TMAX 100 120 film completely clear after developing

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by cactusblossom, Dec 18, 2018.

  1. Hi,

    I am having a mysterious and frustrating film isse.

    Yesterday I processed a roll of 120 TMAX 100 film, which was shot with my Hasselblad 500cm. I have been using the camera consistently for the past year or so and haven't had any issues. The roll was processed with Clayton f60 developer. It came out completely clear - there were no edge markings or numbers. That has never happened to me before. I thought maybe the pre-wash or developer had somehow gotten contaminated with fix, since I was working in a shared darkroom.

    Today I shot another roll of 120 TMAX 100 in the same camera, and processed it, as well as 3 35mm rolls, all with the same chemistry. Before processing, I washed out all of the containers and mixed new chemistry to ensure that it wasn't contaminated. All three 35mm rolls came out - 2 rolls of Ilford HP5 400 and one of Tri-X 400 - but again, the TMAX 100 120 film was completely clear, with no writing or numbers visible.

    Since the 35mm film came out with the same chemistry, it doesn't seem like a processing issue. I thought maybe an issue with the camera but the numbers have been advancing and I am able to take the back off and see the shutter opening. Also, if it was an issue with the camera rather than developing, I would think there would be writing and numbers visible.

    The only other difference in processing the different formats was I used a metal tank and reel for the 120 and plastic for the 35mm but I don't think that could be the issue. It wasn't a light leak because then it would be dark instead of clear and the chemistry went in properly.

    Does anyone know what the issue could be? Is it possible those two rolls were defective in some way? I purchased them both together.

    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
  2. The only things I can think of:

    1) Two defective rolls of film (very unlikely).

    2) The developer was exhausted when you developed the 120 roll.

    3) You made a mistake and fixed the film before you developed. You confused the bottle of fixer for developer.

    3) Something about the metal tank neutralized the developer.

    4) Since there were no edge marking, this is not a camera problem.
    paul ron likes this.
  3. If the tank was a proper purpose-made stainless steel developing tank there would be no issue. However it's well known that some soft metals, like copper, aluminium and some soldering materials, can react with developer.

    From your description, the 35mm film and rollfilm weren't actually processed together in the same tank. So there's still every possibility that there was a processing error or mix up with the rollfilm. No edge markings would definitely indicate 'dead' developer or fixing before development.

    Any sign of the purplish T-max dye? This only gets dissolved in alkaline developer.

    BTW, was the film freshly bought?
    HP5 was replaced with HP5plus many years ago.

    Oh, and why are you doing a pre-wash?
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
    paul ron likes this.
  4. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    no edge markings says its processing error.

    since other rolls came out fine in your follow up... you must have done something wrong.

    try again?
  5. I keep the developer to the left, stop and fix to the right, making it harder to get them in the wrong order.

    You didn't mention times. Sufficiently underdeveloped, they will also come out clear, even though
    they were in actual developer. There are different times for different versions of TMX and TMY,
    even though they still have those symbols. It would be possible to use the wrong table.

    is the 2016 version of the data sheet. If the film is recent, that should be
    the right times.

    As mentioned above, TMX can come out pink, even with normal development
    and fixing. Usually longer fixing will change that. Is there any pink to it?

    I haven't known about any counterfeit film, but I suppose it is possible.
  6. Bad experience shows confusing fixer and developper bottles (number 3 below)

  7. Thank you for all of the replies!

    I know that the developer was not exhausted because yesterday my order of processing was: 35mm Tri-X 400 (I did this first to test the chemistry), 120 TMAX 100, 35mm HP5. Since the TMAX was processed in the middle, I don't see how that could be the issue.

    I, too always keep the chemistry in order of use and this time I actually mixed the developer in with my 68 degree water directly from the stock box before pouring it right into the tank - so I know I didn't fix first.

    On the first day I developed for 8 minutes and 45 seconds because the water was really cold - it was 64 degrees. On the second, the water was at 68 and I developed for 7 minutes. In both cases I fixed for around 5 minutes. I was using a chart specific to Clayton f60 developer, and it said that at 68 degrees, TMAX 100 120 film should be processed for 7 minutes.

    Is a pre-wash not recommended for TMAX 100? The instructions at the lab I was processing in recommend a pre-wash. I've never had an issue with it before. I did see a lot of purple dye come off and when I opened the tank after fixing, there was still a lot of dye coming off and it was still very pink.

    All three types of film were processed in separate tanks. I processed the TMAX 100 in a standard stainless steel developing tank.
  8. That would suggest you fixed before developing (see Rodeo_joe's post above)
  9. Just to be sure, the 7 minutes is with 1:9 dilution of the stock?

    It seems that there are 1:9 and 1:19 recommendations.

    Since I do believe that you didn't fix first, the next suggestion is underdevelopment.

    With 35mm, you have the exposed end to be sure that there was some development,
    but not with 120.

    The only one that I ever had completely clear is a roll of TP that I chose a short
    development time hoping to get lower contrast, but got nothing.

    Many scenes will have one highlight enough to show, but not all.

    There is still the question of underexposure. Maybe the shutter is
    faster than you think. I have a 120 camera with shutter speeds up
    to 1/300, which often seems to do 1/300 even when set lower.
    It might be fixable, but I haven't tried yet. I just use it in daylight
    where 1/300 isn't so far off.

    Usually I can estimate close to 1s by ear, and then judge that each stop
    is about twice as fast. I suppose there is even a possibility that
    the shutter works without film, but fails when actually loaded with film.
    Or that it works when the back is open, but not when closed.
  10. Your best clue was the bit about "I did see a lot of purple dye come off and when I opened the tank after fixing, there was still a lot of dye coming off and it was still very pink."
    The film never was in developer in that case. Fixing an undeveloped T-Max 100 film produces exactly that symptom - plenty of dye in the fixer solution and it's almost impossible to remove the pink look from the negative no matter how long you fix the film.
  11. The dye is very strong, and a very tiny bit will make solutions look pink.

    I agree that I wouldn't say "a lot of purple dye", but "a lot" is subjective.

    If the developer isn't pink, though, that would be suspicious.

    Unlike many developers, Diafine lasts a long time with the same solution, and so the pink accumulates.
    But even so, not all that much is actually there.
  12. If there were no edge markings or numbers, then the film was not developed before the fix. Either exhausted developer or using the fixer first.
    just my experience and 2c worth.

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