So 50 year old Ansco still has some life in it and the R3 works very well and is super easy to use, but I encountered three problems. A couple are obviously user error, probably all of them are.
As I am a researcher, I did a bit of research on shooting expired film. Numerous posts in numerous photo communities suggested shooting at one stop over, so that’s what I did, sort of.
Ansco Versapan is/was an ISO 125 film. The FG has 1/3 clicks for ISO, so I could’ve hit 125, and probably could’ve hit 62.5 (or close enough to it), but I shot it at 50 instead, which resulted in overexposure.
I also left the film in the tank for an extra 20 or 30 seconds, so it got a bit overdeveloped.
Problem 2) Dust in the Tank.
I hadn’t developed any film in more than a month, and when I put all my toys away after the last time, I didn’t really put them all away: one reel was on the spindle and resting crosswise in the top of the tank; the other reel was laying on the table; the light-tight lid was upside down in between the other two.
I wiped the tank out, but didn’t vacuum it or use a blower on it or wash it.
Believe me when I say I washed the tank, dried it and sealed it up after this fiasco.
Problem 3) Hot/Sweaty Hands.
I had a long week at work, but it came to an abrupt end when I ran out of hours at 1:45pm on Thursday, so I came home and mowed the lawn, so I would have the time free over the impromptu long weekend, and so we could enjoy a freshly-mown lawn over the impromptu long weekend.
After mowing, I took a shower and cooled off a bit, then went out and finished off the roll on some beautiful weeds I’ve been cultivating on part of the compost pile.
Despite cooling down well, I got a bit stressed when I couldn’t find the church key that I use to open the film canisters, and my hands began to sweat about 10 seconds after sticking them in the bag. By the time I finally got the film on the reel (it took a couple of tries, and I had to pull the film off and start over again three times), the inside of the darkbag was sticking to my hands and arms.
I believe this humidity caused the negatives to stick together a bit, or caused something to happen that led to the splotches of dark/light all over most of the roll.
I wonder if a prewash or presoak might’ve helped… When I do this again, I’ll probably prewash the film.
Problem 4) Failure to Follow Instructions.
Instructions for R3 clearly say to not agitate after the first few seconds. I took that to mean that I shouldn’t agitate again, not that I shouldn’t agitate at all, and did a bit of swirling and tapping after pouring the developer in.
When I do this again, I’ll tap again, but I won’t use the agitation stick thingy. I will use it during the presoak though: believe.
Despite these problems, I think one or two of these have some potential… in particular the peeling billboard and CVS one. Properly toned and processed, I think a nice print might be had from that.
And there were a few pictures from one bit of film near the end of the roll—part that went onto the reel first, and would therefore be near the middle of the reel: this might be significant if pictures after didn’t also display the same problems.
I’ll share those later.
For now, please let me know if I’ve mis-interpreted anything, or if you have any thoughts that might help. Thanks in advance!