Lith printing?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Nick Zentena, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    What controls colour? The paper? The developer? Or a combination of the two? How long until I have any real idea what I'm doing?-)
     
  2. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Nick

    I have been lith printing for a few years now, you can see some examples at elevatordigital.ca. I find that the paper generally controls the colour and exposure /flash control the contrast and look of the print. I normally use Champion Nova Lith developer which has its paticular look. I have been forced by supply to mix my own lith and notice that the look is different with the new formulation.
    Bleaching, toning will also change the look of the print in a very dramatic fashion.
    Lith printing is endless in application and looks and can keep you experimenting for years
    Have fun
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Colour is determined by the paper, and controlled by the developer :wink:

    Fortezo Museum has some very surprising colours in Fotospeed Lith developer, at least sometimes. At least sometimes, when I do it...

    So far I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, which to me is part of the fun:wink:

    If you want to learn to control the process, I suggest you ask Tim Rudman - read his book, and/or ask him directly.
     
  4. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I've been using Kodak D-9 developer that I mixed myself. Paper has been Agfa MCP or Forte polygrade [I forget the name]. When I started out I had some colour with the Forte and a little with the Agfa. Now that the developer has aged to the point it's slow enough I'm getting almost no colour. I'm going to replace half the developer with fresh. I've only got 20 sheets of paper exposed so far. I won't call them prints.

    With the Agfa it seems I either have no highlights or the blacks go too black. It's happening at the edges of the paper with the middle taking longer to build. I wonder if the paper is bending in the developer tray? I'm trying to avoid poking the prints too much. A couple of days I had prints with what looked like damage from being bent. But the paper wasn't damaged.

    I've read the Rudman book. But I think I've got quite a few sheets of paper to expose before I know what I'm doing.

    Thanks.
     
  5. tomishakishi2

    tomishakishi2 Member

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    I agree with ole; the chaos is addictive (apart from the long waits in the dark). I also bought Tim Rudmans book which is great, tho I am hardly a lith veteran. I must have been lucky as with Oriental, Agfa MCC and Forte it hasn't taken too long to home in on a good print (I have however used ready mixed chems). By the way I find that I am not exposing the paper for 3x that for a normal print. In fact I have so far used flat negs with minimal paper exposure with good results. For me the critical bit has been when to snatch the print. I keep the safelight off until the image is starting to build (to allow me to get away with the next bit), then get real close when it is almost done so I can really see the tones in the print well, so I can snatch it at the right point. It does not take much too long to ruin the print. Just like the rest of photography; ages sitting about then blind panic stricken rushing. My experiences have shown that it is best to pull the print when it looks a bit pale and flat as the blacks really rocket in the fixer.

    Maybe all a bit obvious....

    Good luck,

    Tom
     
  6. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    My most successful prints so far have been from negatives with too much contrast - or too long a tonal scale. With up to 10x exposure, the highlight separation will show by colour changes just before th shadows all go flat black. That to me is the greatest potential of lith printing: Not the soft flat highlights so often shown, but the infinite gradation through miniscule colour differences you can get from a really long-scale negative. With, of course, a 10:1 ratio of failed to usable prints...
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I think I read some place to try using less then perfect negatives and so I've been using some high contrast ones. 10x normal exposure? I've sort of settled on 3 stops. Any more then that and the Agfa goes black. Looking at all the bad Agfa prints I'm starting to believe the problem is how I've been agiating. The Forte prints are only 5x7 and the paper reacts slower so maybe that's why I'm only seeing the problem with the 8x10 Agfas.
     
  8. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That's where the fun starts: Developer, age of developer, dilution, paper, agitation, temperature and probably also phases of the moon all influence the finished print.

    I agitate mine "occasionally": Enough to ensure they don't float to the top and dry out, but not much more. So far my developer has been rather cool, more like 16-18 than 20 C.
    Some of my paper is (very) old and would be hopelessly fogged in any "normal" process. None is as old as my very old Agfa Brovira, which I haven't tried yet. Since I haven't bought a new pack of Agfa paper in 30 years, I have no idea what they're like. I use Forte, Foma, Maco, Tetenal, Bergger and Seagull, and find that quite sufficient to confuse me beyond any hope of straightening.
     
