Ilford FP4 125, developed in a Paterson tank with Ilfosol 3 1+14 for 7.5 minutes @20C, Ilfostop, Ilford Rapid fixer. As far as I can tell, exactly as required ... no intentional liberties or experiments were involved.

But it looks like what should be solid black has been washed out ... can anyone kindly point me towards the processing error I've made here, and whether there is a technical term for it?

(I'm not saying that this effect is not 100% groovy and artistic mind you)

enter image description here enter image description here

Edit: New film, same process but fresh fixer ... so I think I'm going to call this a fixing problem for now. I'll dip the bad 'uns in fresh fixer and see if it does anything to them also.

enter image description here

  • \$\begingroup\$ How was it agitated? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 14:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ A few brisk twirls with the tank's agitation stick initially (plus a couple of bench taps), then on every minute a single, gentle invert-and-back-again of the tank (plus a couple of bench taps). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 14:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Same for the fixing btw. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 14:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you made prints from the negatives or have you just scanned them? If you have scanned them, are you sure that you have disabled any infra-red dust removal functionality in your scanner and/or scanner software? \$\endgroup\$
    – jarnbjo
    Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 9:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Scanned ... yes I disabled everything and did a pretty vanilla scan. Scanner fault was also on my mind, but from directly examining the images these look to be accurate. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 9:45

3 Answers 3


For me this looks like pseudo-solarisation. Also known as Sabattier effect. This can happen when film or photo paper are exposed to light after the start of development. It can be counted as artistic effect, but its very hard to be managed (when and how much light to expose film or paper)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Gosh, it does! But I wonder how that could have happened ... do you think that could be from a problem with the fixing? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 12:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidAldridge, I do not have deep knowledge in chemistry, but AFAIK this effect is caused by light. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 13:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ It could also be normal solarisation, which happens if the film is overexposed by a large amount. \$\endgroup\$
    – jpa
    Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 6:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jpa, IMHO if the film is overexposed before develop it will be entirely blowout \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 6:37
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks @jpa - I think that's unlikely in this case as the shutter speeds were all pretty quick (this was just some test shots on an Olympus XA handheld) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 9:27

Throw it back in the fixer and see if that helps. Looks like it isn't fixed fully to me.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah ... I'm not sure if they're restorable as decent images. Maybe for test purposes I'll just leave them out in the light for a bit and see if the images change any more. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 9:28
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Well, that dripping look on the bottom of the second image often is the result I get when I have under fixed (or not enough agitation). If the trees should be black, that means little to no light hit that part of the film. Developer won't do anything but the fixer will take that area away completely. So it makes sense that the actual white areas look fine (since they didn't need to be fixed as much). It can't hurt to toss it in some fixer for a few minutes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kevin
    Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 15:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, the foreground foliage and trees in the 2nd image should be very dark. I'll give one of the negatives a dip in fresh fixer and see how she comes out. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 19:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidAldridge Did you fix (pun intended) the problem with fresh fixer? \$\endgroup\$
    – jarnbjo
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 15:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry Kevin, I didn't. Work got ahead of my last week, and I think the moment might have passed. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 8:00

I've had this happen years ago when printing from non-solarized negatives. The resulting print had metallic silver in the some of the border areas where the tone reverses. My experience was decades ago in high school photo class, but if memory serves, the issue arose because there was something funny about the developer.

  • It's hard to tell from your images above -- are any of the gray areas actually metallic?
  • Is there any chance your batch of developer was old?
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Eiríkr - the developer was fresh from the bottle, which is itself fairly new. It was mixed 1+14 for single use. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 13:06

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