silver rich

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Aggie, Sep 29, 2003.

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  1. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    Since this term was blasted as not being valid and not to be found or heard of, I searched for the term on the web where I had first encountered it. Well last night when I was reading Steve Anchells "Darkroom Cookbook" I came across it again. PG. 79 half way down the page, where in big black letters it says NOTE you will find it in the next paragraph talking about old emulsions. Though this was in reference to paper, it also has been used in other publications (given time I will find them) that yes silver rich as a term, deals with old emulsion films too. Probably in the same book!
     
  2. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

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    Supposedly there are a handful of old style, silver rich films available. Efke R100 is said to be one of 'em. Can't tell by the film base which is so thin and conspires to curl so fiercely one would be disinclined to associate the words "thick" or "rich" with the film. The word I associate with R100 is "Behave, DAMMIT!"

    OTOH, it is truly a lovely film.

    On the third hand so is APX 100 and I haven't heard whether it's supposed to be silver rich, oil rich, nuevo riche or land poor.
     
  3. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I haven't seen the post that blasted the term "silver rich". I thought it was common knowledge that the silver content has been decresed over the years to gain speed and reduce production cost (but no reduction in cost to the consumer). Maybe a more "acceptable" term would be "silver content greater than current standards" or SCGTCS ------ :evil:

    Kind of reminds of a former life when the term barracks was dropped in favor of "Unaccompanied Personnel Housing", UPH. But that wasn't acceptable enough so differentiation had to be made between Unaccompanied Enlisted Personnel Housing, UEPH, or Unaccompanied Officer Personnel Housing, UOPH.

    For some reason, its easier for me to say, and hear, barracks and silver rich, vice UOPH UEPH SCGTS. :cry:
     
  4. Jorge Oliveira

    Jorge Oliveira Member

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    What I've read re old emulsions are films designed about or before WW2.
    ORWO, that later become other company (Adox?) was the fist one to manufacture a thin emulsion - by the 60's, if I recall correctly. The other manufacturers followed it.

    The reason is not economics - it's related to boosting sharpness (as light travel the depht of film, it difuses and smear).

    Jorge O
     
  5. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Thanks Jorge, you're probably right. Makes sense that thin emulsions were brought about by the war, most likely due to the rapid advances necessary for aerial photography.
     
  6. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    But in paper, there is the search for total black and rich mid-tones. I have followed my own journey for the paper of my dreams and found most papers to be good in their own right. Based on something I read, Cachet RF is supposed to have a deeper richer emulsion. If it is better than Forte Fortezo, it is not by much. I really can't complain about Ilford Gallery either. I will probably go insane before I can say which one is best for me with my negs and the developers I like so I will have to stick with the Forte ... no the Cachet .... no .... I mean the Galery - Awwww nuts - I am soooo confused - I calibrated my darkroom with the Forte so ... never mind!
     
  7. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

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    Yup, what we gain with "thinner" emulsions and use of sensitizing dyes is increased sharpness and resistance to halation. Not a bad tradeoff.

    But sometimes we may want that old school look.

    I hear some folks say older style emulsions are friendlier to their ventures with pyro and staining/tanning developers. Mebbe so. I haven't tried 'em, unless it was in school 30+ years ago and forgot.
     
  8. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I think that if I am correct the post that Aggie is referring to was either my post or the following post by Sandy King in reference to the staining aspects of PMK developer. For those who wish to avail themselve to this information it may prove informative as to what the reference to "silver rich" was and in what content it was questioned. I will leave it to the readers whether the term "silver rich" was "blasted" by either Mr. King or myself. A search of the archives will locate this particular thread for those interested. I personally think that it is "old history" and is far beyond my interest at this time.

    The basis of the information that I posted in reference to that thread was based in densitometric analysis of the basis of general and proportional stain. I still for the life of me do not know what "silver rich" means. I don't care whether it was Steve Anchell or Jesus Christ that used the term. I would just like the person using that term to explain to me in a scientific manner based in factual testing what it is and how it explains general stain.

    Now if we are dragging paper into this matter it seems to be serving only to cloud the matter further. Perhaps obscurity is the desired basis of this discussion. I must say however that is not my desired result. I find that obscurity serves little to clarify the matter that was addressed.

