How do I identify 11" X 14" Kodak B&W Film?

Discussion in 'Ultra Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Mackinaw, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    I recently bought a Busch Pressman Model D 4X5 camera and the previous owner also gave me a box of Kodak 11" X 14" B&W film. He's not sure what kind of film it is and I can't find the information sheet that I imagine came with the film. The film is in a generic Kodak box without any obvious markings outside of the fact that it was made in Mexico (mostly in spanish). Unfortunately, when they opened the box, they sliced through the catalog number making that illegible. Anybody have any ideas how I can identify what kind of film I have? Does the film have some kind of identifying notches or something?

    Jim B.
     
  2. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

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    I don't have any suggestions but it sounds very exciting. Any ideas how you're going to use it?
     
  3. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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  4. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Yes, it should have notches, either in the upper right corner when the sheet is held with the long side vertically and emulsion facing you, or at the lower left if the emulsion is facing away from you. Here's a list and illustrations of common codes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notch_code

    The notches can be hard to identify by feel, I find it easiest to use my fingernail along the edge to identify the shape of the bottom of the notch (either straight or a "V" in the case of most Kodak films), and then remember the sequence.

    It seems a little odd that you'd get a box of 11x14 with a 4x5 camera, the film may well be high-contrast process film rather than pictorial B&W.

    Hopefully, when the box was cut, the cut didn't go too deep, if it went beyond the outer layer you'll want to mend the cut with some black tape.
    If it went all the way through the film is likely partially or completely fogged.
     
  5. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    To get an accurate reading of the film-type edge notches without ruining any film you can place a sheet of film over a sheet of white paper in total darkness and use a sharp pencil to trace the shape of the notches and the adjacent straight film edge onto the paper. Then return the film to its lightproof packaging and examine the film-type notches in the light.

    The Kodak Code Notch Data PDF provided in post #3 is dated April 2004. It doesn’t cover a great many Kodak sheet films of earlier manufacture that had been discontinued by then.

    If you can provide a photo of the edge trace, perhaps someone here has an old Kodak Code Notch data sheet that can be matched to the trace to determine the film type.
     
  6. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    maybe silly putty to identify the notches? Not sure if it would leave a residue but would be very accurate.
     
  7. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Or lay a sheet against a piece of paper and use a technical pen to outline the notch code.
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  9. bernard_L

    bernard_L Subscriber

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    To change from notches at upper right to notches at lower left you need only turn the film 180°, keeping the same face towards you. So in the second case the emulsion is still facing you.
     
  10. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    If it is high contrast ortho, I used to make continuous tone negatives developing in Dektol.
    I did a lot of 8x10 photography cheap that way.
     
  11. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    Thanks for all of the suggestions. I'll try and trace the notches on the film sometime this evening.

    The guy I bought the camera from, an older gent, was a photographer in the U.S. military. He cleaned out his freezer and gave me all sorts of film when I bought the Busch 4X5.

    Not sure what I'll do with the film right now. I'll probably cut a few sheets into 4X5 and see how it looks. I'm very curious as to the type of film it is.

    Jim B.
     
  12. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    If anybody's curious, the film turned out to be Kodalith 2556 ortho film type 3. Not sure what i'll do with it. I'll cut a sheet or two into 4X5 to see what it looks like. After that, we'll see.

    Jim B.