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02-21-2011, 07:11 PM   #1
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How to get no water marks on negs?

I've had a lot of questions lately about film developing!

Now here's another one.. Basically, I developed 2 rolls of 35mm film, and after drying, they both have water spots on them (sometimes just spots, sometimes look like a trail a droplet left as it was sliding down the negative)

So, I figure I'm either washing the negatives wrong or I'm using the wetting agent (Edwal LFN) the wrong way?

This is how I wash my film (a quote from a blog where I found the developing tutorial, link here):
QuoteQuote:
Final Wash for 10 Minutes at 72-75F
I wash with tap water, but some prefer to use distilled water or other methods that conserve water
Remove top of the tank and expose your film
Fill tank with water and dump 3 times
Fill tank with water and dump every 2 minutes until end of time
After that, I fill tank with water so that it covers the film and add 2 drops of edwal, stir for around half a minute (I have a plastic tank with the stirring rod) and take film out to dry.

Any ideas on why I'm getting the droplet marks? I don't want to clean the negatives after I'm done drying, cutting, and sleeving...
Also, I don't think film itself is the culprit as it's Arista Premium 100, or Plus-X.

Finally, the problem only seems to occur on top part of the film strip (closer to where it's hung) as opposed to the bottom part.


Last edited by pbo; 02-21-2011 at 07:22 PM.
02-21-2011, 07:41 PM   #2
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Two words: isopropyl alcohol. Lowers the surface tension of the water without sudsing like detergent/wetting agent does.

Add, oh, about a tablespoon per 500ml tank for the final rinse. If there are still water spots, you can use a lint-free cloth moistened with alcohol to wipe them off.
02-21-2011, 07:48 PM   #3
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QuoteQuote:
Two words: isopropyl alcohol. Lowers the surface tension of the water without sudsing like detergent/wetting agent does.

Add, oh, about a tablespoon per 500ml tank for the final rinse. If there are still water spots, you can use a lint-free cloth moistened with alcohol to wipe them off.
Isopropyl alcohol? What concentration? I have a small bottle of 99%, but if I use a tablespoon per tank, it's gonna run out pretty soon...

Also, do you know if I should be wiping the emulsion side or the shiny side?

Last edited by pbo; 02-21-2011 at 07:53 PM.
02-21-2011, 07:52 PM   #4
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Somethings you might experiment with and have a look at pbo,
watermarks might be trace mineralization of tap water,could measure out
enough for final rinse & edwal 24 hours beforehand,(just water)let sit in tray or something
wide mouth and let some minerals evaporate out(mostly chlorine),also
premix with edwal (after mineral evaporization) to ensure sufficient distribution throughout.
Could be drying to quickly for trace minerals to evaporate from film
maybe could raise humidity wee bit,small pot of boiling water or letting
hot tap water run and release a little steam into air be all it takes.

Could get enough distilled water for that final wash & wetting agent
a gallon would go a long way,my opinion not neccesary for all washing/rinsing
be done that way...final & wetting agent...excellent insurance.

Ive used film tong squegee in past,dont suggest, but have helped.
terribly easy to muck up emulsion with them.

02-21-2011, 08:03 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by BillM Quote
Somethings you might experiment with and have a look at pbo,
watermarks might be trace mineralization of tap water,could measure out
enough for final rinse & edwal 24 hours beforehand,(just water)let sit in tray or something
wide mouth and let some minerals evaporate out(mostly chlorine),also
premix with edwal (after mineral evaporization) to ensure sufficient distribution throughout.
Could be drying to quickly for trace minerals to evaporate from film
maybe could raise humidity wee bit,small pot of boiling water or letting
hot tap water run and release a little steam into air be all it takes.

Could get enough distilled water for that final wash & wetting agent
a gallon would go a long way,my opinion not neccesary for all washing/rinsing
be done that way...final & wetting agent...excellent insurance.

Ive used film tong squegee in past,dont suggest, but have helped.
terribly easy to muck up emulsion with them.
I see, I see, interesting suggestions! Especially about film drying too quickly - I did notice that it dried surprisingly quickly! (10-20 minutes or so?)

Not sure where I could get distilled water, so guess I'll first try the easiest possible solution (turning shower on), then the alcohol method.

Regards,
Bo.
02-21-2011, 09:00 PM   #6
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In a winter environment, it is not uncommon for film to dry quickly as the inside humidity is so low (15-20% RH). Drying in 20 minutes should not be a problem.

