B&W film completely clear

Radu Furnea

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Hi all,

I've been developing for a couple of years (not too often) and last time I did, the film turned out completely clear. Here is all the info:

Film: Kodak TMax 100 exposed at 100ISO
Development:
1+25 Rodinal, 20C, 6:30 minutes, with agitation each minute. I've had this bottle since early 2018.
1 min stop bath just water
5 min fix in correctly mixed Ilford fixer (second usage)
3 cleaning baths, 2 minutes each with continuous agitation
1 minute AdoFlo continuous agitation

The film turned out completely clear, as if it wasn't exposed to light at all. Also, during the cleaning baths the water had that purple tint, which was unusual.

I'd like to mention that about a month ago I have developed using this exact same technique and solutions on the same film using the same camera and glass and it turned out fine.

Any help towards why this might have happened? Hope my second and last roll from my tip to Athens won't be completely ruined like this one. :(

Thanks
 

Ysarex

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Your diagnosis is likely -- it wasn't exposed to light at all. You need to check the film edges for frame numbers and brand/film ID. Those are factory exposed and if they show on the film edges then your film was developed.

The most common cause of unexposed film is that it never went through the camera -- a misload. The film didn't get properly attached to the take-up spool and when you were advancing the camera the film didn't advance. You can check for this problem when you first start a roll by watching the rewind knob turn when the camera is advanced.

The next possible cause of your problem is a mechanical camera failure. Your camera's shutter has failed for example. Extreme underexposure can also be the problem but your should be able to see something on the film in that case.

Joe
 
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Radu Furnea

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Your diagnosis is likely -- it wasn't exposed to light at all. You need to check the film edges for frame numbers and brand/film ID. Those are factory exposed and if they show on the film edges then your film was developed.

The most common cause of unexposed film is that it never went through the camera -- a misload. The film didn't get properly attached to the take-up spool and when you were advancing the camera the film didn't advance. You can check for this problem when you first start a roll by watching the rewind knob turn when the camera is advanced.

The next possible cause of your problem is a mechanical camera failure. Your camera's shutter has failed for example. Extreme underexposure can also be the problem but your should be able to see something on the film in that case.

Joe

Hi Joe, thanks for your detailed reply.

In my frustration I have thrown the film in the bin right away so no chance of checking the numbers unfortunately. I have tested the camera right away and the shutter is working mechanically, and from what I can remember, when I took the film out it opposed the usual resistance (not much the first few spins, a lot at the end), and it also clicked right when it snapped off the take-up spool.

From what I understand, you are completely ruling out the chance it was the developer/fixer solutions.
 

Ysarex

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Your diagnosis is likely -- it wasn't exposed to light at all. You need to check the film edges for frame numbers and brand/film ID. Those are factory exposed and if they show on the film edges then your film was developed.

The most common cause of unexposed film is that it never went through the camera -- a misload. The film didn't get properly attached to the take-up spool and when you were advancing the camera the film didn't advance. You can check for this problem when you first start a roll by watching the rewind knob turn when the camera is advanced.

The next possible cause of your problem is a mechanical camera failure. Your camera's shutter has failed for example. Extreme underexposure can also be the problem but your should be able to see something on the film in that case.

Joe

Hi Joe, thanks for your detailed reply.

In my frustration I have thrown the film in the bin right away so no chance of checking the numbers unfortunately. I have tested the camera right away and the shutter is working mechanically, and from what I can remember, when I took the film out it opposed the usual resistance (not much the first few spins, a lot at the end), and it also clicked right when it snapped off the take-up spool.

From what I understand, you are completely ruling out the chance it was the developer/fixer solutions.

The fixer is certainly not the problem -- the film would be opaque if the fixer was expired. So there's a chance of bad developer, but it's less likely than the other options. If your bottle of Rodinal wasn't well sealed it could oxidized, but it's highly concentrated to begin with. I've used lots of Rodinal and certainly used Rodinal that was a year old. I would assume even if the Rodinal was going bad it would have produced some image in the film. Certainly you want to test or replace it before processing another roll.

Joe
 

Christie Photo

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I think Joe nailed it. It sure sounds to me like no light ever struck the film.

What camera did you use? Does it have a dark slide of some sort?

Is it POSSIBLE you simply developed a fresh, unused roll?

Hmmm....

-Pete
 

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Did any of the film's leader that WAS exposed when loaded into the camera come out opaque?
 

vintagesnaps

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I've done that... been in a hurry and rewound film too fast and didn't wind the tail all the way in, then later found a roll and went uh-oh, is it a roll I already shot or haven't used?? Sent it in and got it back and nope, nothing on it. At least labs don't usually charge for that!

I don't know what camera you used, if it was mechanical and you can usually feel the tension as more film is getting wound around the spool or not. If not feeling tension at some point I'm going to realize the film must not have latched and isn't advancing.
 
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Radu Furnea

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Did any of the film's leader that WAS exposed when loaded into the camera come out opaque?

Yes, the leader was completely opaque.

