Condensation on film? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Today I got back some 4x5 chromes, and the person in the lab pointed out small, light-colored spots on one of them. The other chromes were normal. The spots look as though they may have been formed by water droplets that were on the film prior to the exposure. I think that the lab technician said that all of the images were processed together, so the processing probably isn't the cause.

A possible reason that I thought of is that condensation formed when I took the film from the cool inside air to the warm outside air (I shot the film in Florida). I've never had this problem with 35mm film in Florida, though.

Is condensation the cause, or could it be something else? I'd appreciate any help with this.

-- Matthew Runde (, January 24, 2002


Unfortunately, it sounds likely. Bill (Sarasota, FL)

-- (, January 24, 2002.

Condensation is very posible, but should not affect the emulsion as to stain it. If anything your image would look a little fuzzy, due to the condensation. I have had this happen to me before with my B&W film and did not see any staining on the film, being that condensate is very pure water I think the lab either made a boo boo, or that one sheet was affected by something else.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, January 24, 2002.

Hard to say, but was there enough temperature difference to cause condensation? Were the other chromes subjected to the same temperature change? Test with an exposed sheet to see if condensation forms under similar temperature change conditions. I've taken film from the fridge, and shot within a few moments at room temperatures, and hadn't noticed any condensation problems.

-- Michael Mahoney (, January 24, 2002.


I've had similar light spots on rare occasions. I thought it was a result of a droplet of one of the processing chemicals not being washed off on a timely basis. Because the film was processed in a machine and each of the bathes have nitrogen bubbles stirring the fluids, the lab owners felt that this was unlikely. Still... In their defense, it was limited to one film type and one emulsion batch within the film. I have to admit that it was possibly an emulsion flaw, which is what my lab suggested. In my case, I am sure that it was not condensation because I was working in the desert SW when it occurred.


-- Bruce M. Herman (, January 25, 2002.

my guess (without seeing the negs) is that it's something other than condensation. the tiny amount of condensation that would form on film in a sudden temperature-change condition would look like fog, not like droplets of water, and it would evaporate again pretty fast-- within a few seconds, even if the film went from freezer directly to room temp. to get actual droplets you'd need a continuing source of cold, like a pitcher of lemonade on a hot day; a sheet of film and the film holder would only collect a fine fog of condensation. or so i think...


-- chris jordan (, January 28, 2002.

It sounds like it's worth a sheet of film to run the experiment: pull the holder out of your fridge, go outside, pull the darkslide, and take a look.

-- Erik Ryberg (, January 28, 2002.

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