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Thread: Bright white spots on prints

  1. #1

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    Bright white spots on prints

    I have been having a recurring problem with small white spots or circles, about 1-2mm in diameter on my prints. The spots are very bright and defined. They are randomly scattered across the print. They look as though that tiny area of the emulsion is missing. I have checked all other possibilities and believe to have narrowed the problem down to the paper itself. I've only been using Ilford Multigrade FB Warmtone and Multigrade IV FB Fiber. At first, I thought the paper must have been old and expired, but then I bought a new batch of both and have the same problem.

    I do nothing fancy, just contact printing with very clean glass, developed in Dektol, stopped, and fixed, all according to Ilford's instructions. Does anyone know of Ilford papers having this problem?

  2. #2

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    Re: Bright white spots on prints

    Try putting an eighth inch white acrylic over the contact printer. This really sounds like dust, can be really tough to track down in a contact printing situation. We used to contact print 36 exposure rolls of TriX for a medical study, the acrylic worked well to subdue the spots.

    Tom

  3. #3
    W K Longcor
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    Re: Bright white spots on prints

    2mm spots are prety big for dust. You MAY be correct in it being an emulsion problem, and if it were a lesser manufacturer than Ilford, I would say you are right. Could you have trapped air bubbles on the surface of the print? Experiment by continually brushing the surface of the paper while in the developer -- a soft bristle brush or one of those cheap foam brushes would work -- use one 3-4 inches wide and brush the entire surface all during development -- if the spots go away - that is your problem. If they are still there -- time to send a sample to Ilford for them to check out.

  4. #4

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    Re: Bright white spots on prints

    Thanks! Both of these sound like great suggestions. I will try them out.

  5. #5
    Louie Powell's Avatar
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    Re: Bright white spots on prints

    Quote Originally Posted by rulonpete View Post
    - - - small white spots or circles, about 1-2mm in diameter on my prints. The spots are very bright and defined. They are randomly scattered across the print. They look as though that tiny area of the emulsion is missing. I have checked all other possibilities and believe to have narrowed the problem down to the paper itself. I've only been using Ilford Multigrade FB Warmtone and Multigrade IV FB Fiber. At first, I thought the paper must have been old and expired, but then I bought a new batch of both and have the same problem.
    If you are experiencing the problem in several different papers, purchased at different times, then the paper is almost certainly NOT the cause. Remember Occam's Razor - look for the simplest common factor.

    White spots on the print mean that something blocked light coming through the negative.

    1-2mm in contact prints? Ordinary dust spots are usually quite small - far less than 1mm. This sounds more like air bells in the negative. This can result from insufficient agitation during negative development. Check your negs carefully to see if you can see opaque areas corresponding to the spots in your prints.

  6. #6
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Bright white spots on prints

    Air bubbles on the paper could do that. Make sure the prints are face-up in the Dektol and agitate more.

  7. #7
    Roger Thoms's Avatar
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    Re: Bright white spots on prints

    Air bubbles were my first thought. I have been putting my paper in the developer face up and once submerged in the developer I flip it over. This has eliminated the problem for me.

    Roger

  8. #8

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    Re: Bright white spots on prints

    Thanks everybody. I will try all of these suggestions out until I find the solution. I really hope it's as simple as air bubbles.

  9. #9
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    Re: Bright white spots on prints

    Air bubbles on the negative would result in holes in the development, leaving clear film. These would be seen on the print as black spots.

    This is almost certainly air bubbles on the print during development. I always gently wiped the surface of prints with my fingers when I put them into the tray to make sure to release bubbles.

    Rick "who used a water presoak for film to help prevent bubbles when going into the developer" Denney

  10. #10

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    Re: Bright white spots on prints

    In 35 years of print processing I have never seen or heard of air bubbles on prints. Never. I've seen marbelizing due to lack of agitation, but never air bubbles. Do you agitate your prints while in developer? If so, then air bubbles would be unlikely, especially as they would be visible while you have the paper in the tray, emulsion up. If you don't see air bubbles while they are in developer, then you might have another issue.

    As you are also using 2 different papers and 2 different emulsions of each it is unlikely that such egregious quality control affects would escape Ilford's attention.

    Do the spots move around or do they fall in the same place and in the same pattern on the contact print? If the problem is on the film it will always fall on the same exact location. Have you used this same contact printer/glass previously with out having had the problem? You may want to simply fog a piece of paper without any film or contact glass on it and then see if you get the same problem. Also are you using your enlarger as the light source for the contact printer? If so it's possible that you are projecting dust on the condensers, diffuser or a glass carrier onto the contact print. And if the enlarger is set to be in focus at the height of your contact printer, that dust will be both enlarged and sharp.

    Also with film, spots may appear due to the use of stronger than appropriate stop bath. Apparently when the developer in the emulsion comes into contact with overly acidic stop, a gas forms and causes a bubble to form on the negative, which pops and physically damages the emulsion and appears as a spot without any density. This is possible with print emulsion as well and could explain the problem. Still I think this is an unlikely source of your issue, but not knowing your procedures or experience level with darkroom techniques makes all issues possible.

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