Pre-wetting: do you do it?
Old 03-30-2008   #1
DGA
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Pre-wetting: do you do it?

Hi,
I'm developing my own B&W films for about 8 months now and I've never pre-wet the rolls.
My resulting negs are good and I'm satisfied with then and the pirint/scans I produce.

Up to a week ago I didn't know about the pre-wetting operation that some people use to do before the actual development take place.
  • Do you use to pre-wet your rolls?
  • And if so, what are the advangages that you see in this routine than start the developing process on a dry roll?
  • I know that the published development times are for dry rolls, what are the compensation times for starting up the development with a pre-wet roll?
  • Do you see any changes with the results on a pre-wet film when comparing to a film developped in the regullar manner?
Thanks in advance - Dotan.
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Old 03-30-2008   #2
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Kodak PX125 (in 120) developed in XTOL 1:3 showed some small dark spots on the negs, caused by small air bubbles on the film. Pre-wetting in water for ~ 30sec before developing solved the problem. (I kept the developing time identical)
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Old 03-30-2008   #3
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I've tried both ways and never been able to discern any difference ... but I am always very careful to make sure that the instant the developer is in the tank I bang it down fairly hard a couple of times on the bench top to dislodge any potential bubbles on the film surface ... to avoid the problem that maddoc describes.
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Old 03-30-2008   #4
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I previously did that, but stopped. I see no difference and Ilford don't recommend pre-rinse for it's films in processing instruction.
It may be desirable for short processing times to prevent uneven development.
I usually adjust developer dilution to processing time at least 10 minutes (usually 13-14). it gives more consistent results, because small time errors have less or no effect in that case.
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Old 03-31-2008   #5
sepiareverb
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I don't pre-wet films unless:

1) I've got a development time under 4 minutes
or
2) I'm running sheet films in trays- too easy to get films to stick together going from dry to wet

I've never seen any difference with regular development times (over 4 minutes) in roll film. Kodak has gone back and forth on pre-wetting films over the years, Ilford doesn't mention it. If you find inconsistent development or air-bells by all means try it, but I've seen careful agitation and a good solid smack to the tank after agitation eliminate both.
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Old 03-31-2008   #6
Steve Williams
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I started doing in when I was seeing slightly heavier development at the long edges of my film. Turned out I was just being a bit too aggressive with my agitation. But I have never stopped a pre-wet step. Maybe now is the time...
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Old 03-31-2008   #7
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Well, the picture starts getting clearer:

Pre-rinse will not change the appearance of the final results
It's unnecessary for long development times (longer than 10min, at least)
For shorter dev times (4-5min) the pre-rinse is used for eliminating the need for the 'bang-bang' routine at the start of the development. still, the one minute continuous agitation is required anyhow.

I use Tetenal-Ultrafin and (recently) HC-110.
My main emulsions are Fuji Neopan 400 (which I sometimes push up to EI 1600), Neopan Acros and Neopan 1600.
Mostly (except for getting extra contrast with the Acros) I tend to be in dev times above 10 minutes.
Thanks a lot, guys. I think I'll pass this one
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Old 04-04-2008   #8
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I've done it for years, see no reason to stop. It helped solve some minor issues early on, and at this point it's just part of my routine.
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Old 04-04-2008   #9
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I've never pre-wet films and never seen any need to.
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Old 04-06-2008   #10
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A quick update:
Two days ago I developed a single Neopan 100SS roll that I took some months ago.
I did my first pre-rinse on that one. I did it only out of curiosity.
Well, I didn't see any difference in the results (except for a very slight increeze in density)

But during the preparations for the development I figured out another two reasons for pre-wetting with some chilled distilled water:
1. You lower with it the starting point temperature of the film and the tank. (you might need to do so if the room temperature is high).
2. Saving the water for later, you can use it for the post-wash stage, just add some wetting-agent to it after the pre-rinsing, and use it after you washed the developed film.
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Old 04-06-2008   #11
Justin Low
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I too, see no need to pre-wet film before development.

I process at 30ºC, so my developing times are usually quite short, but by pouring in the developer into the tilted tank, much like how one would pour a drink into a tilted glass, I have minimized any air bells on the film surface.
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Old 04-06-2008   #12
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I'm not the most methodical man, but when I am diluting the developer if I have some spare water then I'll pour it into the tank whilst I'm getting ready to develop the film. My thinking is that it'll get the film and tank to the same temp as the forthcoming developer. No idea if it does any good or harm and I don't do it every time.
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Old 04-07-2008   #13
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I prewet, but it's only because I've nothing better to while the dev chills!
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Old 04-07-2008   #14
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Some developers do not permit a pre-soak. Diafine is one such. If you pre-soak the film, the emulsion fills up with water and won't absorb the Solution A, so your film will not develop.

I did post this last week, but it vanished. Of all the posts I've made, that was about the least controversial I can imagine, so I have no idea why it was deleted. If it is deleted again, I'd kind of like to know why.
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Old 04-07-2008   #15
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I've never done it and don't plan to do it.
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Old 04-07-2008   #16
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I do it with Ilford FP-4+, HP-5+ and Delta 400 films when developing with HC-110 because without the pre-wet I have too much foam. I do not pre-wet when I develop FP-4+ with Rodinal.
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Old 04-07-2008   #17
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Ilford Party Line: No need. There is a theoretical slight disadvantage (possible loss of some film additives) but this has not been born out by their tests.

Bill: Exactly. All 2-bath developers depend on imbibition of dev by the film in the first bath.

Personal experience: waste of time.

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Old 04-07-2008   #18
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yes, but only because it takes a little water to get the pour spout on my steel tanks going.
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