Developer for higher contrast - old aerial gun camera film

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by newcan1, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    I've been experimenting with some old 16mm gun stock film. I don't know how old, but looking at the tin the cartridges were in, the film probably dates from the 1960s or possibly is older. It was originally rated at 200ASA and remarkably it still shoots at around 100 ISO.

    I developed my first test in D-76 1:1 for 11 minutes. The negatives are very low contrast and had to be printed at grade 5.

    I am interested in trying a different developer to get better contrast. Any ideas of what would be suitable? I'd like to be able to get printable results with grade 2 or 3 paper/filtration.
     
  2. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    As well as the contrast, consider the shadow detail in the negs. Was that as required? If not then that is an exposure problem. If yes, then a more active developer would be a diluted print-dev, or graphics-film 'universal' developer.

    I vaguely recall that this sort of material was expected to have a short and automated development at a higher than normal temperature - perhaps an increase in temperature (higher than 20c) could be part of your testing. Along with the possible developer and exposure changes, and thinking about changing just one thing at a time :wink:
     
  3. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    yes, shadow detail is there. I suppose I could try it at its rated 200ASA and develop longer, or, as you suggest, at a higher temperature. But there is quite a bit of base fog, so I also have to be concerned about that.
     
  4. photochucker

    photochucker Member

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    Newcan1

    Try some Kodak D-19. Usually I use 1 + 3 dilution at about 3 - 3.5 minutes - 20 Deg. C.

    I shoot a bit of old aerial and this is what works the best for me.

    As a second choice try some Kodak Dektol - I find it way to fast in standard dilutions but have had good luck with it up to 1 + 5.

    Currently have some 7 inch x 30 feet of Kodak RAR 3494 loaded in my Keystone F8 aerial camera. I will process this in a Morse system and it needs about 4 gallons each of developer, stop bath, and fixer. The nice part about this film is that I can develop it by inspection under a red light. I just keep moving the film through the developer until I get the density I want. 30 feet will give me about 60 7 x 5 inch negatives so it takes me most of the summer to shoot it. I only have a couple of rolls left and after that who knows what I will do with it. Since the 30 feet of film will need substantial amounts of developer to process I usually mix up a stock 1 gallon package and then dilute to fill the Morse tanks. After that I use it to develop x-ray film until the time gets to be too long.

    I tried D76 for most older film as well as the x-ray film I shoot and found the contrast lacking ( just what I like so YMMV ) - so I went to the D-19. I also shoot 4 x 5 "Shanghai" film and develop in D-19 as well. Gives it a lot nicer "Pop".:smile:

    Hope this helps,


    Regards,

    Photochucker
     
  5. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    newcan1,

    I'm a fan of your experiments, you shouldn't change a thing. By keeping the negs relatively thin, you are minimizing image degradation that comes with higher density, and you are avoiding fog. If you want to knock down a paper grade, you could develop a tad longer (like 13 or 16 minutes). But really not necessary.
     
  6. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    Bill, you may be right - I looked at the negatives again under a loupe, and the ones shot at ISO 100 don't look bad. I have a feeling that the paper I was using - quite old and not well stored - may have lost some of its grades. I'll reprint on fresh paper and see what happens.
     
  7. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Fresh 16mm Tri-x negative film is not that expensive. Less than $30 for 100 feet single perf.
     
  8. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    Well the 1200 ft of old aerial film I got for $12 is still worth experimenting with, I think.
     
  9. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Thats a good deal!! Are you using it in a 16mm still camera?
     
  10. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    Yep, Kiev 303, I guess that makes it a multi lifetime supply.
     
  11. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    FWIW I've shot 1960's GAF aerial film and developed in both ilfsol 3 and HC-110 (S) (basically 1:50, close to another official number I can't recall which letter, the S is for Stone :smile:

    I found the Ilfsol 3 to give good contrast, so I suggest that.

    Start at 5 minutes dev time.


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