Conrad Hoffman , Jun 11, 2001; 11:56 p.m.
Mysteries are great fun, unless you happen to be the one with the problem! Do you know anyone who will loan you a "good" negative, or do you have anything shot in the past that you know prints well. I'd see if you can still make a good print from a known good neg. That will at least insure you're working on the right end of the problem. Some of what you describe could be subtle camera motion or focus problems- they rob snap and contrast before you notice actual blur. Your processing sounds fine. I'm not a fan of presoaks, but lots of people do it without issue. What kind of tank do you use and exactly how do you agitate? Full inversions? Time per inversion? What does it sound like? Is the tank completely full or partially full? How big a tank? Does your water smell or taste funny? If you draw a quart or so into a clean glass jug, does anything settle out of it? How much deposit do you get when you boil it? Is it hard to get soap to lather, or hard to rinse it off? Does anything settle out of your Dektol? Could you have gotten a bad batch of HC-110? (hey, anything's possible) Has anyone ever broken a mercury thermometer in the area where you store your film or paper? Do you store anything else with your film and paper. Lots of questions, admittably to get ideas going.