View Full Version : edge name on film

19-May-2010, 11:22
After over forty years of working in the darkroom, I've had a question thrown at me that I have never heard of before now.

A younger student friend came to me for verification about the imprinted edge name on Tmax (and I presume other films) serving as a benchmark for proper development. Her professor is stating that unless the name is totally black, she is under developing. Yet, I have viewed dozens of her negs where the tonal range and exposure are wonderful and the name appears to be a deep thunder gray instead of full black.

I doubt that this is an exposure issue (compared to development) since we have photographed side by side and I've verified her metering techniques and tested her meter alongside four of mine that are calibrated.

So, any experts out there. What is the story about the use of the edge name as a benchmark for proper development? Is it just a name label or a true measurement benchmark?

Thanks for the info.


Gem Singer
19-May-2010, 11:58
Her professor needs to go back to school.

19-May-2010, 12:04
Are there any edge imprinted sheet films? None of my current ones are, and none were when I started out in the early eighties - if that became a "feature" in between, I haven't ever noticed...

As far as edge print density goes, it usually is rather feeble, certainly no attempt to get a 100% exposition, if only because that could cause halos if the film is severely pushed or hypersensitized. If the manufacturers set it anywhere it is at mid grey in b&w or mid orange on colour film - but YMMV.

19-May-2010, 12:18
... the imprinted edge name on Tmax (and I presume other films) serving as a benchmark for proper development. Her professor is stating that unless the name is totally black, she is under developing ... I would have agreed till I started using Ilford b/w films. The edge printing is sometimes barely visible, even on film that has received rather ample development. I now believe that the only criteria is how the negative prints, and that edge markings are no reliable indication for exposure or development.

Maybe Kodak is more reliable, and do I suspect that Kodak is the gold standard for getting the details just right, but to see whether a negative is properly developed, why not just look at how it prints? If it prints correctly without use of high contrast grades, it's arguably developed for an appropriate time.

19-May-2010, 12:23
The prof should have said that if the lettering is pale, there is a possibility of underdevelopment. That said, I would prefer that Fuji not put their name/mark on their B&W sheet film (I know they do on Acros.)

Louie Powell
19-May-2010, 12:36
You can't judge the quality of development by the density of the edge markings on roll film.

Daniel Stone
19-May-2010, 15:22
kodak puts their markings on the notch end of the film,. Some developers don't show the markings as clearly as say, D76 1:1(always "black" to my eyes)

efke has none

ilford's are faint(also, depending on developer and dilution)

fuji's run length wise, just like their color films(grr...), not as "black" IMO as kodak's, but definitely there.
as Vaughn mentioned, not very nice if you contact print, I have decided to scratch off the "100acr" Fuji labeling on the emulsion side from the film for negatives I contact print.


19-May-2010, 16:03
Thanks, everyone. I thought this sounded like it might be way out of left field, but as stated, I just had never encountered anything about it. There are other issues about this prof's statements that I also question, but this was definitely suspicious and barring further information, I'm happy to find out that this is likely a myth.

Thanks to all the experts.

Andrew O'Neill
19-May-2010, 16:54

19-May-2010, 19:59
It's good for determining if you put the fixer in before the developer, nothing else really.

21-May-2010, 18:40
Now, checking the black film leader density has some utility. That density can be correlated with gamma, for a quick-and-dirty development check.