Enlarged Negatives for Alt Processes, Your Recommendations and Experience

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Robert Ley, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. Robert Ley

    Robert Ley Member

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    I have been making enlarged negatives for gum printing and recently tried the new Arista film and the Photowarehouse litho film and there direct negative X-ray copy film. I have tried the inter-positive method with standard litho film and was not happy with the loss of mid-tones. I also dabbled in negative by reversal found here: http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/NbyR/nbyr.html and I really have to give this method another try.
    I was not happy with the lack of contrast that I was getting with the X-ray copy film.

    I am thinking of going over to the dark side and making digital negatives, but I am not sure where to start with that. I have dabbled in inkjet printing, but always felt that I could get better prints the traditional way as I have a darkroom that is B&W and Color capable. If I were to get a printer such as the Epson 1400 I could devote it to making enlarged negatives and possibly B&W prints. I have read a bit about the Piezography method of Jon Cone and was wondering what members may think of this method for a dedicated printer?

    I guess what I would like to know is what method you use for making enlarged negatives and where on the web I might be able to get some information on making enlarged negatives?
     
  2. Barry S

    Barry S Subscriber

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    I've started to use x-ray duplicating film and haven't had any contrast issues. It faithfully duplicates the contrast of the original negative, so that may be your issue. Are you trying to increase the contrast of the original neg? I'm not overly impressed with most of the alt process work I see from digital negs--lots of overdone photoshop, loss of definition, artifacts. Not to say you can't make high quality digital negs, but they're no panacea in terms of effort, skill, and cost.
     
  3. Robert Ley

    Robert Ley Member

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    Barry...Thanks much for the speedy reply. What is your strategy for using the X-ray copy film? What developer do you use? I have tried Dektol, Ilford Multigrade and D-19 with varying results. Also the heavy density of this film makes my exposures for Gum rather long. What are you using your enlarged negatives for?
     
  4. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Robert,

    I can't speak for gum printing but I have used Kodak XOMAT x-ray duplicating film for duplicating x-rays for over forty years and for enlarging negatives or platinum/palladium printing for many years. I develop it with Kodak GBX developer and fixer with a water stop in between. It gives superb results. The GBX chemistry dev and fix to make a gallon of working solution costs about $23 together and should last about a month in covered containers. As you know it is a reversal film and in my hands tends to be slightly more contrasty than my original negatives which is fine for pt/pd. If you go that route you should test what exposure and development time will work for you. The film is slow and rather grain free. You might have to get the chemistry from a dental/medical supply or through your dentist.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  5. Robert Ley

    Robert Ley Member

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    Jeffrey, Where can you get this film and the chemistry? Does Kodak even still make this film?
     
  6. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    Robert- I'd be happy to talk to you about my (limited) experience with making digital negatives, but that's off-topic for APUG. Suffice it to say there are a lot of printers that will work, but there are some that are preferred greatly over others. Same with media. Ron Reeder has produced a couple of books on the topic that are quite good - I'd look them up and do some reading before investing in a printer. As with any method, there are some calibration steps you have to go through that are rather tedious. Without following those steps, you will not be any more successful with digital negatives than you will be with doing analog enlargements.
     
  7. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    With a printer like a 3880 for example, and Cone's selenium ink set, with a little tweaking you can make digital negatives that are good enough for contact silver gelatin prints. I know because I've made quite a few just to see if it was possible. I've showed them to experienced traditional printers and they could not tell the difference. The weakest link is really scanning. Anyway..too much to cover and this is apug. I make digital positives for photogravure that are flawless and there are a lot of resources out there to get great results. As with anything..time and money are needed :smile:
     
  8. Barry S

    Barry S Subscriber

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    I'm using Formulary BW-65 developer with Fuji MI-DUP film. So far, I've only done some cyanotypes, but the exposures have been close to what I get with normal negatives. I make test strips and dodge/burn on some negs, since it handles like paper. If you're negs are too dense, you may be under exposing--the film requires a lot of exposure compared to paper or conventional film. You may also be overdeveloping.
     
  9. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Robert,

    The film and chemistry is available from dental supply houses and possibly from other sources. You could get you dentist to order it for you if necessary. I happen to be a dentist and just received the chemistry for my office x-rays and I am quite sure the film is available as well. The film is not cheap but it makes an extremely high quality negative. About three years ago I enlarged and printed four limited editions for an internationally known photographer using that film and printed in pt/pd/au. The prints were highly regarded by his agent and complimented by Peter Fetterman.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  10. Robert Ley

    Robert Ley Member

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    Barry, I have some of the BW-65 developer, but haven't really tried it yet. Where do you get your Fuji MI-DUP film? Is it much the same as the Warehouse dupe film? Are all these x-ray dupe films pretty much the same or are some better than others?

    Jeffrey, I did a little searching(thanks Google) and came up with cxsonline.com. They seem to have Fuji, Kodak and a CXS brand that is Agfa in 14x17, 10x12, and 8x10 Along with chemistry to process. It is not GBX chemistry, but I suspect it is very similar. I also found a place to get the GBX chemsitry for about the same price as the chemistry from CXS. Have you ever, or is it possible to machine process this film? I have a Fujimoto CP-51 color processor that I have used for color, b&w and graphic arts film with paper developer for a continuous tone image. The processor has an infinite adjustment in speed and temperature of chemistry.

