View Full Version : 4x5 and fingerprints

13-Nov-2007, 20:27
I am fairly new to large format and I can't seem to be able to shake getting fingerprints on my negatives while printing - even with the use of cotton gloves. This is starting to become more annoying as time passes and I was wondering if anyone knows if rubber or latex gloves is okay to handle negatives? or can it scratch or be harmful?


Kevin Crisp
13-Nov-2007, 20:50
Most of us handle them by the edges. By that, I mean not between thumb and finger like you'd pick up a pancake off a plate but on edge, spanning the palm. All you ever really touch is the edge on each side of the negative. I honestly can't remember ever getting a finger print on a negative. If you need gloves to avoid putting fingerprints on them then I think you need to change the way you handle them. You can process them, rinse them, hang them up, put them in protective sleeves, take them out, dust them off with a brush, put them in the negative holder, and enlarge them (or contact print them) all without touching anything but the sides.

13-Nov-2007, 21:29
i know...and believe me i have tried. but i still can't seem to get the hang of it. i suppose i will after more time...getting the sheets in and out of the holders is the main problem...but i should get better at that, i hope!

Kevin Crisp
13-Nov-2007, 21:50
If your fingers are clean and reasonably dry during loading then there shouldn't be any fingerprints showing up after processing. If your fingers are really moist and you grip the emulsion side firmly (not necessary) you can disturb the emulsion enough to leave a line pattern that will still be there after processing, but this is hard to do

13-Nov-2007, 22:29
they are and that is what i figures...i was also wondering about during printing.

however, i have never had this problem with any other format, granted the negatives are smaller, but i cant really think of anything i'm doing that would result in a lot of finger prints...i am beginning to think maybe its happening after processing at the lab i take them to. its a pro lab and i've never had a problem with 35 or medium format, but you never know.

Kevin Crisp
14-Nov-2007, 08:50
Well, if you are not doing the processing then it is hard to say. When you say fingerprints do you mean greasy/oily fingerprints that can be wiped off (or at least smeared) or permanent marks the shape of fingerprints in the emulsion? If #2, then you might try a different lab and see what happens. Or try a quick/ready load and see if they are still there.

14-Nov-2007, 11:48
If they are easily seen, then you can check if they are yours.

Peter Lewin
14-Nov-2007, 14:33
The only thing I can think of which hasn't been mentioned is carry-over from the chemical trays. During a printing session, I use tongues to move prints around in the dev/stop/fix, but I use my hands to take the prints out of the final water tray to examine them, stick them up under my viewing light, etc. If I'm not careful, I can find myself handling the "next" negative with moist hands, so I make an effort to "be careful"...and really dry my hands well.

14-Nov-2007, 20:38
they are color negatives, so i'm not processing myself. to clarify that kind of finger prints they are - you can see the finger print line faintly, but mostly its little dried up dots of oil...which won't come off. i have tried both pec 12 and edwals negative cleaner to no avail.

the next round of negatives i have to be processed, i am taking a couple to the normal lab and the rest to a recommended lab, and going to compare results...this way i should definitely know where they are coming from. i mostly posed the question on the off chance that it is me...i want to do everything possible to prevent any type of dirty negative.

thanks for your help/tips everyone...