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Thread: major problem with film or holders

  1. #1

    major problem with film or holders

    Hello...
    I just got my film back from development and it all (16 frames, mix of E-6 and B&W) had major issues. Nearly all my shots had large washed-out streaks across most or all of the frame. There is no discernible pattern to it that would jump out and say "this is a holder problem" or "this is a film problem". I am tempted to send in some unused film out of the box and see if it is that. Perhaps the light tight box has a leak or opened at some point.

    Does anyone know of a good way to test film holders for light tightness? I kept a notebook of shots compared with my numbered holders at one point, and found a bad holder that way, but it seems unlikely to me that ALL (or nearly all) of my holders would go bad at once. I have also been using a changing bag instead of a darkroom, though I usually change film in a darkened room with it.

    Another possibility is time and motion. I carry my camera gear in my vehicle (it is always good to be prepared), and go hiking with it. I take care of my gear, but is it possible that slight pressure on the darkslide would open a light leak that would expose across a major fraction of the frame?

    Some of the film sat in the holders for quite awhile, so if they are leaking, it would have had ample opportunity to fail.

    It was a major disappointment to see all these ruined frames. I had some really good shots that are toast. Does anyone have suggestions for what to do?

  2. #2

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    Re: major problem with film or holders

    Your suggestion to send in an unexposed sheet is the best place to start. Once that is ruled out you can then proceed to test each step of your workflow.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    4x5 - no beard Patrik Roseen's Avatar
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    Re: major problem with film or holders

    Hello jeffgreen,
    What box are you using?
    If the box opened you would probably see the effect on the edges of the film, and possibly see where any other sheet was laying on top of another, e.g. the filmtype markings could show up on the next film.

    Have you investigated your camera/bellows and lens/lensboard for any leaks?
    - did you use the same lens for all shots, check that the shutter close tightly?
    - do you usually pull the darkslide and then wait for a veeery long time before making the exposure, if so fogging could result from even 'minor' leaking bellows?

    It does not necessarily have to be the filmholders...
    In these cases it always helps to post an image or two for people to look at.

  4. #4

    Re: major problem with film or holders

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrik Roseen View Post
    Hello jeffgreen,

    Have you investigated your camera/bellows and lens/lensboard for any leaks?
    - did you use the same lens for all shots, check that the shutter close tightly?
    - do you usually pull the darkslide and then wait for a veeery long time before making the exposure, if so fogging could result from even 'minor' leaking bellows?

    It does not necessarily have to be the filmholders...
    You are totally right. When I read your camera/bellows question, I realized that the shots that I did that were really bad were ones that I did from a new (to me) field camera I got. I don't have it with me at the moment to check, but it is entirely probable that the bellows or camera is the problem. I did one with my old monorail, which turned out nearly fine. There is a little hazy spot in one corner, but nothing like the others.
    I did do one from the field camera that turned out better than the others, but it was still not right. I never totally trust bellows and holders (for good reason, as it appears), so I try to be quick with the darkslide when I shoot. I pull the slide, expose and replace it as quickly as I can (usually less than 3-4 seconds).

    I am going to do a thorough check of lensboards and bellows when I get home. I should have thought about that before.

  5. #5

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    Re: major problem with film or holders

    I'm no expert, but the streaks possibly from uneven development? Hard to say without seeing them.

    Peter

  6. #6

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    Re: major problem with film or holders

    Quote Originally Posted by PMahoney View Post
    I'm no expert, but the streaks possibly from uneven development? Hard to say without seeing them.

    Peter
    Peter,

    I don't think it would be from uneven development since there were 16 sheets and it was a mix of E6 and B&W.

    Jeff,

    The problem could be from a whole variety of different reasons ranging from your filmholders to the bellows to the back end of your camera to the holders just not seating properly.

    The best thing to do is to take one step at a time and start eliminating the various elements. Load your holders with some printing paper... leave them out in the sunshine. Process them and see what happens.

    If the holders aren't the problem... look at your bellows and shine light through them to ensure that there aren't any leaks.

    If the bellows aren't the problem... look at the back of your camera. Insert a holder into the back, remove the lens and peer through the bellows to see if there's any light leaks coming in from the back.

    As Patrik suggested... check each of your lenses and the lensboards. Mount them onto the camera, remove the back and check for light leaks.

    Good luck.

    Cheers
    Life in the fast lane!

  7. #7

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    Re: major problem with film or holders

    Washed out streaks sounds like a light leak. Doesn't sound like a problem with the film or with a box leaking light or uneven development. I assume you used 8 different holders for the 16 photographs. If so it's relatively unlikely that all 8 had light leaks. In that case it's more likely a problem of the holders not being seated properly in the camera back or a problem with the bellows. Do the streaks tend to run diagonally from top to bottom of the film? That's what my ruined film looked like when I had a problem with the holders not properly seating in the back.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  8. #8

    Re: major problem with film or holders

    One frame has some kind of diagonal streaks that look like you took a paintbrush and dragged light across the frame. The others typically have a large hazy patch in the upper right corner as you look at the ground glass. There are some other effects that show up, but they are relatively minor compared with the main hazy spot. I looked at the camera last night, and I can't find anything obvious that would cause a problem. I really like the idea of putting printing paper in the holder and testing. Film is kind of expensive to do that kind of testing with, and I have the chemicals and capability to develop this at home.
    I will be really busy for the next week or so, but then I will give it a try and let you all know what I find.
    Thanks everyone for your input and suggestions. You mentioned several things that really helped!
    jeff

  9. #9
    C. D. Keth's Avatar
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    Red face Re: major problem with film or holders

    Check absolutely everything on the camera. I fogged several sheets before I realized I forgot to patch up mounting holes and a rubber tube connection for a packard shutter.

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