Why is my film coming out blank

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by melissaguenther, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. My roll of film came out completely blank, it wasn't white and did not look over exposed or like light damaged it. I took two more rolls and developed them together and one came out completely fine. The other was blue and looked clear and normal after development. I know it can't be the development process since one came out perfect and i know it can't be exposure to light, so why am i only sometimes having this issue?
  2. This is B&W film where the film itself has a bluish tint but otherwise the negative is clear after developing?
  3. How do you mean? the leader was darkened, since the developer worked and the rest as blank as the borders but numbers & stuff in them showed?
    Did you use the same camera? If so, did you make the usual stupid mistakes? Like leaving the
    • cap on a RF lens?
    • dark slide in a roll holder?
    Are you sure your camera should have been able to expose that film? A Minox 35 will wind through but won't expose with dead batteries. An electronic Zentit shutter will stick to 1/1000 sec.

    Flash sync issues? I suppose a roll shot at 125 sec, f16 with electronic flash and shutter set to M sync should look pretty blank.
    Good luck investigating!
  4. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    Please can you give more info about the film (make, expiry date, ISO etc.), the camera in which it was exposed (again make, lens, shutter speed, aperture and any other relevant details) and, if possible, scans of the film that came out blank (full width of film, including sprocket holes - if 35mm, of course - else all edge markings if roll film) and of the film which did not have issues.

  5. Way too easy on some cameras is that the film doesn't stay attached to the take up spool,
    so never gets exposed. Usually you will know this when you rewind, but maybe not in
    a camera that you aren't so used to.
  6. I've had this happen more than once though usually I realize it before I get to what would have been the end of the roll.

    So I've learned to double check that the rewind crank is turning when I advance the film. This did lead to another problem with a Nikon Nikonos. The rewind crank does not turn when you advance the film on that camera. And the film advance is really smooth, - to the point where I once convinced myself that I had not loaded the film properly... and opened the camera. Oops.
  7. With shorter than 36 exposure rolls, the crank doesn't turn at the beginning, as there is
    enough slack inside the cartridge. (This probably means that the film rubs against the

    And cameras with motorized rewind, often have no indicator of film movement.
  8. If you have a rewind crank, it's a good idea to gently take up the slack after loading, that way you know the film is advancing.

    Could be so many reasons though, would need to see the negatives to narrow it down.

    Film not loaded correctly

    Shutter not opening

    Shutter stuck on fastest speed

    Shutter capping

    Lens cap still on

    Massive underexposure (user error or meter error or mechanical malfunction)

    Development error (fixer before developer)

  9. It was a canon AE1 with black and white TRI X 400 film for those who asked. No numbers or anything appeared after development. I'm pretty sure as people have suggested the film slipped inside the camera and the counter kept going but the rewind dial wasn't turning. So i thought i was taking pictures but the film wasn't moving.
  10. SCL


    That sounds about right. You should always check after loading the film that it has properly caught on the spool, and advancing when it is supposed to. Happened to me on my first date with my wife...she wasn't impressed with my photography skills:p
  11. If there were no numbers on the film edges, it's possible you added the fixer before the developer.
    AJG likes this.
  12. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    "No numbers or anything appeared after development."

    Even if you took the film directly from the film box, never put it in a camera, and developed it you would get blank, clear film but the numbers would be on the edges. No numbers does mean you messed up in the developing.
  13. Pan F+ is said to have poor latent image keeping. I haven't tested it with actual pictures
    saved for a long time, but the edge printing does get very light.

    For 35mm, the tongue should be well exposed, and come out very dark, even if the
    numbers don't.

    Also, some less well known films don't have any numbers.
  14. The OP says it was Tri-X, which usually has strong edge numbering.

    Sounds like the developer didn't work, or the wash water was so hot that the emulsion was melted clean off! - Unlikely, but stranger things have happened.
  15. Yes, but I wanted to be sure that other readers don't generalize too much.

    I believe that the Arista rolls that I have don't have any edge markings, though I
    haven't used them so much.

    Most often, discussions should be useful not just for the OP, but for others who might have
    the same problem sometime in the future.

    But yes, the Tri-X numbering that I remember is reasonably strong.
    casey_c likes this.
  16. Last year, I shot a number of rolls of Arista EDU 100 Ultra. This Arista film does have edge markings.
  17. Or the OP only put enough developer in to cover the roll that came out fine (assuming that was on the bottom).
  18. On my Kodak Retina I the exposure counter was advanced by the film sprocket holes rotating an exposure sprocket shaft and not by the film advance mechanism. I don't know they stopped making camera this way. On my Retina IIa the crank operates the counter and it's necessary to monitor the rewind knob as Tomsapielman suggests.
  19. On most cameras that I know, the sprocket shaft will turn when you wind without film.

    Otherwise, with film, the sprocket shaft determines the amount of film to advance.

    I don't know for any camera how the two are coupled, just the right amount.

    There might be some with no such coupling, in which case the counter would be a reliable
    indication of the film not moving.
  20. Another hit'n'run posting by the look of it. So we may never know the cause of the mysterious blank film.

    Lack of edge markings or blackened leader would definitely point to a processing fault. But affecting only one film in a two-film tank? Bizarre.

    Did we get the full and accurate story?

    Is the OP too embarrassed to own up to their error?

    Or something more unlikely that might be of help to future readers?

    We may never know! But if melissaguenther is still checking this; please report back with what you found the cause of the problem to be.
    Tony Parsons likes this.

Share This Page