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Issue with black marks and mushy negatives at the end of the roll. I'm stumped!

rpbrownphoto

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So, I'm having a pretty frustrating problem..

Before the Kodak price hike, I shot Tri-X and developed with HC-110 Dil B for years. My negatives were always nice, punchy, and clean. Then came the price hike and I switched over to HP5.. I only get results I'm happy with when pushing to 1600 but I'm getting off topic here.

Ever since I switched over, I've been getting this strange problem where I'll have tiny little black streaks all over some of the frames and basically always the last 6 or so. Also, the last 5-6 frames are always mushy and crappy looking.

The bottle of HC-110 I'm using now was purchased 6 months ago but was immediately transferred to several little glass bottles in order to keep it fresher longer. I bought the glass bottles on Amazon and I rinsed them very well with hot water before transferring the HC-110 to them. I tried D-76 a handful of times with HP5 at box speed to see if that would get me the results I wanted, but it didn't, and I'm pretty sure I got the same black marks with that developer as well. And I cannot remember if I experienced this before switching film stocks, but my HC-110 is very foamy after agitating and pouring into the drain. I don't recall that happening before??

I didn't know any better but for a long time, I've been immersing my plastic Paterson reels in a photo-flo solution inside of the developing tank. I'm not sure if I started doing that before or after I began to get these strange marks and mushy, disgusting negatives towards the end of the rolls. But I'm wondering if, like, even though I would rinse the reels and tanks under hot water afterwards, if possibly the gunk from the photo-flo has ruined the reels or tanks? Could that possibly be causing this problem??

My girlfriend shot a roll of Tri-X with her point and shoot the other day and when I processed, I got the same black marks but on more than half of the frames this time. So I know it's not my camera or the film stock.

Sometimes, only the last few frames or so have the black marks, and sometimes it will pop up randomly on certain frames, or sometimes several frames. And the last of the roll being mushy doesn't;t always happen, but it seems to be happening more and more lately.

I'm not really sure what to do here. Would you recommend swapping out the reels and seeing what happens? Would it also be wise to swap out the tanks in that case? Could it be the HC-110 even though its been kept air tight in small glass bottles? Perhaps there was some weird residue on the glass bottles that didn't come off with the initial rinse that is contaminating the developer? I developed Tri-X with HC-110 Dil B for a few years and never had a problem ONCE. I'm getting so bummed out spending all this time and energy taking pictures only to have the negatives get compromised in the developing process.

Oh and I tried to wipe the black stuff off the negatives using my warm breath and a microfiber cloth to no avail. I know photo-flo sounds unlikely but I cannot think of anything else it can be. My stop/fix solutions are nice and fresh.

Attached are a couple of samples:
The first picture is of a good negative in the middle of the roll with the black marks (all the negatives are properly exposed in the roll until the last 6)
The second picture is of the last of the frames on the roll which all look dark and mushy and crappy (this same thing happens on rolls pretty frequently) and I'm wondering if there's a specific reel causing the issue??

Pleeeeeeease let me know if you have any ideas, I'm dyin' here.

Thanks!

tempImagexUYazb.jpg




tempImagefYdf6t.jpg
 
"Very foamy"? What are you doing for agitation? I surely hope you're not shaking the tank like you're shaking a can of spray paint.
 
So, I'm having a pretty frustrating problem..

Before the Kodak price hike, I shot Tri-X and developed with HC-110 Dil B for years. My negatives were always nice, punchy, and clean. Then came the price hike and I switched over to HP5.. I only get results I'm happy with when pushing to 1600 but I'm getting off topic here.

Ever since I switched over, I've been getting this strange problem where I'll have tiny little black streaks all over some of the frames and basically always the last 6 or so. Also, the last 5-6 frames are always mushy and crappy looking.

The bottle of HC-110 I'm using now was purchased 6 months ago but was immediately transferred to several little glass bottles in order to keep it fresher longer. I bought the glass bottles on Amazon and I rinsed them very well with hot water before transferring the HC-110 to them. I tried D-76 a handful of times with HP5 at box speed to see if that would get me the results I wanted, but it didn't, and I'm pretty sure I got the same black marks with that developer as well. And I cannot remember if I experienced this before switching film stocks, but my HC-110 is very foamy after agitating and pouring into the drain. I don't recall that happening before??

