Thanks for the good advice, guys.
Spilt some Rodinal on the kitchen carpet last week. Thought I'd mopped it up pretty well, until my mum shouted "Carl what the bl**dy hell is this stain?!" at me earlier.
Let's just say I am not popular right now.
Looks under-fixed to me.
I know it won't happen again, but Rodinal uses a rather strong alkali in its formula. It's always safest with any chemical spill to remove as much as you can safely, and then try to successively dilute/mop up to get as much out as possible.
OK, I've done my first film using my Agfa Rondinax 35 tank, and the result is hanging out to dry as I write this. The most obvious issue, as noted on the Stratford Film Meet thread, was that I was unable to wind the film onto the spiral completely, and guillotined it just into frame 33. Of course I didn't know that until later. No idea why; I suppose the most obvious reason would be that the film clip was not exactly central on the film, but it certainly looked alright. I guess I'll have to see what happens next time...
I used Ilfosol 3, IlfoStop and Ilford Rapid Fixer. I did get confused and diluted the IlfoStop at 1:9 rather than 1:19, and ended up adding more water to get it right, which meant I had twice the volume and had to guess how much went into the tank.
Massive Dev Chart says 7:30 for TriX at 400. I exposed the film at 200, but wanted to dev it as normal. There's a bit of discussion on the Rondinax blog about dev times, given that you more or less have continuous agitation (only half the film in the chems, so it has to be turned a third or half turn every couple of seconds). OTOH only half the film is in the chems at any one time. They seemed to be suggesting a 15% reduction (between 10% and 25% I think), so I did it for 6:22, as best I could. The negs seem darker than recent ones from Peak.
I know I should have done a fixer test on the leader, but I didn't and instead fixed it for 5 minutes. The umpty gazillion washes, some quick ones with the tank half full, then 4 or 5 5-minute washes in the tank with the lid off, full. You're supposed to turn the handle a bit for the start of each wash, to get the bubbles out; I don't think I did that right at first. Also, I could see some bubbles on or under the top bit of film that didn't go away with rotation, so in the end I wobbled it with my finger under the water, which seemed to sort it. Last wash had a couple of drops of washing up liquid in.
I didn't squeegee, but I also didn't do anything else to get drops off the film when hanging up to dry. I think I remember folk talking about some trick like hanging the film slightly tilted? However, I didn't do that; I can see some remaining water drops although most of the film is dry.
I've just discovered that the sleeves I was given by a member on here, Jessops Archival Storage Systems sheets, are in strips of 4. Worse, there are pairs of strips, inserted from opposite sides. Needs must for now, but I wondered what's a good source of storage sheets in 6s?
Thanks Nick, two packs ordered...
Well done Chris, I've just checked and their postage is quite reasonable too, although I normally just collect. If I'd known you were after some I could have picked some up before the meet.
Yes I thought what I had would suffice... thanks for the thought, though.
I was rather regretting picking the cheapest and slowest postage, but was very happy when it arrived this morning, extremely well wrapped. The two packs of sleeves, themselves each in an outer polythene wrapping, were surrounded by two corrugated boards, which were wrapped in bubble-wrap. This was wrapped in cling film, and all this was wrapped in the thickest brown paper I can remember, very securely taped!
I was asking about those things that help you retrieve leaders that have been wound in, so as I can use my Rondinax daylight processing tank...
This just arrived and I've tried 3 times with 2 different cassettes. End result, the secondary blade is bent and the plastic frame is coming apart. I've contacted them asking for a return. It doesn't look nearly robust enough! Fleabay shows another one that looks much more robust, with 3 blades, and visible, more helpful instructions. If I had read those I might have proceeded a bit more cautiously with the jackthehat one, but there are no warnings in those instructions. However, I don't think I want to increase my spend to over a tenner, given that Peak's processing would not cost much more.
