Newbie to film development - advice needed - mediocre results

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by AluminumStudios, Mar 13, 2008.

  1. AluminumStudios

    AluminumStudios TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone.

    I've shot only digital for a few years but have started experimenting with film. I bought a cheap development tank and have started to develop (and then scan) my own black and white film.

    The results are OK, but not the same as the same film I had done by a lab. My negatives are a bit light. The dark areas on the negatives aren't very dark and the light areas are very light. I noticed around the film's track holes that my negatives aren't as dark as the ones I had done by a lab.

    I'm shooting Fuji Presto Neopan 400 and 1600 Neopan on a Nikon N601 (the Japanese version of the n6006). I bought some Fujifilm microfine developer and Super Fujifix-L.

    I mixed my dilutions precisely according to the directions. The developer has a chart of times and temperatures on the back for different films. I put the developer in a plastic bottle and put that in a bucket of water until it is at a temperature listed near the middle of the chart (around 22-24 degrees C.)

    I agitate slowly for the first minute, then 5 seconds for every minute afterwards. I usually begin pouring it out 10 seconds before the timer is up to account for the time it will take me to pour it out and pour in the fixer.

    My tank has a rod that I can turn which turns the reels and raises and lowers them some as they turn. I do this as opposed to inversion.

    The fixer has no specific time printed on it. I keep it at the same temp as my developer (around 22-24 degrees C.) I put it in and agitate the same as the developer and leave it in for about 8-9 minutes (the fixer says 5 to 10 minutes.)

    Then I pour that out and rinse the film for 10 minutes in water the same temp as the chemistry, then I hang it to dry.

    Any advice on why my negatives aren't as dark as the ones from the lab? Highlight areas aren't over blown out and there isn't too much contrast like sample over-developed photos I saw on-line. Perhaps I'm under developing? Often my temp is .5 to 1 degrees higher than the chart says, but I figure that during development it will cool a bit so being 25 degrees and using the time for 24 degrees isn't too big of a problem.

    Perhaps I'm not agitating enough?

    I can scan the photos and with some level adjustments get them to look OK, but they aren't great like a few of my lab done photos.

    Thanks!
     
  2. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    it is very common for commerical labs to overdevelop film. they do very large batchs of film using the recommend times from the manufactor; however, individual equipment varies , which may be the issue with your negative and developer you are using.

    also, around , between etc. temperatures is not a good thing when developing negatives. the more consistence your workflow the better the negatives.

    it is hard to tell with your description as light and dark mean different things with negative vs prints.
    Density is what your looking for when you say light, that translates to black with the print.
     
  3. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    AS - Yes, scan your negatives and post them. :thumbup: It's very hard to assess what the problem could be without being able to see what it is you're seeing.
     
  4. AluminumStudios

    AluminumStudios TPF Noob!

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    When I say "around 22-24 degrees" I mean that when the chemicals hit 22 OR 24 degrees (temperatures listed on the time chart) I start developing with the listed time for THAT temperature. I do not guesstimate temperature or time, I do it as precisely as possible. I also aim for one of those temperatures as I figure it is better to use temps from the middle of the chart as opposed to the upper or lower end of temperatures/times listed.
     
  5. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    i see ok.
     
  6. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Development times are always recommended starting points. It's assumed
    that adjustments will be made as needed.

    Your processing methods appear to be OK (assuming fresh, properly mixed developer)
    so I would recommend lengthening the devel. times until you get what you want.

    But, before doing that you might want to ensure you're not underexposing
    your negs in the first place. Check your metering methods, ISO setting,
    compensation setting, etc.
     
  7. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Your description didn't include a stop-bath between the developer and fixer.
     
  8. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    And don't fret being EXACT on the timer. I presoak for 60 seconds, then turn off the timer, then drain and fill with developer, THEN turn the timer back on and develop, then turn the timer off, drain, fill with bath, THEN turn the timer back on, 30 secs, turn it off, drain, lather, rinse repeat. This way I'm not geusstimating and missing the times, I can make sure that the film gets what it needs. Might be why your negs are bright. Possibly not quite enough developing.
     
  9. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    Try agitating every 30 secs. The developer touching the film may be too spent before it does its job.
     

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