Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/09/22

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Subject: [Leica] WAS: Black and White C41 Film now.... SCRATCHES!
From: tedgrant at (Ted Grant)
Date: Wed Sep 22 17:37:00 2004
References: <> <000101c4a04e$5eeb51f0$6401a8c0@dorysrusp4> <> <001f01c4a0ac$237f7070$87d86c18@ted> <>

Adam this is a bit long, but it might solve the problem.... ted

Adam Bridge said:
Subject: Re: [Leica] WAS: Black and White C41 Film now.... SCRATCHES!

 > The problem happens with all film that I process - so I think it's
> something I'm doing. Bear in mind that these only show up on scans,
> not on darkroom/enlarger prints.<<,,,

One of the worse things to find is the reason for scratches and it doesn't
matter what camera. But sometimes it can be solved simply by the process of
elimination "ONE THING AT A TIME!" Tedious.

What I don't understand is why you only get them off the scanner and they
don't show-up on prints from the wet darkroom. Do you see scratches on the
film when using a loupe? I mean really look for them with the strongest
loupe while rocking the film back and forth in your gloved fingers and
changing light angles as the light creates highlights off the film? Both
sides of the film.

If you have a finished print with scratches, take the neg and see if you can
line-up the scratch position on the print with the identical area of the
negative. And with a loupe go over the neg back and forth and see if there's
any kind of scratching at all.

What kind of enlarger do you use, cold-light or regular enlarging tungsten

> It happens on ALL film to a greater or lesser degree. I have reduced
> the problem a lot by pulling the film over the soft rubber blade of a
> squeegee very SLOWLY. That seems to have reduced the problem.<<<<<<<<

Well right here is an absolute major error in film processing! You should
never ever, never ever, ever ever squeegee film!  And I don't care what
anyone else says about how successful they've been doing squeegee. It just
means they haven't done it yet, scratched their film!  Their turn is coming
and they will as sure as the Great Spirit made green apples, they will
scratch film sometime using a squeegee.

So stop that right now and throw the squeegee away, period!

Do not use your fingers eithier no matter how gentle and soft to the touch
you think you are! And if you haven't scratched yet with your fingers.......
your turn is coming! Don't do it!

Now the absolute best all time way is quite simple and will never fail you,
nor cause scratches of any kind.

When you take the reel out of the final wash, you give it a quick swish in
the "" Freshly made Photo-flo for this developing batch only!" Not this
single roll, use it for the number in the batch just completed.  Then throw
it away and make a new batch the next time you're doing a batch of film.
Whenever that should be. I don't care what KODAK says, do it my way and
you'll never be sorry!

One in and out of photo-flo, then dunk the film in and out of an absolutely
clean water bath, like in-out splush-splush. That's it.

Now at this point hold the reel firmly between fore finger and thumb of
whichever hand is best for you and holding it firmly, snap your wrist and
arm toward the floor several times. And it will flick all the water off the
film after two or three snaps of the wrist. If in doubt do more it wont

Then you very carefully put a film clip on and hang it up full length and
place a weighted film clip on the bottom to hold the roll straight out and
flat! That's it!  Walk away and do not touch!

And if you do it this way, nothing ever touches the film until you lay it
out on the light table and sleeve the negs while wearing white cotton

> So at this point dealing with those scratches - which happen most
> often at the start of the roll, by the way - is the most tedious part
> of making a final image.<<<<

>>>which happen most often at the start of the roll, by the way -<<<

Tension on the roll?  Do you wind the film tightly as the roll ends and try
to advance one more frame?
Or in re-winding, is there an excessive drag as you come toward the end of
the roll being re-wound into the cassette creating extra tension... internal
pressure on the film before it comes free from the take-up camera spool?
Another possiblity.

 > I don't shoot color at all with my M's, just the R8. I have seen no
> more sign of scratching since the roll that the lab called me about.
> After gently cleaning everything seemed to work well.<<<,

Well don't write the lab off as the scratch culprit in this case, not saying
it was their gear, but? Like how many rolls went through the R8 and went to
the lab at the same time from the same shoot? Then ask the question... "the
scratches were only on one roll?" It could have been either party.

> I suspect it's a darkroom technique  -  or lack of one, since I'm pretty
much self-taught.<<<

Aren't we all? Besides doing a college photo course doesn't guarantee no
scratches! ;-)

I hope this helps, as you have my sympathies because a situation like this
is so damn frustrating to find the cause. But one thing at a time is the
only way to go.


Replies: Reply from abridge at (Adam Bridge) ([Leica] WAS: Black and White C41 Film now.... SCRATCHES!)
In reply to: Message from nicholsj at (JAMES NICHOLS) ([Leica] Re: FW: Black and White C41 Film)
Message from dorysrus at (Don Dory) ([Leica] Re: FW: Black and White C41 Film)
Message from abridge at (Adam Bridge) ([Leica] Re: FW: Black and White C41 Film)
Message from tedgrant at (Ted Grant) ([Leica] WAS: Black and White C41 Film now.... SCRATCHES!)
Message from abridge at (Adam Bridge) ([Leica] WAS: Black and White C41 Film now.... SCRATCHES!)