View Full Version : Grip marks on developed slides

21-Mar-2006, 12:30
I have only been using a large format camera for a few months now and I have taken all of my slide film to the same local lab for development. When I get the slides back there are marks on each slide that looks like they came from whatever device holds the film when it being developed. The problem is that some of these marks are over the image and not on the black border around the slide. I am concerned about having to crop my images after I get them scanned or try to cover up the marks in Photoshop.

Is this a normal occurrence, or should I start going to another lab?

David Rees
21-Mar-2006, 12:51
I use Peak Imaging, in the UK, for my 5x4 slide developing. There are small indentations/penetrations on each corner of the slides returned from them, often just into the image area.

Whilst ideally one would not like these marks to occur, I tend not to compose so tightly that these parts of the image are vital, so I'm happy to crop slightly, or do some cloning, to avoid the effect of these marks.

I have read that Fuji Acros 100 in 5x4 actually has a round hole punched in it, well inside the image area, for some reason. Now that's annoying! I don't know (but would like to) whether this is just Quickload Acros, or if it also applies to boxed sheet film (I'm thinking of importing some boxed 5x4 Acros 100 from Japan, since I like Acros 100 in 120 format so much).


Leonard Evens
21-Mar-2006, 12:52
To some extent it is inevitable, but some labs do a better job than others. Since I scan everything, I just clone out the marks in my photoeditor. You can ask the lab to be more careful or try a different lab, but don't expect miracles. If the marks extend more than a mm or so into the image, definitely use a different lab.

It is pretty annoying because when I hang my b/w negatives to dry, I have no problem avoiding the image area. But I use a Beseler drum. I suppose that if they hang the slides in a tank to develop they have no way of knowing in advance where the image is. It is probably better to risk impinging on the image area than to take the chance that the slide will fall off the hanger during processing.

Alan Davenport
21-Mar-2006, 13:22
It's normal for the machines most labs use. I'm sure, if you look, you can find a lab that won't leave the claw marks on your film, but I suspect that improvement would come at a much higher price.

One of the beautiful aspects of large format film, is that you can afford to give up a little of the film to cropping without noticably degrading the quality of the result.

21-Mar-2006, 13:28
Thank for the info. I figured that it was something that I had to live with but I thought that it was worth asking.

Scott Davis
21-Mar-2006, 13:49
Unfortunately, the only way around that is to process yourself in a tray or a drum. I've gone over to the Jobo side and gotten a CPA-2 and a pair of Expert drums (ouch, was that a painful hit to the budget), so I could process sheet film at home. I went through three custom labs here in Washington DC until I found one that would process without getting clip marks into the useable image area. The one that didn't clip mark the film, I had other ethical issues with (charging for a print from a negative with a bad color crossover, and not calling to say the neg had a crossover problem, did I want them to keep trying). Ask the lab what kind of machine they're using. I think a Jobo dip-n-dunk machine is the one you want, but I can ask again what kind of machine is best. A lot of it has to do with the kind of negative hangers the machine has.

22-Mar-2006, 06:46
dixit Scott:

...CPA-2 and a pair of Expert drums...


I was always told that the Expert drums will not fit on the CPA2?
As I have on of those machines, I'm hesitating to buy an expert drum because of that reason.

Can you confirm that the combination is OK? I don't have the lift, do you?