View Full Version : Scanning and developement flaws

Kirk Gittings
18-Nov-2005, 21:39
One of the things that has been revealed by scanning my older work for my current retrospective is developement issues.

Prior to 1998 all my 4x5 was developed by the shuffle method in trays. I had been doing this for 20 years that way with excellent results and little noticeable scratching in my prints. My method included emulsion down, which minimizes scatches and printing with an Aristo cold light head. I had also developed a significant case of contact dermatitis on my fingers and was looking for a method to get my hands out of the developer. I settled on BTZS tubes and have used them ever since 1998.

In the last year I have gone back to scan some of my vintage film and discovered something interesting. The tray developed film which I thought I was so adept at is full of very fine scratches from the shuffle method whereas my later film from the BTZS tubes is not. My assistant spots my scans and it is literally the difference between a 1/2 spotting session vs. a 2-3 hour spotting session. Most of these fine scratches don't show up in traditional prints with a cold light head, but if they get sharpened in a digital print they will show up.

Just an interesting little tidbit.

Roger Hein
19-Nov-2005, 05:29
I've found the same. Things like small changes in density caused from uneven/sloppy agitation during development show up in areas like 'sky' or tiny black 'clumps'/patchy areas of stain from using 'pyro'. All these were previously hidden in a platinum print made from the same neg.

Ed Richards
19-Nov-2005, 05:45

While I have not been too excited about oil mounting on flatbed scanners, your old negatives might be a very good reason to try it. I am a lot more worried about the nathpa based fluids than some of the others are, but then I work with disaster law.:-) It would seem that putting it inside an 1800 might create a very explosive micro-atmosphere. I have seen an ad for a mounting gel that would not run or evaporate - that might be perfect for an 1800:


Anyone have experience with this?

Kirk Gittings
19-Nov-2005, 10:22

I think you are right, wet mounting would mask allot of those fine scatches. See the tri-x neg on the right of my posting in the thread on 1880f vs. 4990.

19-Nov-2005, 10:40
i usually wet-mount just the emulsion side to the float glass, but for cases where there are little scratches on both sides you can also wet mount a mylar sheet (made for this purpose) to the other side. it's pretty fussy work getting it right, but if you think it could save you a half hour of spotting it might be worth it.

the exploding scanner scenario is an interesting one! it would make sense to use a low volatility fluid if you're worried. I use Maya fluid, which i've been told is a lot less volatile than Kami, which seems to be the most popular. both have their advantages and disadvantages.

19-Nov-2005, 14:09

Thank you very much for sending this information to the list. It is something I have been aware of for a very long time since I switched from tray processing to tube processing about 12 years ago and, like you, I have been engaged for the past two or three years in scanning negatives from both stages. There is no question but that the film develped in tubes is vastly superior to that developed in tray, both in eveneness of development and for lack of scratches.