How do you dry slide film so it doesn't curl? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

When I was developing my 35mm and 120 E6 film at a local lab the film was coming back perfectly flat. But do my own processing now and while i'm very satisfied with the way it comes out, the film get very curled after it dries. There must be a trick to dry the film in a way that avoids curling. Any hints?

-- Sorin Varzaru (, February 01, 2001


Sorin, when drying any roll film such as 35mm, 120 or 220, you should put a clip on the bottom of the roll, such as a clothespin, while the film is wet. When it dries no curl it will be straight. Good luck and happy shooting. Pat.

-- Pat Kearns (, February 01, 2001.

I tried that, I even tried with weights, it still curls.

-- Sorin Varzaru (, February 01, 2001.

If you are talking about curling across the frames rather than lengthwise on the film strip, this seems to happen to me when the humidity is low. Even when I leave an open pan of water in the darkroom when drying film overnight, there is still some curl but less so. After cutting into strips and placing in the file pages, I leave some books on top for a day or so and that helps.

-- Steve Baggett (, February 02, 2001.

Hi Sorin,

Does all your slide film curl or just a couple of rolls?

As some film base, may exibit curl before the emulsion is applyed by the manufacturer


-- Bill Jefferson (, February 02, 2001.

All of it. In 35mm I only shoot Velvia. In 120 I shoot a variety of slide film (Astia, RDPII, RDPIII, Velvia,etc). And I am taking about the film curling lenghtwise on the film strip, towards the emulsion. Sometimes is so bad, it forms half of a cilinder. I must do something wrong, but I don't know what.

-- Sorin Varzaru (, February 02, 2001.

Sorin, lower your heat!!! No more than 140F degrees!!!! Cheers

-- Scott Walton (, February 02, 2001.


Film curl is a result temperature and humidity. I don't recall off the top of my head, but I think if it curls towards the emulsion side the temperature is too high and/or humidity too low and vice versa if it curls away from the emulsion. Depending on the E-6 chemistry that you're using (Tetnal recommends "baking" the stabilizer on at a fairly high temperature ~110 degrees F) you may get curl unless you're controlling temp and humidity carefully.

I don't have a fancy setup for drying film (yet) and live in an environment with extremely low humidity. My film is generally curled, but once dry, I put it in protective sleeves and place it under some heavy books for a few days. It's flat from then on.


-- Pete Caluori (, February 02, 2001.

Too much heat was the correct answer...turn it down!

-- Tony Novak-Clifford (, February 04, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