Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Dmitry Belyakov

Tetanal + Ultramax: what happened?

Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)

Hello everybody,

I am getting a little frustrated with my home processing results. Long story short - I've got a ~20 roll bag of ultramax I've been shooting around the house during lockdown, that I later developed with Tetenal Colortec. The majority of the rolls came out pretty bad - very dark and the base is of a weird color (re-blixing didn't help). Now I don't know what went wrong: the film (bought from different shops), storage (fridge/bag), moisture (fridge film is in plastic canisters in a plastic bag), my development (temperature/contamination)? I'll attach an example and hope somebody can suggest something. 

Oh and the funny thing is (not funny actually) - some rolls turn out alright, but most of them don't. 

I will appreciate any input you might have,

Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the whole of the film is like the dark top strip I'd say perhaps it's chemical fogging. If your chemicals are too hot and also very fresh they can cause this effect. If it was a light leak causing fogging I'd expect to see a more uneven effect. And then there is the possibility of contamination, is the colour of the developer as it should be? Are your bottles well labelled and with dates and the number of films they've done? If some films are ok and others not you can't rule out human error somewhere along the line. That said I wouldn't be surprised if they scan and post process ok, but they may be not what you aimed for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I tend to go with the "different shops" theory, unless you know exactly how they were stored in each store, and for how long, and how old they were (expiration dates). Film stored in too warm an environment can go bad before the expiration date (which assumes, at most, "room" temperatures - 72°F or less, except for that Pro-Image film supposedly designed for the tropics).

Leaving color film in a car (or camera) baking in the sun can fog it pretty quickly - but I guess just shooting around the house during lockdown rules that out in this case.

Color film has a lot of organic chemicals in it (dyes and such) and it is best to treat it like mayonnaise - don't let it get too warm for any length of time!

Edited by adan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Hi guys and thanks a lot for you input!

 

14 hours ago, 250swb said:

If the whole of the film is like the dark top strip I'd say perhaps it's chemical fogging. If your chemicals are too hot and also very fresh they can cause this effect. 

Yes that might be the freshness as I started wit ha new 1 liter kit and put 12 400iso rolls through it. However I got consistently bad results for the most part with 2 or 3 rolls of the bunch coming up ok. I'm leaning towards bad batch from a supplier because sometimes i developed two rolls where one came out alright and the other didn't. Also I have a pretty basic cheap thermometer that's analogue and hard to read accurately. I guess I could have been off perfect 38C° by ~1 degree. @250swb do you recon being a bit off on the temperature can give such radically bad results?

Contamination is  my other suspicion, because I didn't have the bottles labeled properly at first (just the lids) which since then has been corrected. i tried scanning them last night with both a dedicated scanner and an digital camera: unfortunately they are too contrasty and dense - the positives come out as if they were shot on an instant film (very high contrast and colour shifts). It's a great shame because I have 12 rolls of this and they're all in a mixed bag so I can't tell which one is which. Another lesson learned I guess...

 

6 hours ago, adan said:

I tend to go with the "different shops" theory, unless you know exactly how they were stored in each store, and for how long, and how old they were (expiration dates). Film stored in too warm an environment can go bad before the expiration date (which assumes, at most, "room" temperatures - 72°F or less, except for that Pro-Image film supposedly designed for the tropics).

Leaving color film in a car (or camera) baking in the sun can fog it pretty quickly - but I guess just shooting around the house during lockdown rules that out in this case.

Color film has a lot of organic chemicals in it (dyes and such) and it is best to treat it like mayonnaise - don't let it get too warm for any length of time!

 

Yes that was my thinking exactly, but I still want to rule every other option out before starting to blame the supplier. I stored the rolls in the fridge, as I do, and the film was supposed be good till 2021 when I got it. I do leave film in the camera however, sometimes for up to a week, @adan do you think this can cause such an issue? I also take a roll or two out of the fridge and keep them in my bag as spares at all times. Perhaps that's not advisable as well - I just wasn't sure if it's ok to load shoot film straight from the fridge. Also, I enjoyed the mayonnaise analogy :) 

In any case, I am now replacing the chemistry and getting a new more precise digital thermometer to at least try and eliminate these two parameters.

P.S. I will attach an example of what I was able to pull out of the bad negative with a multi-exposure scan that took ages, vs the well-developed negative (both by me in the same chemistry)

Edited by Dmitry Belyakov

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are developing batches together, and getting different results on the individual rolls, with no obvious random colour shifts etc then it's entirely in the film.

I think you are now pushing the limits of the 1 litre kit - 400 depletes chemicals about twice the rate of 100, so you've done well.

Chuck your remaining Ultramax (or sell it with a precise description of the possible problems - there's always some Lomographer on Ebay who'll take the chance - and buy a batch of film from a reputable retailer and store it well. Then start with a new Tetenal kit and hopefully enjoy better luck.