The Rondinax instructions say:
I'm not sure if modern film cassettes are "Agfa cartridges" as per this instruction (I don't recognise any paper strip to be torn off, for instance), so I'm not sure if I should attempt this. The trouble is, if it goes wrong then the film is going to be kaput. Would I be best to send the films off to Peak? You may remember that there are some strange marks a bit like light leaks on some negatives, although Jon Goodman thinks they are too sharply defined and may come from my processing. I suppose if I send them to Peak and they still appear on the second Bessa film, that would continue to suggest light leak, while if there's nothing then that would suggest something odd in the processing...
That's odd Chris.
Mine came with clear instructions and the e-bay listing states "with instructions"
I wonder if they sent the one listed.
Can I ask a question, 'cause I'm a little bit confused about something.
Why do you need to extract the leader?
Yes, it came with instructions, but unlike the other one, the instructions didn't say what to do if it was hard to get the secondary blade in place, and also didn't warn against using force! The secondary blade stuck about two thirds of the way in, and the second time I had to really push it to get it in. That seems to have bent the blade and split the plastic.
I'm using an Agfa Rondinax 35 tank, recommended to me because I have poor dexterity in my right hand following an accident a few years ago. With the Rondinax tank you attach the film leader to a clip on the tank, drop the cassette into a slot in the top of the tank, then put the cover on and wind the film out onto the spiral. It's quite clever, although it was annoying that it didn't wind all the way out that first time.
Well that's quite good, jackthehat apologised, has already refunded my money and says chuck the faulty item away rather than send it back! Now where's my Peak order form?
Aah, understood. Thanks.
I'm very pleased jackthehat did the decent thing for you.
Hi, I'm old enough to remember Agfa 35mm cassettes from the 1960s. That was when cassettes were reusable (certainly Ilford and Agfa ones were). I've only kept my FP3 and FP4 versions from that era but Agfa cassettes were the best to have as they were most reusable. The end caps fitted right over the main body and came down for about1/4" and they were a sliding fit. Only a gummed piece of paper attached to the body and the cap kept them securely in place. You would have had to perform the described procedure in the dark to stop the film being fogged. In short modern film cassettes are not like the old Agfa ones I'm sorry to say.
It sounds like your film picker was a duff design. My plastic retriever is badged 'Konica' and works reasonably well but it does have 3 blades, 2 of which are sliding blades. I got it for not much on ebay. I also have an two bladed metal one, which also works well.
Edit: It looks like Ilford also made this style of cassette, though I don't remember them. There's one on this page besides the 'Ancient FP3 Cassettes' text:
http://www.rogerandfrances.com/photoschool/ps how choose cassetes.html
Wow thanks Nick! I'm glad I didn't try it then, the two cassettes are on their way to Peak. If I forget about rewinding the leader many more times it'll be worth the investment in a more robust picker... or a more standard tank and changing bag!
Had my second (and third) attempt with the Rondinax yesterday. This went slightly better. I did try a fixer test with the fixer saved from last week; although the exposed film went from cloudy to a bit clear, it didn't seem to go completely clear at all, so I chucked it and made some new. This time I was fairly confident all the film had wound into the spiral; the resistance came suddenly rather than building up over a couple of turns as happened last time. No sign of the funny parallel marks I saw on some of the frames in random places last time, but there is a streak of some kind that became more apparent when I used a curve in Aperture to increase contrast.
This time I used Sainsbury's cheapo still table water for the final rinse, and added a couple of drops of Fairy. Too much, apparently, as it rather foamed. I should have chucked it and tried again but I did use it and at the moment I'm blaming those bubbles for some of the marks left.
After I'd finished I ran it again using the cassette from the first attempt, with 3.5 frames left in it!. I re-used the developer and the fixer, and it seems to have worked. I lost the frame that was guillotined and left sticking out, but got 3 more frames from that reel. I was rather pleased at that!
Anyway I'm pleased at that. OTOH I'm annoyed as the two films I posted off to Peak last Thursday aren't back yet, and we leave for Edinburgh tomorrow, bit more grandchild viewing, and probably before the post arrives, certainly well before I'd have the chance to scan the films.
