View Full Version : Damn stripes on my negatives

Harley Goldman
30-Jul-2012, 09:06
I have been dealing with issues of stripes at the top of my negatives. I thought I was due to my Jobo drum not being level, but after making sure the drum is level when spinning both directions, I still got stripes. I got them in two different processing batches and with completely different holders.

Jobo 3010 drum, Acros 4x5, rollo pyro. I pre-wash for 5 minutes with 250ml sodium metaborate solution, the process A (7.5ml & B (15ml) in 500ml of water for roughly 10 minutes. fix with 50 ml TF4 in 150ml water, then final rinse 2 minutes in 250ml of sodium metaborate solution, then rinse forever. Other than the stripes along the top, no issues with the negatives. They are nicely evenly developed.

I have enclosed a scan of the striping.

Holders? Processing? Any suggestions?



Greg Blank
30-Jul-2012, 09:17
Never seen that in twenty years of PMK use, but then again never used Meborate in the prewash. I wouldn't....you have to be especially careful with Metaborate it does not always stay in solution and after a month either needs to be replaced or water added to keep it in solution. Good thing its cheap to make from grocerie store available chemicals.

Harley Goldman
30-Jul-2012, 09:23
I make up the metaborate from crystals at the time I process. It does not sit around, but thanks for the idea. I use the rollo pyro kit from Bostick and Sullivan.

bob carnie
30-Jul-2012, 09:29
Could you scan the whole negative , I think I know what those marks are..

Nathan Potter
30-Jul-2012, 13:16
These lines appear to be some sort of contamination affecting the emulsion. As Bob suggests a view of the whole negative might provide some clues. One of these lines emanate from what looks like a clip at the upper left of your image. Could the stripes be from contaminated water spots left during drying?

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Harley Goldman
30-Jul-2012, 14:27
These stripes are at the top of the film, i.e. the same short side as the edge serrations (you can see the classic Acros hole in the scan). It is the end that is at the top of the Jobo drum holes. I dry my film using clips and they are hanging on a rack at an angle. Any drips would be at a diagonal.

I can scan the full negative tonight if my explanation is still confusing.

30-Jul-2012, 15:45
I am not sure if you noticed it or not, but at the top of the black line on the left of the frame, the three patterns are mimicking your film holder's loading slots...this might be some odd light leak....

30-Jul-2012, 16:19
Might sound stupid, but.. Which way your emulsion facing, when you loading film? Inwards (facing core) or outwards (facing drum sides)?

Nathan Potter
30-Jul-2012, 18:12
These stripes are at the top of the film, i.e. the same short side as the edge serrations (you can see the classic Acros hole in the scan). It is the end that is at the top of the Jobo drum holes. I dry my film using clips and they are hanging on a rack at an angle. Any drips would be at a diagonal.

I can scan the full negative tonight if my explanation is still confusing.

Harley, clear enough. OK, not drips. But the traces still look like a contamination effect of some sort. Is the darkening which gradually diminishes toward the bottom of the frame actually silver density or a surface contaminant? Silver density might suggest a contaminant that coulda been on the film prior to the Jobo and which could have accelerated the silver development irregularly within the streak.

Never seen anything quite like this.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Nathan Potter
30-Jul-2012, 18:22
A second thought - These are a bit like some electrostatic discharge tracks I've seen on occasion. Bright initially but then trailing off as the charge dissipates in the surrounding medium. I think this could happen in a solution if the solvent is of a high enough resistivity. Dunno about rollo pyro though - not a chemistry I've messed with, although I've come to greatly appreciate the results.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

30-Jul-2012, 18:28
If that's the edge of the film, I've seen scanning artifacts like that, such as when using the film area guide and the film is not flat on the glass. reflections of light bouncing between the edge of the film and the glass platen, creating density.

Harley Goldman
30-Jul-2012, 18:40
Emulsion side is always up - notch is is in the upper right corner when holding the holder flap up. No harm asking. No question is too stupid to solve this bizarre issue.

The lines are on the film on the opposite side from where the dark slide is pulled out. The dark slide area is where I would suspect the light leak, but it is the wrong end.

Andrew O'Neill
30-Jul-2012, 19:24

Are the marks running from the notch codes? And are they running from the notch codes on all processed sheets?

