Xray film for enlarged negatives

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by claras, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. claras

    claras Member

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    Hello all. I am attempting to use what seems to me to be repackaged x ray film for the production of albumen prints...with occasional success, but more often not. This film is sold as "continuous tone duplicating film". It is a positive to positive process. In other words, when a negative image is projected on to the film it results also in a negative.
    If anyone here has used this film for this purpose I would really be interested in your experience. Specifically, I am wondering if using x ray film to enlarge an original negative already designed for albumen is a better idea then trying to manipulate the x ray film during exposure and development. Thank you.
     
  2. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I have used , but not fully calibrated, a dupe film sold by Photo Warehouse, meant for duping x-rays.

    It is blue sensitive only, and has a rather strong blue tint to the film base. It is slow, ie needs plenty of exposure, but processes positive to positive.

    It is described as being suitable for Rapid Access development. I am not quite sure what that means outside of the medical/dental field, so I just process it in dilute paper develop for my works so far.

    When I calibrate, I use a step wedge in the margin of the exposure to help me guage more definitiely the effect of differing exposure and development regimes, in terms of developers, dilutions, time and agitation effects. Make and keep notes with your negatives.

    If you don't have a small setp wedge, try using an old Kodak projection print scale. - It is a crude step wedge in it's own right.

    I would suggest that if it is a dupe film, it is a low contrast type of film compared to conventional camera films. Usually for dupes you don't want to gain contrast, but keep what you have. The inherent contrast of the film can be manipulated to some degree by developer dilution , time and agitation.

    Your approach of starting with negatives that meet the contrast range requirements of the albumen process then duping would seem to be a good idea as a starting point.

    Once you have mastered making enlarged same contrast dupes, then you can incrementally move on to try to expand contrast in the dupe step.
    That would let you take a negative developmed to suit silver gelatine and presumably expand it to suit albumen.

    I have also fiddled with real x-ray film for enlarged negatives. It is double coated on both sides of the support, so sharp focus is a challenge. Also the surfaces are relatively soft, and liable to scratching in tray processing. It has a heavy silver load, so it exhausts fixer quite quickly. I think mine is blue green sensitive. I have not worked with it much yet.
     
  3. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I'm not sure exactly what film you have but I have used x-ray duplicating film to enlarge negatives for pt/pd printing for many years. It produces a negative from a negative. It is an excellent film despite being very slow and on the expensive side. I use it with Kodak GBX dev. and fix with water as the stop bath. What I use requires a red safe-light. Remember more exposure yields a lighter negative and thus a darker print. I find the dup. film to be superior to digital negatives. Consider the chemistry as a factor in your "occasional success".

    Because you can't really tell if you got it right until you make your final print there will be a learning curve to read the negative. Use the successful ones as a guide for tonality. Manipulating the film (burning/dodging) is like making a print but because it is a reversal film you just do the opposite. I would expect it to work as well for albumen prints as for pt/pd.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  4. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    An added note, Mike, the x-ray dup film I use Kodak X-Omat 2 with the GBX chemistry is slightly more contrasty than Delta 400 and HP5 in my hands.
     
  5. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    You might want to try Fuji HRT. It's cheap and green sensitive and you can work under a safelight. They sell it on eBay. I rate mine at ASA 200 when souped with xtol.
     
  6. davido

    davido Subscriber

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    I started using x-ray dupe for making enlarged negs a while ago and still fine tuning it. I've been using Fuji Mi-Dup
    As this film needs a lot of exposure and strong developer (I'm using almost straight stock dektol), I'm finding that starting with a contrasty negative is easier; otherwise I'm thinking it would be hard to build up the contrast from a 'normal' negative.
    I have been using RC paper to do test contact prints from the test enlarged negs. Printing them using a Grade 0 filter. That aproximates how contrasty the negative should be for most alt processes (at least the iron ones- I'm not sure about albumen).
    So, starting with a high contrast original and then fine tuning the enlarged negative has been working with me.
     
  7. davido

    davido Subscriber

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    "I find the dup. film to be superior to digital negatives.'

    Jeffrey, Just curious how you find it more superior?
    I have also worked with the digital version and, from my limited experience, they don't seem as sharp as film. Is this your experience?
     
