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Thread: Ilford FP4+ Emulsion Damage

  1. #1
    Jeffery Dale Welker
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    Ilford FP4+ Emulsion Damage

    Yesterday I processed four recently exposed FP4+ 4x5 negatives. The image below shows what appears to be the loss or lack of any emulsion across the bottom of one of the four negatives. I've never seen this before and the other three negatives came out fine. I immediately concluded that this was my fault, but I can't imagine what I could have done to make this occur?

    All four negatives came from the same box of FP4+ 4x5 sheet film. The film is not expired - July 2020. The four sheets of film were all developed simultaneously in Ilford DDX using Ilford's recommended development times and methods. I use the Stearman SP-445 to develop all my 4x5 sheet film and I have never experienced a problem like this before.

    This is a conundrum that I can't explain. Has anyone seen this before? Did Ilford have a bad batch of 4x5 FP4+? If this is my fault, please explain so I can learn and avoid in the future.

    Your thoughts or suggestions would be sincerely appreciated.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Tire Barn Portrait - Arlington.jpg  
    Last edited by Salmo22; 29-May-2019 at 18:47.

  2. #2

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    Re: Ilford FP4+ Emulsion Damage

    That looks exactly as if the developer never reached the film. I'm not familiar with your process method but that's where I'd look for answers. Remember that film is coated on enormous rolls (in Kodak's case 80" wide) and then cut down to size... so the artifact you're seeing is extremely unlikely to be a manufacturing problem.

  3. #3
    Jeffery Dale Welker
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    Re: Ilford FP4+ Emulsion Damage

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sampson View Post
    That looks exactly as if the developer never reached the film. I'm not familiar with your process method but that's where I'd look for answers. Remember that film is coated on enormous rolls (in Kodak's case 80" wide) and then cut down to size... so the artifact you're seeing is extremely unlikely to be a manufacturing problem.
    Mark:

    I appreciate your comment. Makes sense to me. I'm trying to figure out how my process injured this sheet and not the other three? While I believe I loaded each of the four sheets into the SP-445 film holders identically, it sure would seem that I did something different on this particular negative. More head scratching will be involved on my end. Thanks again.

    Jeff

  4. #4

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    Re: Ilford FP4+ Emulsion Damage

    I've processed hundreds of sheets of film,including FP4, in my SP-445 without any of the reported tank-related issues and I can't imagine how this particular problem could have happened using the tank. I am more likely to think that this was caused sometime before the film was developed, however, mechanical damage usually leaves fairly sharp edges - think scratches, whilst this has softish edges more reminiscent of hand-coated materials used in alternative processes.

    Another thought is that perhaps the bellows have been deformed into the light path somehow, perhaps by hanging the darkcloth over them. This usually give a 'cleaner' edge though unless bag bellows were used.

    Ilford quality control is second to none in my opinion but even they can't inspect every sheet so it's possible.......

  5. #5

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    Re: Ilford FP4+ Emulsion Damage

    If it was the coating edge it would have far more artefacts than that (bubbles and other things like that) and over a 1-2" area - and it would have consistently affected the sheets before & after as the film is cut into sheets from 'doughnut' rolls that are cut down off the master roll. In other words, it's almost certainly a handling/ exposing or processing issue. Possibly even got fogged at some point in loading or unloading - ie edge fogging of some sort in the pattern of the crinkled edge of the plastic bag in the packaging?

  6. #6
    Jeffery Dale Welker
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    Re: Ilford FP4+ Emulsion Damage

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkie View Post
    I've processed hundreds of sheets of film,including FP4, in my SP-445 without any of the reported tank-related issues and I can't imagine how this particular problem could have happened using the tank. I am more likely to think that this was caused sometime before the film was developed, however, mechanical damage usually leaves fairly sharp edges - think scratches, whilst this has softish edges more reminiscent of hand-coated materials used in alternative processes.

    Another thought is that perhaps the bellows have been deformed into the light path somehow, perhaps by hanging the darkcloth over them. This usually give a 'cleaner' edge though unless bag bellows were used.

    Ilford quality control is second to none in my opinion but even they can't inspect every sheet so it's possible.......
    Quote Originally Posted by interneg View Post
    If it was the coating edge it would have far more artefacts than that (bubbles and other things like that) and over a 1-2" area - and it would have consistently affected the sheets before & after as the film is cut into sheets from 'doughnut' rolls that are cut down off the master roll. In other words, it's almost certainly a handling/ exposing or processing issue. Possibly even got fogged at some point in loading or unloading - ie edge fogging of some sort in the pattern of the crinkled edge of the plastic bag in the packaging?
    Thanks for your comments Yorkie and interneg. The more I think about this situation, the more I think it is operator error (me). If I missed a couple of the bottom retaining tabs on the SP-445 negative holder it could easily have stuck part of the emulsion to the inside of the SP-445 tank and during development, the emulsion wouldn't develop. If, subsequently, the emulsion released from the frame, the fixer would then clear it away, leaving this result. I just need to slow down and be more careful when loading my exposed film into the SP-445. In fact, I'm now prepared to blame my wife. She started talking to me while I was loading the SP-445 - distractions galore

  7. #7

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    Re: Ilford FP4+ Emulsion Damage

    Quote Originally Posted by Salmo22 View Post
    Thanks for your comments Yorkie and interneg. The more I think about this situation, the more I think it is operator error (me). If I missed a couple of the bottom retaining tabs on the SP-445 negative holder it could easily have stuck part of the emulsion to the inside of the SP-445 tank and during development, the emulsion wouldn't develop. If, subsequently, the emulsion released from the frame, the fixer would then clear it away, leaving this result. I just need to slow down and be more careful when loading my exposed film into the SP-445. In fact, I'm now prepared to blame my wife. She started talking to me while I was loading the SP-445 - distractions galore
    That's a possibility. If you load the frames with the film notch at the top then the damage would be at the other end of the sheet if your scenario is correct - easy to check on your neg.

  8. #8
    Huub
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    Re: Ilford FP4+ Emulsion Damage

    It could also be something completely different, not related to emulsion damage or a processing error, like for instance a saggy bellows, blocking the light from reaching the film. You seems to have used quite a bit of front rise in this picture and i do know i have to double check the bellows for not blocking the light when i make pictures like this.

  9. #9

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    Re: Ilford FP4+ Emulsion Damage

    Is there any chance that you loaded two sheets onto the same side of one holder? I've done that... The result is of course that the emulsion side(s) can be glued together while in the tank, and thus the developer won't get at that part.

  10. #10

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    Re: Ilford FP4+ Emulsion Damage

    Try exposing a sheet and developing it in a tray. I suspect you will find fault with the method you were using.

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