I've done that... been in a hurry and rewound film too fast and didn't wind the tail all the way in, then later found a roll and went uh-oh, is it a roll I already shot or haven't used?? Sent it in and got it back and nope, nothing on it. At least labs don't usually charge for that!

I don't know what camera you used, if it was mechanical and you can usually feel the tension as more film is getting wound around the spool or not. If not feeling tension at some point I'm going to realize the film must not have latched and isn't advancing.

I felt the tension, and now I tend to believe I might have developed a fresh roll somehow, by mistake... If that's the answer to the mystery then I've chosen the wrong hobby. :)

I think Joe nailed it. It sure sounds to me like no light ever struck the film.

What camera did you use? Does it have a dark slide of some sort?

Is it POSSIBLE you simply developed a fresh, unused roll?

Hmmm....

-Pete

I have used a Canon AV-1 with an Osawa 28-80mm Macro lens. To be honest, now with all the advice from all of you, much more experienced photographers, I tend to believe that either the camera did not expose the film at all, or that I developed a completely fresh roll of film, somehow. I will develop the rest of the rolls at some point and I will update all of you!
 

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"I felt the tension, and now I tend to believe I might have developed a fresh roll somehow, by mistake... If that's the answer to the mystery then I've chosen the wrong hobby"

You'll be happy to know that you're the first person who has ever done that!:chargrined: It happens more often than we like to admit. I keep a special tray in my film refrigerator for developed film just to separate it from unexposed film.
 
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Radu Furnea

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After processing did the film have the edge ID strip or was that clear too?

We still need the answer to this question.

Hi Sparky, missed this one.

In my frustration I have thrown the film in the bin right away so no chance of checking the numbers now unfortunately, but according to my shaky memory they were there. Which now makes me more certain that I developed an unexposed film...
 

480sparky

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That, or your shutter has failed. This would be easy to check.
 

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Hi all,

I've been developing for a couple of years (not too often) and last time I did, the film turned out completely clear. Here is all the info:

Film: Kodak TMax 100 exposed at 100ISO
Development:
1+25 Rodinal, 20C, 6:30 minutes, with agitation each minute. I've had this bottle since early 2018.
1 min stop bath just water
5 min fix in correctly mixed Ilford fixer (second usage)
3 cleaning baths, 2 minutes each with continuous agitation
1 minute AdoFlo continuous agitation

The film turned out completely clear, as if it wasn't exposed to light at all. Also, during the cleaning baths the water had that purple tint, which was unusual.

I'd like to mention that about a month ago I have developed using this exact same technique and solutions on the same film using the same camera and glass and it turned out fine.

Any help towards why this might have happened? Hope my second and last roll from my tip to Athens won't be completely ruined like this one. :(

Thanks

Your diagnosis is likely -- it wasn't exposed to light at all. You need to check the film edges for frame numbers and brand/film ID. Those are factory exposed and if they show on the film edges then your film was developed.

The most common cause of unexposed film is that it never went through the camera -- a misload. The film didn't get properly attached to the take-up spool and when you were advancing the camera the film didn't advance. You can check for this problem when you first start a roll by watching the rewind knob turn when the camera is advanced.

The next possible cause of your problem is a mechanical camera failure. Your camera's shutter has failed for example. Extreme underexposure can also be the problem but your should be able to see something on the film in that case.

Joe

I think Joe nailed it. It sure sounds to me like no light ever struck the film.

What camera did you use? Does it have a dark slide of some sort?

Is it POSSIBLE you simply developed a fresh, unused roll?

Hmmm....

-Pete

I've done that... been in a hurry and rewound film too fast and didn't wind the tail all the way in, then later found a roll and went uh-oh, is it a roll I already shot or haven't used?? Sent it in and got it back and nope, nothing on it. At least labs don't usually charge for that!

I don't know what camera you used, if it was mechanical and you can usually feel the tension as more film is getting wound around the spool or not. If not feeling tension at some point I'm going to realize the film must not have latched and isn't advancing.

After processing did the film have the edge ID strip or was that clear too?

We still need the answer to this question.

Hi Sparky, missed this one.

In my frustration I have thrown the film in the bin right away so no chance of checking the numbers now unfortunately, but according to my shaky memory they were there. Which now makes me more certain that I developed an unexposed film...

That, or your shutter has failed. This would be easy to check.
Mis-load or developing and un-shot roll are, I think, the two most-likely causes...
Then, shutter failure or other camera failure... like thinking you are on A mode, but really being at 1/2000 se or 1/4000 second and wayyyyyyyy under-exposing film, but usually ( but not always) be a very faint image on at least 1 frame.

With 135 cartridge-load film SLRs, watching the rewind crank spin in-reverse when advancing frames during the roll is the typical safeguard against mis-loads.
 

dxqcanada

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I felt the tension, and now I tend to believe I might have developed a fresh roll somehow, by mistake... If that's the answer to the mystery then I've chosen the wrong hobby. :)
Having worked in a photolab ... you are not the first person to get an unexposed roll of film developed ... and you would not be the only person to do that more than once, and keep coming back !!!
I personally have developed a lot of rolls that I realized afterward that I #$%^d up.
 

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