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Thread: Dust, dust and 10x8s

  1. #1
    Marek Warunkiewicz Marek Warunkiewicz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Toronto, Canada

    Dust, dust and 10x8s

    Hi all!

    I just processed my first (in years) 10x8 film.

    Nice, all well, except for loads of tiny white areas which I know are dust.

    I used a compressor to blow them out before I loaded the film. Any ideas or meybe a methodology? Really hate all the black spots on the prints.



  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Re: Dust, dust and 10x8s

    Also be wary of dust that is in the camera or on the inside of the bellows or on the outside of the film holders that can land on the film when the darkslide is pulled.

  3. #3
    Big Negs Rock!
    Join Date
    Mar 2000

    Re: Dust, dust and 10x8s

    I regularly blow out the bellows of the camera. When I load film, I blow out the film holders, including the dark slide and light trap. The cleaned holder goes into a clean dust free plastic bag that holds about 5 holders. When I load the film, I have a nitrogen tank in the dark room that I blow off each sheet of film once it's loaded and slide the dark slide home with the nitrogen on. I rarely have dust spots.

    Good luck.
    Mark Woods

    Large Format B&W
    Cinematography Mentor at the American Film Institute
    Past President of the Pasadena Society of Artists
    Director of Photography
    Pasadena, CA

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Austin TX

    Re: Dust, dust and 10x8s

    Dust can come from a whole chain of sources.

    If you use a compressor does it have a filter?
    What kind of a pump is on the compressor? Is it oil lubed or dry vane?

    Film holders need to be clean - so loaded in a reasonably clean area. Clean and load in a small enclosure that is Hepa filtered. Buy a Hepa unit and rig something up in a dark area if necessary.

    As mentioned, make sure bellows is clean.

    And keep blackflies and mosquitos out of the inside of the bellows.

    Nate Potter, Austin TX.

  5. #5
    Pastafarian supremo Rick A's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    north central Pa., USA

    Re: Dust, dust and 10x8s

    Using compressed air to "dust" anything only moves the dust from one place to many others. I recommend vacuuming and wiping with a damp cloth. There are products that attract dust which will aid in removing without displacing the offensive ditritus. Storing gear in relativly dust free environs goes a long way to help keep clean. Routine cleaning helps as well. Remember, Poor Richard says 'cleanliness is next to godliness" translates especially well to our beloved camera gear.
    Rick Allen

    Argentum Aevum

    practicing Pastafarian

  6. #6
    Camera Antipodea Richard Mahoney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Oxford, New Zealand

    Re: Dust, dust and 10x8s

    Quote Originally Posted by ralnphot View Post
    Using compressed air to "dust" anything only moves the dust from one place to many others. I recommend vacuuming ...
    Agreed. I just vacuum then load 4x5 film in the smallest possible changing bag (also vacuumed). What I've found that makes all the difference though is the use of anti-static bags, the sort of things that computer boards come in. An acquaintance kindly gave me a good supply for nothing so I use one for each film holder. (I've heard that anti-static bags can cost a small fortune if one has to actually buy them.) Anyway, I've never had a dust problem and generally the only post scanning digital spotting that has to be done is the removal of those nasty little clip marks at the corners.

    Best, Richard
    Richard Mahoney
    M: +64-21-064-0216 T: +64-3-312-1699 E:

  7. #7
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Re: Dust, dust and 10x8s

    Unless you have central vac, vacuuming kicks up more dust than almost anything you can do. Yes it does remove dust, but it takes a while for all the stuff that passed through the vac to settle back down. In other words, don't rush to load film quickly after vacuuming.

    I'm storing film holders in antistatic bags too. First I had a few from a family member's computer shop. They throw them away all the time, as replacement parts usually come in them. Then I went on Ebay and got 1000 ziplock style pink antistatic bags for about $70 in 7x9" size. They hold 2 film holders each and are rugged. I figure I'll be able to reuse them a bunch of times. It's certainly more expensive than sandwich bags, but a small price to pay for a lifetime of dust free film holders.

  8. #8
    Billy Canuck
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Calgary, AB, Canada

    Re: Dust, dust and 10x8s

    Ilford used to make an orange anti-static cloth that sold for about $10. I don't know if they still do. After using compressed air, gently wipe the film holder and dark slide before loading.
    I found this tip in an article by Roger Hicks, and it works well for me.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2000

    Re: Dust, dust and 10x8s

    I use a Kostiner Anti Static brush on the holders and slides then re-place them immediately in Zip Lock bags in which they live.
    After about an hour,to let the dust settle, I load them a dozen at a time. Rarely do I have dust problems.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Santa Cruz

    Re: Dust, dust and 10x8s

    The anti static brush sounds good. I vacuum. With the vacuum canister outside of the darkroom. One thing I've found very helpful is isopropyl alcohol. I clean the film loading area with it. I wipe down the film holders with it. It seems to negate the static charge that draws dust to film holders.


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