Using the wetting agent (Photo-flo or Edwal's FLN) is what I have always used, but you may not be stirring the solution enough. I have processed film for years, and also taught others to, and I always agitate the wetting agent well, not worrying about the suds. After agitating, hang the film, then dip your index and middle fingers in the solution and use them to squeegee the film (one finger on each side of the strip of film, hold your fingers tight together and slip it down to the end). Squeegee twice if necessary, but once usually does the trick. Make sure you don't have any hang nails! You should not have any water marks now. If you do, it may be your water, and remember, water softeners are actually salt, which can leave spots also!

I gave up using rubber squeegees also as they can dry and scratch the film! You need to squeegee boths sides as both sides can get water spots.

Be careful of the alcohol. It is flammable and may make the film dry even faster, though it is a readily accessible wetting agent!

Regards,

Last edited by BigDave; 02-21-2011 at 09:03 PM. Reason: additions
02-21-2011, 09:13 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pbo Quote
Isopropyl alcohol? What concentration? I have a small bottle of 99%, but if I use a tablespoon per tank, it's gonna run out pretty soon...
Whenever isopropyl is referred to they mean 99% pure alcohol (ie, as pure as it's practical to get and flog in a hardware store.) If you're worried about wasting it, then just rinse as normal, then wipe down the film when its dry.

QuoteQuote:
Also, do you know if I should be wiping the emulsion side or the shiny side?
Doesn't matter. It's easier to just wet a cloth with the alcohol, wrap it around the film and pull it through.

Actually, I use these: Home - Clearwipe by Kobayashi

Brilliant. Lint-free cloth, single use so it doesn't build up dirt. They're just woven paper cloth with isopropyl on it.

They're actually the best damn thing for cleaning any glass - lenses, glass, you name it.
02-21-2011, 10:52 PM   #8
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Run a steam vaporizer in the room where you are doing the drying to up the humidity. Helps knock the dust from the air too.

Photoflo 200 made up using distilled water. I have hard water and using DI water cuts down on both spots and scum formation.


Steve

02-22-2011, 07:31 AM   #9
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It's true - drying in a too dry / warm environment will leave water stains - I've become lazy and don't walk up 3 floors to hang my film over a bath tub, but rather use a first floor closet. The film dries fast and I get spots.

Then, there's the Mystery of Film: sometimes things just go wrong on their own, and other times with the same exact procedures everything goes fine.
02-22-2011, 09:32 AM   #10
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Suspect it depends on your water as well - hard water produces spots more than soft water. I can't remember if we used a squegee or not, but when I lived in Leeds, Yorkshire and developed film I never had a problem. Leeds has very soft water.
02-22-2011, 09:56 AM   #11
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If you're looking for distilled water, try the local super market. If their water machines say 'reverse osmosis' then the water should be just about pure.

Personally, I use Photo flo with a squeegee with regular tap water and haven't had problems with water spots.
02-22-2011, 10:19 AM   #12
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You should be able to find distilled water in your local supermarket. It should be with the regular bottled water. In my market the drinking water/spring water has a blue cap and the distilled has a red cap. It should run around $1 a gallon. Sometimes they even have 2.5 gallon distilled jugs on sale for $1.99.
02-22-2011, 10:38 PM   #13
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yep. get hold of some distilled/de-ionised and go easy on the Photoflo... 1/4 to 1/2 the recommended amount.

Another technique you can try if you've got room is to hang the film sideways, that way the water has less distance to run to get off the emulsion. Never had to resort to this myself.
02-24-2011, 12:03 AM   #14
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Seems like general consensus is to get distilled water... I'll look around next time I go for grocery..

Thanks everyone for your help!!
02-24-2011, 08:05 AM   #15
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Although various wetting agents and distilled water will give you top results, back in the olden days, when I was doing an awful lot of this, I found drying the film side on, on a sheet of blotting paper my preferred option. Never had any problems and did lots and lots of 20" x 16" from 35mm.

Using heavy metal clips on each end coil the film into a spiral, side on to a sheet of blotting paper. The clips prevent the film from unravelling and the blotting paper seems to suck the droplets off the film. I would then put another sheet of blotter on top which would stop any dust. The paper, being damp would give a bit of humidity and stop the film drying too quickly.

Don't coil the film too tightly or it could stick together. Alternatively too loosely and it will collapse. The sheet on top also gives some rigidity.
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