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Author Topic: removing dust from negatives  (Read 14378 times)
tgphoto
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« on: August 11, 2008, 12:17:04 PM »
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Just wondering what people use to remove dust from negatives?

I try to keep my studio space clean, but it seems like dust is one of those inevitable things.

Should I use canned air?  camel hair brush?  anti static wipes? something else?

Currently just using a rocket blower before scanning but I know there has to be something better out there.
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neile
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2008, 08:44:25 AM »
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Just wondering what people use to remove dust from negatives?

I try to keep my studio space clean, but it seems like dust is one of those inevitable things.

Should I use canned air?  camel hair brush?  anti static wipes? something else?

Currently just using a rocket blower before scanning but I know there has to be something better out there.
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I assume the dust is just sitting gently on the surface of the negative rather than being stuck to the negative from bad drying. If that's the case, a blast of compressed air from an air compressor is an effective way to clean it away. I shy away from anything that would actually touch the negative.

Canned air isn't, in my opinion, strong enough to do anything  A good long shot on both sides from the air compressor after the film is loaded in the negative carrier does wonders.

Neil
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Neil Enns
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dalethorn
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2008, 07:58:37 AM »
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I did this for years, with 100 percent good results.  I used a small rubber ear syringe to blow air onto the negative, then a decent lens brush to dislodge any resistant particles, then the syringe to blow air again.
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neile
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2008, 09:36:52 AM »
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I forgot to mention that canned compressed air is scary for another reason: they can often spit propellant liquid out along with the air. Bad mojo for your precious negative!
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2008, 10:54:53 AM »
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I forgot to mention that canned compressed air is scary for another reason: they can often spit propellant liquid out along with the air. Bad mojo for your precious negative!
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Yes, but if you use an air compressor make sure you've got a filter in the nozzle or you can spray oil from the compressor on to your negative, and that wouldn't be fun.  And if using a brush, remember to keep it clean or the dust can accumulate in the bristles and it becomes sandpaper over time.

Mike.
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2008, 01:34:21 PM »
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Well now, personal experience over many thousands of negs, both 35mm and 6x6, may frighten the cojones off some of you, but what I did was this: lay the negative, emulsion down, on top of some clean white card (the back of olde worlde WSG) and hold it firmly by the edge of the rebate so that it can´t move; breath on it from a safe but close distance and, with the fleshy bit of your pinkie or ring finger gently rub the negative away from you in one direction only. It will remove any signs of drying marks (I did use wetting agent dips after washing) and, in all those years, never a scratch. In extremis, touch the outside of the nostril with the same finger and the natural oils there will clean intransigent material away when breath fails to do the trick. Should you get sputum on the thing, you´ve just effed a negative, so be careful.

Once in the film holder, I used a fine artist´s brush to remove any dust that was visible under the oblique rays from the enlarger.

The technique above also works well when cleaning transparencies for mounting.

Sound too violent? Perhaps it does, but then I always took care of my hands... Perhaps I should employ an emoticon - nah - but possible squeals of anguish in response apart, I never did suffer negative damage with the method.

Before doing this on something that matters, try it yourself on a scrap bit of film to check out the state of your fingers and/or oils!

Rob C
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