In all my home colour developing I've not had a like issue, but I have never bought film except from high volume sellers. Good luck!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Leaving the film in the camera for a week isn't going to cause that effect with a 2021 date on the film. Dates on film are more about managing the turnover of stock if well stored, not that they self destruct around that date. If scanning don't try to achieve the finished photograph, go for a low contrast scan that doesn't clip any tones. Do the rest in post processing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

IIRC the allowed temperature tolerance is 0.1 °C and not 1 °C. If some of the films came out to dense and contrasty this sounds like a huge overdeveloping. If you develop at 38 °C the time is only 3 minutes 15 sec. If it takes you for example maybe 30 seconds to long to fill or empty the tank you already combined with a temperature that is 1 °C to high you have already an overdeveloping about 30-35 % . Maybe your tolerances are to high?

Different batches of film from several sources may do the rest.

Traces of bleach/fixer in the developer also leads to strong stains.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But I've mistakenly set my timer and combined with brain fade developed for half the time and the negs were still perfectly usable. The effect of temperature is more complicated but even so while the chart may give +1/-1 for developer you can go way off that and still get a neg that looks far better than the OP's dark film strip. Using the lower temperature option with slower development is the way to go to even out any spikes or rushing problems, but again the darker film strip is extreme. Even for a well out of date film abused in every way the dark film strip is extreme if the processing regime was correct. So I think it's still down to chemical fogging or some even more radical mistake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, the lower scan still contains a lot of recoverable color and tone. The adjustments below were made with Photoshop's more sophisticated tools. In particular "Selective Color" which allows for adding/subtracting C, M, Y, and black to/from specific colors (neutrals, whites, reds, blues, blacks, etc.). Except for some of the house and caravan "whites," that went simultaneously a bit pink and green (probably due to jpeg compression of the original post). Plus using "curves" to darken the picture overall.

When I worked at the newspaper, the professional pre-press people used the Photoshop "selective color" tool for 90% of their photo adjustments. It is rather like the hue/saturation/lightness controls - on steroids.

It naturally helped to have the upper scan as a reference, of course. ;)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did that as well Andy and got the same results with 30 seconds post processing, but I wasn't clear what the OP's lower image is meant to represent, is the top multi scanned and the bottom a single scan? If so multi scans are a waste of time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, he'll know for sure, but I read his post as he multiscanned the extra-dense negative (bottom), while the top image was the normal-density film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey guys,

First off, thanks to everyone offering their advice.  I will try to address all the points you've raised:

@Charles Morgan  yes, that's actually solid advice - I won't chuck the film right away but hold off on shooting it and leave it for something not important. Good to know your results are stable. I will definitely reconsider buying film from Amazon Marketplace and go with a trusted supplier.

@fotomas Good point on tolerances, I've now bought a  SousVide-like temperature control unit and and a digital thermometer chucking my old analog one. I'll make sure to stay within .1 tolerances for develop/blix stages.

@250swb Yes, that were my thoughts exactly - if the tolerances were way off, how comes of two rolls developed at the same time, one is alright but the other isn't. And indeed the darker results look quite extreme.

The two shots were meant to represent two rolls shot back to back with the same settings and developed in the same chemistry. One of the rolls developed fine the other not so much. Both scanned with multi-exposure setting (multi-pass scan) to extract all the information possible. In addition I found that for the dense neg the infra-red dust removal function completely fails, which was interesting.

@adan Wow, these are brilliant results recovering the ruined scan. I did scan it at the lowest possible contrast, as suggested, so perhaps I should give selective colour tool a go for some shots. I just can't imagine doing it for every frame of my 12 rolls.

Also, I did hear back from the seller who said they've shot a roll from the same batch, developed it and the results were spot on. Just to add to the confusion. But to sum it up, here's what I ended up doing in terms of improvements/eliminating factors:

  • Chucked the chemistry and got a new kit
  • Chucked old analog thermometer and got a digital one that does .1 degree precision
  • Got a temperature control unit - I'll do my best to stay within .1 degree tolerance
  • Got a fresh batch of film from a different supplier.

I'll do all that and see how I get on.

Once again, thanks to everyone participating in this thread!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Dmitry Belyakov said:

In addition I found that for the dense neg the infra-red dust removal function completely fails, which was interesting.

Hmmm - failed how?

That could be a sign of incomplete blixing. Unbleached/unfixed silver grains left in the film are infrared-opaque, unlike the color dyes, and thus will get read as opaque "dust particles" and retouched out, usually giving the picture a "moth-eaten" look.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that those 1 liter kits can do 8 rolls of 36 exposure. And if I am not mistaken, you have to increase the development time with each use. 
 

