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Thread: Questions about 4x5 film developed by local lab

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Atlanta, GA

    Re: Questions about 4x5 film developed by local lab

    White dust (negatives) can also be due to embedded dirt during development, in particular the drying stage. In a test of several labs a couple of years ago we had difficulty finding one that kept a clean facility. Most likely culprit is failure to maintain the filters in the dryer.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    May 2006
    north of the 49th

    Re: Questions about 4x5 film developed by local lab

    you've got a number of issues here. the light leak might be from the holder not seated properly in the back. I always try to make sure the rib lock is engaged (should hear a click as the holder seats itself).

    what is more worrisome to me are what I believe are uneven processing issues. having no light leaks or dust on the film won't matter much if the film shows these development streaks. as suggested, shoot some more to nail down your work flow, but I would also find out how the lab is processing the film. bring the film with you next time so they can see (which they should have regardless) and ask about what looks like uneven processing. I'd suggest not blaming them of poor processing (it puts them on their heels and defensive), but ask what it could be from. leave them an opening iow

    good luck and in time things will get better, and even at that, there will be the occasional hiccups, which we all suffer now and then.
    notch codes ? I only use one film...

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Oregon and Austria

    Re: Questions about 4x5 film developed by local lab

    You've got lots of good advice so far. Let me add my thoughts:

    Almost all the defects you question are directly attributable to a light leak problem.

    First, it would really help to see a scan of an entire negative, rebate included, to help diagnose the light leak problem you have. You can check yourself, however, too. If the light leak goes all the way to the edge of the film, i.e., is not stopped by the rails in the filmholder, then the problem is likely happening out-of-camera. If the rebates are clear, then start looking at your camera for leaks.

    To me, it seems like the leaks all come from the bottom of the camera back, so start there. Check for proper seating of the back and filmholder, for missing or damaged light seals (flocking, fabric, etc. if your camera has that) and for warpage. Then insert a holder and check that it is seating properly. Also check the bellows attachment and the bellows itself in that area for leaks. A light source inside the camera in a darkened room helps find leaks.

    It seems unlikely that so many different filmholders would have light-leak problems, but examine them as well.

    And yes, you may be causing the leak when inserting or pulling the darkslide. Always clamp the spring back to the camera body with your free hand when pulling/inserting slides to prevent this. Still, I'm putting my money on a leak at the bottom of the camera near the back. Don't neglect to examine the rest of the camera and bellows for leaks, however, since you may have more than one or the offending leak may not be where I've guessed.



  4. #14

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Madisonville, LA

    Re: Questions about 4x5 film developed by local lab

    Quote Originally Posted by nduvoisin View Post

    I did not use a dark cloth. I have several questions about the different defects I noticed:

    1. There seems to be a vertical light leak in some of the images opposite of the notched side of the film (see 4x5_002a for a good example). Is this from not using a dark cloth or just poor technique when taking out or inserting the dark slides?

    2. Some of the films seem to have an uneven exposure across them (see 4x5_012a for a good example). Is this from improper developing technique? I read somewhere that this can be due to not enough agitation.

    3. On some of the negatives there seems to be many fine granules (see the bottom right of 4x5_002a for a good example). What is this typically due to?

    4. What is the large white spot in the lower right of all the images from (about 1/5 of the way in and up)?

    5. It looks like there’s a lot of dust on the film in general, is that typical of sheet film?

    6. What is the diagonal line in the upper left corner of 4x5_005a from?

    7. A couple images look foggy (4x5_007a for example). Is that because they weren’t developed properly, or is that just from scanning incorrectly?

    I think the most important question is whether or not I should use another lab in the future. I know that some of the above defects could be wholly or partly due to me, but others seem like developing issues (like uneven exposure, granules, and the diagonal line). So I'm leaning towards trying another lab. In the future, I would like to develop my own film, but for now I want to focus on just learning to use a field camera properly.

    The camera/lens combo is immaterial. Like Doremus said, You need to determine if the leak is in or out of camera. I would load the holders with photographic paper and have out in bright light and develop to see if the leak is in the holder. If not, you may want to use a dark cloth (I've never used a view camera without one) and cover the back while you insert the holder and pull out the dark slide. As has been mentioned, make sure the holder seats in the groove.

    Where do you live. It would probably be worthwhile to work with a LFF member who's done this before and can help you out of your quandry.

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Camano Island, Washington

    Re: Questions about 4x5 film developed by local lab

    I would think that camera flair could be contributing. It looks like you were shooting directly into the sun - did you use a polarizer filter and a lens hood? direct flair can cause the sort of issues that you are having. I have also had the film exposed while the slide is removed (without covering it with a dark-cloth). Could the white spot on the scan be caused by dirt on the scanner glass?

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    The Hague, Holland

    Re: Questions about 4x5 film developed by local lab

    Have you tested the camera bellows for light leaks?

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Pine Junction, CO

    Re: Questions about 4x5 film developed by local lab

    A few things to control dust on your film: 1. I clean my holders before each loading with a canister vacuum cleaner. Use the crevice tool which creates a lot of suction. Clean the counter you are working on with the vacuum and/or a damp sponge. Don't lay your now clean holders down on the counter; stand them on edge so they don't attract dust. 2. After loading, put your holders in plastic bags to help reduce the possibility of attracting dust in your pack or bag. If you reuse the bags as I do, wash them between uses.

    As others have said, keep at it. There is a lot to learn about film and large format. You'll build on each step.
    Keith Pitman

  8. #18

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Re: Questions about 4x5 film developed by local lab

    Another issue to beware of is the light bulbs in your WC/darkroom.
    Incandescent bulbs go on and off, while the gov't mandated replacements take their own sweet time turning "off"completely.
    I find it takes a minute +/- before my light fixture is safely "off" enough to chance opening a box of film or photo paper.
    Close your eyes a bit to get the pupils open, flip the switch off and stare at your light fixture---it'll glow for quite awhile.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

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