What happened to my negs?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by michael_peregrine, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. EDIT - I think I've already figured this out on my own. It would really help if I was a little stronger with basic MATH.
    I posted a question a few weeks back about pulling 120 film. I had the film in the camera for quite a while before I finished the roll, so I finished it this week and developed tonight (I use the word "developed" lightly).
    I also bought a new batch of Rodinal to start working with. When I finished developing/fixing, only the first frame on the roll was exposed - the rest is just blank film. Trying to figure out where I went wrong in the process, as I'm assuming it's operator error. I'm pretty new at this, obviously.
    I mixed a 1:50 batch of Rodinal and pulled two stops (because I accidentally exposed 400 speed film at 100 settings). I used 20 oz of water, and .5 oz of developer (sorry, I have to use ounces for now because I need L/ml measuring tubes).
    Am I calculating ratios incorrectly? Is it possible this Rodinal is a bad batch? All the above? Scratching my head. I can't figure out why a single frame would develop correctly but nothing else. Saw a similar thread below, which was helpful, but wondered if you could point out what I'm screwing up. Thanks in advance for any help from those more experienced at this.
  2. AJG


    If one negative came out properly, it probably isn't your developing procedures but rather a camera or exposure problem. Is the shutter opening the way it should? How did you meter the scenes you photographed ? Answers to these questions might help us to diagnose and solve the problem.
  3. Thanks Andrew ... hmm, now I'm wondering. I would think at least something would have shown up in the other frames even if my dilution ratio was off. The camera worked great the first roll I shot with it. I metered incorrectly (shot 400 speed film at 100), but realized what I had done after five shots, so I continued metering the rest of the roll that way and then pulled the film. Shutter seems fine. Opening and snapping shut perfectly.
  4. Sounds like the film didn't advance properly. If 35mm, it may have popped loose from the takeup spool after the first exposure. Or there may be problems with the advance mechanism, whether 35mm or medium format. It's happened to me when I tried to short the leader and squeeze an extra frame or two out of an expensive roll of film. False economy since the entire roll cost the same, including processing.
    Or there may be problems with the shutter or lens.
    Test the film advance with a scrap roll - an old roll of expired film will do. With the film door open, observe the advance throughout several windings.
    To check the shutter and lens, remove any film - although there may be some cameras that either require film or depressing a bypass switch to test with the film door open. Look through the camera lens while testing each shutter speed and aperture setting.
  5. Thanks, Lex. This is a Mamiya C330, so everything is manual. I can feel the film advancing (there is tension on the roll as I wind), and it seemed to catch each frame correctly and knew when the roll was finished. I'm kind of stumped.
  6. Was the shutter cocked? I know on my 220 that I need to cock the shutter on the lens.
  7. You can rule out the developer if you examine the film and find the edge printing is OK. The edge printing is exposed on the film with light thus it develops up as does the images you made. Most common mistake in the darkroom for a first-timer is spooling the film on the developing reel. If improperly spooled, the film adheres to itself and prevents films in contact from developing properly. If edge printing is good then its the camera that's the culprit.
  8. Blank frames aside, there was no need to pull.
    Shooting 400 at 100 is well within the
    exposure latitude of b&w film.
  9. Alan Marcus, I think you might be onto something. The edge printing is OK and developed fine with the first image. The film went right onto the reel with ease (which surprised me), so I really think it was spooled correctly. I guess I'm going to have to look closer at the camera. Thanks for helping me narrow it down.
  10. Here's the sole surviving negative, slightly worse for the wear. :)
    I just tested the shutter - it's opening and closing just fine (beautifully even). I'm left to believe there was some sort of problem with the way the film was loaded, or a problem with that roll of film itself. I'm going to finish a fresh roll and see how this one does. Appreciate all the responses.
  11. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Does your Mamaya 330 have a light stop or baffle to block the light when changing lenses?
  12. Yes, it does. It is currently set to the locked position. Feels like it's moving when I turn the lock button. Do you think it might be engaging itself mid-roll?
  13. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    I can't think of anything else that would block off the light after only one exposure except leaving a lens cap on the taking lens.
  14. You loaded correctly moving the "<--->" on the backing paper to the 2 red screws whatever before you closed the camera? - Mistakes made there usually cost just about 3 frames though.
    The "unlock" setting for the auxillary shooter should flip a nasty red lever below your ground glass. - no clue what else you could do wrong.
  15. Thanks all. Yeah, film was loaded correctly and the back was tight and screwed properly. I honestly have no idea what could have happened. I talked to the prior owner of the camera and he never had the issue. I really think this was a fluke, but I guess I will find out after the fresh roll in the camera now. I am going to have to re-shoot that little chapel. The exposure with black and white is beautiful to me, and I NEED to get the compositions I had on the lost roll. I worked hard on several of those shots for balance (the shot that came out was the first composition, which I don't care for), and ended up really liking the look of that pulled Ilford!
  16. If it were me, I would load a sacrificial roll and test with it. I would load and shoot and open the camera and look at the everything. Be a carful observer looking at shutter and the way the film advances etc. Good luck -- Alan Marcus
  17. When playing with a new camera like that, I would take another camera along. Maybe a DSLR, or maybe a film camera that I have seen work before.
    Often my first roll on one like that is neighborhood pictures, just to see how it works.
  18. When testing do it close to home but not in a home that you know. ;)
  19. I did that once. I forgot what speed I had loaded after a month after only one shot. I opened the back in subdued real quick and closed it to see knowing I would loose a frame or two and went on my merry way. When I rewound I thought something felt wrong. It was the third roll I developed and I got only 1 exposure and very frustrated. Apparently the film jumped the sprocket because 36 exposures seemed to last a long time but I did not put it all together until I processed it.
  20. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Many of us started using medium format once and I'd bet that most of us have wrecked a shot or two whilst we learned.
    I don't believe in flukes. Every time I've thought "fluke" with a camera its turned out to be a camera fault or a user error. If you don't find it and put it right it'll likely keep happening. Try some more films on unimportant subjects till you're sure you've got the loading/winding on, hearing the shutter go every time, removing the lens cap etc , and getting at least some sort of developed result.
  21. Just as an update - developed the test roll tonight. Used same formulas, same procedure, everything - and it came out perfect this time. I must have done something stupid last time, but can't figure out what it was. Anyway, I feel a little more comfortable that it probably isn't the camera now (hope not, that thing takes amazing photos). Thanks for all the guidance and suggestions in here. This is a really helpful group of folks in this forum.

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