Litho film - what do I do with it?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Dan Dozer, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. Dan Dozer

    Dan Dozer Subscriber

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    I've recently inherited a package of old 11 x 14 orthochromatic litho film and I'm not sure what I should do with it. I remember years and years ago when just starting out in B&W photography playing around with Kodalith film and getting super high contrast positives from negatives. However, I don't know where to start with this. I don't know the manufacturer of this stuff (it's not labled) so don't know where to start out with film speeds, developing times, developer type, etc. As I remember, the old Kodalith film had a very slow film speed.

    Can I use a certain developer to get continuous tone copy negs rather than high contrast ones? I thought maybe I could use some 4 x 5 transparancies to try to make some artsy big negs to try some Platinum/Palladiums with. However, this is ortho film so it obviously isn't sensitive to all colors.

    Any suggestions?????
     
  2. David William White

    David William White Member

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    That's exactly what I do. Make continuous tone enlargements of 2 1/4 and 4x5 negatives.

    Exposure times for contact or projection are close to paper -- certainly more exposure latitude than normal film. Use test strips just like paper when making internegatives. Use diluted paper developer (close or equal to film strength) and you can develop by inspection under safelight -- keeping contrast to normal levels. Quite easy to work with.

    Most alt processes require higher density negs than normal projection negatives, so duplicating nice negs on ortho litho is the way to go. Also used to increase contrast of really flat negatives if you don't snatch from the developer. I also assume it's the really thin stuff, so ortho litho is also used for contrast masks, composites, and all kinds of other fun stuff. I sometimes make enlarged copies, then slice them up and recompose the pieces, and the original stays safely in the sleeve.

    Have a go!
     
  3. David Grenet

    David Grenet Member

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    Yes.

    I've had success with ortho lith film in ilford lc29 (basically the same stuff as hc-110 and ilfotec-hc) diluted fairly heavily. Others (who will no doubt chime in here) use rodinal or scratch-mix developers to tame the contrast.
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    That stuff keeps forever, so it is likely still good.

    You can use it in camera, but my favorite use for it is to make enlarged interpositives and then contact negatives for the purpose of contact printing.

    I would not cut it down. You can get 3.9x4.9 Arista litho film that will slide perfectly into 4x5 film holders without having to waste your nice big sheets of the old stuff, which some think is better in quality with richer blacks and fewer defects than Arista. The film is REALLY dirt cheap: about 13 bucks for 50 sheets last I checked at Freestyle (though that was over a year ago that I bought my box).

    One thing to know before shooting this film in camera: It is an ortho film. Red light will not expose it. This might create unexpected tonal relationships, since we are all used to shooting panchromatic films.

    You can get continuous tone results several different ways. After much trial and error, I think that David Soemarko's LC-1 three part formula (A, B, and water) works best. Before that, I had settled on *one shot* (very important) Kodak HC-110 and Ilford Ilfotec HC in various high dilutions. You need metol, hydroquinone, and sodium sulfite for part A, sodium disulfite for part B, and distilled water for part C (and to mix up parts A and B), plus two storage bottles.

    I just searched and found this, written by Soemarko himself: http://www.eriepatsellis.com/LC1.htm. The Christopher James Book on alternative processes also contains about two pages of good information on this developer. In fact, for myself, it has been the most invaluable information contained in the entire book. It is now out in a new edition that is about twice as long, but also notably more expensive. If all you want is the LC-1 info, you can search for the old edition to save some money.
     
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  5. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    If you google for Dave Soemarko's name, you'll find his website as well, if I'm not mistaken. I prefer that other's link to that page, instead of mine, since I self host on a cable connection. I archived it simply because it's valuable information that typically gets lost in this day of ISP and web hosts suddenly disapperaing. Jim Galli also has a modified Rodinal developer he uses that gives results that are simply amazing. Anyone interested in more alt process and alternative materials should get the reprints of Post Factory Photography Journal from Judy Siegel, well worth the low cost if you plan on traveling this route.
     
  6. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Sorry for the link. I did not know it was an issue. I figured he had posted that page. It is too late to edit it. If the moderators could go in and replace the link to your page with the one to Mr. Soemarko's, that would be fine. (I can't seem to find the page.)

    I also like slow-moving dilution of syrupy concentrate developers for the film, but over all, I like LC-1 better for its two bath approach.

    I have not tried combining HC with part B of Soemarko's LC-1. If it works, it would prove easier than mixing parts A and B; three fewer powdered chemicals involved.
     
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  7. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    not a problem, really, just more of an awareness. I'll have to dig up the link, I'm sure I have it here somewhere.
     
  8. Dan Dozer

    Dan Dozer Subscriber

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    Thanks guys for the input - that gives me a lot of info to sort through and more ideas for what I can try.

    The film is definitely Ortho film as it notes to use with appropriate safe lights. I'll have to give it a try one of these days to see out it works. Now if I only can find the time.
     
  9. John W

    John W Member

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    The original link to Dave Soemarko's page is http://members.aol.com/fotodave/Articles/LC-1.html, but this AOL service was shut down some time ago and so is no longer a reachable site. You'll have to enter that URL into the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine search box to retrieve a copy of the page.

    I'll also note that the email addresses for Judy Seigel at post-factory.org aren't reachable currently either. Nevertheless, she still has quite a stock of all nine issues and is happy to sell them; I just ordered mine. For now, PM me and I'll pass along current contact info.
     
  10. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Anyone try this film in a pinhole?

    I am about to order it in 20 x 24 for contact printing...
     
  11. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    Rodinal at 1:150. Develop by inspection under a RED safelight. About 7-8 minutes seems to work well when the film is shot at ISO 5. This will give you continous tone negs (shot in camera) with incredible acutance and virtually grainless.
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    LOTS of people use this in pinholes.

    Just remember that it is an ortho film, and that it is slow.

    Good options for continuous tone developers that I have personally used are David Soemarko's LC-1 and HC-110 (or Ilford HC) used one shot at high dilution. I have not tried Rodinal, but it would probably work great as well.
     
  13. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Cool,

    Thanks for the answers. I need slow film for this project. We ordered a pack of 20 x 24 and a roll of 24 inch x 100 foot Arista Ortho-Litho II.

    The pinhole we are using is tack sharp from about 5 foot and beyond, we figure it is around F/640. We were shooting it for a few years with R3 reversal paper ( ISO 3 ) and with that it was pulling 15-30 lines per millimeter as a rough guess just by sight just on the print.

    The camera easily handles 24 x 48 although it is not totally sharp across the entire plane. But this is not supposed to be a high res thing, just an effect thing.....

    Pretty darn fun.
     
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