Spot Pens

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by SuzanneR, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Anyone try these?

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/135649-REG/Spot_Pen_SOSP10W_SpotPen_Retouching_Pen_Set.html

    My spotone is getting old...one of the bottles is largely dried up, and as I'm looking to replace the spotone, I came across the above item, and wondered if anyone had tried them. They look like a good idea, but I have a feeling they won't last the same twenty years my spotone has lasted!! :D

    Still, spotone is gone, and there are some other dyes out there, but I'm tempted to give these pens a go.

    Thoughts???
     
  2. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    suzanne,

    we have several sets at school and found them to be very hard to use with RC papers, but then so was spotone.

    ann
     
  3. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I would only use them on fiber papers, did you try them with that? I'd expect just about any kind of retouching on an RC based paper would be hard!!
     
  4. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Dried out Spot Tone is still good!

    Save your money and reuse your dried spot tone. Wet your brush and dip it in the dried spot tone. Some spotting dyes come as dried dye kits.
     
  5. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Spotting RC papers with anything is difficult, but it can be done. Marshall is marketing the replacement for Spotone, brand name Spot-All. They claim it's the same as Spotone, but I've heard that there are some slight differences. Who knows? I'm sure you can make it work.
     
  6. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I was looking at the replacements for the Spotone when I came across those pens. They do seem a tad pricey... especially given the mileage I've gotten out of this Spot tone, but I do like the idea of not messing with water to get the tone just right.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2010
  7. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    These look the same as Tetenal pens which are very good. Each pen will last between a long time and forever. RC glossy is difficult but the RC lustre/pearl/satin surfaces are easier. Each pen's point is incredibly fine so patience is required to spot anything except a pin prick spot and it doesn't look right until it fully dries which might be several hours.

    pentaxuser
     
  8. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Pentaxuser, thanks for the info. I appreciate it. Good to know they'll last awhile. If I mess up, and make a spot a bit too dark with spot tone, then usually five or ten minutes in water will wash the bad spotting job away. Can that be done with the pens, too?
     
  9. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Suzanne- I have both, but prefer Spotone. Occasionally, the pens give me a "halo" around the area I've spotted. They do wipe off, if you're quick enough, though. I feel like I have more control with Spotone and a brush.
    Also, if you have dried Spotone, add a touch of Photo-Flo. You may get more use out of your bottle.
     
  10. vdonovan

    vdonovan Subscriber

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    I use the pens and I like them, but I too sometimes get a halo around small spots, even with fiber prints. It's like the color does not absorb evenly for some reason.

    But it is nice to have a range of pre-mixed tones easily at hand.
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I use them on RC to reasonable effect.

    FWIW, I'm a klutz when it comes to brushes of any type.
     
  12. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I've tried these. I don't like them. They're too "wet". I prefer using a brush with spotting dyes so I can essentialy dry-brush the dye onto the paper in many thing layers.
     
  13. ooze

    ooze Member

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    If only the tone that comes *out* of the pen would be the same as what's *on* the pen...

    I've used them years ago and wouldn't go back unless there is no alternative.
     
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  15. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks for your responses. I think I'm leaning toward sticking with spot tone like dyes and the triple zero brush. But like Matt, I'm sometimes a klutz with the brush, and have to wet and dry the print all over. There's no perfect solution to this, and I gather whether you use a brush or a pen, it takes patience and practice to spot prints quickly and accurately. And in the years I've been doing it... I still need more practice! :tongue: That said, I have gotten very good at ridding my negs of dust, so I don't usually have too many spots to fix.

    Again... thanks! :smile:
     
  16. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Me too! Keeping your negatives clean is the best way to spot prints I've learned over the years. As we all know, it's not always possible.

    Print spotting is tough work, maybe the hardest part of making a nice print. The trick, I think, is to use as dry a brush as possible, and to blot, blot, blot with each spot. Takes a long time to build up density that way, but you don't get the halos and other artifacts associated with print spotting.
     
  17. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    Hate the pens, I have a bit of spotone left but I also use the dyes from Marshall.

    R
     
  18. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I should have made one more point about Tetenal pens which I would think applies to Spotpens. You really need a "warm" set for WT paper so, yes, if you use both neutral and WT paper that's two sets which starts to get expensive but as I said each set is likely to last a lifetime of spotting.

    pentaxuser
     
  19. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I have a set of the pens, and my experience has been pretty much as stated, they look good but I've not been real impressed in using them. I went and got some NOS spottone to use instead.
    But, if you want to try the pens out, I'll try to have them with me for the next NE AUG outing we both attend and you can borrow them if you like.
     
  20. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I was VERY happy with using them when I was printing silver-gelatin. I hated spot-tone dye because I could never mix "just right". The Spot Pens came out great, and I found it easy to work with them - when in doubt, start with a lighter shade than you think you need - if it's wrong, it basically won't have any effect. When it's right, it blends perfectly. If you goof, just a tiny bit of moisture on a cloth (or a fingertip) suffices to remove the bad spotting and you're off to the races. And they come in cool tone and warm tone varieties. The first set of cool tone pens I bought over a decade ago are still working.
     
  21. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I am horrible at spotting, but what works best for me is the watercolor sheets that freestyle sells. I find it easier to get the right tone and density.
     
  22. ooze

    ooze Member

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    One trick with spotone is that you don't mix at all. As you go along, you just keep diluting at the edge of the beaker or whatever you're putting your drops on. And another trick is that you don't throw anything away, just let the remainder dry and re-wet it for the next time.

    This way one single drop of spotone will easily last a year. I can't remember the last time I added another drop.
     
  23. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    I've got both, and use both. Depends on the paper I printed on, whether or not I toned the print, how much spotting needs to be done, the destiny of the print, and what I feel like doing that day. I tend to be faster with the pens.
     
  24. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    Nowadays I use the Peerless dry sheet dyes from Freestyle-

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/73300...potting-Dye-Sheet-Set-of-5-colors?cat_id=2504

    I simply get a small white watercolor palette, fill the individual indentations with water, cut up the Peerless dye sheets into small pieces and place them in the water until they bleed out and remove them. Once the water evaporates, it is easy to wet a brush and use them. The dyes last forever like this and it is a simple task to mix different colors as I often need.
     
  25. eli griggs

    eli griggs Member

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    Sumi ink works well for spotting fb and is fairly easy to use.

    Get a couple of sticks, one cool black, one warm and you'll be set for life and several reincarnations as well. Of course you can blend the inks as needed.

    I like a pure white Corelle dish from Walmart, 'Winter Frost' as a pallet, it's thin enough to put on a light table and be illuminated from below, which help with thinning and matching shades. You might have to hit it with some bleach now and again, but it does work well, for me at least.

    You can take the ink off the stick with a brush if you place a drop of water on the stick first for a few moments and then thin it on the pallet or you can use the back of a piece of tile or the unglazed underside of an old stoneware dish to 'grind' a bit of pigment off for use, if you don't have dedicated stone to use.
     
  26. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    I use a set of Spot Pens - but still apply the ink to the print using a 000 brush.

    I could never get the Pens to leave a small enough dab of ink - so I now wipe the brush on the Pen Nib and then use the Brush to spot the print.

    Not sure the Pens are great value but I have always found diluting the Inks/Dyes to be a slow and painful process and I really appreciate the fact that the Pens come in ready mixed strenghts.

    You pay your money and you make your choice......

    Martin