College Student - Ortho Litho Film Questions

Discussion in 'Pinhole Photography' started by aaronmichael, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Hello All,

    Very first post on the forums, just need some answers about Ortho Litho film. I'm a junior in college and have been shooting digital for years now. However, I took an Intro to Photography class this semester and the class was all film based. Since I had a darkroom at my disposal, I decided I wanted to mess around with pinhole photography. I built a camera out of some leftover plywood we had, an aluminum soda can, and a hinge from Home Depot.

    Front/Side

    http://static.zooomr.com/images/9665558_05e4001c3e_o.jpg

    Back/Inside

    http://static.zooomr.com/images/9665559_ecb6164116_o.jpg

    I constructed the camera to fit a 4x5 negative. For class, we were using 8x10 sheets of Ilford Multigrade IV RC paper so I cut the paper down to 4x5 size and used that. After some experimentation, this is what I came up with.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/aaronmichael/5256810534/in/photostream/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/aaronmichael/5252385067/in/photostream/

    I'm pretty satisfied with how the photos are turning out but I would like to be able to enlarge them to 8x10 or larger, which is why I want to switch to film rather than paper negatives. My professor suggested Ortho Litho film because it's relatively cheap. However, after doing much research all I have gotten is mixed opinions about being able to get good quality continuous tone from this film. I'd like everyone's straight opinion about if you can get decent continuous tone or not. I do realize that it's made for extreme high contrast negatives. I've read that Adonal or Rodinal at a 1:150 mixture is good? Would the darkroom at my college have this available for me? Could I use a diluted version of the paper developer they usually have out? The ortho film would be very nice since I would be able to load it into my camera under safe light conditions. Below is a link to the film I was looking at purchasing.

    http://freestylephoto.biz/52243-Arista-II-Ortho-Litho-Film-4x5-50-sheets?cat_id=406

    Sorry for the lengthy post. Any help would be GREATLY APPRECIATED.
     
  2. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I use ortho lith for continuous tone enlarged negatives, and have calibrated what works for me with my 20 year old frozen stash of this film from an old printers shop.

    I find it has an EI of about 3-6 depending on if it is daylight or tungsten. This is not too far off of the enlarging paper that you have been using for 'film' in your pinhole camera to date.
    , in terms of exposure time.

    I home mix a developer that is about 1g of metol per litre in a weak alkali with a touch oif sulfiute to keep the metol alive to process this film. If you don't have the ability of custom mixed developers, I would recommend trying very dilute print developer as a starting developer; think 1:20 from the stock soution of dektol or evel higher if starting with something like Ilford Multigrade developer liquid concentrate to start. If contrast is too high with the dilute paper developers, then try a dilute film developer; perhaps d76 at 1:6 or more, as a guess to start.

    To initially calibrate the film for developing times is easy, in that you can watch the level of development with a red safelight. I do go with time and temperature once I want to fine tune my process.

    I would recommend that you try to start with this film in the darkroom, to make dups of negs under the enlarger. Treat this duping as a very low contrast subject situation. If you were shooting it in the camera most subjects will have more contrast than you find when duping a neg, so the developer time to a give a similar contrast index value neg will be shorter with in camera pinhole shots.

    I hope this gives you some ideas to think on and then grow youir own process with.
     
  3. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I once tried water bath development with litho film when there was no other option. It was certainly better than nothing. You might want to visit http://www.f295.org/site/.

    Many photogrpahers would paint the inside of the back of your camera black to reduce light passing through the film and being reflected back onto the film. Also, a black cardboard or hardboard flange around the back might reduce light leaking around the edges.
     
  4. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Ortho-lith should be able to be developed in any paper developer. I have developed it in diluted Dektol (1+4) with reasonable results, not overly contrasty.
     
  5. JSebrof

    JSebrof Member

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    I've done this before, albeit with Freestyle's previous Ortho Lith offering APHS. Works great although like mentioned you'll probably want to dilute your developer to tame the contrast, also I remember the APHS having an ISO close to 6. So be prepared for really long exposures, especially with a pinhole camera.
     
  6. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    If expense is the issue, I think you would be better off with one of the less expensive general purpose films instead of slow ortho, considering that you are using a pinhole camera. Congratulations, by the way, on building your camera.
     
