View Full Version : Efke 25 problems.

5-Mar-2007, 13:45

I'm developing efke 25 1 at a time in Xtol 1:3 for 7' 30"

The density is fine however I'm getting hella mottled development-totally uneven crazyness.


1) 2 min H2O bath.
2) 1 sheet goes into 400ml of soup. Tray gets rocked left to right twice at 0 seconds then front to back at 30 seconds.
3) H2O "stop" for 30 seconds
4) Then fix with a hardener.

Anyone have thoughts?

Should I provide a scan?


steve simmons
5-Mar-2007, 14:05
My guess is the flow over the surface of the film is uneven and surgey (:)). Why one at a time? Try four or so and try the procedure I've used for many years. There is a detailed description in the Free Articles section of the View Camera web page.

steve simmons

Michael Graves
5-Mar-2007, 14:11
Are we safe in assuming that you're developing face up? If so, is the film staying immersed in the developer? And Steve, as one writer to another, wouldn't that be surgiferous?

John Berry
5-Mar-2007, 14:13
If your going to tray develop use a continuous gentle agitation. If your doing 4x5 DON"T use 5x7 trays. It's too easy for the wave action to overdevelop the edges. Better yet do as Steve recommends and do the shuffle.

steve simmons
5-Mar-2007, 14:14
I like surgey, it is more politically timely:)

steve simmons

5-Mar-2007, 14:16
The mottling may be contact surface + agitation pattern related, if your tank has anything other than clean flat lines. I always fix in a fixer and then harden afterwards.

Doesn't hardener extend fixing times? Is it possible your negatives aren't properly fixed?

Go on Sherlock - a scan would be helpful.

5-Mar-2007, 14:23
I am developing face up.

The reason I do it one at a time is that I found the film extremely fragile... I'm trying to avoid any possibility of scratches and . . . . fingerprints (seriously, I've NEVER EVER EVER seen fingerprint indentations on fp4+, hp5+, tmax or tri-x but they've happened with the efke film.)

Here's a pict of the neg. (ignore the fact that the neg slipped in the film holder).


Incidentally, this wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that I have a 8x ND and a orange 16 filter on the lens would it?



5-Mar-2007, 14:25
Looks like your agitation technique needs more working on (i.e. less) - sorry.

(Nothing to do with the filters)

5-Mar-2007, 15:10
brush development might be a good idea if your already doing one sheet at a time face up, if you have a DBI light all you need is a cheap hake brush.

Ed K.
5-Mar-2007, 15:24
FA -

You didn't mention how long your development is. If your issue is uneven development you might find that increasing the development time will help. Also, be sure to mix your chemicals well prior to pouring in the tray. When I say "increase development time", I don't mean to increase development. If you're trying to do 3-4 minutes in the soup, mottling is pretty easy to do. If you increase dilution and time so that it takes more like 10-12 minutes, things will probably be more even. If you pour a concentrated developer, or developer with a different temperature into a tray of water and then start putting sheets in right away, you could get the mottling too. And, really grasping at straws, if you have a little light coming onto your developing tray, perhaps even that could do it.

Try mixing the chems really well first, using clean trays, and adjusting your dilution to have a longer development time.

As to filters, we'll assume that they are clean, no? If not, that would be an interesting trick to have flare on one of them causing this. It really does look like mottled development.

Henry Ambrose
5-Mar-2007, 16:46
My suggestion is -

No water pre-soak and then continuous agitation for the entire time. Pick up the sheet let it drain maybe 5 seconds then back in the developer for 10 seconds - over and over and over.

What size tray are you using? Do you have enough depth of developer? I like at least one inch of fluid in the tray.

5-Mar-2007, 18:49
My suggestion is - No water pre-soak...

Isn't that going to make the negative distinctly blue? (or whatever color the antihalation coating is...I think it's blue) That would make printing it on VC paper a bit more difficult....


Andrew O'Neill
5-Mar-2007, 19:25
This is a lovely film but is prone to scratching and mottling. I have had best results from constant agitation in a tube. If you are going to use a tray, a good vigorous agitation cycle to start (you should be able to hear the edge of the film make a clacking sound as it contacts with the tray wall) for at least a minute for the first minute. There is nothing wrong with letting the film rest between agitation cycles but for no more than 1 minute. You will have to increase your development time to compensate. One sheet at a time.
It is so important to have fresh developer slopping over the film, hence vigorous agitation...this film is great for stand/semi-stand developement but film must literally stand vertically (tubes work great for this).
Also working in Xtol 1+3 is risky. What format are you using?

Andrew O'Neill
5-Mar-2007, 19:27
Oh ya, skip the water pre soak as Henry suggests...I've found that soaking in water is not necessary in conventional developers...unless you are doing more than one sheet at a time in a tray...but then that's me.

Henry Ambrose
5-Mar-2007, 19:55
It shouldn't leave the negative blue unless there's something about Efke films I don't know about (could well be). By the time you're done it'll be well washed out anyway. If not then a little sodium sulfite bath and/or longer washing will take care of it.

He's good on the amount of developer. 400ml of working solution at 1:3 would have 100ml of stock which is minimum for 80 sq.in of film and he's only got 20 sq.in. with one sheet of 4x5. In fact it would not be a problem to run another sheet of film after the first in the same developer.

5-Mar-2007, 23:06

I'm shooting 4x5. Developing in 5x7 trays. My dev. time is 7min 30 seconds. 100ml xtol to 300 ml H2O.

When I mix the soup I pour both the dev. and H20 in a 1000ml graduate and stir for a few seconds with my thermometer.