Third full roll attempt with the Rondinax today. Slight hitch as the clamp that bites onto the end of the film came away from its strap in my hand! The glue had perished. I managed to find a working stapler and stapled the strap back round it. Then I thought it had jammed before the end of the roll like last time, and the guillotine was really hard to use. Eventually when I took the lid off while washing, I found all the film HAD come off the canister properly. I was already to dev the second half, but glad I didn't have to do so.
It's all a bit nerve-wracking, and seems to take an hour and a half from start to finish. Oh the bottle of undiluted stop had leaked all over the bag I kept the stuff in, lots of rinsing to get rid of that nasty yellow chemical. Dev stuff now in a large plastic box all together, so I hope it won't leak.
Pictures on the roll again, yeah!
I asked about Agfa re-usable 35mm cassettes, and NickT replied:
All fair enough. But just recently I've been wondering what folk do who buy bulk film. How do you get that into cassettes?
Just received a Matin Film Picker 7 off the evil bay, and it worked first time to retrieve the film from my abortive POTY attempt last Saturday!
Now, do I assume that the film is blank and therefore reusable, or the film was exposed and therefore I should dev it next time?
And another search on the bay revealed the special reusable cassettes that one can buy. Could be useful to have...
I would assume it is exposed and dev it. If you re-shoot it and has been exposed you will lose the images anyway so you've nothing to lose except a roll of film.
I thought I knew better and re-shot it. You were right, I was wrong.
Bit of a problem with the Rondinax; the guillotine is getting really hard to use. It's taking me minutes each time. I even think I've bent the lever a bit! t's only supposed to slide up and cut, simple really. The blade is clearly sharp when I operate it with an empty tank. Is there a knack I'm not aware of?
Somewhere, perhaps on another thread @Andysnap was saying he could get from film in camera to hanging up to dry in half an hour. Since currently washing takes half an hour for me, I thought I'd better ask how folk wash their film, bearing in mind the reel (though theoretically removable) stays in the (Rondinax) tank. I've been doing 5 washes mostly standing of 5 minutes each. "Under running water" is tricky as I don't want to get water in the guillotine end, and my attempt at propping it up at an appropriate angle rather failed. I wouldn't mind standing there for 5 minutes or so holding the thing at an angle with water running in and out, with occasional winds of the spiral, if this replaced the multiple separate stand washes. Apart from a separate final wash with distilled, that would basically halve my overall processing time.
this is a pre wash? ive never ever done one. I warm the tank up in the CPE2 for 5 mins though but ive never washed the film.
Ilford's advice (see pdf here - page 10, step 13) is
Now the film is fixed you can remove the tank lid.
If you have running water at about 20°C/68ºF,
use a piece of rubber tubing to feed this down the
centre of the spiral to the bottom of the tank. Wash
the film in running water for about 5 to 10
Alternatively, fill the spiral tank with water at the
same temperature, +/– 5ºC (9ºF), as the
processing solutions and invert it five times. Drain
the water away and refill. Invert the tank ten times.
Once more drain the water away and refill.
Finally, invert the tank twenty times and drain the
I use tanks where the film is held in a frame or spiral (depends on the size) and can easily be removed from the water.
I should have added: Ilford in their pdf specify Ilford Rapid fixer, which is a non-hardening fixer. A hardening fixer will mean that it takes more washing to remove (because of the hardening effect on the gelatine). Some films are rather more sensitive than others to abrasion and may need a hardening fixer; and some films require more washing to remove the dyes rather than the residual fixer.
No, this is after fixing.
I'm also using Ilford Rapid Fixer. So far I've only done TriX, but today I'll be doing some Tmax400 as well, and I've just bought some Delta 100 and 400.
I'll try this method, thanks, if my wrists stand up to it! I presume the last (20 inversion) wash is the one with distilled water/flow agent/ Fairy? Sounds a lot quicker than my approach!
You'll find an extensive discussion of film washing in Ilford Monochrome Darkroom Practice. The third wash is followed by hanging up to dry.
