
    Just seen a short video of loading the M6. 1.Does the scratch go right to the wind on sprocket, or you stop winding the film before you get the tail in the cassette? The back plate looks like somewhere to hide a nick, too many bits of metal across the film.
    Another thought has struck; last one. Leave the back panel open and run a waste film through the camera and then rewind it to have a look.
  12. There are a lot of good ideas here, but I think an effective way to troubleshoot would be to run a roll halfway through the camera (taking
    photos) then rewind. If you find scratches halfway through the roll and then they stop, you know they are from either the camera or
    cassette. Additionally, you'd be able to find the exact spot in the camera based on the last frame exposed.

    If you find scratches into the part that didn't go through the camera then you know that it's something in your processing (or the film was
    already scratched inside of the cassette).

    I concur with the suggestions to use a loupe for inspection, but it takes a certain technique - try looking at specular reflections of both a
    large light source and a small one. Don't overlook the possibility that the scratches may be occurring as you put the film into storage
  13. There are a lot of good ideas here, but I think an effective way to troubleshoot would be to run a roll halfway through the camera (taking photos) then rewind.​
    +1. More economical than using two rolls.
    DO NOT use a squeegee. Final photo-flo in de-ionized water. Unload from spiral (make sure your hands are clean); hold diagonally for ~30s so that water collects near edge, then hang in dust-free (and draft-free) place.
  14. I am experiencing a similar problem using 120 film. However, my "scratches" are not always perfectly horizontal, nor do they necessarily extend from one frame to the other. Neither do they exist on every frame, or on every roll.
    The camera is a Bronica ETRSi. The film back is 120. Light seals have been replaced on the back and the body where possible.
    The films are Ilford Delta 100 and HP5+. The worst marks on on the HP5+. Even though the lighting was not harsh, I thought that they might be due to light piping.
    I use plastic reels in Paterson tanks - the marks are well inboard of the edges of the reel. My loading procedure is a careful one (I think) - the film is not flopping all around. Developer is replenished XTOL (new batch mixed up 2 months ago).
    I checked the paper backing of one of the rolls, and there are some suspicious barely perceptible markings on the black film side of the paper. Nothing on the white side to suggest a problem. I am aware that static electricity can affect film, but it is so unpredictable in my case that I tend to rule it out.
    I'm beginning to suspect the markings/leaks/whatever may be originating at the manufacturing level.
    Attached is a scan showing the marks. The heavy lines are the marks in question - the light line is a piece of something on the scanner bed (Epson 4990). Please ignore the two stop bracketing.
  15. Pressure marks from handling before processing. 120 film is much thinner than other formats making it more susceptible than other formats.
    To test press a fingernail across the backing paper close to the end so as to not damage a image then process. Several pressed lines at different pressures will show you how sensitive the film format is.
  16. Charles: many thanks.
    How do you personally handle 120 when loading? Do you unroll it and remove the paper, then wind it on the reel, which is what I have been doing, or do you have another method that works best?
    I have actually of late been re-rolling the film after removing the paper so that the tape is at the end of the roll when winding it on the reel. That keeps me from having to remove the tape before reeling the film. Could that be the step that is producing the handling marks?
  17. I use a Photoflex Changing Room and usually load stainless steel reels. I unroll the film from the paper then insert the tape end into the center clip of the reel. I occasionally reverse roll the film then rewind it normal before attaching it to the developing reel.
    It just takes practice handling the film very gently to get it to do what you want. I too get an occasional pressure mark if I have not loaded any for an extended period of time.
  18. 120 film and kinks, pressure marks and whatnot can be completely done away with by developing in a deep tank. No reels involved.
    Get a length of PVC pipe and fill with chemistry. You will need at least five of them and a darkroom - as you will be processing in the dark. A weight on the bottom of the film and a clip hangar at the top. Dip the unrolled film into the tank of pre-soak. Then move through the developing, stop, fix and into the rinse tube. You never touch the film itself other than initially putting the weight and hanging clip on it. Agitation is easy - dip and dunk. You can make a nitrogen burst easily with a small tank of compressed nitrogen, hose and a handle or knob to introduce bursts into the bottom of the tube.
    Clean negatives, no glitches from handling.
  19. I thank all for the helpful feedback.
    I did as 'Bill C' suggested:
    There are a lot of good ideas here, but I think an effective way to troubleshoot would be to run a roll halfway through the camera (taking photos) then rewind. If you find scratches halfway through the roll and then they stop, you know they are from either the camera or cassette. Additionally, you'd be able to find the exact spot in the camera based on the last frame exposed.​
    Hereafter, I could conclude that the problem was in the camera, as I didn't have any scratches on the unexposed part of the negativ.
    The camera has therefore been sent to service at Leica in Germany, again.
    Once again, thanks for all the responses.

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