I think this is just exhausted chemistry. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, adan said:

Hmmm - failed how?

That could be a sign of incomplete blixing. Unbleached/unfixed silver grains left in the film are infrared-opaque, unlike the color dyes, and thus will get read as opaque "dust particles" and retouched out, usually giving the picture a "moth-eaten" look.

Hmmm, that is quite interesting - I didn't know that, thanks for bringing it up. It fails in a way that it takes forever to process and then, once done, I just get weird solid colour blocks without any image. I've never scanned B&W films but I imagine that's exactly what happens to them. Good point on blix, however I'm still quite confused why some rolls came out fine using the same process. Also I did try blixing for longer and also re-blixing (as Tetenal instruction suggested) with absolutely zero visible difference.

Also, on another note, as you've said before, there was quite a bit of recoverable information in the negs. I had to do a lot of work, but managed to recover quite a few good images. The ones that were totally ruined where badly exposed ones, the ones with proper exposure we pretty much salvageable given some work.

 

10 hours ago, oldwino said:

I believe that those 1 liter kits can do 8 rolls of 36 exposure. And if I am not mistaken, you have to increase the development time with each use. 
I think this is just exhausted chemistry. 

Perhaps I missed something, or maybe it's common sense assuming instructions are for 100 ISO, but I've never came across the 8 rolls per kit number. I think it can handle 12 400 rolls just fine given the consistent (consistently bad) results I've got. And yes, it was consistently bad from the very beginning when the kit was fresh, so I don't think it's an exhaustion issue, however I might be wrong :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the past I often have problems with Tetenal blix that it was gone, even in a new package. Once we got a replacement package and it was gone also. But that was years ago. Switched to Fuji Hunt because of this. Hope the quality is better now. 
Did it show some yellow-white sulfur flakes? That's an indicator. In this case it might be that it was sufficient to clear some film (possibly with lower ISO), but not strong enough for the rest. And if it's gone reblixing won't help of course.

If you have some black B&W film starts around you may check if the blix is able to clear this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, fotomas said:

In the past I often have problems with Tetenal blix that it was gone, even in a new package. Once we got a replacement package and it was gone also. But that was years ago. Switched to Fuji Hunt because of this. Hope the quality is better now. 
Did it show some yellow-white sulfur flakes? That's an indicator. In this case it might be that it was sufficient to clear some film (possibly with lower ISO), but not strong enough for the rest. And if it's gone reblixing won't help of course.

If you have some black B&W film starts around you may check if the blix is able to clear this.

Ah! I never would have thought that can be a thing. I only heard good things about Colortec kits, hence I went with this brand. I do have a roll of B&W around but unfortunately I've dumped the old chemicals already. I will try it with the new kit though. Is there a best-before date for these kits stated anywhere? Doesn't say anything on the box or the bottles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, fotomas said:

In the past I often have problems with Tetenal blix that it was gone, even in a new package. Once we got a replacement package and it was gone also. But that was years ago. Switched to Fuji Hunt because of this. Hope the quality is better now. 
Did it show some yellow-white sulfur flakes? That's an indicator. In this case it might be that it was sufficient to clear some film (possibly with lower ISO), but not strong enough for the rest. And if it's gone reblixing won't help of course.

If you have some black B&W film starts around you may check if the blix is able to clear this.

About Fuji Hunt, they are good for 5litre working solutions, how do you keep them, where do you keep them and most importantly how long do you keep them? I am currently collecting a batch of C41 films to develop for Rollei Compard ki1lt option however my actual goal is to use Fuji Hunt kit but no way I cn collect enough films to process for 5litre solution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I normally develop if I have a greater project with C41. I also do some sheet-film and roll-film. Then it's a bit easier to fill the tanks. So usually I'm able to use 3-4 l at once. The critical part of the set is the developer part C. The rest keeps well. So I bought 5 small 25 ml brown glass bottles and filled 1/5 of part C in each and cover this with a protection gas. So I can mix 1 l developer with each. That don't last for ever but a few months longer if I keep it in original bottle. Mostly I didn't manage to use the last liter. But with four liters used I found this ok.
In the past Maco direct sold the part C for 5 l from their C41developer separately. This was great. It wasn't from Fuji Hunt but it also worked to mix  a working developer with the left parts of the Fuji Hunt set. Sadly now the only ofter only a smaller kit for 1 l, that is much more expensive.

Unfortunately I don't know what is exactly in part C. I guess color developer CD-4, what is the critical part, and some sodium sulphite or sodium bisulphite to keep it. But without the exact amounts it will need some trials to find the right values to mix your own.
I used to mix also C41 developer on my own in the past. So it makes no sense for me to spend time and resources to reverse engineer the Fuji kit. Maybe I go back to it, if things get worse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue., Read more about our Privacy Policy