View Full Version : My positives just came out black

manuel johson
17-Feb-2006, 23:08
Hi I am totally new to 4x5. My positives are coming out black. I have reviewed my procedures with the help of your tutorials and the results are the same. I am focusing and composing, selecting f stop, making sure I close the lens, metering, selecting shutter speed, cocking the shutter, loading the QuickLoad with the lens side of the film facing forward, removing the cardboard sheet, exposing the film. Afterwards push the cardboard in and remove the film in the envelope. I am going over the steps in my head and I can not find my error. I would like to propose there is a problem with the film but I in my first batch ever I got 4 or 5 fairly well exposed frames out of 30. Today I got my second batch and I got zero out 20 plus frames. Really disappointing! I sent the film both times to Calypso Imaging in Santa Clara, CA.
I am sure the error is mine. I would be most appreciative if you gentlemen could give some direction. Maybe there is something silly and obvious to the experienced but not to me.

Mike Boden
17-Feb-2006, 23:24
My first thought would be that the film is not being retained in the Quickload holder. Instead, as you pull the sleeve out, the film is still inside. So a quick way to check that the film is inside the holder properly is to lightly feel the sleeve after you've pulled it out. It should be smooth, as if there is no film in it. If it feels bumpy, then the film is not being retained in the holder.

So that leads me to question how old/new the Quickload holder is. Also, are you using a Fuji Quickload holder, Kodak Readyload holder, or a Polaroid 545 holder? And which film are you using with this particular holder? Sometimes there can be incompatability. And if the holder is old, the retaining pin that catches on the metal clip of the film night be worn and not catching and retaining the film in the holder.

When I'm using a Polaroid holder, I tend to slide my fingernail underneath the metal edge of the film and flare it out a bit. Not too much, mind you, but just enough to allow the retaining pin to catch and grab onto the film.

Beyond all this, the other thing I'm thinking about is how are you metering the subject? Perhaps your metering technique is inaccurate, thus causing severely underexposed transparencies.

manuel johson
17-Feb-2006, 23:47
Thank you Mike. I was just trying my Velvia 100 film in the holder that I own (Fujifilm QuickLoad) and as you suspected the film is not staying. This is a 2 month old holder! I am going to try your nail trick and see there is an improvent. I am so relieved I think you found the problem.

Paul Schilliger
18-Feb-2006, 04:25
Manuel, make sure that you are inserting the film the proper way. There is a release button on the side. To remove a properly inserted film, you need to push the release button left, grasp the envelope firmly at the indicated place where you will hold the film at the same time, and pull whole thing out. When you push the next QuickLoad in, you need to apply some strength to make sure it goes right to the end and triggers the release button which will come back on the right (be careful not to bend the film) and hold the film. At this stage, if you hold the film through the envelope, it should be impossible to pull it out without using the release button. Pull out carefully the envelope without the film holding it at the indicated place, expose, push the envelope back and again apply some pressure to make sure it goes right to the end. Push the release, pull the whole thing out. If you are not sure, don't hesitate to waste a sheet to exercise and see how it works. Besides, there could be a problem with the back, but if you say it's new, this is not likely the case.

Jon Wilson
18-Feb-2006, 07:23
I have had the same problem with my ready load and the kodak counterpart. It was especially frustrating when I was "saving space and weight" by using them on a trip to the Oregon coast. I have since taken both apart and found the "clip" which hooks the metal strip on these film sheets needed adjustment. I have also found it beneficial to keep a used film sheet to test how I am to insert, exposure, and release the film sheet from the holder. Since using this approach, I have not had another "lost" shot. Best wishes and good light, Jon

John Berry ( Roadkill )
18-Feb-2006, 08:16
I would also check the holder to make sure that there isn't a clip that you might have inadvertantly pulled off previously, therby not letting the new sheet lock in .

Wilbur Wong
18-Feb-2006, 08:28
If the film is not being reliably presented for photographing, due to loader problems, I suggest you sacrifice a sheet and do it in daylight so you can see exactly what is happening. That will be a lot cheaper than all the sheets sent to Calypso

Scott Fleming
18-Feb-2006, 09:52
Man, I feel your pain. 20 sheets! No joy. Very sorry. We've all done it although usually not that many sheets. I stopped doing it when I learned to FEEL that sheet inside the envelope. When removing an exposed quickload one must grab the center area of the end sticking out very firmly, so as to insure that the film comes out WITH the envelope AND drags along the clip. 'The whole thing' as others have written. Well the opposite of this is to pull the envelope so as to leave the clip and the film in the camera for an exposure by placing one's thumb and forefinger on that same center area .... only holding it ever so lightly as one pulls. You can FEEL the stationary film 'handle' sliding through your fingers as it is left in the holder as the evnelope slides out. I say 'handle' because it is not the film itself you are feeling but rather a piece of clear plastic attached to the end of the film opposite the clip and it is a hidden handle.

I highly suspect either you have a clip stuck inside the holder thus preventing any new envelope inserted from 'seating' .... or you are not firmly pressing an envelpe in so as to seat the metal clip. Sacrifice a new quickload envelope with the holder in your hands so you can see what is going on. Then take that ruined piece of film and pull it all the way out of the envelope so you can see what the film plus 'pulling handle' looks like. The end where one grasps the envelope while pulling. This will help you FEEL whats going on inside the envelope. The hiddin end of a quickload, the 'handle', is not a plain featureless piece of plastic. It has holes which help you feel it through the outer envelope.

manuel johson
19-Feb-2006, 23:09
You guys have diagnosed the problem quite accurately! The holder was not picking up the film, so I took it apart and I found a clip stuck inside as Scott and John suggested. From now on I would be most careful and make sure I get the feeling of the film sliding under my thumb. Also as Paul, Jon and Wilbur mentioned to carry a testing sheet would be a good idea. I would say as a precautionary meassure I should simply buy another holder and take it with me as a back up. It may seem excesive but it maybe a small price to pay for the potential benefit in case my only holder malfunctions again. Thank you again for your kind feedback.

Jim McGrew
10-Jun-2006, 16:43
Thanks one and all. I too have been having occasional black positives (using fuji quickloader) and clear tmax negs (using kodak readyloader). Both of these fast loaders were new when I bought them fairly recently. I just looked inside and found no clips. I am going to try shoving them into the end of the loader a little harder, and also try to learn the difference between how an extended sleeve should feel when it is empty and when it has film in it that should still be left in the film plane in the holder. I do think kodak and fuji ought to be doing a better job at design and production of these items. Large format photography is challenging enough without being the victim of unreliable equipment produced by giant corporations that can afford to do better. Thanks again.