Anybody fooling around with graphic arts films?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Rich Ullsmith, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    Here's the set-up. Bunch of who knows how old and how it was stored Kodak graphic arts film. Box of chemicals to make DK-50, which is what is on the data sheet. The hydroquinone and the metol are probably as old as the film, but the rest of the chemistry the age probably doesn't matter. The idea is to enlarge a 6X6 negative onto a sheet of the film. The light source is a cold lamp with no filter. Safelights in the darkroom are all red. Everything is pretty close to 70f.

    Tests strips suggested an exposure of 5 seconds at f22, with an 80mm lens. The data sheet said something to the effect "expose it like you would a sheet of enlarging paper." 5 seconds at f22 is not something I normally do.

    What's bothering me is even with very short exposures and extended development, I didn't get any infectious development. I got plenty of development, but it looks like a normal positive instead of a very harsh high contrast image that I was expecting.

    I did a fog check on the film, and it looks good. Of course, I don't know what this film is supposed to look like anyway.

    The DK-50 recipe I was working from called for a "balanced alkali," which I assumed sodium carbonate would work. Sounds pretty balanced, anyways. Bad assumption?

    I don't have anything but the transparencies yet, or I would visually share my troubles. Or lack of troubles. The transparencies are gorgeous on the light box when they are doubled up.

    Any and all wisdom on the handling and care of graphic arts film would be appreciated.
     
  2. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    I use something similar: Kodak Imagelink Microfilm and rate it at EI 1 for continuous tone. For graphic arts 'highest contrast' applications it would be rated at about EI 16. I get low shadow detail even at EI 1 but it is not a entirely lacking when rated at EI 1 for continuous tone. The sharpness is amazing. For continuous tone with Imagelink I use the following: 6g sodium sulfite plus 1.5g metol per liter. NO accelerator. My ambient temp is 80F and the time with continuous agitation (ferris wheel method with tank in water bath at 80F turning on its side continuously) is 5 minutes. Fixation is easily accomplished with a standard film fixer, but diluted to about 4 or 5 times, as this film fixes rapidly.

    If your ''graphic arts' product which you use is similar, and takes advantage of 'infectious development' thereby rendering highest contrast, you would be best suited to use Dektol for contrast in the extreme. DK-50 is also OK but its level of hydroquinone is identical to the metol (ie, both at 2.5g per liter). Dekol has four times as much hydroquinone.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2012
  3. rtuttle

    rtuttle Member

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    It all depends on which kind of Graphic Arts type of films you have. There were essentially 3. Lith which used a chemistry that was extremely reactive but was generally only good for half a day before it oxidized itself out. Then Rapid Access which the chemistry was good for weeks (I still use RA in my imagesetter) and then there was a hybrid which gave you the lith quality with the ease of rapid access. I believe Kodak's version was called Ultrastar (I used the Agfa version (Agfastar) for years and it was fantastic!). If you have a hybrid film, you're not going to find any useful chemistry available and it wont develop correctly in either (maybe in the lith chemistry but certainly not in ra) chemistry as it will fog. Now a days we have a laser imagesetter which writes directly onto ra film but in the old days we had the big cameras and used tons of that stuff! If you have any questions hit me up I probably have some product line notes available still packed away!
     
  4. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    Well, this all started at the used book store. I found this book "Darkroom Dynamics," really fantastic book. The chapter on high contrast photography pertained to different techniques with graphic arts film. And I went, aha! I think I have all the stuff I need laying around.

    The film I have just says Kodak Graphic Arts Film on the box. The data sheet gave some suggestions for DK-50, and I was fortunate enough to have that stuff laying around too.

    Next time round, I'll set up a couple developer trays and try some different things, maybe Dektol as suggested, or maybe NaOH instead of the carbonate (?).

    Anyways, it's fun stuff to play around with. I'll post some positives on paper, if I ever get there.
     
  5. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Member

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    Try like a lith print. It can be beautiful.
    G
     
  6. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    The other option is to try processing in D-19.

    part A whole lot of HQ, a fair chunk of bromide, and just enough sulfite to keep the A solution alive.
    part B is 'just' diluted sodium hydroxide.
    Yes, wear gloves.

    Mix 1 part A and 1 part B to just enough to cover the film in a sized to fit film tray. The developer is good for perhaps half an hour once mixed.

    It gives a high contrast response of the physical development variety to any film, and especially to many graphics art films.