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Is that mistake what caused this strange bleeding effect of the shadows? See image below:

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You can really see it above my keyboard here on the phone holder. It's like a big blob of shadow.

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This is Kentmere 400 developed with D-76, Kodak fixer and water. I accidentally poured the fixer in immediately after the developer instead of a stop bath (water) in between. I was expecting far worse results than this. Moreover this is a test roll from a camera I just picked up (Nikon N2020 with Nikkor AF 50mm f1.8) and I used it in aperture priority.

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No harm no fowl! We use stop bath, a mild acid rinse to stop the developing action. The next step is the fixer. The fixer is also acid. It gets its acidity from acetic acid which is a chief ingredient in the fixer.

A stop bath is recommended because the acetic acid neutralizes the alkalinity of the developer. This action prolongs the life of the fixer. Skipping the stop did not prevent the fixer from doing its job, it only shortens its useful life.

You can test the fixer by swishing a test sliver of film in a thimble full of fixer. You do this in the light and watch the film change from opaque to milky to clear. A safe fix time will be twice as long, in seconds, as it takes for the film to turn clear.

  • thank you Alan for this detailed answer. this is the third roll I've developed so far, so I was expecting to waste at least a little bit of materials. apparently I need to label the cylinders more vividly. – ChumiestBucket Nov 1 '18 at 13:24
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The problem is probably not directly that you scan with colour settings, but that you scan with dust and scratch removal enabled. Epson calls this technology 'Digital ICE' and you should be able to find a setting for it in your scan software.

When scanning colour films, 'Digital ICE' is likely per default enabled. When scanning black and white films, 'Digital ICE' is likely per default disabled. Therefore the problem might seem to be solved by switching between colour and b&w modes, but if you for some reason want to scan b&w film with colours, you should be able to do so by scanning the film as a colour film, but you will then have to disable 'Digital ICE' manually.

The 'Digital ICE' technology for automatic dust and scratch removal scans the film under infrared light. Colour film is almost transparent to infrared light, so whereever the scanner 'sees' a shadow or less light, it interprets it as dust, a scratch or otherwise damaged area of the film and somehow tries to guess what it was supposed to look like by analyzing the surrounding area. The silver in b&w film is however not transparent to infrared light, so if you scan b&w film with ICE enabled, the scanner will see much of the real image as damaged and try to repair it.

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After some research and fooling around, it seems that I was simply using 48-bit colour instead of 16-bit greyscale on my Epson Scanner software.

Another photographer pointed it out to me and said they sometimes scan B&W on colour mode to bring out some colour-ish tones in certain films, but it can lead to severe clipping.

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