30-Jul-2012, 20:05
The lines are on the film on the opposite side from where the dark slide is pulled out. The dark slide area is where I would suspect the light leak, but it is the wrong end.

I once had light leaks occur at that end and in that area, it turned out the rear frame of the camera was not true, leaving a tiny gap between the film holder and the rear of the camera. It was virtually undetectable unless I did a long exposure...

Harley Goldman
30-Jul-2012, 20:08
Andrew, I am not exactly sure what you mean by running from the notch. Here is a scan of the whole negative. I tried to put the neg on the glass, but it was not sharp enough to see the stripes. The notch is on the upper right side, just to the right of the Acros hole. I am not getting this on all processed sheets, but I have gotten it on sheets from consecutive processing batches, using completely different holders. The batches were run one after the other.

This scan shows the striping rather well. If it were a light leak in the holder, I would tend to expect it from the dark side end of the holder. The stripes are on the opposite end.

BTW, I am not getting this problem with color Quickloads, which might eliminate the camera as a problem?

It is rather interesting that the stripes are thicker in between the holder notches, mirroring the holder notches. It looks like some kind of reflection from the holder??


Nathan Potter
30-Jul-2012, 20:45
Now this last image of the whole film is really bizarre. From your comments above it sounds like these streaks are on the backside of the film and not in the emulsion. Can you be sure of that? If on the non emulsion side, are they formed of some sort of residue or are they damage to the film base itself. I might check for rough spots on the inside of the drum - possibly some scratches that are causing backside abrasion to the film base.

I assume these appear on the film right out of the jobo drum and have nothing to do with the scanner operation as I think jp498 implied.

The fact that multiple lines originate from a single point and and track perfectly straight to the edge of the film should be telling us something. Somehow I can't imagine that these tracks are caused by a light leak. Light leaks are usually flare like and don't produce such a well defined image - that is if the streaks are on the emulsion side.

If the phenomenon appears on other films is the geometry of the pattern identical or highly variable and do you see the same emanation from a single point?

Maybe you were struck by an elusive Higgs boson which subsequently kicked out a plethora of lower energy particles creating the streaks. :cool: :(

Nate Potter, Austin TX

30-Jul-2012, 21:10
"Static" electricity can make marks like those. I'd bet that is what is going on.

Brian C. Miller
30-Jul-2012, 22:04
Ah, nuts, we've all been getting this wrong! Harley, your freakin' abstract threw us all off!

OK, it's the precisely parallel lines at the edge that are the problem, not the major weird image on the film. Sheesh. Ok. Right, then.

What's the exposure that you used? Do you get the same thing with all subjects (like a normal exposure of, say, flowers, trees, mountains, people), or is it just from whatever you photographed? Honestly, it looks like the film moved at some point, several times, while maybe you were messing with something, and then you did your thing. A reflection would look similar to a flare or light leak. These are too precise for that, and I've never seen the inside of a film holder reflect anything, as it would have to be glossy.

OK, after looking at a film holder, here's my diagnosis: you do have a light leak. Check the tape on your holders, and check the felt on your camera. That area is where the film holder flap is, and there's a leak there. It's a minor one, and as your film gets moved around, i.e., away from that flap, it produces those lines. I'm betting that the tape on your holders needs to be replaced. Cloth "gaffers" or book binding tape is popular, and there's a number of threads around here about it.

Greg Davis
31-Jul-2012, 06:00
Is this a wooden holder, or plastic holder?

Harley Goldman
31-Jul-2012, 06:43
The holders are plastic.

Brian, do you mean the tape covering the hinged end of the holder?

It seems to be random, all subjects and all lighting. Certain subjects, such as the one posted, make it far more obvious, but it randomly shows up. It would make sense if it were light leaks. I doubt it is the camera, as I am not having the same issue with Quickloads, nor on all film in holders.

I appreciate the help, guys! I think we are getting closer.

bob carnie
31-Jul-2012, 06:50

I take back my post , now that I have seen the full view.. I have no idea, looks like a static issue if I had to guess. Sorry road ruts are a completely different look.


Andrew O'Neill
31-Jul-2012, 07:33
Yup. Looks like static.

