Oil/Solvent Immersion Enlarging

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Peter De Smidt, Mar 1, 2006.

  1. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    Recently I've experimented with scanning wet-mounted 35mm negatives using Kami fluid and mylar. This produced sharper scans with less grain and dust spots than 'dry' scanning, and I'm considering trying a similar technique with my enlarger. I know that there have been oil immersion carriers made for some enlargers, and so someone must have some experience with this. Has anyone here done this? What were your results? Since Kami fluid is a solvent which is meant to evaporate fairly quickly, I expect that using it near a 250 watt halogen bulb might not be a good idea. Does anyone have a suggestion for a good alternate fluid? Would mineral oil work?
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    This is called 'wet gate' printing in the motion picture industry. The common wetting material is, or was, a silicone oil which can be easily removed from the negative.

    It has been proven to improve print quality and has stood the test of time.

    There was a thread here or on PN recently with lots more information.

    PE
     
  3. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    From what I remember, working in a photo store in the late 60's: I met a guy named Carl Ness, in the Wash DC area, who invented, and at the time was manufacturing the "Carlwen" neg carrier (I think named for him and his wife-Wendy?) It was a sliding flat holder with 5-6 apertures spaced like film exposures. It slid, very smoothly (it was well made as I recall), in a carrier, which mounted in the enlarger like a normal carrier. You could move from one image to the other without removing the whole thing, kind of like Beseler's negatrans, which came soon after, but with a different design.
    I believe the film was immersed, or coated, in silicon, I never knew why, but your post reminds me of it. I don't know why I remember all this, nor how accurate it is, but I'm pretty sure. (This is where I would put in the winking face - where do you guys get those?)
     
  4. boyooso

    boyooso Member

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    I have more silicone 200 than I know what to do with. I have used it to magically make scratches disappear! It works wonderfully. And yes, it helps with dust, some.

    Immersing your film in it can be very messy if you don't have the proper carrier. Of course condit made them, I've seen them form time to time on ebay. I should say it is also messy with the proper carrier :smile:

    If you are interested I could probably part with some of my silicone for a small charge to help offset the $150+- I paid.

    Corey
     
  5. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Sorry Photo Engineer, that is wrong. The fluid is perchlorethylene, or dry cleaning fluid as most people call it, a solvent that is used because has relatively the same optical refractive index of acetate and is a pretty good degreaser.

    We use about 500 gallons of the stuff a year in our motion picture wetgate printers and in our Lipsner/Smith Mark IV ultrasonic cleaners.

    Wet gate printing (for motion pictures) was developed by the Technicolor Corporation and has been refined over the years by others, but I have never heard of silicone oil being used as a wet gate agent...

    Of course, the properties of noseoil are legend, right?

    I don't know about the optical properties of silicone oil; it might possibly work in an optical printer, like an Oxberry or an Acme , but it would prove disastrous for continuous contact printing, where the oil would make contact with the element being exposed, which is the bulk of what we do.
     
  6. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    Perschlorethylene looks like fairly nasty stuff, especially for use in a home darkroom. I usually only enlarge one negative a day, so if I have to spend 15 minutes mounting it to the glass carrier, and 15 minutes cleaning it and the carrier at the end of the session, that's not a big deal. Thus, I don't really need something that dries quickly.
     
  7. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Yes, Peter and All; my response was strictly informational to PhotoEngineer. Guess I should have sent it as a PM, but I didn't...

    I DO NOT recommend you use perc (as we call it); it is carcinogenic and we wear organic vapor respirators when handle the stuff and have a routine medical monitoring program that does an annual battery of tests to chart blood protein levels and other variable to make sure we are not sliding over into Cancer.

    Not a good chemical to mess with; somewhat on par with Carbon Tet.
     
  8. Clueless

    Clueless Member

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    Epson has just come out with a flat-bed scanner that supports wet mounting. "That" might be a source of information. The Condit immersion carrier had a shallow "dish" in which the film sunk and was covered with the "oil" and a piece of high quality "float" glass (in place of today's mylar). Bubbles were to be avoided if possible and nudged out to the edge otherwise.
     
  9. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    I'm glad that you mentioned it. A brief search pulled up some interesting info on it.
     
  10. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    Is there any reason that I shouldn't give it a try with mineral oil?
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Kino;

    You are correct as far as it goes.

    The problems you mention are exactly why Kodak recommended silicone oil. To avoid the problems inherent with chloro organic solvents.

    All of the enlargements that I had made by EK for me at Cape Canaveral were wet gate printed using silicone oil and then the negatives were 'dried' only with the chloro carbon solvent. EK suggested that Hollywood use the silicone oil with other solvents used in small quantity to 'rinse' the negatives (if even that).

