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Thread: Paths to Super Clean Sheet Film?

  1. #1

    Paths to Super Clean Sheet Film?

    I'm doing some high resolution scanning of 4x5 and 8x10 film. At times it's almost like using a point source enlarger when it comes to showing micro scuffs and dust. However there are other problems too such as a build up of specs on the corner where you can tell the liquid fell off during drying. (The opposite corner from the hanger that points directly downwards). I mix my Ilfotol according to instructions and let it sit for about 1 minute, then I hang to dry on Mod 45 racks. I process using Expert Drums. One recent sheet of Arista even had static shock!

    If anyone has some tips for me I'm game to hear them. I am switching from Ilfotol to Photo Flo to see if that helps.

  2. #2

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    Re: Paths to Super Clean Sheet Film?

    Do you use distilled water for the final rinse? Maybe build yourself a film drying cabinet.

  3. #3

    Re: Paths to Super Clean Sheet Film?

    So far I'm using filtered but not distilled water for the final rinse. The film is being tried in a film drying cabinet.

  4. #4
    C. D. Keth's Avatar
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    Re: Paths to Super Clean Sheet Film?

    Use a sponge or chamois to wick water from the bottom corner as the film is drying. Photoflo will make water flow off the surfaces really well but it will form drops on the bottom edge or corner. If you just touch the edge or corner with an absorbent material, 95% of that water will flow off and you wont be left with those spots or high water mark lines.
    -Chris

  5. #5
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Paths to Super Clean Sheet Film?

    Distilled water is inexpensive. Filters can emit particulate, such as carbon particles, that can cause problems with film. At one point, I put in a new whole-house filter. A few days later, I processed film. A fine particulate from the filter ruined all of the film.

    Hang that negative so there's a slight tilt to a corner. Too much tilt, and the drop that forms on the corner might be high enough to leave a mark on the image area. I slight tilt spreads that drop along the bottom edge. Then, as Mr. Keth suggests, use absorbent material to occasionally wick moisture off the bottom corner.

    Clean all areas where you'll be handing negatives before working with them. I like liquid cleaner and a microfiber cloth first, and then I follow up with a sticky item, such as masking tape or a silicone roller. Wash hands with Dawn to minimize oils, and/or use clean lint-less gloves to handle negatives. I use a silicone roller on both the scanning surfaces, film, and hold down sheet before scanning. It really helps.
    May tomorrow be a better day.

  6. #6

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    Re: Paths to Super Clean Sheet Film?

    I don't know much about scanning, but you mentioned static shock. Kinetronics and others make anti-static brushes. I have the 4" model, with which I wipe negs before putting them in the enlarger, and which I use on prints before dry mounting.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
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  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Paths to Super Clean Sheet Film?

    After washing the film, a final dip in distilled water plus a tiny amount of Photoflo. Then I let it air dry on a little nylon clothesline over the sink, and avoid activity there until the film is indeed dry. I don't do scanning, but enlarging is no different because the negs have to be equally clean. No way around working clean all around. I have a separate room for film work with an electronic air cleaner, triple-filtered air lines, 100% dacron cleanroom smock, antistatic gun if I need it, etc etc. Here we have high quality soft water. If I lived where the water is hard with mineral content, I'd do all the processing steps with distilled water instead.

  8. #8

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    Re: Paths to Super Clean Sheet Film?

    Distilled water for the final rinse as well as for the Photo Flo will help.
    Better than a drying cabinet is an enclosed bathroom. A line to hang the film. Run the shower on hit for a minute or so to build steam in the air. Take negs out of the Photo Flo and hang to dry. Close the door slowly and don't go in for a couple hours. No dust in the air and negs dry as clean as can be.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  9. #9

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    Re: Paths to Super Clean Sheet Film?

    All the suggestions are spot on. Also, if you have not done so already, try fluid scanning. This covers up most of the imperfections in the negatives and provides excellent scans. Plenty of YouTube videos on the technique. Works well for me.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10

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    Re: Paths to Super Clean Sheet Film?

    Endust makes an anti-static cleaning spray for computer monitors, etc. I spray all the scanner glass surfaces and wipe down before each scanning session. It seems to help.

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