Greg Davis
31-Jul-2012, 07:40
To be clear, you are not asking about the squiggly lines in the image area, but the straight, vertical lines along the edge that mimic the black frame edge, correct?

Which edge of the holder is this from? Is it the flap end? I have seen something similar, though not identical, from a holder that was too shiny on the flap, right where the darkslide would go in. It was reflecting light back onto the film and creating something kind of like this. You may need to roughen the surface of the flap end, or paint it with a matte paint. See if you can go through your old negatives and find more examples and identify which holder(s) they came from. You may find a pattern and narrow it down to one culprit.

Harley Goldman
31-Jul-2012, 07:47
Correct, Greg. The squiggly lines are sailboat masts reflected in water. ;)

How does one eliminate static? This film was exposed on a cool, wet, foggy morning at the Santa Barbara harbor. I would think those are not great conditions for static buildup? But I am no scientist.

31-Jul-2012, 07:51
I doubt it's static.. But I don't know static. I keep film holders in pink anti-static bags. The worst part of static for me is that plastic film and dark slides can attract dust when statically charged.

Bruce Watson
31-Jul-2012, 08:04
Correct, Greg. The squiggly lines are sailboat masts reflected in water. ;)

Those long straight parallel lines look like reflections off of the hard plastic edge of the film holder that's holding the film down flat. If the edge is nice and shiny, this can sometimes happen when the light is just right. The "cure" is to take the sheen off the rails and edges. Use a very fine sandpaper, a dulling spray, whatever you want.

Or, you can just ignore it. That's what I did. Saw this exact same thing once, figured out what caused it, thought about the likelihood that it would happen again, and decided to ignore it. And I haven't had it happen again since.

BTW, this didn't happen with the Quickloads because that's a different kind of film holder.

Harley Goldman
31-Jul-2012, 08:11
Thanks for your insight, Bruce.

Unfortunately for me, this has not been a one-off occurrence. Out of the last two processing runs of 16 sheets, I had this show up on three sheets. I have been getting one or so per 10 sheets. With some it is hardly noticeable and with others it is a big problem. I need to fix it.

Greg Davis
31-Jul-2012, 08:15
It is not static. That would create a squiggly line much like a lightning bolt shape. People were mistakenly looking at the boat reflections in your image as the problem and giving you advice based on that information. I definitely think it is a refection off a shiny edge of the film holder.

Michael Graves
31-Jul-2012, 08:51
Have you any of the film left from the same box that you haven't exposed yet? You could tray-develop a sheet on the off chance that it was a defective box of film and that the marks occurred in either manufacture or packaging.

Jim Noel
31-Jul-2012, 09:01
Plain water only for the pre-soak. Metaborate seems to always cause problems.

Harley Goldman
31-Jul-2012, 09:19

This has been on ongoing problem for me for many, many months. I have gone through numerous boxes of Acros during that period, so I don't think it is the film.

Based on the uniformity of the lines (and the line thickness variance around the cutouts of the holder), I am guessing it has to be film-holder related.

Brian C. Miller
31-Jul-2012, 09:26
Harley, I think that the tape is old, and as the holders flex, they are leaking a bit of light. So as the holder flexing is random, and the exposure to, say, sunlight is random, then this pattern shows up randomly. The key is that the edge of the film is exposed, and in the pattern of the film holder flap.

The other thing that could be happening is that the dark slide isn't seating all the way into the holder, and so that could account for a tiny light leak there, with that flap pattern.

31-Jul-2012, 20:03
I don't think it can be a tape issue. I have some really old, nasty holders with rotten tape that's coming off on the ends. No light leaks. Gaffer's tape isn't completely opaque either. What I'm getting at is the flap doesn't need tape to be light proof by design. Right?

Brian C. Miller
31-Jul-2012, 21:29
True, but aside from the dark slide not seating completely for whatever reason, that's the only idea I can think up that would give that pattern at the edge of the film. The only time I've had anything similar was when I turned on the lights with a pack of film between the cardboard, but not in the package. One end was fogged, but of course not in a holder pattern.

