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Transparent Negatives- What Went Wrong?


TPF Noob!
May 14, 2007
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I shot two rolls of film for my photography class at a local cemetery yesterday and got some great shots. My instructor has always emphasized that "sometimes things just don't go as planned in photography," but I was still upset this afternoon when the two rolls I developed didn't come out.

After developing and fixing the film, I took a look at my negatives only to find all of both rolls were completely transparent. They look just if they haven't been exposed. I looked back at what went wrong, and I don't think I developed incorrectly. During developing I was talking to a friend, and he verified that everything was done in the proper order for the proper time.

This leads me to think my film is either drastically underexposed or weren't exposed at all. The thing is, my shots were at a variety of exposures and some were underexposed and overexposed, so I think something would have come out. This leads me to think the camera didn't record the shots I took, but for two rolls of film?

What went wrong here?
Something's up with your camera because the film wasn't exposed.

Did you check the shutter and aperture? What's the Camera's ISO rated to? is the battery fresh in it? My FE will only shoot at 1/90th of a second without a battery.
Assuming your processing was correctly done:
Film improperly loaded, lens cap not removed, or camera shutter malfunction
are the most likely cause.

What camera did you use and have you used it successfully in the past?
I'm using a Canon Rebel 2000. I bought it used on eBay a few months ago and have had six rolls of film come out just fine with it. The film I use is ISO 400, and my camera was set to ISO 400. I don't know how new the batteries are, but the battery indicator says they are at full capacity.
A quick search on the web shows similar complaints
from others regarding that model caused by film advance
issues and shutter failing to open.

Remove the lens and open the back of the camera. Point
it at a light source and look through the shutter as you fire
it. Does the shutter actually open at all speeds?
i am not familar with that camera,
does it load the film automatically, if not, perhaps you didn't have the leader on the take up reel correctly. It happens to everyone at least once in their film life.

the other option, you used fixer first rather than developer.
others have mention additional options that would create this issue.
did you talk with your instructor?
After developing and fixing the film, I took a look at my negatives only to find all of both rolls were completely transparent. ...

If this is actually true, you developed the film incorrectly, period.

If only the images were missing and the edge print (film type markings, frame numbers, ...) was present and of normal density then the film was processed correctly and the problem is elsewhere.

Possible reasons for a completely blank roll (no edge print or images and clear film):

1: Using the chemicals in the wrong order. If you Fix before you develope you get a blank roll.
2: Mis-mixed the developer so that its massively too weak or perhaps only use water.

Possible reasons for a completely blank roll (no image or edge print but opaque film):

1: No Fixer used; either massively too weak or water accidentally substituted

Possible reasons for a properly processed roll (good dense edge print but no images):

1: film loaded incorrectly causing it to not advance
2: faulty shutter that tripped (mirror cycled and shutter curtains traveled) but both shutter curtains traveled at the same time, never separating.
3: film got mixed up in the camera bag and you process two blank rolls leaving the exposed rolls in the bag.

Anytime you get a blank roll, either from a lab or from your own processing and whether color or B&W, the first thing to check is the edge print. If the edge print is missing then the film was misprocessed. Never ever try think of causes until you check the edge print.
An easy clue to the possibility of using developer and fixer in the wrong order is whether the 'fixer' appeared to be tinted at the end of the process as opposed to water-white.

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