    I believe that there are thick emulsion films. Does this make them "silver rich"? (Whatever that is) I don't know that it does and I don't know that it doesn't. I do however know that they do have a thicker gelatin layer which would be more inclined to be stained by general staining.
     
  9. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    In this thread I made no reference to who or what thread. I chose not to do that for a good reason. It then prompted a good start of a discussion on films and their emulsions. I chose only to give a term that was deemed not real the validity that it truely has in print. Further reading found it again a few moments ago in in one of Ansel Adams books in regard to films. FWIW
     
  10. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

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    I can't find any specific mention in my reference book or those I've seen elsewhere, including web searches of Kodak's and other sites, to the issues of silver content or even emulsion thickness and how this may relate to matters that are measurable or definable.

    It appears to be one of those topics like art and pornography - we know it when we see it and whether we like it.
     
  11. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    <curmedgeon-mode-on>/

    'Silver-rich' is marketing mumbo-jumbo, with about the same real information content as 'low-fat'. Yes, people use the term all the time, but I challenge someone to tell me what it is supposed to mean in quantifiable terms. All film contains silver, so saying one is 'silver rich' begs the question: as opposed to what? And just because it is printed in a book means nothing. The context under which it was used seems to indicate that the same marketing B.S. was merely being parroted.

    All I know is that in my tests, one film that is continuously being trumpeted as 'silver rich' and 'like the old Super-XX' cannot achieve nearly the maximum density and contrast as one of the newer, and I guess supposedly by implication, 'silver-poor' emulsions. Unless you test these films side-by-side in a quantifiable way, you are forced to rely on hearsay and marketing hokum. A day spent running a few film test comparisons is worthwhile in that it allows you to separate the B.S. from the facts. I heartily encourage people to do their own tests and form their own conclusions based on their own workig conditions.

    /<curmudgeon-mode-off>

    Really, don't rely on everything you hear until you can check it out yourself.

    Clay
     
  12. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    Wow, you can edit after you post! Cool!

    CH
     
  13. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    As far as I can make it, it usually refers to older style, traditional (non t grain ) films like Bergger, Forte etc- a bit like thick emulsion. Anyway if a film gives me the look I want I don't care what it's called!
     
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  15. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    The term does exist, and it has been used many times to denote both film and paper emulsions and their content. Whether it is marketing B.S. or not, the term is used. You could argue that milk as a term is abmibious too. Is it camel, cow, goat, or yak milk? fast car by it self is a misnomer also, which fast car and why? Was it becasue of loss of weight in the vehicle or the increase in power form a engine, or was it a bigger engine to begin with. No is out there demanding that scientific experiments and data be collected to make it plausible for one car over another to use the term fast car. It may be marketing hype, or it may be a term that is used just like in any other field. The term is still a used term and is used by some of the luminaries of this field. To discount it out of hand and to say from the orginal thread that it does not exist and is a made up term, was reason for saying yes this term does exist.

    That said, there is one company that has not changed its forumlation on its film, not the thickness of the emulsion, nor the content of a HIGHER amount of silver (silver rich) that company is located in the Czech Republic and many here use the paper quite often. As for the film, past discussions have shown not many use the film or know how to handle it. It is not a popular film. I had to search the web for information a year ago about processing times, and found none. Today there are postings on the web about how to handle it and the processing times. I found that with PMK it has the same times as TMX (100) Why did this company not lower it's silver content? Mostly it didn't need to. Why? It is contected through the old eastern block countries with a silver mining concern. It had its own supplier. Maybe it was out of laziness or just staying with what they knew, who knows. But FORTE can and has claimed in the past and probably in the future to being silver rich. It is a beautiful film in PMK, and for me with out a densimeter I have gotten some of my best negatives with the use of PMK from this product.

    As for densimeters I can see those using ULF and doing specialized printing such as platinum wanting to find the most reliable way to get results with one shot. I for one, and I am not including any others in this statement, am going to purchasing for what I do at this time, a densimeter. I for one went into this field for the magic. If I had to rely on densimeters and getting down to scientifically reading every thing I did, I would just foget all of this and go digital. I would rather go for the soul where an image is what I imagined in my head, than the image some secintific reading told me was the perfect everything. Besides hubby has enough to carry out in the filed with what I have already. He doesn't need another gizmo on his back.
     
