Anti-static spray for ULF filmholders, Suggestions? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello all,

I have been using 4x5 and 8x10 filmholders in a changing bag for the last couple of years without too much dust problems.

I now am also using some banquet cameras (7x17 and 12x20) and have had many more problems with dust on the film than I have had in the past with the smaller formats. I suspect that it has to do with the filmholders touching the tent while changing the film.

I also think that the plastic darkslides will tend to build up a static charge when being pulled or inserted into the holder, which contributes to the problem.

I was thinking about trying an anti-static spray on the filmholders, one made by Modern Solutions or maybe Optimax. Does anyone have any suggestions on a solution that is proven to work for filmholders?

As always, your thoughts and comments are appreciated.


-- Michael Mutmansky (, April 22, 2001


How do you know that dust isn't coming from the film packaging? It's interesting that you didn't previously experience this problem. For example, at my place of work, we routinely use 18x24 and larger sheets of film. This film is intended for a class 1000 clean room, is packaged in a clean room, yet we still have occassional bouts with dust.

One way to check your holders prior to loading film is to use a UV light. Under UV light, dust stands out like bright little specks. Note that UV light will expose film, so don't open your box of film until the light has been turned off.

After opening a fresh box, place the film in another box and check the inside of your new film box with the UV light. What do you see? Remove the film from the bag to another box and bag for safe keeping and check the black bag, both on the inside and outside. You might be surprised.

Brush the inside of your holders slowly to limit the amount of static electricity that gets generated. You might consider purchasing one of those Fred Picker electrostatic brushes that's supposed to discharge static electricity. I haven't tried one myself, but it sounds interesting. Another possibility is the find a de-ionizer fan that gets sold for clean rooms. These can also help reduce static.

Just some thoughts.

-- neil poulsen (, April 22, 2001.

I find the 4-inch Kinetronics brush very effective for dusting my 8x10" holders, negs, lenses, and just about anything else. The anti-static effect seems to taper off, though, after 6-8 months or so.

-- David Goldfarb (, April 22, 2001.

Ilford anti-static cloths; Ilford anti-static cloths; Ilford anti-static cloths Need a wipe-down solution: Edwal LFN per instruction: this last item, one of the most neglected in all of photography

-- David Stein (, April 22, 2001.

Michael, I don't mean to gross you out but the best way I have found to deal with this problem in the field is to drag the slide through my armpit just before turning it to reload. And it doesn't hurt if you are a little sweaty either. The moisture serves to discharge the static. Another thing you may want to check is dust accumulation in the light trap. If the holders you mentioned are older than your smaller ones they may never have been blown out. Canned air is not strong enough. You need 80 psi or so and simply drag the nozzel across the slot where the slide is inserted, with the slide removed. If the build-up is severe, you will see quite a puff of dust while doing this.

Hope this helps,

-- Bruce Wehman (, April 24, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