Yes, the flaps in a plastic holder have a groove light barrier which should rule out any light leak from that. Since Harley is getting it in one out of ten images, I'm guessing that it's a problem with the holder dark slide not seating, or else direct sunlight on the holder is causing light piping somehow. My best guess is on a Riteway and the dark slide isn't fully seated. The Fidelity and Lisco darkslides both stick way up when not quite seated, but the Riteway could possibly be missed if it wasn't fully seated. If the tape were truly terrible on a Riteway, like fixed with transparent tape, then it would have the best chance to leak light.

Steve Gledhill
1-Aug-2012, 02:49

If this happens with just one holder OR just one type of holder then that points directly to a holder light leak. If it happens with different types of holder then that means it happens before or after the film is in the holder. If it's before then it must be a manufacturing fault associated with the cutting of the film. If it's after then you need to look for anything that would give the more or less even and parallel lines - which to me seems to rule out anything chemical because of the agitation.

My money's on a holder light leak. Easy to test - beg, steal or borrow (or buy) an alternative type of holder that is known not to exhibit the problem and try it out on an evenly lit subject so that any telltale lines are easily seen. And, be sure to let the holder containing the film be well exposed to be certain that any light leak has a chance to receive enough light to be visible. That will nail whether or not it's a holder light leak.

There are two reasons I'm confident it's a holder light leak The first is because there are only dark lines indicating their source is light from a leak. The "light" lines are in fact exposed the same as the adjacent areas of the image. Any uneven development for example would show up as lighter and darker lines. The second is they are perfectly parallel to the film edge.

But, I stand to be corrected ...

Or, it could be a light leak from the camera once the dark slide is removed for exposure. You can test for this by trying an exposure with your usual film and holder in a different camera - if you can get access to one.

Deane Johnson
1-Aug-2012, 03:51
How about eliminating or confirming if it's a holder issue by simply processing a sheet of film right out of the box that has never been in a holder. Maybe that's already been done and I missed it in one of the posts.

Harley Goldman
1-Aug-2012, 06:53
What I have done is cut unique marking notches on the five holders used where I got negatives with the lines. Just for yuks, I also lightly sanded the edges of the holder flap that face the film, just dulling the shiny surface. I reloaded the holders and will use them. If I get another negative with lines, the notches will tell me which holder and which side held the film. I can either then modify the holder or throw it away.

Here is a general description of how I notched the holders: http://www.jbhphoto.com/articles/filmno/filmholder1.htm

All five are either Fidelity or Lisco brand.

I very much appreciate all the input. It has been extremely helpful!!


Andrew O'Neill
1-Aug-2012, 07:44
I have been dealing with issues of stripes at the top of my negatives.

So, you're concerned about the lines that run parallel to the edge of the negative and not the squiggly stuff that looks like static but is infact reflections in the water? Wish you had been more clear... Looks like an issue within the drum. I doubt that it is a film holder issue.

Bruce Watson
1-Aug-2012, 13:31
Thanks for your insight, Bruce.

Unfortunately for me, this has not been a one-off occurrence. Out of the last two processing runs of 16 sheets, I had this show up on three sheets. I have been getting one or so per 10 sheets. With some it is hardly noticeable and with others it is a big problem. I need to fix it.

If you never see it with quickloads, but you do see it with regular film holders, what does that tell ya?

You could start with dulling down the edges of the hold down rails for one film holder. Track the film from that holder. If you never get this problem from that film holder, what does that tell ya?

Or, you could just stop shooting image with lots of water in them. :eek:

1-Aug-2012, 13:42
Reason why i am asking which side emulsion is - i had funky results like that few times when film got inserted wrong side, and then moved every now and then while rotating, but generally it tired to press itself next to film guide in drum.. so that bit didnt get developed right..

Anyway.. Now after second scan - notice how those lines getting more pronounced when they are next to darker wide area and getting bleaker when there isnt one.

How about just moving film in scanner to the center, when you getting those in regular scan?.. It could be something as daft as scanner error (dust in CCD array or initialization issue). Also happens in my scanning back when connection to computer is funky / noisy (always use ferrite ring-ed USB connections or shielded firewire) and when powersupply going south.

2-Aug-2012, 09:25
This is a very interesting problem. You've mentioned putting markings on your holders, and I would reiterate the usefulness of doing something like that as part of a routine. I have quite an array of holders in 4x5 and they are all notched in some manner for identification. The benefit being that when there is some problem, I know exactly which holder was at fault.