View Full Version : Black specks/marks in highlight areas in E-6 transparancies

30-Mar-2014, 19:10
Having some frustration lately with ridiculous amounts of black specks on my E-6 shots. I'm developing my own E-6, which I did for this very reason - I got a ton of E-6 back from the lab with these specks and marks on them. So that pushed me to do it myself.

They only appear in the highlight areas. I am developing with the Tetenal kit with a dip-and-dunk technique in tanks. Up to 6 sheets at a time. Sometimes they don't appear, some times they are horrible, as in this attached shot. Seems like Velvia 50 is especially prone.

I can see them under a loupe and the emulsion feels slightly rough. I've tried rewashing and physically wiping the film to get it off but it just moves around.

Any clue??


Pat Kearns
30-Mar-2014, 19:54
I'm guessing a possible sediment build up in the chemicals. Run the chemicals thru a filter before your next round of processing then check your results.

30-Mar-2014, 19:57
I thought that too but I've had it with fresh chemicals as well. I will try that though.

Fred L
31-Mar-2014, 17:19
If it's on lab processed film AND home processed, I'd be looking hard at the film as the source. Only thing is, that would pretty well be either Kodak or Fuji, both of which have excellent QC…


Darin Boville
31-Mar-2014, 17:25
Just to be clear, the specks are, no doubt, in the treed area as well, they are just harder to see there. You can prove this by making a shot of an even-toned darker area which will show up the specks much more readily than a highly irregularly toned forested area.


31-Mar-2014, 17:44
Is this just on sheets or on rolls as well? Only on E-6 or on all sheet film? Are you loading in a bag, tent, or darkroom? I had a changing bag whose interior was flaking off, depositing serious chunks of dust onto every sheet I loaded before I threw the bag away.

31-Mar-2014, 19:11
Good question. This is on some old Quickload film though. It does happen on roll film too. However, Fuji films do seem to have more than Kodak film. Just scanned some Ektachrome VS transparencies and one exhibited none of this, and another just a bit - easy enough to spot out in a few minutes. Odd!

Darin, you are right, but I swear after careful inspection there does indeed seem to be much less as density increases.

Regarding the film, I've got a lot of Quick/Readyloads here, including much Velvia 50/100, Provia, Ektachrome VS, T64, etc. - from many different sources and batches. So I could postulate one batch causing most of the issues...

31-Mar-2014, 20:00
Filtered water used to mix/process ?
Laundry (dryer) anywhere near film drying area?

31-Mar-2014, 20:14
I mix the chemicals with distilled water...but I process in tap water. I guess technically I could use up about 5-10 gallons of distilled water every time I process but...

31-Mar-2014, 21:00
I once had crud in unfiltered city water, then I installed a filter.
I'd try to eliminate one variable at a time.
When processing other types of film, any spots? if not than its not dust from camera, holders, water, or drying.
Look at your E6 chems in a clear graduate, any stuff visible?

Darin Boville
31-Mar-2014, 21:39
Of course you could send a sheet/roll out to a good lab to wipe out non-procesing issues on your end.


31-Mar-2014, 21:41
Well I do think it is my processing, or something related.

I am going to look into what I need to filter my water. My darkroom is in a shed out back with a very old water system. A lot of possibility there for yucky stuff in the water. Might even try just some filtered tap water from my Brita in the house first.

31-Mar-2014, 21:51
Aaah.... I'd bet that's the problem....I'd install a cartridge type filter in the darkroom. I found a clear housing type at Home depot (so I can see the stuff in our city water) or You might just try letting the water run some to clear the line before applying it to film.

31-Mar-2014, 22:24
What I would suggest:
1. load two sheets of film into a holder in your normal manner
2. expose one sheet of fresh film to daylight (you won't get more highlights than that)
3. do not expose one sheet of film at all
4. ship the holder to a top of the line professional lab in New York (eliminates local water issues)
5. mark the shipment that these are tests so the lab won't freak out when they see blank sheets :)
6. examine the results when you get them back

For the cost of 2 sheets of film + shipping you will have a fairly good indicator of what is going on.

31-Mar-2014, 22:30
A true story:

Back in the '80s I did a lot of 35mm film photography for an advertising agency that was located in a suburban office park. From time to time I used their in-house darkroom. (BTW, it was NOT light tight but, grasshopper, that is another story.)

If I put some of the tap water in one of the clear darkroom beakers and let it quietly sit for about an hour, you could see a layer of sediment sitting on the bottom. Yuck! This is what people drank every day at work!!