View Full Version : darkroom mystery

Ben Calwell
15-Aug-2005, 12:05
Yesterday, I processed four sheets of 5x7 film -- one side from each of four holders. After the run through the trays, I turned the lights back on and looked at the four film holders, which were lying open on my bench. I saw, to my horror, that there was still a sheet of film in the fourth one. And yet, in the wash, were four sheets, not three. I evidently had double-loaded one side of the fourth holder and managed to remove the top sheet in the dark. I looked at the image, and it was tack sharp. I would have thought that it would have been slightly out of focus, since that sheet was resting on top of another sheet in the holder. Has that happened to anyone else on this forum?

15-Aug-2005, 12:16
A few weeks ago, I loaded and shot 3 Grafmatics from one brand new 25 sheet box of HP5. The box has ONE sheet left in it. I still haven't found the missing sheets!

John Cook
15-Aug-2005, 12:27
Hi Ben,

That must be the only thing I haven't fouled up over the years. Probably because the clients finally pressured me into shooting color which was too thick to double-load.

However, I used to have a lot of fun in the old days when all film was interleaved with black paper.

Robert McClure
15-Aug-2005, 12:47

The same thing has happened to me in 4x5 a number of times. I think my problem (not that I expect flawless perfection from myself) is that I quickly go into auto-pilot mode when loading film in the dark. And, mind you, all the while thinking of what an absolute kinesthetic genius I am for being able to repeat the process repeatedly in the dark while thinking about what my thoughts normally lead to.

(FWIW, whereas studies show the average man thinks about a certain subject once every 45 seconds, I have been fully delivered from that slavery. I think about it once every two minutes, thirty seconds.)

And don't anybody tell me to just keep my mind on the damn filmholders, either! Ha, ha!

Brian Ellis
15-Aug-2005, 12:51
The fact that film holders aren't precision instruments has been well documented. For all you know the extra sheet might have actually helped things. And depth of field fixes a lot of problems with holders that are off, which is to say most holders.

15-Aug-2005, 15:43
The only thing that would likely suffer visibly from that mistake is the sharpness of a copy photograph (or similar flat field image). With more conventional subjects, all you're doing is shifting the plane of exact focus a little bit back, which will most likely result in a slight "adjustment" and not real degradation. But as Brian said, these holders aren't the most precise things in the world ... they can easily vary by the thickness of a piece of film, so you're probably used to that much slop already.

Calamity Jane
15-Aug-2005, 15:47
The holders I measured have about 0.010" to 0.013" for the film slot. The Delta 100 film I measured was 0.005"

The darkroom mystery that has puzzled me since I got into LF is why I can load film in the pitch-black BETTER if I have my reading glasses on my nose than if I don't !!!!!!

Janko Belaj
15-Aug-2005, 16:53
John, what do you mean with "...in the old days when all film was interleaved with black paper..."? All my (b&w) film is interleaved with paper... o.k., one have yellow papers, and I don't remeber is that efke 25 ortho, efke 25 or efke 100... :-)))

Leonard Evens
16-Aug-2005, 07:08

It's clear that it's because you can not see better close up with your reading glasses on. :-)