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TroubleShooting


Film

  • Spots on negatives after they have dried

    If you find water spotting on your negatives after development, prepare a small container or the film development tank, with warm, but not hot water. Add to this one or two drops of Kodak's "Photo-Flo" solution.

    Load the film back onto the film development reel or just dunk the roll gently into a small container of water which is deep enough to cover the film and let stand for a couple of minutes. Gently agitate the film and then remove from the solution and hang to dry overnight. The spots should now be gone.

  • One or two specs of what appear to be dust

    If the negative appeares to have a spot of dust, use a can of compressed air to try and gently blow away the dust. If it cannot be removed, do not touch the negative - try making your print from the negative and then attempt to retouch the print and hide the spot that way.
    See my - Retouching Page

  • Streaks on negatives after development

    Caused by over agitating the film tank during development.

  • Negatives are darker than normal or too contrasty (also more grainy)

    Possible causes

    • Incorrect exposure while in camera.
    • Overdevelopment caused by too much agitation when processing film.
    • Overdevelopment caused by developer at too high a temperature.
    • Overdevelopment caused by too much time in the developer solution.
    • Overdevelopment caused by too high a concentration of the developer solution.

  • Negatives are lighter than normal or too little contrast

    Possible causes

    • Incorrect exposure while in camera.
    • Under development caused by not enough agitation when processing film.
    • Under development caused by developer at too low a temperature.
    • Under development caused by not enough time in the developer solution.
    • Under development caused by too low a concentration of the developer solution.

Prints

  • Prints have pink streaks or pink mottling

    Caused by insuffient fixing - either because the fixer solution is exhausted, mixed at too weak a concentration, or the print was not left in the fixer solution long enough.

  • Whites, never seem pure white

    • Your negatives may lack contrast - if this is a consistent problem and you think that the negatives may not be contrasty enough, then try using more filtration in the enlarger's filter drawer.

    • You may be fogging your paper - Test the room Leave a small strip of photographic paper in the room for 5 minutes in total darkness (no safe lights on) and then with the safelights still off, process the strip for the recommended time in your developer, stop bath and fixer solutions. Wash and dry the strip as you would a normal print. Then compare the strip to a piece of undeveloped paper while viewed in daylight (this of course will destroy the undeveloped piece of paper) - if you cannot see any difference, then you have a light tight set up. If the paper is fogged, then the room is passing light somewhere - investigate and caulk the leaks with dark caulking.
      Also try the same test with a different box of paper - the box of paper may have been fogged - someone may have accidentally opened the box of paper while a room light was on (easy to do).
      Your enlarger may be leaking and flooding the area with light (not too common).

      Once the room is determined to be light tight, proceed to the next step, below.

    You may still be fogging your paper - Test the safelights
    • If the above test showed no fogging but you still have fogged prints while printing, under normal darkroom conditions (safelights on), then the source of fog may be coming from one or more of your safelights. Test as before, eliminating each safelight in turn until you find the faulty one.

    You may still be fogging your paper - Test the Enlarger
    • If ater eliminating the room, safelights and paper as sources of fogging, then the only logical item left will be the enlarger. The enlarger's head (light source) or bellows assembly may be leaking light during long exposures. Try temporarily covering the head and bellows with a light proof material and run a new test.

      Caution - covering the enlarger's head for more than a few minutes may be a fire hazard as the bulb generates heat!

    This all may take a bit of time to work through, just be methodical and eliminate the possible problems, one at a time.

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