drying marks on film

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I just finished some testing with Tri-X and HP5. After developing and washing I put the sheets, one at a time, in a tray of Photo-flo for roughly 20 seconds and then hung them to dry by their notched corners with reversed wood clothes pins. It was interesting that all the Tri-X sheets have drying marks on their bottom corners while the HP5 have no residual drying marks at all. Both films were put in the same batch of diluted Photo-flo. Any ideas? Does this mean I need to use a higher concetrate of Photo-flo with Tri-X? Also, I use distilled water when mixing my working solutions of Photo-flo.

-- Chip Williams (chip@ward-williams.com), June 13, 2001


I haven't used Tri-X, only HP5 and Arista 400. It sure sounds like you did everything by the book.

Did you bathe the HP5 and then the Tri- X or were they intermingled? Have you tried alcohol or Edwals drying agent? How about blotting e'er so gently the corners where the water collects with a paper towel?

-- Sean yates (coalandice@yahoo.com), June 14, 2001.

Chip. Only a thought , but try leaving the film in the photo-flo for a bit longer. I leave sheets in for about a minute and use very dilute photo-flo and, so far, no drying marks. Regards Pa

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), June 14, 2001.

Chip: I shoot a lot of Tri-x. I use distilled water, with half the recommended amount of Edwal's version of photo flo (little bottle, lasts your whole life, I think it's called LN or something like that) which works out to one or two drops per quart. It works really well. I do keep about 6 ounces of the solution out of the tray and in a beaker while the film is soaking in the tray. After picking it up out of the tray, I flow a rinse of the stuff over the film holding it vertically if I see any drops, bubbles, etc. on the surface. If you hold the dried film just right in the light you can see drying marks (sometimes), subtle patterns where it dried. These do not show up at all when printed with a cold light head. Are you sure what you are seeing actually prints? I do blot the collected water off the bottom corner a couple times while they are drying.

-- Kevin Crisp (KRCrisp@aol.com), June 14, 2001.

You don't mention lightly daubing the lowest corner (where the water settles) with Photo Wipes or something similar roughly half way through the drying process. That should fix the problem if by "drying marks" you mean a mark left by the droplet of water that tends to collect on the lowest corner of sheet film when the film is hung at an angle to dry.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis60@earthlink.net), June 14, 2001.

Try using 2 drops of Edwal LFN (low foam wetting agent) to a liter of distilled water for your final rinse before drying. LFN is a superior product--I haven't had water marks in ages, and a small bottle of LFN last me about 5 years.

-- Ed Buffaloe (edb@unblinkingeye.com), June 14, 2001.

I would like to echo the endorsement for Edwal LFN, far superior to Photo-Flo which gets too foamy and can leave its own residue. I also use LFN as a final rinse for fiber mural prints which are too large to be squeegeed. A few drops in a wash tray, roll the print through gently (emulsion side out), and hang from a clothesline. No drying marks or bumps. Cheers.

-- Sandy Sorlien (sand44@mindspring.com), June 14, 2001.

When you place wet negs in the photoflo/distilled water rinsing bath, after a few sheets there will be some minerals in the water. If you have a large number of prints to wash, try replacing your distilled water/photoflo bath more often. You didn't mention if the stained negatives were the last ones processed. If they were, I'll bet that you are getting an accumulation of dissolved minerals transferred to the final rinse bath.

-- George Huczek (ghuczek@sk.sympatico.ca), June 14, 2001.

I have 30 years of negs with drying marks. The next 30 year batch wil be immaculate thanks to a tip from Lloyd Erlick: after washing in your usual fashion hang the negs to dry (alligator clips) and spray them lavishly with distilled water from a spray bottle, both sides of the film. Works great. See www.heylloyd.com

Hans Berkhout

-- Hans Berkhout (berkhout@cadvision.com), June 14, 2001.

I use Brian Ellis' daub method and no photo flo. Straight from the wash to the drying line. I have never had a water spot on 4X5 or 8X10, smaller formats are a different story, who knows why. I daub with a clean towel, you don't have to touch the film with the towel, just touching the water will wick the drop off of the film.

I may just be lucky that our tap water is clean enough to do this, otherwise you can use distilled water as was also suggested.

-- Marv (mthompsonn@home.com), June 14, 2001.

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