I didn't know any better but for a long time, I've been immersing my plastic Paterson reels in a photo-flo solution inside of the developing tank. I'm not sure if I started doing that before or after I began to get these strange marks and mushy, disgusting negatives towards the end of the rolls. But I'm wondering if, like, even though I would rinse the reels and tanks under hot water afterwards, if possibly the gunk from the photo-flo has ruined the reels or tanks? Could that possibly be causing this problem??

My girlfriend shot a roll of Tri-X with her point and shoot the other day and when I processed, I got the same black marks but on more than half of the frames this time. So I know it's not my camera or the film stock.

Sometimes, only the last few frames or so have the black marks, and sometimes it will pop up randomly on certain frames, or sometimes several frames. And the last of the roll being mushy doesn't;t always happen, but it seems to be happening more and more lately.

I'm not really sure what to do here. Would you recommend swapping out the reels and seeing what happens? Would it also be wise to swap out the tanks in that case? Could it be the HC-110 even though its been kept air tight in small glass bottles? Perhaps there was some weird residue on the glass bottles that didn't come off with the initial rinse that is contaminating the developer? I developed Tri-X with HC-110 Dil B for a few years and never had a problem ONCE. I'm getting so bummed out spending all this time and energy taking pictures only to have the negatives get compromised in the developing process.

Oh and I tried to wipe the black stuff off the negatives using my warm breath and a microfiber cloth to no avail. I know photo-flo sounds unlikely but I cannot think of anything else it can be. My stop/fix solutions are nice and fresh.

Attached are a couple of samples:
The first picture is of a good negative in the middle of the roll with the black marks (all the negatives are properly exposed in the roll until the last 6)
The second picture is of the last of the frames on the roll which all look dark and mushy and crappy (this same thing happens on rolls pretty frequently) and I'm wondering if there's a specific reel causing the issue??

Pleeeeeeease let me know if you have any ideas, I'm dyin' here.

Thanks!

View attachment 260644



View attachment 260645
Just guessing here, but a difference between the first and last parts of the roll MAY be due to a difference in agitation between the inner and outer parts of the reel. This could be a silly question, but are you agitating by rotation by any chance?
I believe the main problem Photo-Flo could cause would be if you mixed it too strong and didn't rinse the reels sufficiently, it could leave a residue and make the next film difficult to load. I don't see where it could influence different sections of the film. There is indeed something strange going on! Keep us informed.
 
Please list in detail your development process. Each step, temperature/times, agitation.
 
If you look closely at the spaces between the frames you can clearly see a change in density right across the film. This is some sort of fogging I believe caused by uneven development and/or contaminated chemicals. If you use a plastic development tank, or any other plastic veassels used in the process, then you need to inspect them to make sure that they are not shedding particles. Incidentally, to my eyes these negatives look very over-developed. Just my thoughts but I may be way off the mark.
 
I'm still puzzled by the stated differences between the first and last sets of pictures on the roll. I was adept at uneven processing in my early days, but it always affected the entire roll. I don't have the software on this computer to properly analyze the examples. (Wouldn't know how if I did!) I need a negative or slide I can put on my lightbox to properly analyze with a loupe. Hoping the OP will come back and update us.
 
G'day RPB

Looking at the top contact-image I see that the grunge is all / mostly on one edge of the negs. From your operations / memory, is this edge upper or lower when the film is on the spiral and in the tank? Presuming that it is on the lower flank of the film, it suggests 'something' is settling towards the bottom of the tank

Q- are you using a single spiral tank or multi-spiral tank? ... does this affect each spiral -or- only the bottom spiral?

Personally- over the 40+ yrs I did my own D&P I never used photo-flo. I used a single "match-head-sized" drop of kitchen washing detergent into a 3-spiral tank towards the end of the washing time, then wiped the film ONLY on the rear support face (never the emulsion face) using an VW-bug wiper blade with a solid metal spine!. ps- bought new and never used for anything else but film

Never had grunge like the above and never had streaks down the film from water drops

Hope this helps
Phil
 
Disclaimer: I haven't personally been in a darkroom since the mid-eighties.
That said when I downloaded the images of your negatives and examined them at 100% it was obvious the issue is a processing problem as it crossed over frame separations and the sprocket areas. The lines, spots, blurriness and uneven effect are the result of swelling and contraction of film emulsion due to temperature differentials in the processing chemicals. This is called reticulation. A difference of less than 5 degrees C will cause loss of resolution due to grain clumping. Over 5.3 degrees C and emulsion cracks will begin to appear. This can happen in any of the processing steps up to and including the wash. Within a spool of film in a tank the greatest temperature differential will be under the fluid stream which is why your most noticeable problem is at one end of the spool. I'm going to make a guess that your most significant differential was your wash after fixing.

