Low contrast negatives

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by snark, Jun 24, 2017.

  1. snark

    snark TPF Noob!

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    I am using Arista EDU 400 film and Arista developer 1:1 and following the developing time recommendation of 12.5 minutes. I am careful with cleanliness, times and temperature; everything the same every time. Nonetheless some rolls come out of the tank with low contrast, lacking acutance. Resulting prints are muddy.
    My developer is relatively fresh (stock mixed within a couple months) and stored in stoppered amber bottles, mixed 1:1 at time of use.
    Exposure is not the issue, negative density is normal.
    Film is kept in the fridge, but once loaded sometimes languishes in the camera for months before development (this is what I suspect might be the problem, what do you think?)
    Any suggestions?


     
  2. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I suspect old film, or film that has been overheated or radiated (a la x-rays or worse). Is it overly grainy? Usually it takes years, if properly stored, for exposed film to go 'bad'.
     
  3. snark

    snark TPF Noob!

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    No grain problems. I suppose you are right - old film might be it. That was my first guess. I use several cameras and sometimes a partially exposed roll gets neglected for some time. If that happens, do you suppose a ten percent increase in development time would be of benefit?
     
  4. webestang64

    webestang64 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Agreed......Film has a curve. The curve goes up to the "expiration" date and then falls off. The month film expires is the best time to shoot that roll as it's at it's peak curve. The older film gets the "darker" the film base gets as the silver layer turns to black, called "base fog" which will produce "muddy" prints. And as Gary said heat, x-rays as well as household cleaners, mothballs, finger nail polish fumes can destroy film fast.
    Placing film in the fridge will work but for long term I recommend freezing the film and taking it out a day before you shoot.
     
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  5. snark

    snark TPF Noob!

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    Thanks you both. I will henceforth be more careful about processing film promptly and fret less over fixing avoidable errors.
     
  6. john.margetts

    john.margetts No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't know Arista EDU 400 film, but some films will lose their latent image very quickly. Ilford Pan F film can lose the latent image in a matter of weeks.

    Sent from my 8070 using Tapatalk
     
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  7. snark

    snark TPF Noob!

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    That's interesting, John. By "latent image" you mean image on the unprocessed film, right?
    When I was young and poor (now I'm just poor) and reluctant to "waste" film, a mentor told me film is the cheapest part of photography. I guess I never completely lost my parsimonious habits.
    Thanks for the advice, I will no longer keep a roll in the camera for months because there are four frames left on it. I'll find some reason to fire them off and soup it immediately.

    This forum is like going to school. Thanks again.
     
  8. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Try using Rodinal I've shot loads of outdated film and never had any problems I'm talking 20+ years out of date

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