Putting out tentacles

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Ian Grant, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    We are actively researching demand for a very high quality B&W reversal process in Europe (and America). This would be as consistent & reliable as any existing European or US services, probably more so.

    It would equal and match Scala, but be a world leader for Reversal processing of a wide variaety of film.

    Ian
     
  2. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    DR5?
     
  3. coigach

    coigach Member

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    Who is "we"?

    I've used dr5 for years and their quality and service is second-to-none. Highly recommend to others.

    Cheers,
    Gavin
     
  4. Lowell Huff

    Lowell Huff Inactive

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    I can also recommend FOTO FIESTA in Santa Ana, CA 714 647 7600
     
  5. wogster

    wogster Member

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    I'm game, although I think that it really comes down to making a reversal bleach that can be added into ANY B&W process with any film. If you look on the Ilford website, they tell you how to make it, although it requires re-exposure, so maybe a fogging bath would work more reliably.
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    That's a good question Gavin, I was asked by the owner of a small lab in London about the possibilities of setting up a B&W reversal service, and the chemistry etc involved. The project went on the back burner when I moved abroad, although I've still been doing research.

    Something happened yesterday that made me realise I should put more effort into seeing how practical the project would be, then the lab owner will have to decide if it's a viable proposition. In the mean time I need to finalise what chemistry will be used, determine all the parameters, do field tests etc. Then scale the process up so that it works on an automated processing machine. Ideally the process needs to be replenishable, and only requires minimal process monitoring. There are people with relevant experience I can turn to for advice on certain aspects, and I'm trying to trackdown one technician who specialised in commercial B&W reversal processing for many years

    There are of course other labs in the UK and Europe who offer B&W reversal processing but most don't seem to push the service, or currently only process Scala. So there is potential for a new UK (Europe) based service with a fast turnaround, and Central London would be ideal.

    Ian
     
  7. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Firstly, Ian, I didn't know that there are existing labs that offer B&W reversal processing (probably because it's never occurred to me to look!). Secondly, I think you've hit the nail on the head with the phrase "fast turnaround". Anything that takes weeks will be on a hiding to nothing from the off IMHO. I've used a fair bit of Scala and formerly Dia-Direct, sometimes for straightforward photography but also for lecture puposes where I'm copying a B&W photo and want the result to be B&W without having to worry about colour temperatures, correction filters, etc as are necessary with colour transparency films.

    Those who have processed their own B&W at home seem to be at pains to say how easy it is. To me it looks like a lot of hassle and Id be more than happy for someone else to take the worry out of it for me. (Like when the computer goes wrong!)

    Good luck with the project if it happens.

    Steve
     
  8. coigach

    coigach Member

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    Helpful info, will watch with interest.

    No guarantee that a London-based processor would necessarily be that quick - in days of yore, I always found Joe's Basement to be be pretty slow for Scala (and often they returned marked trannies etc too.). As for posting to / from elsewhere in Europe, this will also take a good few days, depending where you are.

    I send my orders to dr5 in the USA from Scotland in bulk every few months and the arrangement works fine - cuts down on postage charges, and helps me develop patience too...!

    Cheers,
    Gavin
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2008
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Wish I was in Europe...

    DR5 is great for those here in the U.S.A.

    Good luck in your pursuits! I wish you the best.

    The only way to keep film alive is to "DO IT". The Internet can't do it by itself.
     
  10. frdrx

    frdrx Member

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    Well, we have Foma processing their R100 film here in Czechistan, but their service is not top notch and their processing kit also isn't optimal (although I like the results). Foma R100 also isn't available as roll film, so I'm researching other options. I would love a tested and proven process that I could do at home or have it done commercially if needed. But a another proprietary process like DR5? No thanks.
     
  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    There are tested and proven alternatives to the Foma & DR5 products/services, they don't have a monopoly on B&W reversal processing, Kodak make a Tmax Reversal kit, I don't know if it's still available but many people used it with excellent results. The Photographer's Formulary also produce a kit.

    There are also a number of alternative formulae on the internet. You would probably be unlikely to get results that reach the quality of Scala or DR5 immediately, you'd almost certainly need to do some fine tuning. But it isn't difficult.

    Ian
     
  12. frdrx

    frdrx Member

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    Thanks. I've collected as many recipes as I could, and I can't wait to do some trials. This one looks very promising. Now I'm stuck, though, because I cannot get my hands on some of the chemicals.
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Jens Osbahr has written an excellent article there, he updates it as well. Essentially his approach is similar to Ilford and May & Baker in adding a silver solvent to an existing product. Many commercial labs used May & Baker Suprol developer with Thiocyanate added, and the company wrote an excellent datasheet/manual with comprehensive data on the parameters for reversal processing in a variety os machines and also small scale use, it was particularly good on trouble shooting. I have a copy somewhere but everything is boxed away for moving, and I couldn't find it on my last trip back the UK.

    You can usually get dilute Sulphuric acid and permanganate from most chemists/pharmacy shops. Permanganate is used as a mouth wash at dentists, and concentrated Sulphuric acid is often sold for unblocking drains, and of course topping up car batteries. You could use light reversal instead of adding Stannous Chloride, the Sodium Thiocyanate will be slightly harder to find.

    Ian
     
  14. frdrx

    frdrx Member

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    Thanks again. The problem with potassium permanganate is that it softens the emulsion. It works, but I don't like it. Potassium dichromate is much better (for the slides, not necessarily the world). Indeed, stannous chloride and sodium thiocyanate are the two chemicals I have failed to obtain so far.