Some folks intentionally cause reticulation for effect and they heat the fixer and cool the initial wash water.
 
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Could very well be reticulation. Good call.
 
Thanks. One summer (early '70s) in Rock Island IL I had to process everything at 94F because that was the temp of the city water system (used for washing) was 94F. Had to be quick in and out when developing even using 1:3 Microdol X.
 
So my process is developing for the proper time.. Agitating for the first minute, then 10 seconds for the beginning of every minute afterward. For Tri-X I process at 6 minutes with HC-110 and with HP5 I do about 7 minutes even though the recommended time is 5 minutes. Also with HP5 I agitate the whole first minute, then the first 10 seconds of every minute after BUT I also agitate 5x at the 30 second mark of each minute. I do this because I hate HP5 and can't get the contrast I want like I do with Tri-X.. I do like HP5 pushed to 1600 though...

Anyway, this problem occurs now on hp5 and Tri-X. After developing, I use stop bath and agitate for a minute and funnel it back into its container. Then I fix for 5 minutes. Agitation for the first minute, then 10 seconds for the beginning of each minute after that. Then I funnel it back into its container. Then I use Heico Permawash.. I make a solution and agitate for 2 minutes and dump it. I pour 490ml water and 10ml Permawash into a container and shake it for about 20 seconds to mix it up before dumping it into the tank. Then I let it sit under the sink and rinse for about 15 minutes. Then I make a photo Flo solution, dump it into the tank with the film still on the reels and let it sit for about 2 minutes. Then I hang the rolls to dry and rinse all the gear. For the photo-flo, for 2 rolls, I dump 600ml water into a container and 5 drops of photo-flo. I let it sit there for about 2 minutes before dumping it into the tank. I don't mix it up as I don't want it to foam and figured for that part of the process, letting it sit would be fine? I get no water marks on my negatives and was doing it that way before I started getting this weird problem.

This is a LONG SHOT but.. I got a brand new bottle of HC-110 that was far from expired, and immediately consolidated it into 12 tiny glass bottles in order to not have a giant bottle of developer with a ton of air in it as I use it up. I bought the glass bottles new on Amazon and rinsed them out before putting the developer in them, but maybe there's some weird chemical residue in the bottles still??

I use 2-reel plastic Paterson tanks and plastic Paterson reels. I unfortunately haven't been keeping track of which roll is on which reel when developing so I can't really rule out any specific reel but it seems to be an issue on all of them? Maybe the tanks are shedding particles like someone suggested??

I use the same exact developing method I used before I ever had this problem. I use tap water but I live in Portland, OR so it's soft. I develop at 20c and in the past was always strict about having the stop and fix at 20c as well but lately I've been okay with the stop and fixer being 2 degrees off or so because I thought that wouldn't make a difference. For the final rinse the water is at 20c though. A friend of mine who has been developing for years told me it doesn't matter if the Stop and Fixer are a bit off? Maybe I need to be spot on with the temp on the stop and fixer too..

I'm not sure what to do... Should I buy new HC-110 and keep it in its original bottle? Should I buy new tanks and reels? Sounds like I need to make sure the stop and fix is dead on at 20c. I wonder if reticulation is the problem?? I can't remember if this issue started before or after I started allowing the stop and fixer to be a little bit off 20c.
EDIT: Just realized I repeated quite a bit from the original post.. sorry.

Thanks everyone for all the help and suggestions! This has been driving me crazy and I've lost so many good frames.
 
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Do you rinse between stop bath and fixer? If not you can cause staining. And during fixing you should agitate non-stop.
 
I don't rinse between stop bath and fixer. After dumping the stop, I should just fill the tank up with 20c water and dump it real quick before adding the fixer? When fixing I should agitate nonstop for the entire 5 minutes? Thanks!
 
I rinse the film with water twice before adding fixer. And yes, continuous agitation during fixer. Does not need to be violent just slow and methodical.
 

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