View Full Version : Spots on my Transparency: Film or Processing?

David Solow
10-Apr-2011, 15:25
First of all, thank you all in advance for sharing your knowledge and experience. I put this post in the Style and Technique Forum, but since this is a film question, I thought I would post it here.

I have a test shot for a job attached below, as well as the detail at 100% showing the spots. The client wants the building shot from a particular place at night with a full moon (which I will Photoshop in later). Most importantly, they want to see the name of the company clearly (and brightly lit). I have tried shooting during twilight, but the lighted letters of the company name are dim and lose the place as the focal point of the shot. I shot using Velvia 100F, because that is what the local dealer had in stock that day. It is Quickload, which expired four years ago, but had been refrigerated all that time. I shot this on my 4x5 Sinar P2, with a Rodenstock 210mm Apo-Sinaron-S. It is a three minute exposure at f/16. I scanned it using VueScan on an Epson V750. I took this photo about an hour after sunset. My questions is:

What are all of these spots in the image? There appears to be no dust on the transparency or on the scanner glass. I used Quickload film and took it to the best processing place in the area the next morning.

Thanks in advance,

David Solow
10-Apr-2011, 15:28
Here is a 100% detail of another transparency from the same four-year-old out-of-date box of film. I had this trans. processed on another day.

David Solow
10-Apr-2011, 15:30
wrong image. here is the correct one:

Daniel Stone
10-Apr-2011, 15:36
to MY eye, it looks like residue from processing.

4-year OOD film I've found to be fine, and if the quickload's bag(the foil one) wasn't tampered with, then you shoulnd't have to worry about the film being "eaten" by fungus or other microbes.

so, I'd venture to guess its from processing. I've had film come back from the lab with things like that before, thankfully not on anything super important...

I'd send out to one of the bigger labs, either in NYC(or Praus Productions in NY state, forget the city), or Samy's in Santa Barbara.

you might want to let them know about it, just in case... and see if you can get your $$$ back at least.


10-Apr-2011, 16:39
It could be a few things but an unclean process is most likely.
They may not be filtering the chemicals properly. D&D machines have filter (usually string wound) for most if not all of the chemical steps.
If they’re not changed frequently, dust and dirt will deposit on the film and it will be impossible to remove.
The final rinse is also a major contributor to dirty chromes. If its to concentrated, it will leave a white residue on the film.
That comes off usually by rinsing it again in properly mixed final rinse or cleaning it with pec 12.

If the lab cant run a clean process, i would go with another lab that cares.
I use LTI (http://www.ltiny.com) in NYC. Their processors are clean and i have never had any issues.
They are also some of the nicest people to work with.

Btw, using old transparency film is usually fine. The only issues i have had is poor dmax. The older is get the less dense the dmax is.
Sometimes you can compensate by pulling it to 1 stop if its really bad.

Hope that helps.

David Solow
11-Apr-2011, 04:16
Thanks so much.