  8. claras

    claras Member

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    Thank you all for your help. This x ray film I"m using, if that is what it is, is the film from Photo Warehouse. I have gotten better results from the x ray film than from trying to control the contrast with litho film. I have also experimented with digital negatives, but I'm thinking the printer I currently have will simply not produce enough density. The Photo Warehouse film is relatively inexpensive and produces good negatives, but it is not a variable contrast material and it is, I think, a matter of dialing in exposure and development.
    The real problem is that it requires somewhat long exposure, and I"m thinking that using x ray film to enlarge original negatives made for albumen will create even longer exposure. My enlarger head is already only slightly less hot than the surface of the sun .
    Is there any reason why selenium toning could not be used to increase density or contrast with x ray film?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2013
  9. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Yes, slelenium toning has been suggested for b&w slides in the past. It should work fine for alt process negs.

    If you want more contrast, why not just develop longer, or in a stronger developer concentration. Trial and error can be under safe light, then do time and temp once you are dialled in.

    Then when it is time to print albumen, dont feel tied to the enlarger as a light source, A bare 40 w incandesant bulb can be a light source for contact speed print processes, and I suspect your albumin coating may be just that.
     
  10. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Take a look and I'll let you be the judge

    This is a cool site.

    http://thelightfarm.com/Map/DigitalNegatives/DigitalNegativesPart1.htm

    It seems that there's little difference. However, I think digital negs made with inkjet film has revived alt process printing. Making analog dupe negs requires a darkroom. I doing some test with inkjet negs too. The difficulty is matching the alt process with your computer.
     
  11. claras

    claras Member

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    Mike: Thank you for your help. I probably don't have a clue...but I don't quite understand your last sentence. Albumen requires UV. Or am I really wrong about that? My enlarger becomes very hot because I am projecting small negative images onto the larger x ray film. For the albumen printing I only use sunlight.
     
  12. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Sorry, I thought albumin was a silver process with the silver suspended in the egg product in lieu of gelatin. Too many alt processes swimming in my head these days, I guess.

    I guess there are a lot of cheesecakes being made for albumin followers. Somehwere I read that when albumin was a popular process there would be suggestions on what to cook up with all of the surplus yolks that were a by product of the original albumin source.
     
  13. davido

    davido Subscriber

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    I totally agree that inkjet negs have revived alt process.
    However, I still think they are not as sharp as film can be. I have used lith film for enlarged negs and those are unbelievably sharp.
    You can't see sharpness on a monitor, you have to see the prints.
     
  14. davido

    davido Subscriber

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    Yep, it's needs a lot of exposure. I doubled the wattage of my enlarger bulb to 150 watts (they are typically 75 watts) and my exposures are F5.6 for almost a minute (that's for an 8x10 image with a 80mm lens from a medium format neg). So the enlarger is fairly close to the easel.
    I'm using straight dektol (it's usually mixed 1:3 for prints) I've also using a glass neg carrier as the exposures are long and with the brighter bulb, the negative would undoubtably warp.
     
  15. claras

    claras Member

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    Mike: You want to see something disgusting...look at 12 or 15 egg yolks without the egg white and think about eating them. Kind of bothers me to do it, all those little baby chickens, but I generally toss them. Fortunately, albumen goes a long way and doesn't go bad quickly.
     
  16. claras

    claras Member

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    Davido: (Sorry about the blank post...)
    A minute?! A minute?! I am using a 75mm lens. Also medium format negatives...and my exposures sometimes go on for ten minutes! What am I doing to make things harder for myself? Haven't used straight dektol, only diluted, and my light is 75 watts. Would that be enough to account for the difference? I am using Photo Warehouse film.
     
  17. davido

    davido Subscriber

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    Claras, I would cut down on your exposure time to a couple of minutes and use stronger developer (around 3 minutes developing). Remember you are exposing for the shadow areas. It's opposite, so if you have no detail in the shadows, then you are exposing too long. The developer builds up your density (or your high-lights). So unless you have really dense original negs, two to three minutes exposure should be fine. This is also for printing an 8x10 size.



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