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rpavich

I went from negatives that looked like it was snowing, to no dust at all!

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I just wanted to share something that might help others in their quest for less dust on negs.

 

I am a noob when it comes to developing, and my first several rolls of film were horrible. There were so many scratches, dust, dirt, dog hair and crap on them I thought I'd never create a crap free neg, but I stumbled on a fool proof solution for me!

 

Here are the elements:

 

1.) I run a hot shower for two minutes to bring the dust down in the bathroom where the negs will hang (I do it at the end of the washing step).

 

2.) I turn off the air conditioner and put a towel over the floor vent to minimize circulating air.

 

3.) I only remove the film from the tank IN the bathroom ready for hanging, no walking around with it. It goes from the tank to the clips.

 

4.) (I think this is key) I pour the photo-flo from the canister down both sides of my film right after hanging. I think it washes crap off the film...that's my guess.

5.) (another key point I think) I get the scanner ready for the film before it's dry and when I go into the bathroom, I cut the negs off of the clips at the bottom and the top, I don't try to clean off the accumulated moisture at the clips. Once I have a neg in hand, I GO STRAIGHT to the scanner and feed it into the scanner. (a 20 foot trip)

 

6.) I also wear white-lint-free-cotton-inspection-gloves when handling the negs.

That's it.

 

Since I've been doing that I've had to clean a total of two TINY dust spots off of my negs in 4 rolls developed. I'm astounded how well it works! No dust at all.


Just thought someone might benefit from something here; I know that I was pulling my hair out with my previous results.

Edited by rpavich

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I too have used, and recommended, the hot shower technique.

 

My self queries were: Does this actually remove the dust in the air? But what about the inevitable air circulation that it induces does it not move around the remaining dust and increase the chance of settling on the film? Does it need to be hot? 

 

The higher temperature does ensure the humidity is raised faster but scientific papers conclude that although the dust count in higher humidity is reduced this is due to aggregation of small particles into fewer larger ones. (complicated by the type of particles) I don't know what size of particle is most important in film drying that produces "spots". Tiny particles may not be visible even if a lot and spread about over the film surface but a few large ones, produced by the shower, could then be actually worse.

The higher humidity is said to help prevent film curl by reducing the rate of drying so the emulsion is less stressed as it dries. In my experience some brands curl whatever you do, even swearing doesn't seem to help!!

 

Whatever you find works use that technique and do not be like me and fret about the why!!

 

My pro lab BTW agree with drying then scanning immediately and  at the highest resolution you will need. If you low res scan then choose and re-scan later you will never get a scan as dust free as that first one, a missed opportunity.

 

Mixed views on the gloves. Do fingers hold and transfer more or less dust than cotton gloves? Fingers leave "grease" marks certainly so that may be enough to swing it but what about polythene gloves? Less dust, no grease? I suspect manufacturing residues on the polythene gloves is an issue but no proof of that !!

 

Goodness me what we fret about.

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All positive actions. My suspicion is that blocking air circulation is the most important factor here. Dust floats around in moving air, less so or not at all in completely still air. I have had success drying film in a clothes cupboard that is unused for the drying period, and thus has no effective air circulation.

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4.) (I think this is key) I pour the photo-flo from the canister down both sides of my film right after hanging. I think it washes crap off the film...that's my guess.

 

I did that for a while.

 

What I do now - quite similar in effect - is remove the film from the reel once it has been in the PhotoFlo a few seconds. Hold it up with both hands in a hanging "U" shape, and dip the bottom of the "U" into the PhotoFlo. Then raise and lower my left and right hands alternately to slide the whole length of the film through the top inch or so of the Photoflo - 4-5 times over 30 seconds. See (sloppy) diagram.

 

 

This "washes" the film with the Photoflo and keeps junk in suspension. Without really being agitation, which would produce massive foaming.

 

Then I lift the whole roll out of the liquid and turn it horizontal, edge down, so that the remaining rinse runs quickly to one edge, carrying away the few bubbles and heavier stuff from the image areas. Then slowly rotate the film upright for hanging, as the collected rinse and "junk" on the edge flow down to the low end of the roll.

 

Easier to do with the shortish 120 rolls I use now - but I began doing it with 135-36 rolls. Just takes longer arms.

 

BTW - I hang my film for drying in an OPEN DOORWAY, and still get very little dust accumulation (YMMV with geography - my doorway is in the center of the house with little air movement, and Colorado air is so dry that the film dries completely in 15 minutes). So I'd say the "washing" has been the most effective single technique at producing clean film.

 

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I did that for a while.

