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Thread: What is ruining my Tri-X 320?

  1. #1

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    Dec 2012
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    What is ruining my Tri-X 320?

    I have been having trouble with my developing routine. The film comes out clear.

    The routine is a 1 minute prewash at 68-degrees F. Rodinal 1+50 for 17 minutes at 68-degrees F., normal agitation. 1-minute tap water stop at 68-degrees F. TF-5 archival fix for four minutes, room temperature. 10-minutes wash at 68-degrees F. My 4x5 Tri-X 320 film comes out clear:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    My hypotheses are 1) the Rodinal is at fault, somehow bleaching off the emulsion; 2) the fixer does not agree with 4x5 Tri-X, although it works fine on my 120 and 35mm film; 3) the batch of Tri-X is faulty; or, just maybe, 4) the shutter has failed and never actually exposed the film (unlikely because I have used the same shutter with other film and not had exposure problems).

    Anybody had this quandary? Any ideas what's up? Should I just experiment with a different developer and/or fixer?

    (The first time it happened I was sure I had mis-labeled the holder as Tri-X when it actually had Portra.... But check out those notches.)

  2. #2
    Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: What is ruining my Tri-X 320?

    Rule out developer: try different developer, same fixer
    Rule out fixer: Use same developer, different fixer

    How old is this MIXED batch of Rodinal, and have you used any of it successfully with other films?

    Is the factory-exposed film marks (320TXP) present, or are they not there either? If they're there, something is the matter with your camera/lens. If they are not there, you have either a chemical problem(most likely the case), or the film is bad(unlikely, but Kodak has made mistakes before).

    Try this, in addition:
    Take an unexposed, undeveloped sheet of film, and in the light, check your fixer. The film should clear completely if the fixer is of proper strength, and not too old.

  3. #3

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    Re: What is ruining my Tri-X 320?

    There are lots of threads that claim Rodinal lasts forever. But I have twice had refrigerated bottle go bad and produce essentially clear film. If it goes from purple-ish to brown it is suspect.

    If you aren't using Rodinal as a one-shot developer that could be part of it.

  4. #4

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    Re: What is ruining my Tri-X 320?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Stone View Post
    Rule out developer: try different developer, same fixer
    Rule out fixer: Use same developer, different fixer

    How old is this MIXED batch of Rodinal, and have you used any of it successfully with other films?

    Is the factory-exposed film marks (320TXP) present, or are they not there either? If they're there, something is the matter with your camera/lens. If they are not there, you have either a chemical problem(most likely the case), or the film is bad(unlikely, but Kodak has made mistakes before).

    Try this, in addition:
    Take an unexposed, undeveloped sheet of film, and in the light, check your fixer. The film should clear completely if the fixer is of proper strength, and not too old.
    A very good answer. My suspicion is that the poster is trying to keep diluted developer, never a good idea.

  5. #5

    Re: What is ruining my Tri-X 320?

    try xtol 1+2 much better and holds film speed

  6. #6

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    Re: What is ruining my Tri-X 320?

    I have seen where Rodinal (stock) has gone bad, and not develop at all... One clue is if it pours out after the development deep, dark blue colored... (with no/low image...)

    The pink color is from silver still remaining on the film from after fixing... If you fog/fix a piece of film, there is still excess silver that has not been reduced/removed, and will oxidize to the pink (very finely divided silver) state...

    Steve K

  7. #7
    Huub
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    Re: What is ruining my Tri-X 320?

    The colour of the film is indeed very pink, which makes me wonder of your fix is working properly. But even then: when the film would have been exposed and developed properly, at least some image should be visible and refixing asap should cure the problem.

    As Daniel has asked already: is the factory exposed film mark visible? If not: most likely there is a problem in film development and a good guess is that either your Rodinal has gone bad or you have mixed up the fix and development baths. Rodinal should only be used as a one shot developer, mixed directly before use and the concentrate should be stored at room temperature. Putting in the freezer will make it go bad as some of the chemicals will percipitate and won't go into solution again when it warms to room temperature.

    If the film mark is visible, you probably have made an exposure error. The shutter may not have fired, you might have forgotten to pull the darkslide or one of those other user errors that are possible in large format. We all have been through those... ;-)

  8. #8

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    Re: What is ruining my Tri-X 320?

    Quote Originally Posted by Huub View Post
    The colour of the film is indeed very pink, which makes me wonder of your fix is working properly. But even then: when the film would have been exposed and developed properly, at least some image should be visible and refixing asap should cure the problem.

    As Daniel has asked already: is the factory exposed film mark visible? If not: most likely there is a problem in film development and a good guess is that either your Rodinal has gone bad or you have mixed up the fix and development baths. Rodinal should only be used as a one shot developer, mixed directly before use and the concentrate should be stored at room temperature. Putting in the freezer will make it go bad as some of the chemicals will percipitate and won't go into solution again when it warms to room temperature.

    If the film mark is visible, you probably have made an exposure error. The shutter may not have fired, you might have forgotten to pull the darkslide or one of those other user errors that are possible in large format. We all have been through those... ;-)
    I agree with this. Blank film is either no exposure or no development, if the fix was no good the film would look 'milky' when you took it out of the tank. The pink colour in the film base just means you need to fix for a bit longer, I don't think it's anything to do with the film being blank.

  9. #9

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    Re: What is ruining my Tri-X 320?

    Thanks, Kevin. This bottle (Adox version) is less than a year old, and has successfully done other film, but maybe not since I started having this problem. I will inspect the color. (I always use it as one-shot.)

  10. #10

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    Re: What is ruining my Tri-X 320?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Stone View Post
    Rule out developer: try different developer, same fixer
    Rule out fixer: Use same developer, different fixer

    How old is this MIXED batch of Rodinal, and have you used any of it successfully with other films?

    Is the factory-exposed film marks (320TXP) present, or are they not there either? If they're there, something is the matter with your camera/lens. If they are not there, you have either a chemical problem(most likely the case), or the film is bad(unlikely, but Kodak has made mistakes before).

    Try this, in addition:
    Take an unexposed, undeveloped sheet of film, and in the light, check your fixer. The film should clear completely if the fixer is of proper strength, and not too old.
    A very thorough response, Daniel! Thanks! I will work through your instructions and find out what went wrong. I certainly don't want to have this persist.

    The Rodinal itself is under a year old; I mixed it immediately before use; it has done other films, I think, but I don't have good ready notes on that (can deduct with a thorough search of my scans, which are tagged with developer). Pretty sure the "320TXP marks are not there; they would be black, correct? I so, they are not there; I'm pretty sure the film is uniformly pinkish-clear edge-to-edge (I am at work now, but will look closer this evening).

    Please make sure my procedure to check the fixer is correct: 1) In the dark, remove a sheet from the box, and close the box. 2) Turn on the light and expose the film. 3) Put the film in the tank (I use a MOD54); 4) Fix the film as usual, and rinse. 5) Inspect: the film will be completely clear (except for the 320TXP mark).

    Is that right? I think I should try this before moving on to your two-step "rule out" instructions, correct?

    Thanks, Daniel!

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