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09-16-2010, 02:01 PM   #1
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What causes flim to scratch with straight line (x2)

I have been using my Ricoh xr-p for a while and I don't recall seeing anything like this. I developed a roll of Neopan 400 with my local lab and the whole roll has two thin dark lines on the back of the film and they appear as white on the scanned images. I wonder what would cause this. I thought about some dust on the film back supporting plane but I can't find any signs of pointy objects. The two lines are very distinguished in the scanning
















with Ricoh xr-p and Tamron 200mm f/3.5 adaptall-2 04B
on Fuji Neopan 400, developed by local lab

Any clues to the cause of this problem. You can see two lines right in the middle of the scanned images. On the negative, it seem to be on the back side.

Hin

09-16-2010, 02:15 PM   #2
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Verify that it is on the negative - these lines can be caused by dust on the scanner top element (it will go away).
By back side, you mean the non-emulsion side? I would check the film path in the camera for any dirt, burrs, and so on - on the camera door and pressure plate. Other possibilities: this particular 35mm cartridge's velvet jaws had something in them, or something happened on the way to developing the film.

OOPs I just re-read what you wrote more carefully. Seems like a processing problem if these are dark lines rather than scratches.
09-16-2010, 02:23 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
Verify that it is on the negative - these lines can be caused by dust on the scanner top element (it will go away).
By back side, you mean the non-emulsion side? I would check the film path in the camera for any dirt, burrs, and so on - on the camera door and pressure plate. Other possibilities: this particular 35mm cartridge's velvet jaws had something in them, or something happened on the way to developing the film.

OOPs I just re-read what you wrote more carefully. Seems like a processing problem if these are dark lines rather than scratches.
That puzzled me as I can see two thin dark lines on the back of the negatives. The dark lines may happen in the emulsion side but I can't really tell.

The lines are thin but visible under careful examination. I do trust my local lab and I have been developing in the same shop for a while. And I did shoot two rolls of 100 T-max in the prior week with the same camera and I found no issues when I hand developed the t-max 100 in a darkroom class.

The lab person suggests me to clean the film plane support along with air blower on the internal of the camera. And I can't think of a place in my camera that will pressure the film to have 2 straight lines across. Can this happen when I re-wind the film too fast? Or can this happen in film development step? It is too late as that precious roll of film is almost destroyed with that 2 lines.

Nester, I think it is likely something in the cartridge velvet that when I pull the film back in rewind, the lines are scratched? It something is scratched, will that appear as white on the emulsion side or something as black lines as what I see ?

Last edited by hinman; 09-16-2010 at 02:32 PM.
09-16-2010, 03:32 PM   #4
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Hin,
Do you have a loupe? If you do, carefully examine both the back and the emulsion side of the negative. A scratch will be obvious and will continue outside the frame. As noted above, the usual suspects are the pressure plate in the camera back and the lip of the film canister. Beyond that are scratches that are introduced in processing.

What I find interesting is that:
  • For image 1, the marks are not parallel (they diverge to the right) and the top one is not completely straight.
  • The spacing is wider/narrower between frames
  • The position of the marks on the frame changes between frames
  • On the last image, the marks are quite wide and run diagonal across the frame
More typical for sand or grit on the canister light trap is a line that runs straight through several frames parallel to the direction of film travel. The marks on your images look more like what I would get back in the days when I was still using a squeegee after hanging the film to dry.

Scratches introduced during processing can look like pretty much anything. Possible causes during/after processing include:
  • Dust/grit in the processor film path
  • Dust/grit in the scanner film path (for strip feed scanners)
  • Careless handling (dragging over counter top, grit on technicians gloves, and such)
  • Squeegee marks
  • Insertion into negative sleeves or pages

A third possible cause would be from an older bulk loader with a fiber light trap (Lloyd type) or loading from a Watson loader with the light trap in the "closed" position. (Yes, that is possible and no, it is not a good idea.)



