SE5 or Easylith?
Well the title pretty much says it... I have lith printed about a year ago with LD20 but wanted to give Moersch a shot. So technically I am not a newbie to lith printing but I don't have the luxury of months of trial and error. I want to be able to get about 6-8 prints that are similar in tone/color for an art show which is on December 8th. So that doesn't leave me much room to wiggle with life constantly getting in the way and keeping me from my darkroom. So is it wise for me to spend the extra $ on the Master Kit or should I go the easy route? I believe SE5 has a little bit longer tray life (which would be good for the extended printing sessions I envision and some consistency is nice) and more options for color control. I will most likely be using Fomatone Classic Cream WT FB in Velvet or Fomatone Variant Natural WT. Depending on which paper's tone suits my images better. I also plan on toning in selenium and maybe sienna. I know there is no shortcuts in lith printing and I will burn through some paper but I would like to start with purchasing the developer that will get me closer to the results I look for in least amount of time and also be something that I can have some flexibility with later on.
Any help would be greatly appreciated! :D
What I forgot to add was: is the Master Kit really difficult to "master" and do the benefits of additives really make it worth the effort and the steeper learning curve?
I was struggling trying to learn Lith printing for quite a long time and couldn't figure out why everyone else got good results and I didn't. My attempts resulted in major inconsistancy from print to print and problems with excessive grain as well as mottled spotting. I was using both Moersch and Rollie developer. At the suggestion of a friend, I tried the inexpensive Arista Lith developer and had great results.
I printed the same image with 5 different papers and had the following results:
Slavich Bromportrait 80 - Nice even toned slate gray coloring. Really nice look.
Fomatone Classic 131 - very slightly grainy with a medium brownish coloring.
Oriental Warmtone - Very even tone that is brownish with more red in it than the Fomatone.
Emaks K 888 grade 2 - similar tone and color to the Slavich, but I liked it a little better.
Ilford MGFB - Grainy slate gray color. Too much grain for this type of image.
Of the 5 - I personally like the Emaks the best, but all 5 gave me very nice results and had none of the problems I had with the other developers. Attached are the Emaks, the Fomatone, and the Oriental.
Note that I am still what you should call a beginner at lith printing, but the results I got with the Arista developer were great.
Which one of the Moersch developers were you using? Lovely images and I see what you mean with the differences.
I was using Moersch Easylith. I had nothing but problems with both developers. I have a suspicision that there might be something in my water here, but I'm not sure. I had real failurers with Ilford WT, but when I switched to the Arista Developer, everything changed. I don't know about your monitor but all three of these images on my computer look like they have a little blue tone which they don't really have.
I am using Moersch Easylith and SE5. SE5 has Lith A and Lith B parts as biggest portion, and 3 small additives (C, D and omega). Easylith has only A and B parts.
Never had any problems with Moersch, using mostly Foma and Slavich papers for Lith.
Darko, so is SE5 worth the upgrade with the additives? Is it more difficult to control then Easylith?
Aleksandra, I've used Moersch's lith developers for the past five years, and I haven't found any real differences between the Easylith and the SE5. I use them at the same dilutions and in all honesty, I couldn't tell you which of my prints was made with one or the other (you can look in my gallery for examples). I've experimented with the additives of course (but only the D), but if you're not interested in them then you could go for the Easylith or just buy the SE5 without the additives.
Go for the SE5. Most of the time you can use only A+B, but also you can experiment with additives. Omega is second bath that will give you some more strong color (depends about paper type also) and more deep black. For me it was not difficult to use SE5, but as usual with Lith print - you can not control all :). Moersch has nice pdf's for free on English on his site that explains a lot.
SE5 is easylith with two additives.
C additive is basically sodium sulfite
D additive is Potassium Bromide and another restrainer.
If you are just starting out, you'd want to play with easylith (A and B) for awhile.
Trying different ratios and different papers within those different ratios. And there is the use of 'old brown' or not....
That right there can consume lots of time (I know!) to give you a better idea about what is going on and what kind of 'look' you are after.
You might find what you want and not need to adjust the mix any more.
If you look at the instruction sheet there are some key points at the end of the second page
It tells you what more of each solution will do to the resulting print (as a guidance).
Also, the easylith instruction sheet has a troubleshooting page that tells you what it could be and how to fix it. Lots of times, adding D (bromide) can resolve or minimize the problem.
With those two instruction sheets you should have plenty to play with.
Believe me I know!