  9. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I may have figured out how to tame the Agfa paper. Standing in the dark staring at the tray I thought why not try a prewash of the exposed paper. I did that with the last print. 10 minutes or so in the developer and I had to pull it out because of time issues but the under developed print didn't show any of the problems that the paper had been giving me without the prewash. Just a soak in plain water. OTOH it's slowed things down even more then normal-)
     
  10. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I had a chance to try it again today.

    1st print I forget to prewash the paper. Went straight into the developer before I remembered it. Pulled it out after a few seconds and soaked it. Then into the developer again. I don't know if the print was underdeveloped or if the developer is too weak now. I'm leaning towards weak developer. 15 + minutes in the developer.

    With me screwing up the first print I exposed a second while I was developing the first. When I went to pull it off the easel I noticed it was on top of the blades not under. @$#$@. Prewash then into the developer. Nothing. For almost 30 minutes. I think I put the paper on the easel upside down. @#$#$@#. It finally came up but was very light.

    While this was going on I exposed a third sheet. Gave it an extra stop of exposure. With 20+ minutes in the developer it wasn't any darker then the first print.

    I'm going to dump half the developer and replace it.

    Well at this rate a box of paper will last the all of next year-)
     
  11. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I don't know how you are calculating correct exposure. It is my understanding that one gives at least three times the exposure for lith printing that one does for conventional silver printing. That may give you the results that you want.


     
  12. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    The first few had three stops extra over what my normal developer would want. The last one I added one more stop. I've looked at the dry prints and I think they got pulled a little early. OTOH it still looks like the developer is close to dead.
     
  13. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Do you know what Kodak had in mind when they compounded
    D-9? D-9 has a Bunch of bromide. Wall's has Zero.

    A thread I started a few days ago may be of interest; Wall's Normal
    Hydroquinone. It has all the same ingredients of a print developer
    with which I was experimenting. To my surprise my concoction
    produced in eight minutes a fine, very warm tone lith print on
    Arista 5x7 RC.

    Wall's is a lith developer stripped to the bare essentials;
    hydroquinone, sulfite, and carbonate. I hope to compare it
    to my formulation in the near future. Dan
     
  14. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    The stock solution has a lot of bromide. But I'm using it 1:1:8. That brings the bromide level down quite a bit. With fresh developer the stuff was too fast even at that dilution. When I've replenished all I've added is more hydroquine and sodium hydroxide. I figure the paper is releasing bromide into the old part of the developer.

    The sulfite is mostly for peppering? I had some peppering with the first few sheets but that went away when the developer aged.
     
  15. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    IIRC at 1:1:8 working strength will have 2.25 grams bromide/liter. That is well
    above most paper developers at working strength and way above 0. You've
    the chemistry, why not try a quarter batch or Wall's? Sulfite, carbonate,
    hydroquinone, that's all there is to it. Dan
     
  16. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I've checked quite a few formulas. High bromide levels are associated
    with hydroxide. Formulas without hydroxide have low bromide levels or
    none at all; ie Wall's Normal Hydroqinone.

    From what little I know of lith printing I'd say the sulfite acts as
    a preservative. The "peppering" is likely due to overly great local
    infectious development caused by low local sulfite levels and/or
    the highly active nature of the developer. Is D-9 recommended
    for lith print processing? Dan
     
  17. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    D-9 is on the unblinkingeye.com webpage. So I assume it's okay for lith. I don't have Rudman's book at my finger tips but from memory he mentions that sulfite was a two edge sword. Too much lowered lith effects. Too little risked peppering. Some papers will show peppering more then others supposedly. I saw no peppering with Forte but early on saw a little with the Agfa.

    http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/LithDev/lithdev.html
     
  18. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    You'll also find another bunch of lith formulas by searching
    Google for, wall's normal hydroquinone .

    AFAIK, all lith formulas save for, I believe, a very few and
    recent print specific formulas, were compounded for film. I
    dare say some were formulated 70, 80, 90, 100 or more
    years ago. Films of what character, who knows. Dan
     
  19. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Lith developer is designed for lith film. The stuff is used in the printing industry I think. The combination will provided very high contrast negatives. Freestyle sells lith film. It's relatively cheap LF sheet film. The problem is the contrast needs to be tamed.