Steve


BTW...Could not help but notice that these are beach pictures. Any chance that you changed film out on the beach and that a breeze was blowing while you were doing so?

09-16-2010, 05:43 PM   #5
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@Steve, thank you so much for your thorough analysis. I did change lens from a 24mm to 200mm but the film was loaded prior to the beach visit. Also, I did shoot the same beach visit the labor day weekend in the week prior to last weekend. So it is very possible that two pieces of sands are in the film support on the back.

I love using film on the beach as I thought sand will do more harm to the sensor that does to a film camera. Now I know that sand or beach visit have to be careful for both film and digital.

I really like the pictures in the beach with my Tamron 200mm f/3.5 adaptall-2 04B and you can see the pictures with K20D also in the blog post.

With film scanning, will there be a chance that scratch and dust removal will work to reduce the effect -- I have wishful thinking. Someday, I will be nuts enough and buy the Nikon 9000 and spend my money on more films. I love the Fuji Neopan and Delta 100 and 400. They are quite contrasty and I love the grain. I used Neopan 400 in the beach and I like the pictures a lot.
09-16-2010, 09:24 PM   #6
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If these are machine prints it's most likely from the lab because the lines are thru the entire length of the roll? Someone didn't clean their holder thoroughly, it happens and usually the lab will not assume it's them ( not saying they're dishonest ). Now if it happens on a few rolls from the same shoot it could have also been a dirty pressure plate from your camera back bit I suspect it's your lab. Do you know if they machine process the film also as it could be dirty rollers? Unless they use a dip n dunk system which I doubt. Once scanned software can easily remedy this.
09-17-2010, 01:18 PM   #7
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I would say it is highly likely that the lab messed up. Easiest way to check is to run through a cheap/old roll of film and ask a lab to just develop it and not make prints (my local lab would do it for around $3) and then you can see if the scratches are present. If so, something along the film path in your camera.
09-17-2010, 02:01 PM   #8
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You can rule in/rule out your camera by loading it with the cheapest film you can find. (I loved Dollar Store film for this.)

Shoot it through the camera, and open the back to examine for scratches as you go (i.e. mid through the roll, end of the roll.) If no scratches, rewind the film, take out the canister, open it and examine the entire surface of the film for scratches.

If no scratches then, you know it was the lab.

I had a Nikon F80 that would leave similar scratches on my film. Took a while to diagnose...

09-17-2010, 05:26 PM   #9
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Thank you so much for the supports. What was damaged couldn't be undone. I was hopping the problems was actually on the sand that got trapped with wind in lens change in the beach or dirty hand with sticky sand and static. It is also possible in the film processing though I wouldn't know the detail. I trust my lab and the owner is actually a mentor to me on film. He actually called me after hour to ask me to examine and clean my camera to avoid future incidence. I would take the advice of a cheap roll and develop in Walmart and see what happens.

On the damaged film, I wonder if a proper scanner with good scratch and dust removal can hide the line to less drastic in the final scanned picture. I don't have the photoshop nor the skill and know how. I will try to see if my Lightroom 2.7 has anything remotely related to film scanning, I doubt it.

This is probably the most memorable shots of my boys and wife in a beach visit where my boys were extremely happy to play with their new toys in water gunning while everyone in the Capitola was enjoying an Art & Wine festival.
















Thanks again,
Hin
09-17-2010, 06:40 PM   #10
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You can actually retouch the negs with dye and brush, it's a tedious process you'll need a "0" tip brush or smaller and film dye I use Marshall's.
09-17-2010, 07:48 PM   #11
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I can see why you're disappointed. They are nice shots.

Scratches are a very easy thing to repair in a decent image editor. Cloning is a common way of doing it. In Photoshop there is also the heal tool.

You don't need full Photoshop. Photoshop Elements or Corel PaintShop Photo will work just fine for far less money.

There is another possible cause for the scratches. There may have been sand caught in the felt light trap in your film cassette. This would produce long scratches when rewinding the film.

John
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