  16. lee

    lee Member

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    God, Aggie switch to decaffinated. The magic is still there with knowing what the outcome might be with regards to film speed and film development. (It might make the printing of the image you have in your head easier that is all) Besides you don't need to carry a densitometer into the field. Mine sits on my desk. Mostly it is in a case. There is no mystery here. It is a tool just like that fancy light meter you got. It does not rob the soul of an image just because you took the time to learn something about the materials you chose to work with. Senitometery has been part and parcel to photography since the beginning. Light strikes the film and excites the photons. That is all.

    lee\c
     
  17. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    BRAVO AGGIE:

    In the year since I've been a member of this site your progress has been staggering. You have gone from a wanna be to a searching intelligent photographer.

    I don't have an answer to your question, and I definately won't try to block your search with negative responses. However, I am certain that you will find the answer.

    Sometimes, our perception of the pluses and minuses of different products is only obvious to us, perhaps due to the individual nuances of how we use them. Perhaps that is why we go through phases in our work moving from one product and style to another.

    Keep up the search.


    Michael McBlane
     
  18. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    hey guys:

    Look, I'm not trying to start a flame war, or offend anyone. I'm also not trying to block anybody's search for anything, and most certainly not 'magic'. And I am not saying that 'silver rich' is not a term. It obviously is, and became so the first time some clever dude uttered it.

    All I am saying is that it is imprecise, and means just about anything you want it to mean,which was nicely illustrated with the example stated of 'fast cars' . If you don't want to use any testing methods or densitometers, fine. I don't care. But this impassioned defense of the term borders on the ridiculous. If you want it to mean whatever you choose it to mean, then that's okay by me. All I know is that there is a heck of lot more to how film performs under actual conditions than whether somebody calls it 'silver rich'. I have tested and USED these films, and I can show you the results, and you're welcome do do anything you want with them. But this whole discussion seems to split more along the lines of a whether you will buy into a 'belief system' versus any kind of rational proof.

    Bottom line: if it works for you, don't change a thing. I'm not proselytizing that my way is the only way. Everybody will evolve their own way of working. And FWIW, I don't do anything fancy or high tech in the field, and I know the knowledge I get from understanding how film responds to light allows me to make a correct exposure without a lot of conscious thought. I concentrate 98% on the image, knowing that a little up-front work allows me to bring home the 'magic' I find, consistently.
     
  19. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    It seems that this discussion is deteriorated to the point that we are discussing how many angels are on the heads of a pin rather then whether there are angels there at all.

    That the term "silver rich" is a term which is used has never been disputed. To have moved the discussion to the point that the discussion is about a term is a further indication of the need for obscurity of the actual issue which was addressed in the earlier thread. That thread stated that the "silver rich" films had a greater ability to stain with PMK developer. I or perhaps Mr. King apparently disrupted some closely held beliefs held by others. Whether the term "silver rich" has validity in the practical application of photography today is open to a lot of dispute. I stand by my original position and that is what Clay also addressed. Show those of us that have serious doubts about the validity of this term the factual basis for those claims. What is the scientific basis?

    Forte makes a claim...so, is it valid? Is there factual proof that it actually has more silver in it's emulsion then XXX brand? Bergger makes the same claim about their BPF 200 and I have had the same experience that Clay has had with that material...it seriously sucks as far as building contrast. For those of you that are inclined to believe these claims about "silver rich" emulsions...I have this wonderful new "snake oil" that will provide everlasting youth, improved appearance, and increased sexual prowess...just send me the money.

    I have no ego investment in attempting to prove that any term used by someone else is factually correct. I test my own materials. I am through wasting my time listening to someone who may have not done the work or to those who have a vested financial interest.

    To discount the use of whatever tools available (densitometers targeted in this case) is akin to saying that "to hell with lenses". I don't think that is a reasonable position. But then what about this whole matter has been reasonable?
     
  20. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Well, before the thread deteriorates any more I just want to make it clear that I don't remember saying anything that may have led someone to believe that I was blasting anything about silver-rich emulsions. Frankly I don't have a fixed idea this subject so I am fairly certain that I am not guilty, as was implied in an earlier message on this thread. I have read that some of the modern tabular grain silver emulsions like TMAX and the Delta films are able to use less silver to achieve the same density than some of the older emulsions, but beyond that my knowledge is very limited.

