Kodak ImageLink (nonperforated!) film: how to expose 'properly'

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by David Lyga, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    The latitude of this dastardly film is very, very restricted: you choose between beautiful highlight separation with dark, non-existent shadows or you choose shadow detail with midtones and highlights blocked up so badly that there is little tonal differentiation. Yet, it is a 'panchromatic' film and yields great prints with microfilming. When one does choose to use it 'in camera' for snapshots (this must be a creative endeavor as, again, it is not perforated) one is capable of obtaining stunning negatives IF, and only if, one shoots scenes that are very restricted in tonal range. Dull, cloudy days come to life with this film.

    But the question remains: for 'normal' scenes: rate it at EI 16 for beautiful highlight separation or rate it at EI 4 for dismal highlight blocking but proper rendition of shadow detail? The 'safe' answer here is to expose depending upon the particular subject matter and how that particular scene would best be rendered. Changes in development time (about half as long as for Pan F+) give limited assistance here.

    I guess what frustrates me most about this film is the fact that Technical Pan was not so restriced and was only about one stop faster. Grain is on a par. Why could this film not have been made to accomodate a greater lighting range? - David Lyga
     
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  2. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    I've looked into Imagelink, but not gotten any yet. Instead I acquired a couple thousand feet of Kodak copy microfilm (forget the number, & it's not handy at the moment). I have played with it a bit and enjoyed it. Basically it was dirt cheap and I'm just going to have fun with it. Hopefully I'll load some again this spring and experiment in earnest. I know I will not get great pictorial results, but it will help me understand things better in general and, most importantly, be fun.

    It seems to be an EI of 1.5 or 3 (no actual testing beyond bracketing, so this is more an opinion) I can't rate much higher than EI 6 and really get enough exposure - though I'm sure this will change for me as I gain experience. I have experimented using an expo-disc to "pre-flash" the film, and it helped a bit.
    Even though it is not Imagelink, I will have to try your suggestion of dull and cloudy days as well. Also, I would be interested in suggestions regarding development. So far I've used D-76 1:1 (8 minutes), and stand Rodinal (on several rolls, from 45 minutes to 2 hours), and I know I should probably try something customized.

    I have spooled some for a coworker who absolutely loves the restricted latitude without trying to compensate for it.
     
  3. AgX

    AgX Member

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    The concept of photography as applied here requires a range of crystal volumes. Microfilming requires a small volume. By excluding larger volumes and having a limit on useful smallnees one limits the range of volumes and thus the exposure range.
     
  4. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    If you're determined to try to use these kinds of films for general photography, perhaps try an extreme low contrast developer.
     
  5. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    I have tried numerous times to use microfilm for general purpose photography with a number of different developers said to be useful with it. Never had any decent results As you go to finer and finer grained emulsions their latitude is also diminished. TANSTAAFL!!
     
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  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Are you saying Gerald that, like the moon, microfilm is a harsh mistress? :whistling:
     
  7. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    Personally, I don't expect "normal" or even "decent" results. I'm just playing around, and for $20 I could not resist. Believe it or not, messing with this stuff will teach me something - I just have to figure out what (aside from it not being suitable for general photography).
     
  8. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Liked that!

    TANSTAAFL also expresses the First law of Thermodynamics. The others are

    2. Things are going to get worse before they get better.
    3. Who says things are going to get better.
     
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  9. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Do not overlook that there are/had been developers designed for continuous tone photography with microfilms.

    There even had been a developer specially designerd for the Kodak Imagelink HQ that yielded EI 25, though at a somewhat reduced exposure range.

    With other high-reslolution films and their proprietory developers EI of between 20 and 40 are gained.


    Bear further in mind that the Kodak Imagelink will no longer be manufactured but substituted by Agfa films sold under the brand of Imagelink. Thus one would have to adjust processing to the Agfa films anyway.
     
  10. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Agree completely. Although people hope to get larger format results with these films, I've said many times I have yet to see a print from any of these document films that looked like anything but a print from a document film. No free lunch.

    On the other hand I'm all for experimentation.
     
  11. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Most of my experience was with Tech Pan, which I already used for art forensic photography and special lab applications. I still have some 8x10 sheets on hand. But I had a friend addicted to it for med format field use with very expensive Zeiss lenses; so I ran a number of analogous applications myself to help him perfect his technique, and pretty much figured out how to tame it as much as possible. Yet even with the most appropriate developers, the tonality at the extreme ends of the curve is quite disappointing. Edge effect is also so-so, so even though you can get a lot of detail, it might not look all that sharp. And of course, if you're using a 35mm camera and trying to significantly enlarge this, there will be all kinds of little zits in textureless areas of sky etc. I never understood the appeal of this kind of film for ordinary use.
     
  12. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Kodak Technical pan is a film designed decennia ago. And it is not even a microfilm.
    The basic problem of turning such films into films being apt for general pictorial use of course remains.
     
  13. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    It was originally classified like one of their mirofiche films, and then marketed for general use, along with low contrast developers. The pan sensitivity made it more versatile. Academically, makes no difference. I've compared Euro microfilms, and the problems are analogous, even if the minor details differ. I always have gotten a kick out of Kodak's early ads, claiming 4x5 quality with a 35mm camera. Well yeah, if you bought just about the worst 4x5 out there, disabled the movement, had a bad lens, then put the grainiest film on the market in it, and sprinkled some dots of pepper on the film before taking the shot .... But the argument fell apart anyway, because they marketed Tech Pan in large sheets too. It's easy enough to make all these films "work" with the right developer. But the tonality is inevitably disappointing compared to ordinary fine grained films. Most of us aren't old-school spies with a itty bitty camera in a lapel button.
     
  14. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    I thought Tech Pan was a commercial version of something originally for photographing from U-2 planes or something like that, rather than a document/copy/microfilm.
     
  15. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    In ordinary usage, Tech Pan was very high contrast, just like a lith film. But being Pan with extended red sensitivity gave it a whole other range
    of potential applications, especially in forensic and graphics applications, and it was marketed for this kind of commercial versatility. I suspect high-detail general photographic use was an afterthought.