ilfochrome microfilm for archive use

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by sanmich, May 26, 2006.

  1. sanmich

    sanmich Member

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    Hi all
    One of the main consideration (and certainly not the the only one) that made me run away from digital was the data conservation. After having studied the issue it appears that the only truely stable shooting materials are B&W and kodachrome. Guess what, from now on (and untill Mr kodak decides to kill kodachrome) I shoot family stuff in K14 only. I had some hard time to convince my wife that I'm not totally insane because that means buying film overseas and sending it back for processing....
    anyhow, I also discovered that there is a wonderfull solution for those important old slides that I fear will fade away quite soon: Ilfochrome P microfilm is a very high def reproduction film with a huge color lifespan (comparable to B&W). It also seems to be quite easy to process it at home.
    The only problem:
    I've looked for a place that sells it (+ the chemistery) in vain. I also don''t know what would be the price of it.
    Is there anyone that uses it ? any source for buying?
    any tips for the exposure and processing?
    Thanks
    Michael
     
  2. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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  3. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    It appears that the Ilfochrome Micrographic films and the P-5 process chemistry are available from http://www.microcolour.com/ -- that page has contact links for both United States (in New Jersey) and "rest of the world" (Surrey, England). If you're in the USA or EU, you're all set.

    BTW, you can also use this film directly in camera; it's tungsten balanced, so an 80A filter would make it suitable for outdoors -- but it's really, really slow (ISO a bit less than 1). For copy work, though, it should be just what you want.

    BTW, I see there's also a high contrast version (type M) that's listed as suitable for reflective originals, in case you have prints you also want to archive...
     
  4. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    [QUOTE/] ... so an 80A filter would make it suitable for outdoors ... [/QUOTE]

    Probably an 85 or 85B, depending on wheher it's balaced for photoflood (3400K, 85 filter) or 3200K photo lights (85B filter).

    BTW, what is special about the P5 process? How does it differ from other color processes?
     
  5. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    I thought I read 80A on the Ilfochrome Micrographic page at Microcolour, but I could have remembered it incorrectly -- you can find the page yourself if you Google for "ilfochrome "P-5"" (with the inner quotes, but not the outer), or drill down in the Microcolour site I linked previously.

    P-5, like P-3, P-3.5, P-30, etc., is a process suited for the Ilfochome material, which forms its image by dye destruction. All the dyes to form maximum black are present in the film at exposure (which explains the very low film speed). The developer is a more or less ordinary B&W developer (and in fact, Ilfochrome printers have long used contrast controlling B&W print developers in place of the P-3 developer to control print contrast); the bleach reacts with the developed silver to proportionatey degrade the dyes in the image regions of each color layer while rehalogenating the silver image, then pretty ordinary fixer removes the halide to leave only the dye; degraded dye products wash out with the fixer. Three baths and a wash, and hang the print to dry like a B&W RC print.

    Given the archivality of the dyes, the only reason Ilfochrome-like materials haven't taken over color transparency photography is the very low sensitivity due to light absorption by the dyes (though Ilfochrome prints are relatively expensive, Ilfochrome P isn't much more expensive than Kodachrome, and far cheaper to process).
     
  6. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Rise old thread! RISE!

    This Ilforchrome Micrographics film is blowing my mind. It's available in 35mm as well as 105mm, which is basically 4". Those could be cut to 5" and used in 4x5" film holder I betcha. The chemistry is simple.

    Anyways, this is the ultimate color film, bar none. Despite of course its incredibly slow speed, it could be very interesting to mess around with. I can think of a few good uses...

    I've contacted this website and haven't heard anything yet (less than a day has passed though) - http://www.microcolour.com/mci02.htm

    The archival stability of the film is greater than 500 years and its fading in a projector is negligible.

    Is it practical to use? Probably not; but to know that your pictures will survive for half a millenium... well that's kind of exciting.
     
  7. Boggy1

    Boggy1 Member

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    Mind = Blown.

    I've scanned through a couple of websites on using just the paper in camera, and this material could very well be more or less amazing. Once the kinks have been worked out. Thankfully, all the forseable kinks are pretty easy to deal with :laugh:

    - Its very slow, so it'd require some bracketing of exposures and some careful calculations. Perhaps someone who knows about using paper negatives could give some pointers on this one
    - Its sensitive to UV light, which can ruin an exposure. So a UV filter will have to be used reliably.
    - Its tungsten balanced, so fantastic for studio work (possibly its forté), but outdoors will need a filter
    - For the paper atleast, different packs have different filtrations. I'm sure that it would be acceptable for most uses, but perhaps shooting a grey card and doing a test exposure will help you narrow down colour balance. I'm almost positive that I read somewhere about using chemical baths to correct colour casts when it comes to Ilfochrome that could be applied in this situation, but it will take me a while to dig it up.

    So yeah, to me it sounds like its a doable idea. . . I just don't think I have the funds or the ventilation to progress on with it at the moment!
     
  8. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Oh right.. funds. Hmm, maybe there's a grant out there for hare-brained photo experimenters.

    However, I am referring to the microfilm, not the paper.
     
  9. Boggy1

    Boggy1 Member

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    I know you're refering to the microfilm, its just the entirety of the internet seems to only know about the paper unfortunately, so I'm trying to apply that to this. Sorry if I'm causing any confusion! I'm just hoping that the lessons learnt from one could be applied to the other. :smile:
     
  10. accozzaglia

    accozzaglia Member

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    What kind of relative ISO are we talking about here?

    In no way is this class of emulsion related to this older Ilfochrome, is it?
     
  11. Boggy1

    Boggy1 Member

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    http://www.microcolour.com/ilfochrome.htm
    Its a microfilm based on the same formula and process seen in Ilfochrome/Cibachrome paper. . . but on a film base! But that means that it has the same speed as paper, so it has an ISO of around 1 or 0.5; that's how slow we're talking here :tongue:
     
  12. hrst

    hrst Member

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    If the reported Dmax=2.2 is true, it will show very weak blacks in projection if you shoot night scenes etc. This equals the contrast ratio of about 1:100.

    Even the 3.2 of many E6 films is not very good.

    Of course, this affects only certain situations when you want to use this film for pictorial use. OTOH there are many purposes where you don't need deep black.
     
  13. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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  14. Boggy1

    Boggy1 Member

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    Hrst, thank you for pointing that out to me! You're right, it does seem oddly low, but I suppose that increasing the dmax of the material would also decrease its sensitivity, so I guess that its an understandable tradeoff. I suppose that somewhat ruins my idea of using it for Astrophotography though. . . but I guess that light and airy scenes of flowers and other such stationary studio objects would still photograph nicely, despite the limited blacks, as you said. :smile:

    Nworth, the material is balanced for tungsten, it says so on the first page of the data sheet. I think its mainly based off their paper version of Ilfochrome, which would be balanced for enlargers. Of course this is just conjecture! :tongue:
    http://www.ilford.com/en/pdf/prods/micrographic/MICRO_graphic.pdf
     
  15. tintruder

    tintruder Subscriber

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    For anybody interested, I bought a 30m roll of this film in 35mm and will be loading it into 35mm cartridges. I am trying to locate P5 chemistry. I have P3 chemistry and wonder if anybody knows if I can run this stuff in P3 or even P30?

    I know it is ASA 1, so this should be really neat for scenics where light bluring (like leaves on trees) can be melded with sharp focused solids (trunk & branches), or roads and cars for instance.

    Any experiences with this material and chemistry would be appreciated.
     
  16. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    That's very exciting; best of luck. Be sure to keep us updated.. it's likely that you're alone in doing this, frontiersman.