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Recently shot and developed two rolls of Kentmere 400 35mm b&w film, using a Minolta X-570 SLR. There are thick black bands of various sizes cutting vertically across my negatives. They seem to happen in sets of two or three, and they seem to be randomly distributed across the film. The last time I developed film from this camera was years ago, but I never experienced this problem.

Here's a photo of a set of three (there's a very faint band to the right of the two more prominent ones): enter image description here

https://goo.gl/photos/keSkmfBnW9nTyBPJ7

What is causing these bands and how can I prevent them in the future?

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It appears you have an intermittent light leak that is reaching the film while it is wound tightly on a spool, possibly the take up spool inside the camera. The distance between the bands in your sample and the differences in intensity look like the same event caused all three at a time when the area with the darkest band was on top and the areas with the medium and lightest bands were layered directly underneath.

If your camera was sitting up for a while be sure to check all of the light seals around the back cover and be sure the felt or other material hasn't rotted. For any rubber components be sure they haven't turned into a nasty goo.

If you develop your own film also check the changing bag and developing tank for possible light leaks. And though I doubt it is the source of your trouble here, be sure to remove a watch with luminous hands before inserting your arms into the changing bag.

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    It is also possible that the film roll were either defective or was opened and inserted in the camera in a sunny day. The roll should be opened and charged on the camera in a dim light. The same when extracted from the camera, and must be put in shade. I remember the kodak "bottle" was better than fuji's, becouse was actually black. – Rafael Oct 15 '15 at 4:18
  • I'm also wondering if the film sat in storage for a long time, possibly in sub-optimal conditions where it might have been subjected to low light for a long period of time. – Octopus Oct 15 '15 at 6:54
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    If the exposure to light was while the film was in the cartridge and outside the camera, the darkest line would always be near the front end of the roll and the randomness the OP describes would not be occurring. – Michael C Oct 15 '15 at 12:37
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    I checked and the felt on the back cover has indeed almost completely worn off. Shot off a quick roll of film today with the back of the camera taped up with black electrical tape. I developed today's roll in the same tank as a roll I shot last weekend before I knew about this problem. Last weekend's roll has the bands, but today's roll is perfect! Looks like it was a light leak, though it's only an n of 1. Thanks so much everyone for the help. – Andrea Oct 15 '15 at 22:11

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