Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/05/12

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Subject: [Leica] RE: Development Question
From: Jim Brick <>
Date: Fri, 12 May 2000 10:10:30 -0700

I'm not sure that the developer knows what kind of film it is developing.
I've never had "air bells" on any kind of film ever, since I started
developing film in 1952. Other than pictures in books, I don't even know
what they look like.

I use Xtol 1:3, Rodinal, home brew, etc, and everything else ever invented.
But other than 4x5 sheet film for extreme reduction of contrast (water bath
development), I've never presoaked film in water so I don't know the
consequences. Mark Rabiner always presoaks so he has those answers.

BTW, water bath development is 1min water, 1min dev, 1min water, 1min
dev... etc... until the film reaches the appropriate density. This is
basically forcing extreme compensation. Developing the shadows, retarding
the highlights.


At 08:51 AM 5/12/00 -0700, Tom Finnegan wrote:
>I'm having an annoying problem with airbells when developing PanF, at least 
>I'm assuming they are airbells. I have not had any problems in developing 
>HP5 or Delta 3200. Is this a common problem with slow films or PanF in 
>particular, or is it just me? I've been shooting it in my IIIf (to stay OT) 
>for that retro look. When everything works out I love the look, but I'm 
>getting frustrated with all the pictures I've had ruined (enhanced?) with 
>the alien ovals appearing everywhere. Here are the details.
>Hewes SS reels, XTOL 1+3 mixed with distilled water, temps at 68F, 
>distilled water pre-soak, agitation as per Ilford with agitation for the 
>first 30 sec then for 10 sec every minute with a couple good raps on the 
>table after agitating. Intially I used about a 1 minute presoak and gentle 
>inversions and got lots a airbells. The last couple rolls I ran I used a 
>two minute presoak and vigorous inversions and tank rapping. The result was 
>fewer airbells but still several. Any suggestions on what I should try or 
>-  Should I go to agitation every 30 sec?
>-  Should I go to a 5 minute presoak, or not presoak at all?
>-  Would slightly warmer temps help?
>-  Should I try Rodinal 1:100 ala Martin, and if so what would be a good 
>starting time for dev?
>-  Should I just give up on PanF and try FP4?
>-  Should I just sell my cameras now and take up something else?
>Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated.
>Tom (I'm no Mark Rabiner in the darkroom) Finnegan

Replies: Reply from "Michael D. Turner" <> ([Leica] Re: Development Question)