If you want to really speed up the process, there was an article in Practical Photography back in March 1966 detailing how to get from exposure to touch dry print in four minutes...
No, read the leaflet and step 14 indicates another quick rinse with wetting agent.
Interesting the difference, as the Rondinax instructions have this 5*5 minutes, or 30 minutes in running water approach. Not sure what the downside of "not enough washing" is?
I just take the lid off the tank and shove it under the tap for 10 minutes.
Fixer contains sulphur compounds which can react with the silver in the image and lead to fading.
I'll admit I didn't read step 14 in the leaflet; the "three washes and hang" was the method described in Monochrome Darkoom Practice. For what it's worth, I do give three washes and a final rinse, but I can't comment on how archival it is. My oldest negatives are about 55 years old and still fine, but in those days I was using the "six changes of water for five minutes each" method. I've only been using the three change method for about 10 years or so, which isn't long enough to be certain.
The effectiveness of washing is going to depend on how easily the chemicals are removed from the emulsion; colder water will take longer, but in the absence of scientific testing I can't comment on the practical difference. The cold tap here delivers water at about 55 degrees, which is barely high enough for some developing agents to work.
The effectiveness of using running water will depend on the circulation as well; water in at the top and out at the top could leave the heavier chemical laden water at the bottom of the tank and rather reduce the efficiency of washing to the top of the film.
Aha, that makes sense, I'll try warmer water and inversions and see if it makes a difference.
Unless you can measure the amount of residual fixer present after both methods, I doubt that you could tell. The amount of time to see a difference (if any appears at all) would, I'd expect, to be measured in years, rather than hours or days. As a quick experiment, you could see what happens to a fogged, developed, fixed but completely unwashed piece of film. If you want to use film with an image, remember that film will produce an image if left in light long enough - the way it was done before developers came in) so you could use a coin to make a photogram and fix that. Or, if you're more artisitcally inclined, a leaf.
The only caveat on washing that I'd really make - which could make a visible difference - is the one about temperature. I posted here once an example of reticulation (the crazy paving effect from cracked emulsion) caused by thermal shock. Modern films make it hard to get this effect, even if you want to, but I managed it once, and with a black and white film where the processing temperature would have been only 68 degrees. I know that many here use films that come from an older technology (usually quoted as being easily scratched, with soft emulsion) and I'd expect that these may succumb. In less extreme cases, reticulation can provide a very good imitation of grain.
If you can't find my post (or if I'm wrong about it) and you'd like to see the effect, let me know.and I'll post it. Perhaps in "Show us your film shots" .
I do much the same, but use the patterson film rinse hose thingummy, which pushes the water in down the centre of the patterson tank, down to the bottom and out of the sides, so at least it sort of washes from the bottom up, and hopefully removes any "deposits" at the bottom of the tank.
And, to be honest, it's often a fair bit longer than 10 minutes, as I'm pre-occupied with cleaning up around the sink area, then generally having to dash to the loo because the running water sound has (ahem) "triggered a response"
Thanks for all the comments, guys. I've worked out overnight that I'd probably best NOT do inversions with the Rondinax; the manual warns against getting liquids into the guillotine/film canister part, and there's obviously a slot between the two chambers for the film to feed through. So I'll either stick with 5 stands or try a combination of running water (lid off, at an angle) and turning the handle to ensure all parts of the film get adequately washed. Or maybe take the reel out anyway... just re-read the bit about "thoroughly wash the tank after processing"...!
My preferred method of washing films in a spiral tank has changed as my water supply is now metered. When I had an unmetered supply I rinsed in running water with a Paterson hose, I now use the 'Ilford method' as described on page 5 of the FP4 technical document:
I seems OK with my soft water and is quicker and cheaper, so I'll stick with it.
I keep meaning to get one of those hose things to wash the film properly but so far I've just been using a kebab skewer under the clip to hold the tube slightly out of the water so the tap water runs down the tube, up through the film and then over the edge of the tank. Works alright but it's not exactly a great solution lol