  7. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I'm very interested in this as well for making enlarged positives from separation negatives.

    By the way, here is what the freestyle page says...

    Continuous-tone results can be achieved by using a dilute working solution of standard paper developer. Dektol 1:7 or 1:9 is a popular dilution to achieve continuous tone results. Ethol LPD, Agfa Neutol, Clayton Extend Plus, Clayton P-20, Nacco Printol, or any of our Arista and Arista Premium Paper Developers are also recommended. Your individual optimal dilution and developing time will vary based on your desired results.
     
  8. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

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    How much of a hurry are you in? I am in the process of testing the Arista II ortho litho film. I am testing it in the following developers: D76 1+4, Rodinal 1+149, Jim Galli's Rodinal+restrainer soup, and Dektol 1+9. So far I have exposed step wedges on 6 negatives for each developer and developed the negatives for 4, 5:30, 8, 11, 16, and 22 minutes. I hope to be able to read the negs this weekend and then do some test prints comparing the developers.

    Based purely on a visual inspection of the negatives, D76 1+4 and Rodinal 1+149 look the best, with a slight nod to the D76. The Dektol negs are very thick and contrasty. But I caution, I have not printed them yet and the proof is in the print.

    I will post my results when I finish. If you can't wait, try either the D76 1+4 or Rodinal 1+149, EI 6, develop by inspection under red safelight. (I can't imagine a student darkroom not having D76). It's easy to pull the negs too early when doing DBI. You might start around 6 to 8 minutes in either developer.
     
  9. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Thank you everyone for the very quick replies.

    Mike - Thank you for your reply and advice about starting with a diluted paper or film developer. Seeing as I've only been involved with the film process for 16 weeks, I know almost absolutely nothing about the chemical side of it. Which is why just simply starting with a diluted film or paper developer would be easy for me.

    Jim - Since I took the photo of the camera, I have painted the back black to reduce reflections and made some other improvements. I use a piece of a heavy duty black trash bag to cover the back when I'm shooting, held on with a rubber band. Seems to work pretty well.

    ralnphot - Thank you for the simple answer.

    JSebrof - I think the paper negatives that I was using have almost the same speed at the ortho litho film. I was getting exposure times of around 5-7 minutes in low contrast areas. Those exposure times add to the fun of pinhole photography!

    Chazzy - I haven't been able to find anything that's cheaper than the ortho litho film. I'm on a pretty tight budget (being a college student and all). Besides, I'd really like to be able to load the film under a safe light and be able to develop by inspection.

    Allen Friday - I'm not in that much of a hurry. The semester just ended for me which means that I won't have a darkroom available for me to use until the end of January when I go back. I'm very much looking forward to your results using the various developers. Thanks for the tip about the D76. I know for a fact that we have that available in the darkroom. Do you suppose they would have Rodinal for me to use, or is that pretty outdated?
     
  10. SMBooth

    SMBooth Member

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    My early trys at Ortho Lith was its really slow, as other have said ISO3 but suffers badly from reciprocity making pinhole exposure really loooong. I was rating it ISO1 in bright day light with a f333 pinhole (200mm 8x10) and was still under exposing. The 3rd and 4th images under "resent" in the pinhole link below are Ortho Lith (Arista ll)
     
  11. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Those couple of images look great. What I really wanted to know from this post was if a decent continuous tone could be achieved from the ortho litho film and it seems it can. What kind of developer did you use?

    I think my aperture is somewhere around 280 - 300 but I'm not exactly sure. On a sunny day (but in shaded areas (to avoid too much contrast)) I was getting exposure times of 5-7 minutes.
     
  12. JSebrof

    JSebrof Member

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    When I tried for continuous tone with the APHS, I would use some of the schools HC110 Dil B, dilute it even more in a tray (to make something close to Dilution H) and develop by inspection in the darkroom.
     
  13. SMBooth

    SMBooth Member

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    I got a feeling that those images were around 10min, but like said still under exposed. They were developed using Jim Galli's Rodinal+restrainer soup.
    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com/FreestyleAPHS/DevelopingAPHSwRodinal.html
     
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  15. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Thanks for the responses. I think I'll start off with basic diluted paper or film developer and then if I need to switch to some kind of concoction or a Rodinal mixture, I can. If I buy the 50 pack, I'll have lots of negatives to experiment with. I have a feeling that it will take me a while to go through that many shots, figuring as one completed pinhole photo takes 30-45 minutes. Setting up, shooting, and developing add up quick.

