Curling Negatives : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

Why do my negatives curl up after I hang them to dry? How can I get them to stay straight? Does it matter?

-- David Sinai (, September 04, 2001


Attach light weights, such as a clothespin or two, to the bottom ends of the rolls when you hang them to dry. This reduces the film's rolling up from the ends, which seems most pronounced in 35mm film and can complicate cutting and inserting the film into sleeves and negative carriers. Even if you reduce this sort of curling, the film will be somewhat concave in the narrow dimension as the emulsion dries and tries to draw the sprocket holes together. This seems to be permanent but is no great inconvenience.

-- Keith Nichols (, September 04, 2001.


Me again.

The above advice is good. I have found a lot depends on the film you are using. With Kodak, Ilford Fuji or Agfa films the curling is minimal and with using weights to dry, there is no problem. If I use Eastern European film such as Foma etc, the curling is really bad, so it must be something to do with what type of base material is uded or how it is formed/rolled in manufacture.

Good luck.

-- RICHARD ILOMAKI (, September 04, 2001.


I was having a real bad time with Tri-X (TX in 120) developed in PMK. I did a normal 20 minute wash then hung it in the negative drier and the film edges actually began touching. I didn't have this problem wiht HP5+. I speculated it might be related to the long wash. I then just air dried the TX next time out and there was minimal curling. If you are using a negative drier, you might consider just air drying and see if that helps.


-- John Welton (, September 04, 2001.

This way will give You fine negatives: ===.=========================.== . . . . threads, attached like this . . by means of small "fish hooks" . . . . . . +-------+ | | | | | | | | Film | | | | | | +-------+ | | O O <-- "heavy" trolling spoones


-- Lars Kristensen (, September 05, 2001.

Hi again! My picture didn't work!! What I intended to show you was that when I hang up the film I try to pull the upper anchor parts of the film away by means of threads and "fish" hooks. At the bottom part I attach two "heavy" trolling spoones. It works fine!


-- Lars Kristensen (, September 05, 2001.

Anyone washing film for long periods, such as 20 minutes, should use a fix-eliminator solution following fixing and wash for only a few minutes at most. Besides saving water, this will reduce undue softening of the emulsion, and maybe reduce curling.

-- Keith Nichols (, September 05, 2001.

Since I started using PhotoFlo, my Ilford films no longer curl. I'm quite happy now that my 120 negs dry flat.

-- JM Woo (, September 05, 2001.

Keith, Gordon Hutchins recommends you not use HCA (fixer remover) after the wash as it removes the stain. I do use Kodak Photoflo before I hang my negatives though. Yes, the 20 min was does soften the emulsion and I have to be exceptionally careful not to touch or roughly handle the negative. I usually keep the reel in the tank in photoflow then when I am ready to hang, bring the tank to the dryer, invert the reel sideways the clip the end of the negative and then just gently pull off the neg from the reel as I reach to hang the film to dry. Works quite nicely, then clip the dangling end. (easier to show than explain).

-- John Welton (, September 05, 2001.

It all depends on the base. Fomapan, which was mentionned before, has a very high quality, extremely sturdy base. It is very hard to punch through, will take enormous abuse BUT does curl (it has less curl on the most recent version). If the base has a curl processing and post processing will not affect it. You will have to live with it. Fotoflo will certainly not help.

-- Volker Schier (, September 06, 2001.

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