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Marks on Negatives

Hello all film shooters.
I am intrigue by a little problem I have in my negatives. Maybe you can help me with your expertise.
One  camera (Hexar AF)
One developer (D76)
TWO films :  TRI-X    and  Delta 100
Both were developed the same day.  The Delta 100 negative came out perfect.

Most of the TRI-X frames are showing mark lines where the sprocket holes are, running halfway across the images.
I am rollilng my own film from 120 foot canisters.
Jon Anderson and myself (thanks Jon) think there might be a problem with light leaks in individual canisters. Do you agree or do you think I  messed up in the developing processes?
What do you think? Alan Chin? Ben Hoy?  Jake Price? anyone?

(2 images below . One empty frame to show the marks )

by Alex Reshuan at 2006-01-07 09:10:00 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Isn’t this a problem with agitation and/or exhausted chemicals. . . ?

by Davin Ellicson | 07 Jan 2006 09:01 | | Report spam→
I suspect you are over agitating the film. I use 4 full inversions a minute (5 sec).

Hope this helps


by Martin Shakeshaft | 07 Jan 2006 09:01 | Back home, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Hello Alex. I think your problem is some light in the camera. That maybe explain the stripes of light in Tri X (400 ASA) and not in the Delta 100. Load some inch of Delta, load in your camera, shot a couple of frames and then force the delta two or tree points. If the marks appears like in the tri x then is the camera.
Hope this help.

by Hernan Zenteno | 07 Jan 2006 09:01 | Buenos Aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
Over agitation. I turn the four reel tank upside down three times a minute. The last one I hold upside down for about five seconds. Works for me. There use to be a theory that putting the tank on its side and gently rolling it was best way. I use to have trouble with those sprocket marks when developing in deep tanks with nitrogen agitation. I always left the bottom reel empty of film in that case, but I doubt you’re developing that way. Remember it is NOT like shaking a martini. :→) BTW, glad to see I’m not the only one out there developing film. (Love digital but there’s nothing like Tri-X.)

by John Robert Fulton Jr. | 07 Jan 2006 09:01 (ed. Jan 7 2006) | Fort Worth, United States | | Report spam→
our family uses a "stir-like" crank attached to the canister top which spins/agitates the reels…that way no Bond Marinit-like agitation occurs: gentle turns…..also, our agitation consists of turning for 1 min. and smacking the canister’s bottom (likely, like spanking someone’s behind ;))  against our kitchen sink counter..most of the time (not always) negs are fine……..films react, or course, differently to chemicals so they absolutely also react differently to agitation techniques…just like skin, right? ;))…..let us know when you discover…good luck. cheers, bob

by [former member] | 07 Jan 2006 11:01 (ed. Jan 7 2006) | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Yeah, we discussed agitation as a possible source, but in this case I am disposed to think that there is a problem with the canisters, because the Delta film, processed inthe same manner, turned out well, and some of the TriX, if I understood correctly, also turned out OK.  Why would excessive or otherwise badly handled agitation — if all was done exactly the same — affect only a portion of the TriX and not the Delta at all?  I used to roll my own, and I had problems with canisters from time to time, and after reviewing all the other steps it seemed that this was the only factor left.  But I still dont quite understand it.  Perhaps Hernan is onto something here — i also thought there might be a problem in the camera at the end with the take up spool, since the marks are regular and exactly correspond to the sprocket teeth, but the lack of such marks on the Delta compelled me to reject this explanation — but Hernan suggests a possible test for this.  Dunno.

Agitation really shouldnt be a problem — it is a simple thing.   me, I use a dilution of Microdol for  a slow development time of 17 minutes, and I agitate every minute on the minute for about six seconds, a gentle turning of the four reel film tank top to bottom and back again — pretty much three revolutions, as John Robert suggests.  In 15 years never had a problem.

by Jon Anderson | 07 Jan 2006 11:01 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
By the way, let’s hear it for TriX!!!!!  (or ilford).  Does not anyone shooting digital today and opting for a black and white look not notice the difference?  I see these younger types, who have little or no experience with film, posting digital B&W, and it looks like shit.  What is the point if you dont get the right look?  Black and white is not just a dial in option, it is a vision thing!   Digital black and white is just dead dead dead.  Grey, leaden, lifeless.   Dont they see that? 

Some people have been able to convert their color files successfully, I will admit, I particularly like the results that jethro soudant is getting — but it is still not the same thing, not at all.  And I have seen some digital prints up in the galleries — from an old printer’s perspective, sorry, it is not acceptable.  When they are done really well, they still lack . . .  mystery.

TriX is a perfect tool, totally crisp, distinctive, nuanced, brilliant, deep, dark,  .. . . . . . give me silver, silver SILVER.  A good silver print is rich, tangible . . . edible!  Ink prints are fish wrap for crissakes!

by Jon Anderson | 07 Jan 2006 12:01 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
  Thanks for all the replies . I knew analog photographers would come forward with technical issues like this.
Every comment has a valid point, Hernan  explanation makes sense.  Lower ISO might not affect  ILFORD (100) compare to TRI-X (400) , I  will make that test today.
On the other hand I must admit I do shake that tank violently  (8 times per minute) . Is this really critical . I  didn’t have a problem before. And only appears at the bottom part of  the negative ( top camera back)
I plan to use film for a long time so your advice is more than welcome. Thank you.

by Alex Reshuan | 07 Jan 2006 13:01 | | Report spam→
My first thought is light leak in camera. But then I read the other comments, and they all sound valid. Could a dirty reel cause these marks? Are the lines showing up with same intensity through out roll? Maybe more intense with a longer lag between making frames. I would run a roll of “factory sealed” tri-x through (at your normal shooting pace) have it processed at a lab, and at least you can rule in or out a light leak issue.