    One more question - I've only ever worked with developing black and white 35mm (what we were shooting for class). When I purchase the ortho litho film, how do I treat in regards to developing? Would I use the stop bath, fixer, hypo-clear, and photo-flo that I used for developing 35mm? Or would I use the stop and fix that's in the darkroom that I use for paper developing? Sorry for the newbie question.
     
  16. PVia

    PVia Member

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    Google for Dave Soemarko's LC-1 formula...great contrast control for APHS film. Invaluable for making a low contrast interpos and then using another dilution or time for making the final interneg.
     
  17. SMBooth

    SMBooth Member

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    Develop, Stop, Fix and wash. Use some photoflo in final rinse before hanging to dry. My stop and fix for film is the same as paper... Don't bother about hypo clear
     
  18. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Unfortunately I don't have the knowledge or resources to be mixing my own formulas. I'll start experimenting with all that stuff in my later courses. I took Intro to Photography class this semester and will be taking Intermediate Photography next semester.

    Thanks for the information, appreciate it.
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    When it comes to fixer, most use the same fixer for film and paper, although many use different dilutions (with film fixer being more concentrated).

    If you re-use fixer, you shouldn't fix paper in fixer that has previously been used for film (and vice-versa).

    I may be the only person I know who uses different stop bath for film and fixer - Kodak for film, and Ilford for paper. I do that because once diluted to working strength Kodak stop bath (acetic acid) is considerably cheaper, but Ilford stop bath (citric acid) smells much better :smile:.
     
  20. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    I know what you mean about the smells - my hands always smelled horrible after coming out of the darkroom at school. Thanks for the tip about the fixer. I'd just have to go out of the darkroom for a second to put some film fixer into a tray - that's easy enough. I don't think I'll bother using different stop baths - I'll just use what they have there for film. So all in all, I'll be using either a diluted paper or film developer, film stop, and film fix - got it.
     
  21. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    You may want to know that when handling APHS film under red lights, it's hard to tell which side of the film is the emulsion side, since the sheets don't have notch codes in the corners like with "real" sheet film. I've found that the emulsion side looks less reflective, more dull gray, than does the non-coated side. If you are cutting APHS down to smaller sizes, it'd be a good idea to make your own notch codes to help you keep track.

    My experience with exposing APHS in pinhole cameras is that, unlike with paper negatives, there's a significant reciprocity failure, such that I've found a working Exposure Index of less than 2 is more realistic in day lit scenes. This film is so slow with pinhole cameras that I find it less than desirable, as compared to paper negatives, unless enlarging the negatives is an absolute must. For my purposes, I've found making larger format pinhole cameras (like 8x10) and contact printing the resulting larger paper negatives to be a more satisfying experience for me. YMMV.

    As a comparison, I've found that with using Freestyle's Arista grade 2 RC paper as a negative, I can rate the paper at ISO12 in pinhole cameras and also glass-lensed cameras, exposed directly from a light meter's reading with no reciprocity correction, and develop it in 68f Ilford Universal Paper developer diluted 1:15, and get great negatives. Oh, I also preflash these paper negatives. As a comparison, I'd have to rate APHS at an exposure index of less than 2 (sometimes less than 1, depending on the camera's focal ratio; the higher the f-stop, the more correction required), which gives really unpractically long exposure times. Many times the paper negative images look sharper because there's less time spend on the tripod in a lengthy exposure, where the tripod legs can slowly settle into the soft terrain, or the wind can vibrate the camera excessively. These are all tradeoffs between needing to enlarge film negatives and learning to live with contact printing paper negatives.

    I'm surprised no one else has mentioned the problems with pinholes when developing APHS. I've thought for a while that it was caused just by the change from alkaline developer to acidic stop bath, and went with using a water stop instead, but still got pinholes in the film. Then I went with ensuring the three baths were more consistent in temperature, along with a water stop bath, and the problem seems to be less evident, although it still happens occasionally.

    If using an inexpensive sheet film were on the top of my list, I'd be looking to try some of the X-ray films available, rather than APHS. I know there's an extensive thread on this subject somewhere here on APUG.

