View Full Version : Dust, dust and 10x8s

Marek Warunkiewicz
3-Aug-2010, 10:12
Hi all!

I just processed my first (in years) 10x8 film.

Nice, all well, except for loads of tiny white areas which I know are dust.

I used a compressor to blow them out before I loaded the film. Any ideas or meybe a methodology? Really hate all the black spots on the prints.



3-Aug-2010, 10:43
Also be wary of dust that is in the camera or on the inside of the bellows or on the outside of the film holders that can land on the film when the darkslide is pulled.

Mark Woods
3-Aug-2010, 12:49
I regularly blow out the bellows of the camera. When I load film, I blow out the film holders, including the dark slide and light trap. The cleaned holder goes into a clean dust free plastic bag that holds about 5 holders. When I load the film, I have a nitrogen tank in the dark room that I blow off each sheet of film once it's loaded and slide the dark slide home with the nitrogen on. I rarely have dust spots.

Good luck.

Nathan Potter
3-Aug-2010, 16:21
Dust can come from a whole chain of sources.

If you use a compressor does it have a filter?
What kind of a pump is on the compressor? Is it oil lubed or dry vane?

Film holders need to be clean - so loaded in a reasonably clean area. Clean and load in a small enclosure that is Hepa filtered. Buy a Hepa unit and rig something up in a dark area if necessary.

As mentioned, make sure bellows is clean.

And keep blackflies and mosquitos out of the inside of the bellows.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Rick A
3-Aug-2010, 16:28
Using compressed air to "dust" anything only moves the dust from one place to many others. I recommend vacuuming and wiping with a damp cloth. There are products that attract dust which will aid in removing without displacing the offensive ditritus. Storing gear in relativly dust free environs goes a long way to help keep clean. Routine cleaning helps as well. Remember, Poor Richard says 'cleanliness is next to godliness" translates especially well to our beloved camera gear.

Richard Mahoney
4-Aug-2010, 04:22
Using compressed air to "dust" anything only moves the dust from one place to many others. I recommend vacuuming ...

Agreed. I just vacuum then load 4x5 film in the smallest possible changing bag (also vacuumed). What I've found that makes all the difference though is the use of anti-static bags, the sort of things that computer boards come in. An acquaintance kindly gave me a good supply for nothing so I use one for each film holder. (I've heard that anti-static bags can cost a small fortune if one has to actually buy them.) Anyway, I've never had a dust problem and generally the only post scanning digital spotting that has to be done is the removal of those nasty little clip marks at the corners.

Best, Richard

4-Aug-2010, 04:35
Unless you have central vac, vacuuming kicks up more dust than almost anything you can do. Yes it does remove dust, but it takes a while for all the stuff that passed through the vac to settle back down. In other words, don't rush to load film quickly after vacuuming.

I'm storing film holders in antistatic bags too. First I had a few from a family member's computer shop. They throw them away all the time, as replacement parts usually come in them. Then I went on Ebay and got 1000 ziplock style pink antistatic bags for about $70 in 7x9" size. They hold 2 film holders each and are rugged. I figure I'll be able to reuse them a bunch of times. It's certainly more expensive than sandwich bags, but a small price to pay for a lifetime of dust free film holders.

Fred Haeseker
4-Aug-2010, 10:55
Ilford used to make an orange anti-static cloth that sold for about $10. I don't know if they still do. After using compressed air, gently wipe the film holder and dark slide before loading.
I found this tip in an article by Roger Hicks, and it works well for me.

Jim Noel
4-Aug-2010, 11:38
I use a Kostiner Anti Static brush on the holders and slides then re-place them immediately in Zip Lock bags in which they live.
After about an hour,to let the dust settle, I load them a dozen at a time. Rarely do I have dust problems.

Robert Vigurs
4-Aug-2010, 18:30
The anti static brush sounds good. I vacuum. With the vacuum canister outside of the darkroom. One thing I've found very helpful is isopropyl alcohol. I clean the film loading area with it. I wipe down the film holders with it. It seems to negate the static charge that draws dust to film holders.

Bob McCarthy
4-Aug-2010, 19:34
I pull the gg/back off and pull the lens board also. Rack out focus to as long as it will go.

I use canned air to airwash the inside of the camera frequently. My holders are always kept in zip lock bags and air blown after use and again just before loading. A good blast inside-out of the felt baffle is part of the process.

Dust is a rare issue for me.


Mark Woods
5-Aug-2010, 06:44
When I used the air compressor, it has a filter, it's not in the darkroom, or anywhere near it. Once the film holders are blown out and put into their plastic zip locks, they are then moved into the dark room where the film is loaded and I have a nitrogen tank. As I said, this has worked really well for me and is an adaptation of how motion picture film mags were loaded (when film was used).

John Jarosz
5-Aug-2010, 06:56
One source of "dust" which can be overlooked is powdered fixer. If powdered fixer gets on your film prior to developing it can fix the tiny area covered by the dust before the developer can act. It prints like a black dot.