 

What I do now - quite similar in effect - is remove the film from the reel once it has been in the PhotoFlo a few seconds. Hold it up with both hands in a hanging "U" shape, and dip the bottom of the "U" into the PhotoFlo. Then raise and lower my left and right hands alternately to slide the whole length of the film through the top inch or so of the Photoflo - 4-5 times over 30 seconds. See (sloppy) diagram.

 

Photoflowash.jpg

 

This "washes" the film with the Photoflo and keeps junk in suspension. Without really being agitation, which would produce massive foaming.

 

Then I lift the whole roll out of the liquid and turn it horizontal, edge down, so that the remaining rinse runs quickly to one edge, carrying away the few bubbles and heavier stuff from the image areas. Then slowly rotate the film upright for hanging, as the collected rinse and "junk" on the edge flow down to the low end of the roll.

 

Easier to do with the shortish 120 rolls I use now - but I began doing it with 135-36 rolls. Just takes longer arms.

 

BTW - I hang my film for drying in an OPEN DOORWAY, and still get very little dust accumulation (YMMV with geography - my doorway is in the center of the house with little air movement, and Colorado air is so dry that the film dries completely in 15 minutes). So I'd say the "washing" has been the most effective single technique at producing clean film.

I get it...very well explained...like a slinky.

 

It's damp here..it takes about 4 or 5 hours to dry film. I wish I had a dry warm place to hang mine.

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Great topic and good advice. I live in London and it's a dusty place at the best of times.

 

Will try this.

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Just an add on to this thread.

 

I came across a guy who made a film dryer out of 1.5 feet of 4" diameter PVC pipe, with a "duct fan" connected to one end.

 

He first puts  the roll of negs into a "salad spinner" and shoots most of the water off of them before he starts to dry them.
 

Then he puts the roll into the PVC tube. The fan blows positive air pressure into the tube so no dust can get in. 

 

He says that the drying process goes down to 20 minutes this way.

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That reminds me of the computer ad that claimed the cooling fans would prevent ingress of dust by only blowing air out of the case. 

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That reminds me of the computer ad that claimed the cooling fans would prevent ingress of dust by only blowing air out of the case. 

Lol...well, the guy that uses it claims it works perfectly. It's using the same principle as a "positive pressure clean room" like at my workplace. As long as the air pressure inside the room exceeds that outside the room, then theoretically it's "a dust free environment"

 

In the case of the cooling fans...there are two problems:

 

1.) They aren't using a filter for the incoming air (this guy does; HEPA)

 

2.) There are more than one place in the case for dust to ingress so I can see why that would fail.

Edited by rpavich

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I use the same technique as Andy, with the exception of 35mm which I dry in a Senrac drier with a triple layer of filter material. Film is dried on the stainless reels.

 

A helpful thing is this HEPA room filter with both the big and fine HEPA filters. We have one in each important room and  I can move one to the darkroom. (The link shown recommends 2 HRF-D1 filters, which I think is incorrect. I can still find the single wide filters.) Our heating and air conditioning is double-filtered, too: one mechanical and one electrostatic.)

 

When scanning be aware that dust is mostly skin flakes. Some people shed more than others, so the tips regarding clean long sleeves is good. So are gloves (powder-free Nitrile here because it's what we have).

Edited by pico

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I have, but rarely use, a Kleen-Dri. It certaily cuts the time to about twenty minutes, but I'm not usually in a hurry and just hang the film.

 

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I have, but rarely use, a Kleen-Dri. It certaily cuts the time to about twenty minutes, but I'm not usually in a hurry and just hang the film.

 

$_1.JPG

That looks interesting. Perhaps if my jury rigged thing doesn't work out...we could talk

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I doubt you'd want it - it only takes Paterson-sized film reels, not Jobo or Rondinax reels.

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I use to hang the developed film in the shower, directly to the shower tap. Then I keep the shower doors closed as well as the bathroom window (in this way she can't come in

(little joke)).

I've bought cotton gloves but they're not useful. I don't have sensibility to my fingers aven though they have the tiny rubber dots on the palms. Instead I use the rubber gloves, like the surgeons' and after I wore them, I put my hands under flowing water and don't touch anything else but the film, tank, and so on.

Until now I didn't have any dust problem with the rolls.

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[...]. I don't have sensibility to my hands [...]

Neither do I. Loading film of any format has become discouraging.

 

It might benefit our younger enthusiasts to understand how it happens.

 

Bicycle nuts like me seem to eventually get ulnar neuropathy which makes the little finger and half (exactly) of the third finger totally numb. Then grow older using fingers as tools - so easy when young but pay for it later. Add a dash of arthritis and your young formerly athletic self will be kindly asking your wife to open the pickle jar.

Edited by pico

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