January 2, 2014

How to avoid spots

Often it's not easy to get clean negatives without spots, drying marks etc. Fernando e.g. asked what he can do to get rid of these spots. Instead of a reply as a comment here my thoughts about avoiding spots with all kinds of films:

Hi Fernando, the thin emulsions of microfilms show every fault unmercifully. No, I don't filter the mix, but I found that using destilled water for the developer is neccessary for microfilms no matter which developer you use. And the fixer can make problems. I sometimes had masses of white spots with most films and after trying a lot there was no other explanation left that the fixer had to be blamed. Now I use a more than 30 years old Agefix (no joke!) and have the cleanest negs ever. When the bottle is empty I will buy only premium branded fixer and nothing else. And again, use destilled water for the fixer! I had 2 different but cheap fixers causing many problems.

Rinsing I do with tap water, the final one again with destilled water that got a dash of dish soap. Put the film completely in this bath, then hang to dry and pour the bath with the dish soap over the film on both sides. No wiping.


Michael said...

An old timer told me about hanging the film horizontally rather than vertically. The water drops make it to the edge of the film before they dry.

Tried it an no spots.

Anonymous said...

Hello Reinhold,

thanks for the post; unfortunately I already do (done for 20+ years) what you recommend.
I always used demineralized water for chemicals and final rinse; never wiped the film; never used cheap fixers.
Yet the dark spots (white spots after inversion) are there.
Never had spots with ordinary films/developers.

I'll try filtering the mix, and report back.

All the best,


dogdreamzzz said...

Since I started using Kodak's Photo-Flo, I've had absolutely no problem with water spots on my negatives. I use 1 drop of Photo-Flo per 100 ml of water. I usually let my negatives sit in this solution for about 2 minutes, then I hang to dry without wiping or rinsing.

solarham said...

Aloha everyone. To all the above, I add a fine misting spray to the negatives, with distilled water. Spray top to bottom, 2x on each side. This works extremely well if your "drying cabinet" is the shower. Enjoy, Bill

Anonymous said...

Reporting back:
I filtered the final mix with a piece of paper (Scottex-like) and voilĂ , no more spots.
I took care in adding 4-5% of total liquid volume beforehand, so that the liquid absorbed by the paper was not a problem.


imagesfrugales said...

Thank you all for the comments.
Fernando: great!

Bo Sibbern-Larsen said...

One thing to remember, never overdo the amount of wetting agent as that itself can lead to strange marks and spots too, 1-2 drops is more than enough!

I´ve started to filter both my Caffenol AND the fixer if I´ve used it already, certainly helps!

Damn spots.. :)


Anonymous said...

I use ilfotol in deionised water for a final rinse.

I used to use only a tiny drop of Ilfotol but I still always got some sort of drying marks.

So I tried something radical: I followed the instructions on the bottle of Ilfotol and diluted it 1:200 (25ml in 5l of deionised water) - Result: perfectly clean negatives every single time.

I also filter my fixer through a coffee filter every 2 or 3 rolls, and make my developers with filtered water.

Bo Sibbern-Larsen said...

Seems this is a very old problem:

“Out, damned spot! out, I say!”
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth


imagesfrugales said...

"Licht aus - Spot an"
15 seconds you shouldn't miss