'Which side is the emulsion side'?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by David Lyga, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    I buy old papers and have been through a variety of brands, most no longer made. Sometimes it's devilishly hard to tell, in the dark, which side is the emulsion side because both 'feel' the same. Thus, cutting off a tiny piece and looking at that piece in the dark does not answer the question for the rest of the sheets. What to do?

    I have found a way to tell which side is which and this information might help those finding themselves in the same predicament. In the dark, I hold a piece of paper next to my ear and lightly rub my (clean!) index finger across the surface. Then I turn the paper to the other side and do the same. There ALWAYS is a difference in 'pitch'. Now all you have to do is find out which pitch corresponds to the emulsion side (easy with a tiny piece in the light) and use that aural directive to answer a future question about which side is which. It's an easy, hassle-free way to find a modicum of sanity when such frustration prevails. - David Lyga
     
  2. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    If there’s any curl, the concave side is the emulsion side. 35mm films behave the same way.
     
  3. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Yes, that is also indicative. But sometimes I have found either no curl or a curl the other way, depending upon storage. Usually, however, that is correct. My way is when other ways fail. - David Lyga
     
  4. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    A moist finger on one corner of a sheet - The emulsion side is usually has a slight sticky feel to it.
     
  5. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    If there is any doubt, I just turn on the light with a test square out.
     
  6. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Your tongue will stick to the emulsion side. That is a little like sticking your ungloved finger in chemistry and then tasting it to see what it is. Bill Barber
     
  7. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I put in my lips the emulsion will be stickier
     
  8. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Lightly wet your finger and thumb with a little saliva and pinch the film with your wet fingertips. The emulsion side will feel sticker than the base.

    Old time projectionists used to lick their lips and clamp down on the film but that's kind of icky and it also ruins the film but if you use the "finger pinch" method you can test just the corner of the film that doesn't have any image on it, anyway.