Exposing film to high temp. and humidity can also supposedly cause fogging like effects. I’ve never seen it, but read about it once. I’m guessing Guayaquil isn’t very cold and dry this time of year.

Yes Jon, let’s hear it for TriX and all it’s wonderful, mysterious personalities. Thanks for the kind words at my digital b/w attempts as well. It’s pretty close, but…It’s just not the same. I am currently without a film camera since I had to sell off stuff to upgrade the digital, and I sure do miss the wet work. I’ve been keeping my eyes out for an inexpensive Hexar AF actually. Hopefully a nice black one will find me soon. Alex, I’ve never used one (Hexar AF that is), but the concept is very appealing to me. How do you like using it?

by Jethro Soudant | 07 Jan 2006 14:01 | Buffalo, NY, United States | | Report spam→
I was getting into the possiblity of the light leak, too, until I ready that you “violently” agitate eight times a minute. I think Jethro’s got it right. You need to eliminate some variables. The bulk film is a big one. Get some factory sealed film…..really it could be color neg and get it processed outside so you know it’s not your camera. Then some factory sealed tri x and process it as you have been. If it’s okay then it is your bulk film (or cassettes). IF it is streaked then you know it’s the agitation. Go gently with the agitation.

by John Robert Fulton Jr. | 07 Jan 2006 15:01 | Fort Worth, United States | | Report spam→
The fact that it happens with the Tri-X and not the Delta is not strange, both emulsions will react to the developer in different ways. Also unless you use the same agitation method/protocol for both films you have added another variable. The effect you have is called ‘Surge Marks’. What’s happening is that you are getting flow marks from the developer as it surges through the sprocket holes creating extra development.

If it was fogging before development you would get an overall grey veil on one end of the film. Which would get progressively less towards the centre of the film.

Agitate less and less violently, your not mixing a cocktail!

by Martin Shakeshaft | 07 Jan 2006 16:01 | Back home, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Whats Digital? Tri-X Rocks

by Tony Reddrop | 07 Jan 2006 17:01 | Melbourne Australia, Australia | | Report spam→
Actually, Martin is right.   that is it.  Violent agitation is causing it.  I had never encountered this, and never heard the term mentioned, but if you google it you will find several explanations come up and the problem is exactly the same.  the fact that the Delta is a different emulsion accounts for the fact that it didnt appear there.  But why you never had this problem before, if you have been agitating the same way all along, I cannot explain.

I was taught very early on to avoid violent agitation, just a nice rhythmic twisting of the wrist, and also to give the film tank a slight knock to dislodge air bubbles that can get trapped — that too is important.  Since I have followed the scheme religiously, I never met up with any surge marks.  Now I know.  Good lesson, Martin.

by Jon Anderson | 07 Jan 2006 19:01 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Very interesting  topic indeed.
I followed Hernan’s suggestion. I used some factory  sealed Ilford Delta 100 and pushed it to 400.
This time the agitation was very "peaceful"  ( no violence here)  one complete rotation per minute.
Here are the results.
No "Surge Marks"  ( as indicated by Martin) although  one frame got some other weird  kind of marks
In the blank  frame you can see some  slight surge marks. But are not very visible.
I am guessing now that I  might have a small light leak  plus the violent agitation. I  will have to wait to get to Miami to get some  factory sealed  TRI-X to do some more testing.
Your answers have been very enlightening.

(Jethro I am going to post another  message to talk about the Hexar so we dont mix topics)

by Alex Reshuan | 07 Jan 2006 23:01 (ed. Jan 7 2006) | | Report spam→
Alex a quick qustion:
Are you using one shot developer ie. mixing and throwing away, or are you re using?

I don’t think one rotation is enough I would suggest you invert the tank GENTLY and rotate 4 times a minute.



by Martin Shakeshaft | 08 Jan 2006 02:01 | Back home, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
I am re-using it .
Yes one rotation is not enough but I wanted to go to the other  extreme. I even tought about avoiding agitation at all ( Just for this test ).



by Alex Reshuan | 08 Jan 2006 05:01 | | Report spam→
It is important to agitate because this brings fresh developer into contact with the film. At the contact point there is a chemical reaction taking place. Gelatine (the film base) is rather like a sponge soaking in the developing agent from the solution. Unless the solution is moved over the film surface, developing agents within exposed areas quickly become exhausted…Also bromide by-products discharged from the gelatine as silver is formed, stay within the local area. The net result is uneven development.

Personally I would always use one shot developer for professional use. It is too easy to use a developer beyond its capacity and easy to get contamination….. exhausted/contaminated dev can result in fogging, gelatine staining and streaks……

Hope this helps


by Martin Shakeshaft | 08 Jan 2006 05:01 (ed. Jan 8 2006) | Back home, United Kingdom | | Report spam→

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Alex Reshuan, Photographer Alex Reshuan
Guayaquil , Ecuador
Davin Ellicson, Photographer Davin Ellicson
New York , United States
Martin Shakeshaft, Photojournalist Martin Shakeshaft
Barcelona , Spain
Hernan Zenteno, Photographer Hernan Zenteno
Buenos Aires , Argentina ( EZE )
John Robert Fulton Jr., Photographs John Robert Fulton Jr.
Indianapolis, In , United States
Jon Anderson, Photographer & Writer Jon Anderson
Photographer & Writer
Ocala Florida , United States
Jethro Soudant, Photographer Jethro Soudant
Buffalo, Ny , United States
Tony Reddrop, Photographer Tony Reddrop
New Zealand , New Zealand


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