    I think that I am going to try the darkroom methods for enlarged negatives again and fully explore all the analogue ways before going over to the dark side:wink: Eventually I will probably have to go to digital negatives if I want to do full color Gum as that requires color separations and that is a lot easier with P***toS**p.
     
  11. Davec101

    Davec101 Member

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    I will be posting a detailed review of the Jon Cone negative system on my platinum blog in a short while.
     
  12. markos

    markos Subscriber

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    Like Barry, I've used Fuji MI-DUP duplicating film. I bought it from zzmedical. I develop it in the print developer I usually use (Ilford PQ, from the recipe Ian Grant has on this site). It needs exposures from 2-8 minutes, usually. With experience, you can get the contrast right by visual inspection during development, since you can develop it in a tray with a red safelight. This works well for making enlarged negatives I've used for Kallitypes and cyanotypes.

    Mark
     
  13. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    I'm just now getting into cyanotypes and, like you, I wanted to avoid the digital "dark side." (I don't have a very good printer anyway and didn't want to make that investment.) At the moment, I'm getting good internegatives by contact printing finished black and white prints onto Ortho litho film, and developing in a dilute paper developer. The resulting internegative is still somewhat contrasty, but I'm seeing enough information in the midtones to make me want to continue. That aside, the only disadvantage is the extra step of preparing a regular paper print in the desired size (if I don't have one already).
     
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  15. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I have some very limited experience with digital negatives. They are convenient, and they work pretty well. Not all transparency media are suitable, however. You have a lot of control, but creating and printing these negatives is a different world from traditional photographic methods. Like photographic methods, there are a lot of variables, but they are somewhat different variables and are controlled in quite different ways. Incidentally, you have to do a complete recalibration of your system whenever you change materials, which is more or less true with photographic methods, too. There was a pretty good article on "photo technique" magazine for May/June 2013.
     
  16. Robert Ley

    Robert Ley Member

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    Thanks for the info Markos, checked out ZZmedical, and the prices are close to CXS. 2-8 minute exposures does give me pause. What light source are you using and what enlarger? I have a Beseler 45 with a 45s color head. If I can remember I was getting exposures of about 90sec with a 135 lens and wide open at f:5.6 with a 4x5 negative and 8x10 image size.

    bvy... I had never heard of contact printing a print with litho film, but it sounds like it could work. Do you try to control the contrast of the film negative by adjusting the contrast of your paper print? I would think if you had a very flat low contrast print you might be better able to control the contrast of the film negative.

    Thanks all for the great information!

    Robert
     
  17. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Robert,

    I have not done any machine processing. Years ago I tried Agfa x-ray duplicating film in the 11x14 size. It was very good but more grain and contrast than Kodak. The original negatives in both were 2 1/4 x 2 1/4. There is also HSI duplicate x-ray film in a 10x12 size but I haven't tried it.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  18. markos

    markos Subscriber

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    Robert,

    I use a Beseler 57 enlarger with Aristo V54 cold light head, generally at f/8, for my 5x7 negatives, or an LPL with color head for my medium format and (rarely) 35mm negatives. I need to use longer exposures, about a factor of two, for the color head compared to the cold light head, for an equivalent enlargement. Your 90 sec at f/5.6 for a 2x enlargement sounds comparable to what I need. The longer exposures are for larger enlargements and/or more dense original negatives.

    Mark
     
  19. Barry S

    Barry S Subscriber

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    I bought my Fuji MI-DUP on eBay--it was very inexpensive. I haven't tried any other brands, but they're probably similar. The BW-65 is great, I like it for paper and it seems to do a fine job on the MI-DUP. I think you can dial things in with what you have.
     
  20. M Stat

    M Stat Member

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    I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the use of pyro developers for dupe negatives. Bob Herbst describes an elegant process for making dupe negs for alt processes on his web site, www.bobherbst.com. I have been using his method for years and I feel it is the best way to create enlarged negs that I have seen. It is the stain of the Pyro negative which works so well as a UV light resist for alt processes.
     
  21. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Loss of mid-tones when using lith film is most likely due to developer choice. A huge number of people use diluted paper developer, why escapes me.
    The need is for a softer working developer. Since paper developers are many times more active than are film developers, a diluted film developer makes far more sense. If you don't believe this, try developing paper in full strength film developer.
    Over the years I have used HC110 1+127 from syrup, D-76 diluted 1+4 or 5, D-23, among others. Currently I use Somarkos LC-2 which is superb for this process providing tremendous control over both the positive and the new negative.
     
  22. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    I've been using Ilford PQ 1+14. I have enough D76 on hand that I'd be willing to try your D76 1+4 and compare.
     
  23. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    jim noel...what is somarkos LC-2
     
  24. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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  25. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Thanks...my google got hijacked by ask.com...getting it fixed now!!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I997 using Tapatalk 2
     
  26. seadrive

    seadrive Member

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    The film Herbst mentions he uses, APHS, has been discontinued, and the film Freestyle says is its replacement (Arista-II Ortho film) is "not currently available" according to Freestyle's website.

    So... what film(s) are you using in this process?