I've heard rumors that Xtol 1:3 can act strange. Should I switch to something like D76?


Henry Ambrose
6-Mar-2007, 07:01
No need to change developers.

My speculation is that the water presoak combined with not much agitation kept the developer from entering the emulsion evenly - the emulsion was already full of water. 7'30" is fairly short for Xtol 1:3 so there wasn't enough time or energy for the developer to get in and do its thing. A hotter or more active developer might not act this way but still no reason to change.

Simply sacrifice one sheet of film to the testing gods to see what happens with the new technique I've suggested. If you are worried about marking the film when picking it up, then rock the tray continuously by picking up one corner then the next all the way around the four corners of the tray. Lift one corner, drop it, wait 15 seconds then lift the next corner and so on.

steve simmons
6-Mar-2007, 08:04
erhaps the problem is that you are using soup to try and develop your film :).

1. why are you using this film if it is so fragile and difficult to work with? Are there special tonalities it gves you that make the difficulty seem worth the trouble? If so you will have to find a way to process it safely. If not, then why not try another brand of film.

2. Why one sheet at a time? I have not heard of anyone succesfully doing tray development this way. As you can see you are getting all kind of suggestions from people shooting in the dark - no pun intended. Have you tried rotary processing to see if that solves the problem.

My suggestion is find a film that is easier to handle or give up on the one at a time in a tray.

steve simmons

6-Mar-2007, 09:16
1. why are you using this film if it is so fragile and difficult to work with?

2. Why one sheet at a time?


1) I'm shooting 20-40 min of sunrise. Efke seemed like the logical choice and people have spoken highly of it. (Even with ISO 25 I've got a 8xND and a 16 Orange filter on the lens and I'm stopped down to f64.)

2) Since I'm shooting sunrise I only get 1 shot a day. In a week there may be 2-3 days of weather good enough to shoot (clouds, cold, wind, etc)--Usually I get 1 good day every 5. I've got a crit every week . . . 1 at a time makes sense.

I also figured that since I use a slosher/cradle to develop my other stuff (HP5+) and I'm extremely happy with the results. 1 at a time in a 5x7 tray would give me similar results.


I'll try the no pre-soak and extend the times a bit.


Brian Ellis
6-Mar-2007, 09:25
If scratching is a significant problem with this particular film and you want to keep using it I think you'd be better off processing with a method other than tray development. Not that people aren't capable of tray developing without scratches, and not that you couldn't learn too even with this particular film, but both of your problems - scratching and uneven development - would be solved in a heartbeat by using the BTZS tubes or a Jobo system or possibly a tank. I've used the BTZS tubes for about 12 years, I don't ever recall a scratch or uneven development, not to mention the fact that once the tubes are loaded you do everything in daylight, plus you don't have to stand over trays inhaling chemical fumes.

Tubes occasonally appear on ebay or in the classified section of APUG but who knows how much more film you'll ruin waiting for a used set to appear. You can buy six tubes, twelve caps, and a processing tray for about $150 at www.theviewcamerastore.com, or if you're a do-it-yourself type you can make your own for a lot less money.

I've also used a Jobo system in a few workshops and it's great system and would solve your two problems but it does use more chemicals and takes a good bit more money and space than the tubes. Never used tanks so I know anything about them.

6-Mar-2007, 13:23
I've used Efke films for several years and they both have special qualities and are prone to scratching. I've found the safest way to develop is one at a time - either in a tray with a brush, or with a minimal agitation scheme in a tube (ala Steve Sherman) or in BTZS tubes as Brian suggests. I developed Tri-X, FP4 and HP5 by the shuffle method for 20-years without scratching problems, but I've never been able to reliably develop Efke films with that method.

6-Mar-2007, 15:44
1. ...Are there special tonalities it gves you that make the difficulty seem worth the trouble? ...

steve simmons

Yes, there are special tonalities. After getting mediocre results while photographing my local Palo Duro State Park (Canyon, TX) using TMAX films, I thought that ortho films would give me more seperation between the red and yellow colored strata in the canyon.

After doing some research, I discovered that Efke 25 and 50 have less red sensitivity than other B&W films. Instead of Efke 25, I tried Efke 50 due to it's similar spectral profile and faster speed.

Using 35mm in a direct comparison between: Efke 50, Efke 100, Fomapan 100, Ilford FP4+, and Fomapan 200, I found that Efke 50 did indeed show more tonal seperation between the reds and yellows in the canyon. In addition, Efke 100 did not have better seperation, which seems to follow the more panchromatic spectral profile published for the 100 film. It is interesting to note that Fomapan 200 also showed better seperation in the reds and yellows[Edit: I do not expect this in sheet film as it has more red sensitivity]. All other B&W films I've used in the canyon look dull and muddied.

While my test was not exhaustive, I feel that Efke 25/50 do have enough merit to put up with any special care needed in processing. But, by using hangers and tubes, I have yet to experience any processing issues.


Brian C. Miller
6-Mar-2007, 22:26
KOG, did you try green and blue filters before trying ortho?

6-Mar-2007, 23:25
KOG, did you try green and blue filters before trying ortho?

I have not tried true ortho films yet. I believe Efke 25/50 are billed as ortho-panchromatic, not quite a true orthochromatic emulsion.

During my tests I did shoot the same scence without filters, and then with yellow, green, and then polarizer filters (red was skipped because I didn't want the red soils to go lighter). I have not printed all the film and filter combinations, so I don't want to make any further comments at this time.

My goal in testing was to find a film that gave better results without filtration, so that I could use higher shutter speeds to compensate for the wind speeds the Texas Panhandle usually gets.