View Full Version : Cause of Pinholes on Negatives?

Michael Heald
7-Apr-2007, 08:01
Hello! I've tried my first batch of TMax 400 8x10 with a WA Wolly developed in a Unicolord drum with TMax RS after a one minute pre-soak with agitation, as I've been doing with my 4x5 TMax 400, with Kodak stop bath for 30 seconds and Kodafix for 10 minutes

I've noticed a few fine pinholes on the negtives. I've read that this may be due to the stop bath (water may be recommended) or air bubbles on the negatives. Any other suggestions? Best regards.


Brian Ellis
7-Apr-2007, 08:53
Are you sure these are really pin holes rather than tiny dust spots (i.e. places on the film where you had dust mites so that the film didn't get exposed in those areas)? I've never seen a negative that actually had pin holes, I've seen a lot that had dust spots. I've read that stop bath can cause pin holes though I've used stop bath off and on for thirty years and never seen the first pin hole (and I occasionally leave the film in the stop for five minutes or more). So I'm not sure what has caused whatever exactly you have but I'm virtually certain you can eliminate the stop bath as a cause unless conceivably you have it diluted way stronger than recommended and/or let the negatives sit in it for a long time (like an hour).

Gudmundur Ingolfsson
7-Apr-2007, 10:57
You might be using much too strong a stop bath. If so the neutralisation caused
by a strong acid (the stop bath) and a strong alkali (the developer) might be
"drilling" a hole in your emultion.

7-Apr-2007, 11:04
My pinholes in the emulsion (as in, a dot ON the neg, but not a hole THROUGH the neg) have all been caused by dust or strong stop bath. I stopped using a stop bath and switched to a water bath, with a tiny bit of stop mixed into the fix. Has worked fine for me. Doesnt help for the dust though.

Ron Mowrey
12-Apr-2007, 09:23
The use of a stop bath with modern films from Kodak, Fuji and Ilford does not cause pinholes. Pinholes might be found when one is using an unhardened or poorly hardened film, but not with films from the major manufacturers. Modern films are so hard it is difficult to cause reticulation as well.

In any event, defects can only arise when using a carbonate containing developer. Kodalk, TEA or other borate based developers cannot form pinholes. If you get a defect in an poorly hardened product, it usually takes the form of a blister or a scaly look on the surface, not pinholes.

These are either due to air bubbles or minor defects in the film, and are usually eliminated by a good prerinse before development.

Since this was only found in the very early days of photography, and only with some developers, the myth is perpetuated today. Actually, if you process a print on FB paper in a carbonate developer and go into a stop or an acid fix, you can hear the fizzing of the carbon dioxide being released. You will see no pinholes though.

Ron Mowrey