    The only thing I can think of that may have associated me with any blasting is an opinion I expressed on another thread to the effect that “staining developers work about equally well with all films that contain silver. That some films appear to work better than others is due to fact that the gelatin base of some films is thicker than that of others, and this films consequently develop more general stain, for the simple reason that there is more gelatin to stain.” I am aware that this particular idea may seem heretical to some people because the idea that Pyro developers don't work well with some films it has been affirmed so widely that it has become an accepted fact with certain people. But to the best of my knowledge there is no real evidence of this anywhere.

    However, to more fully explain what I meant by the above (assuming it has something to do with the present thread?) you need to understand that from my perspective the primary attribute of staining developers such as PMK and Pyrocat-Hd is not the stain itself, though this can be useful for boosting contrast, but the ability of these developers to deliver extremely high acutance, and this results not from staining but from the hardening and tanning of the gelatin around the silver that prevents infectious development, especially useful with high contrast and back-lighted subjects. :roll:
     
  21. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Sandy,
    From what I can determine, Aggie apparently took offense to my reply to her comment about "silver rich" films developing greater stain with PMK developer in the earlier thread (that you mention in your post). My reply in that thread included my phrase "whatever that is" in reference to "silver rich".

    After my reply in that thread, you then posted your findings that the matter of the general stain exhibited by PMK was a matter of the greater amount of gelatin in the emulsion. The reason that I think that is in the initial post to this thread is that she made reference to the term "silver rich" being "blasted."

    This is all by way of information.
     
  22. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    <joke mode on> /

    hey, while we're having fun,why don't we all wrestle with what the phrase "Tonal range" means? Best reply gets a pair of toenail clippers...

    /<joke mode off> :lol: :lol:
     
  23. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Clay,
    Mine has deliciously separated whipped cream highlights and shadows that you could reach into to your elbow. Bet that is better then yours...
     
  24. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    delicate gossamer fairy-wing highlights smoothly changing to velvety velour shadows - with rich Corinthian leather midtones in between.
     
  25. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Clay,
    I gotta admit you got me with the corinthian leather midtones...Mine are somewhat compressed...more like old boot leather. But I imagine that I made up for it with the "length of scale" in the highlights.
     
  26. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Ok, let me try to sort this out. I have heard of "silver rich" enlarging or contact papers. The best known example is the POP by Chicago albumen works, where at some time they "claimed" their paper produced better blacks because of the extra silver. This claim was later adopted by Forte. Dr. J. Henry in his book controls in black & white debunked this theory by making measurements with a micro densitometer and ploting the results vs a "normal" paper, where he shows that "silver rich" papers do not have any advantage over any other papers as far as obtaining greater Dmax. IOW they DO NOT give blacker blacks.

    Some people, Adams among them hypothesized that "older" films gave better results because they had a higher silver content than "modern" films. Among the supposedly better qualities was better expansion and less blocked highlights. The best known example is super XX, of which Adams was very fond. IMO this anecdotal experiences are due to the less than perfect antihalation dyes used at the time, where the "modern" films were more suceptible to problems caused by inadequate antihaltion dyes.

    As Sandy mentioned, the effect of pyro or tanning developers occurs in the gelatin and not in the silver, although the presence of silver causes an enhacement of the stain. The trick as Sandy and others have done is to formulate a developer which has little effect on the gelatin but is augmented when "exposed" silver is present and aids the tanning developer into forming a stain. These we know as proportional developers. GIven the "correct" formulation proportional developers like Pyrocat HD can be made to behave like other pyro developers and produce an overall stain, but this has less to do with the amount of silver content than with the formulation and action of the main developing ingredient that is pyro or catechol.

    Unfortunatelly for Aggie she got caught in a debate which probably she was not aware but which people who have been doing this for a while know to be less than truthful. ALthough the term "silver rich" is present in the photography literature, it is essentially meaningless as it has not been proved that silver content can be connected with "better" negatives or prints, and most of the anecdotal obesrvations are many times due to other factor than silver content.
     
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