    So, as usual, the answer is yes and no, or whatever. It is a mix out there. Environmentally friendly labs don't use chlorocarbons.

    PE
     
  12. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I have a Condit Pin Registered Oil Immersion Carrier. Robert Pace who is one of the world's premier photographic printers recommends oil immersion.. to reduce refraction from the carrier glass... along with a point light source. There are other fluids that are usable including turpentine. Oil immersion is also used with microscopy.

    The media Bob Pace advises using is Dow Corning fluid 200 viscosity 100. He recommends cleaning the oil from the negative or positive with a three successive dips ito three different containers of film cleaner amd then hanging the film chip to dry.

    I am going to make a suggesstion here:
    Get hold of some glass slide mounts w/o anti-newton glass. Use these for your carrier. If kami fluid is being used you may have to seal the slide mount to prevent evaporation of the fluid. When using oil bubbles are a real PAIN IN THE ASS. You have to get the bubbles out of your image area. I suggest that you work on a level surface and that your enlarger holds the carrier in a level plane. I am not talking about alignment here..If you eliminate the bubbles when on a level plane and then insert the carrier into a properly aligned enlarger that is NOT level the bubbles will drift. If you wish to see just how fine of a circle your enlarging lens can project then having bubbles in the image area will illustrate it for you nicely My lawd what clear and tiny bubbles you will project....perfection indeed!

    Along with preventing refraction from the carrier glass scratches and transparent dust motes will disappear.
     
  13. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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  14. RJS

    RJS Member

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    As I remember about 30 years ago there was some stuff (Edwal?) that came in a small bottle with a brush. I used it on a scratched 35mm neg and itprinted beautifully. Called "no scratch" I think. It was oily, and I never got it off the neg but it didn't seem to hurt over some time.
     
  15. Kino

    Kino Member

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    There are three ways to wet gate motion picture film -- two of them that can be used by still photography-- the "aquarium" model (as above), where the film is totally immersed in a fluid bath within an aquarium or tray of glass (and yes, bubbles ARE Hell in motion picture work too) and the applicated method whereby a wick with the fluid is passed over the element and placed directly in the printing aperture and exposed.

    The Edwal "No-Scratch" was probably silicone oil and was applicated to a negative and placed in an enlarger immediately. Trick was to get just enough; too little and it didn't do the job and too much and it runs down into the enlarger...

    Better have some good film cleaner, 1:1:1 or 1:1:2 Trichlorethene, or similar to remove it though; it can be hard to get off both the neg and the carrier.
     
  16. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Yes, but, environmentally friendly labs don't copy millions of feet of nitrate motion picture film a year; period. ;-)

    We have carbon scrubbers and are regulated out the wazoo. I'd be more afraid of the fumes in a typical garage storage cabinet than in our lab...
     
  17. gordrob

    gordrob Subscriber

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    Oil immersion is recommended for making seperation negatives for the dye transfer process. This carrier allows you to sandwich your transparency and contrast and highight masks keeping them extremely flat. You can use mineral oil, silicon oil or castor oil because they all have similar refraction indexes to the glass in the carrier. As Claire has stated Bob Pace recomends the Dow Corning #200 as probably the best for the oil immersion process. According to Bob the Dow oil does not soften the emulsion like the other oils which makes damage to the slide or negative easier. The glass in the carriers must be as clean as possible and you will need some sort of thin knife to pry the glass apart after it has been in contact with the oil. It can be a messy process but the results will be worth the effort.
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    And, with all of those chlorocarbons present, you have a built in fire extinguisher to keep from having problems with the nitrate film.

    PE
     
  19. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Where can one purchsase the Dow Corning fluid 200, viscosity 100.

    And what film cleaner does Mr. Pace recommend for the clean-up of the negative. Or more specifically, what is in the film cleaner?

    Sandy


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2006
  20. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Mr King I bought mine bottle approximately 10 years ago. It was from K.R. Anderson a supplier located in Santa Barbara Californication. It was at that time $30 a pint. I do not know how many viscosities are available but specify the 100 version.

    I have not seen a brand of film cleaner specified by Mr. Pace. You could use PEC it is about $55/ pint. A film cleaner that I have never used id offered by Techcheminc (techcheminc.com) at $15 per gallon. Techcheminc offers a variety of photo chemicals at good prices and from the couple of orders I placed good service and customer response. Mr Robertr Shraeder..I am uncertain of the spelling here.. could tell you what is in the film cleaner.
    I am guessing the reason that they sell film cleaner by the gallon is that they have as a good part of their business xray development. Xray technicians are able to regularly go thru more film then even Mr. ULF King. Although their work is more penetrating then Mr King's it seems to me to be far less interesting.