Paper development stopped suddenly -- please help. : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

Last night I started to print with everything set up as usual. Several of the prints looked really washed out. So I figured it was either the negative or the chemicals so I stopped.

Tonight I started again with fresh chemicals. The same thing happened. I tried a negative I had printed before at 5.6 for 9 sec. The same thing happened. Only the main suject, basically whatever is black or dark gray can be seen and rest is washed out.

I opened up a new bottle of Ilford paper developer and did the print again adn the same thing happened.

Any idea why this is going on?

My equipment: Durst Graduate Enlarger 35mm (less than 2 weeks old) APO Rodagon 50/2.8 (purchased used) Ilford paper developer Kodak indicator stop bath Ilford rapid fix.

I've only been printing for a couple of weeks, but I have printed a couple of dozen prints with no problem. Please help.


-- Christina (, March 01, 2000


Christina, try this first as a test: take a test strip of your paper out, then turn on the room lights. Develop the strip (with the lights still on is fine); it should be able to get really dark in about a minute.

If the test strip doesn't get real dark, your developer is probably at fault in some way. If it DOES get dark, something about your exposure has changed for some reason. I don't know why it would; maybe you have a filter inserted somewhere and forgot about it, etc.

Try the developer test and if you don't get the problem solved, post your results back here. Good Luck!

-- Bill C (, March 02, 2000.

Hi. I did do that test. And the paper turned black within seconds. It's really weird. I didn't change anything unusual. I've been using the same filter -- Multigrade 2. The weirdest thing is that Tuesday night I printed several prints that came out just fine. Then right in the middle, the prints got washed out.

Gee, I was hoping it would be the chemicals. They are much easier to replace. THe thought of having to return the enlarger makes me fee sick. ... I'm just an amatuer but from what I've read the purpose of an enlarger is basically to hold a light bulb. And it seems to do that very well. No light leaks out. The column is very sturdy. The head stays put when i crank it to a certain place. The amount of light that passes through changes when I change the f-stop, etc.

Should I return the enlarger? I bought it at B&H and Sunday is 2 weeks.

Thanks in advance.

-- Christina (, March 02, 2000.

It sounds like the density of your negative changed, I don't think anything is wrong with you enlarger, 9 seconds is a very short exposure time, run a new test strip with the enlarger stopped down to f/16 and run one inch increments for 3 seconds each, somewhere in the strip you should find the time that is needed for proper exposure time and develope for at least a 1 1/2 minute minimum, (I alway do 3 min. on 8x10 prints with a brush). You might try this before replacing the enlarger. Regards, Pat

-- pat j. krentz (, March 02, 2000.

Clarification! I assumed that you used a different negative which would account for thin print, if not try the longer exposures according to the test strip. Pat

-- pat j. krentz (, March 02, 2000.

This may be stating the obvious, but you are monitoring the temperature of your developing bath to guarantee more consistent results? About 68 degrees is optimal. The colder the developer the more inactive it is. Thought it might be worth mentioning.

-- Paul Swenson (, March 02, 2000.

I may just be labelling myself as an idiot here, but I sometimes get a similar result when I place the paper upside down. With some papers, I find it hard to feel which side is which.

When I put one in upside down, I end up with a seriously underexposed print since the light has to travel through the paper.

-- Don Proctor (, March 03, 2000.

Another thought, how about the bulb? It may be ner the end of its life and reduced its output.

-- Terry Carraway (, March 03, 2000.

Another thought: contamination of the developer, either by the stop bath or fixer.

-- Peter Hughes (, March 03, 2000.

Clarification: make sure that you use separate tongs for developer, stop bath and fixer, and that none of the latter two solutions gets somehow carried back into the developer.

-- Peter Hughes (, March 03, 2000.

I second that you can get results like that, if you put the paper upside down...... done it several times (shame on me, I'll probably do it again some day.....)


-- Sakari Makela (, March 04, 2000.

It's surprising how easy that is to do if you're using matte paper. This was my first thought of possibility for this scenario, as well.. t

-- tom meyer (, March 05, 2000.

When I expose the back of the print, it comes out very faint... and considering the "matt-iest" paper I use if Agfa Semi-matt (which has a fair amount of sheen anyway) I think it's quite an achievment :) I don't do it that often but, I'll continue to do it no doubt!

-- Nigel Smith (, March 05, 2000.

I had almost the exact same problem last week and stressed for days trouble shooting. What solved it for me was a through washing of my developing tray and measuring cup I use for mixing developer. Hope this is all your problem is.

-- terry (, March 05, 2000.

Any chance your timer is acting up? Or if it's a digital one, that it got switched from 1x to 0.1x (mine has one of those switches) so that you're only giving 1/10 the time you might think you are? I sort of hesitate to suggest this, because the difference between about 1 second and almost 10 seconds should be something you'd notice, but if you're playing loud rock music or . . .

Another sort of stating-the-obvious questions is, any chance you're stopping down beyond 5.6? For example, if you normally focus at 2.8 and then close down two clicks to print, then on some negative you forget to open up to focus (perhaps because it's thinner and already looks bright on the easel) but close down two more stops, you'd be at 11 instead of 5.6. If you're reprinting the same negative you ought to notice this kind of brightness difference, but if the different negatives are different enough in density it might not be so obvious.

Just a couple of thoughts. Enlargers and bulbs are pretty simple devices, so there can't be too many things to go wrong. Let us know if you determine what the problem is - even if it's printing on the wrong side of the paper. There aren't very many of us who are in a position to cast the first stone on that one.

Cheers, Kip

-- Kip Babington (, March 06, 2000.

A big THANKS to all of you for responding. It turned out it was nothing but my own stupidity. The negative I freaked out over was one I had developed at school. I developed it at 5.6 for 9 seconds. When I did this at home the print was completely washed out. It never occurred to me that the maga enlarger at school is very different from the durst 35mm enlarger I have at home. To make a long story short, I finally printed the negative at 5.6 for 18 seconds.

Thanks again.


-- Christina (, March 06, 2000.

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