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Thread: x-ray film

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    Troy's Avatar
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    x-ray film

    I see a lot of x-ray film for sale on fleabay. Is there any way to use it without an x-ray machine? Would it be anything like infared film I wonder?

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    Sean's Avatar
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    I was wondering the same thing myself..

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    It depends. There are screen type x-ray films, which are green-sensitive. This type of film is optimized for long exposure time, like a couple of seconds.

    Non-screen type x-ray films are not sensitized for visual light, and so they are blue sensitive (color blind). Nonscreen x-ray films are very thickly coated on both sides with minimum of hardening and they are pretty coarse grained.

    I don't think either type is worth playing around with for artistic purposes. The image they make is not as strange as infrared, it's not as good as what you get with Fuji or Ilford ortho sheet films.

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    By strange coincidence, I was just shooting some X-ray film this weekend in a Speed Graphic. It's a loaner camera and I wasn't sure if I wanted to put out for a box of film for it. My company does non-destructive testing and we have film and a processer available so I thought why not. The pictures came out OK. I'll try to post some later. I used Konica PB7 which is a half speed blue sensitive film. It shot at about ISO 25. If you are looking at cheap film on EBay be careful. Even though "not used" the film may still be fogged by X-ray exposure depending on where it was stored. Even buying new film, this seems like a bargain - $100 for 100 sheets of 14x17. Shooting 4x5 thats $100 for 900 sheets. My concern at this point is whether it can be processed effectively at home with standard developers - I haven't been able to get much information on processing so far other than to buy a processer.

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    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Years ago I shot a little outdated X-ray film in a camera and processed it in print developer. The results may have been good enough for simple pinhole photography, but not for serious scenics.

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    I don't think either type is worth playing around with for artistic purposes. The image they make is not as strange as infrared, it's not as good as what you get with Fuji or Ilford ortho sheet films.
    Not to argue, photography is all about experimentation, so there's no reason not to try it. There are those who've said that microfilm is unsuittable for pictoral work and, well ...

    From what I've seen, X-ray film is processed at a higher temperature than regular film. The one MSDS that I saw for the developer seems to indicate that they're mainly hydroquinone developers.

    I got a piece of small X-Ray film (about 25 x 40 mm) from the dentist, exposed it in my 35mm camera and developed in D-76 for a few minutes. The image was almost completely fogged (my red safelight apparently wasn't safe enough). I'm trying to get some sample film out of some various companies, so we'll see how that goes ...

    Another thing to remember, alot of X-Ray films are designed to be high contrast and have a double emulsion (one on the front and one on the back of the sheet)

    I don't know how this'll pan out in pictoral photo work.
    Last edited by htmlguru4242; 03-27-2006 at 03:19 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomwin
    My concern at this point is whether it can be processed effectively at home with standard developers - I haven't been able to get much information on processing so far other than to buy a processer.
    If it's silver halide, you can process it in common developers, though given the extremely rapid processing common in radiography applications, I'd be tempted to start with Dektol, but dilute it the way we used to for film, back when it was sold as a universal developer -- say, 1+9. You'll have to experiment for process time, anyway, especially if you process in the dark to avoid the problem htmlguru describes with fogging.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

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    htmlguru4242's Avatar
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    Don't think fogging'll be a problem; for the ortho stuff use deep red, not amber. I just had a crappy safelight. In other words, treat it as an ortho film rather than paper.

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    Hopefully, this file will load properly. Please don't critique the content - I took the photo from the company's back door so I could run back and forth developing as I shot to find the right speed. I think I overexposed the contact print a little, there is actually a lot more detail in the field than what shows up in the scan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Test Print 7.jpg  

  10. #10
    htmlguru4242's Avatar
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    That's actually not too bad. What size was that engative, by the way?

    I'm surprised that it looks this good when developed ins tandard developer for X-Ray film; I'd expect the contrast to be unuseable, but this show's that its not.

    Probably with a different developer, this could be pretty good. Do you know what the cost of this film is new / where it may be obtained?

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