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Thread: how much dust is acceptable

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  1. #1

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    how much dust is acceptable

    I have a dust problem. Obviously I am not cleaning my film holders sufficiently. I don't have any visible dust to speak of in the prints, but when I use a strong loupe I do see dozens of very tiny dust specks. How much is acceptable? For me, I want none, but perhaps I'm being overly picky?

    Alexis

  2. #2
    Michael Alpert
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    459

    Re: how much dust is acceptable

    No visible dust. None. Dust seen only through a "strong loupe" is another matter. Unless you plan to make larger prints, you should put the loupe away. Otherwise, your life will be unnecessarily unhappy.

  3. #3

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    Re: how much dust is acceptable

    I've got an condenser enlarger and using a lupe or magnifier there is end less tiny stuff that can'nt be seen by the naked eye,but it still bothers me they are there. Been thinking it could be my wash water that is unfiltered, but I do use a distilled water bath at the end of developing the film. So maybe I'll switch to a softer light source in the enlarger. Dust is all ways a battle.

    Mike

  4. #4

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    Dec 2009
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    Pacifica, CA
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    Re: how much dust is acceptable

    I have a dust problem too, and it may come from the Grafmatics, it may come from the bellows. I don't often get crud from final rinse since I use filtered water and Photo-Flo prior to hanging film up to dry. Though dust is always in the air, for some reason, I don't see much dust landing on my film while it is hanging to dry.

    I am amazed at how inconsistent it can be. One sheet will have scads, the very next will have none!

    When I can, I vacuum the interior of the camera and the Grafmatics and septums. The black spots caused by "pre-exposure" dust are more destructive than any dust that arrives later.

    I will spot up to four or five clear spots on the negative, then Spotone them down on the print. White spots on the print, I'll Spotone as needed. If it gets ridiculous, or if the specks still command attention, then I have to make a decision for the print whether I will keep it or tear it up. I don't deliberately go for faulty results, but I do embrace minor flaws.

  5. #5

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    Re: how much dust is acceptable

    Here in CA static electricity can be a big dust magnet factor, either with dry film in a the darkroom, or with Grafmatics and the friction of operating them in the desert. Use of a humidifier in the darkroom when loading film can help (or running the shower in a motel room if changing film on the road). Perhaps slower movements when removing the darkslide or shuffling the Grafmatic. I use Quickloads in the dustiest and driest environs. Ziplocks are a must for filmholders when not in the camera (though it matters less once the film is exposed, pre-exposure it's critical.)

  6. #6

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    Re: how much dust is acceptable

    How are you processing your film? Where are you changing your holders and loading your processing rig?

    One thing I stopped doing: drying my processing stuff with towels. I'd like to find something to dry stuff off with but I think it was leaving a lot of lint.

  7. #7

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    Re: how much dust is acceptable

    Thanks...I see that I'm not the only one. I load all my film in my basement darkroom. It is rustic, and perhaps therein lies the problem. I need a shiny new darkroom with slick walls. I really like the idea of a humidifier. I'm going to try that. Most importantly I'll try to be cleaner. I usually let me things air dry. There are those "miracle towels" they advertise on late night tv. I have a couple and they don't seem to leave lint. I'll try those as well.

  8. #8
    funkadelic
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Nashville, TN
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    Re: how much dust is acceptable

    In addition to a humidifier, also consider a HEPA rated air filter. Use good quality filters on your HVAC system too. Let the HEPA filter run a while before your developing or printing session. It may not pick up everything in the room, but between the filter and humidifier, they should get rid of most of the airborne dust particles if your HVAC is filtered well. We use 3M Filtrete filters, available at most hardware/DIY stores.
    As others have stated, it's more important to get the dust pre-exposure (film or paper) than the dust/lint that falls afterward. If you have airborne dust falling after your work, your proactive effort to reduce it will pay off in your final prints.

  9. #9

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    Re: how much dust is acceptable

    I change my film in a box thing I made. It's a cardboard box lined with Hefty Lawn and Leaf bags. I cut a changing bag in half, put the hands part coming out of one side of the box and the zipper part coming out of the other. It works pretty well...might help you with your dust.

  10. #10
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Re: how much dust is acceptable

    Do people normally view your prints through a strong loupe? If not then I suggest you don't either.
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    for the fearful man is dismayed by aught,
    and the mean one mourns over giving.
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