    ~Joe
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2010
  22. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Thanks for the tip about the emulsion Joe. As for the ortho litho film - would the exposure times be your only complaint about it? With the paper negatives, I think I was somewhere around an EI of 5 but I'm not exactly sure. I'd go out and make an exposure, then after developing that shot I'd go take the same photo, either adding or subtracting time based on if the first shot was over or underexposed. My exposure times ended up being anywhere from 2-7 minutes.

    Making an 8x10 pinhole camera sounds highly tempting. However, my homebuilt pinhole out of plywood is already quite large and heavy. Hard to image the size of a 8x10 pinhole camera.

    Thanks as well for the tip about the X-Ray film. That does seem to be very cheap. I did a quick search on the forums and found MANY threads on the subject. Would you happen to know where I could get a free pack of it to experiment with? I might start a new thread, just asking some very basic questions about it. Hard to get clear information when it's scattered in 50 threads.
     
  23. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    It is designed for halftone results, so it must be seriously tamed in contrast for continuous tone results. The good news is that it is pretty easy to do. I would not recommend diluted Dektol or any other paper developer. The contrast is still too high and the midtones that are achieved can look reminiscent of halftone dots, as opposed to true middle densities. It can also be difficult to get repeatable results. You are better off with highly dilute one shot film developers, or specially made brews. Your best option IMO is Soemarko's LC-1, which is a home brew. You'll need metol, hydroquinone, sodium sulfite, and sodium bisulfite (A.K.A. sodium disulfite sometimes) to make it.

    It can tend to suffer from pinholes. My guess is that since it is designed as a halftone film, the quality standards do not need to be as high as film designed for making silver prints. One can easily touch up a piece of halftone film, since one does not need any middle tones, but only needs either zero density or maximum density on the film; all you need to touch up a halftone is a Deco Color paint marker or some rubylith tape (and occasionally some bleach if there are any pepper spots – black where there should be clear).

    On a positive note, I only really see the pinholes with halftone and paper developers, and not with Soemarko's LC-1. I might also suggest presoaking for several minutes, skipping the stop bath, and using an alkaline fixer. Also, remember that these are films, not papers. They eat through your chemicals quickly, so you should monitor your fixer closely in a printing session. I usually have to change my fixer several times if I am spending a few hours in the darkroom working with litho film. All your chemicals will turn much darker than they do with photo paper or camera film. The fixer, particularly, will turn dark yellow or orange. Don't worry about it. Just do the standard fixer tests religiously throughout your session (double or triple the clearing time of a test scrap of unexposed film, and discard fixer when clearing time reaches twice the original clearing time).

    Midtones on litho negs will often look yellow or brown. With LC-1 in particular, the whole neg ends up looking dingy. Don't worry about it. They will print fine. I have assumed it is the result of the incomplete development that we purposefully do to pull continuous tone from these films. Even with A+B halftone developer, an underexposed piece of film can have traces of yellow or brown in the least dense areas.

    It works fine in pinholes, and it is cheap. Make sure you order the 3.9 by 4.9, and not the 4x5, size if you are using 4x5 film holders. This size is made specifically for loading into 4x5 cameras.

    I don't know about reciprocity, but I have had great results from it in pinholes. It is slow, so it is easiest to use when there is lots of light.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2010
  24. PVia

    PVia Member

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    Great advice, in my experience. (FWIW, I use a water stop bath)
     
  25. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Thanks for the reply and for the tip about the paper developer being too contrasty. I'm sure I'll end up trying both a paper and film developer. Unfortunately I don't have the ability to make home brews.
     
  26. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    That is unfortunate. What keeps you from being able to make them?

    Since Soemarko's LC-1 is out, I would suggest starting with a bottle of HC-110. A 1:99 dilution of the syrup is a good starting point. For easy measurement, I suggest making a 1:4 stock solution that is 400 mL water and 100 mL syrup. To make a liter of 1:99 working solution, pour 50 mL of the stock solution in to a one liter graduate. Then fill the graduate to the one liter mark and mix. I'd try dilutions from 1:49 to 1:199 to alter conrast. The lower the amount of syrup, the lower the contrast. To make 1:49 working solution, use 100 mL of stock, then fill to the one liter mark. To make 1:199 working solution, use 25 mL of stock, then fill to the mark.