"Streamers" on negs with Stoeckler dev

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Hi - any help/advice about this will be gratefully received! I have been using the Stoeckler neg dev formula with roll-film for a while but am having trouble with "streamers" - small tapering trails of uneven density along the edges of some negs on most rolls of film, usually in high density areas like skies. Not all the negs on one roll are affected.

As I intend to use 5x7 film soon (already got the camera, s/h Gandolfi) and like the effect of the Stoeckler formula (apart from the defects mentioned above) I want to know if I am doing something wrong or whether I should use a different dev.

I agitate for 15 secs per min in sol. A and not at all in sol. B, although I have tried agitating for less time in A and for 5 secs each minute in B. I've also tried using a rod instead of agitation. I use distilled water to mix the chemicals and a water bath to keep temp at 20 degrees C.

I don't use a stop bath of any sort between A and B and only a plain water rinse before fixing. My fix and washing routine work well with other devs that I mix - no probs here.

I have varied the time in both solutions - from 7 mins to 3 mins in A (standardised on 5 mins) and 3 mins in B (have tried 4 mins).

I bracket with rollfilm so am not too worried about losing a few frames (although its always the one that looks best that is afected) but I am not prepared to waste my time and money on this dev with 5x7 sheet film, so guidance/advice will be really helpful.

Thanks, Neil.

-- Neil Miller (nkd-miller@thefreeinternet.co.uk), February 15, 2002


You're correct in identifying the problem as caused by insufficient agitation; it's most likely insufficient both in time and vigor.

Agitation in part A should be the same as for any other conventional developer; 30 seconds initial continuous brisk inversion followed by five seconds inversion every 30 seconds or 10 seconds every minute etc. Ideally there would be a complete solution exchange at the entire surface of the film; the only way to do this with an inversion tank is to use it at half-capacity, leaving a large air space.

Agitation in part B will need to be from the usual five seconds every 30 seconds etc up to continuous agitation, whatever it takes for sufficient evenness and no artifacts.

You can certainly do this with sheetfilm in trays; during each agitation cycle lift the film entirely from the developer and plunge it back in continually for the length of the agitation period. The drawback is that you can develop only one sheet at a time.

-- John Hicks (jhicks@bellsouth.net), February 15, 2002.

Your problem was correctly analyzed as insufficient agitation. I would like to point out that while you may develop 5x7 sheet film one at a time, it is not necessary that you do so. You may develop multiple sheets simultaeously, "shuffling" the film in the developer. I have used this technique on 5 x 7 film for over ten years.

You may have to sacrifice some film to "practice" the technique, but it is worthwhile before you start developing "real" images.

-- Joe Lipka (joelipka@earthlink.net), February 15, 2002.

Shuffling is certainly the answer, Neil. Do not , and i stress do not , use those film hangers because they will more than likely give you negatives overdeveloped at the edges.

-- domenico (applethorpe@earthlink.net), February 16, 2002.

Many thanks for the help, guys, particularly as you all responded so soon. It's good to know that help is out there!

The reason I seemed hell-bent on reducing agitation in bath A and eliminating it in bath B is from reading about the dev from various sources on the net who recommend this procedure. The next lot of film will be developed as you say, though, and I'll report the difference.

Domenico - I've just bought a bundle of used hangers via Ebay - damn! I thought that they would be ideal for holding film under the surface of the dev - while I wasn't agitating it in bath B - looks like I'm wrong on both counts. Thought I was being clever, too.

Thanks again for your help.


-- Neil Miller (nkd-miller@thefreeinternet.co.uk), February 16, 2002.

While you can certainly develop more than one sheet at a time in a tray by shuffling, this becomes continuous agitation and edge/adjacency effects may not be as great as with intermittent agitation.

Personally I don't think it makes any significant difference and the evenness of continuous agitation imho more than makes up for any deficiency of edge/adjacency effects.

-- John Hicks (jhicks@bellsouth.net), February 18, 2002.

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