Negatives are too grey


TPF Noob!
Oct 3, 2015
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Western Norway
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I recently got my hands on some old Efke KB400 film. I'm using a Patterson FX-39 developer and the appropriate time according to the Internet. But the negatives are super grey, and it seems like there's more loss of detail than a 2mp jpg image.

Any tips what I should try out? My teacher had the same issue with the same film a few years back.

Maybe I should just keep to Ilford Delta. ;)

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I recently got my hands on some old Efke KB400 film.........
Any tips what I should try out? .........

Maybe I should just keep to Ilford Delta. ;)

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You just answered your own question.

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You could try stand developing, or a different developer. I've only shot Efke (can't remember which one) once in a Holga, and got decent enough results, but found the emulsion kind of soft. You can see the water streak at the bottom of the frame. I normally don't get water streaks like that. So it can be worked with, but it might just need very gentle handling and a different treatment than you're used to.

I wish I could offer advice for other developers, but I only use Caffenol and don't know much about traditional chemicals.

rs Flatiron and clock.jpg
1 to 9 mixture and 11 minutes is what I did. 20 degrees Celsius.

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If the negatives are really lacking in contrast, it's most likely a combination of several factors. The age of the film (how old is it?) may or may not have much of an impact, 'though how it was stored definitely could. Chemical temperature, water purity & PH, developer mix, stand/agitation time, etc, etc.. all of these play a part.

I would shoot a roll at optimal exposure, and develop it in 100% fresh, new chemicals with pure water, exactly as per instructions and see what the results are. It's definitely possible that the film is off, but I suspect that step(s) in your process are contributing significantly as well.
I mix up a new developer every time, But I use "old" stop and fix. This might be a contributing factor? I get perfect results when I develop Ilford.

And yes, the film is pretty old. But it was supposedly exactly the same a few years back.
If your fix is not doing it's job, then the negs will look fogged. Stir up some new fixer and run the negs through it to see if that clears them up. Then rinse & dry like normal.
Your film might have developed serious fogging. You said "old"... gsgary has shot 20,25,30 year old film...if film has been stored well (like frozen or refrigerated, in good, light-tight containers) it's less likely to be substandard than if it was stored haphazardly.

I think one's photographs are too valuable to let be ruined by shoddy film. Get some decent film, unless you like that shabby, dingy, mush look. There might actually be some situations where the way the Efke film looks would be a net plus. Otherwise, I'd go for good, new,fresh film.
I have some HP5 and Delta film laying around, that stuff comes out "perfect" every time I use it with the same mix of chemicals.

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The issue is that the film you are using is black and white. Black and white is, by nature, shades of grey. If these "greyscale" images bother you, I would suggest that you try using color film instead. Unfortunately, processing color film is much more involved and costly.

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