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  1. #1

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    ilfochrome microfilm for archive use

    Hi all
    One of the main consideration (and certainly not the the only one) that made me run away from digital was the data conservation. After having studied the issue it appears that the only truely stable shooting materials are B&W and kodachrome. Guess what, from now on (and untill Mr kodak decides to kill kodachrome) I shoot family stuff in K14 only. I had some hard time to convince my wife that I'm not totally insane because that means buying film overseas and sending it back for processing....
    anyhow, I also discovered that there is a wonderfull solution for those important old slides that I fear will fade away quite soon: Ilfochrome P microfilm is a very high def reproduction film with a huge color lifespan (comparable to B&W). It also seems to be quite easy to process it at home.
    The only problem:
    I've looked for a place that sells it (+ the chemistery) in vain. I also don''t know what would be the price of it.
    Is there anyone that uses it ? any source for buying?
    any tips for the exposure and processing?
    Thanks
    Michael

  2. #2
    davetravis's Avatar
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    Sanmich,
    I've got Kodachromes from the 70's that look brand new, and I'm still printing them!
    Try to contact the USA Ilford rep and see what they say.
    http://www.ilford.com/html/us_englis...um/default.asp

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    It appears that the Ilfochrome Micrographic films and the P-5 process chemistry are available from http://www.microcolour.com/ -- that page has contact links for both United States (in New Jersey) and "rest of the world" (Surrey, England). If you're in the USA or EU, you're all set.

    BTW, you can also use this film directly in camera; it's tungsten balanced, so an 80A filter would make it suitable for outdoors -- but it's really, really slow (ISO a bit less than 1). For copy work, though, it should be just what you want.

    BTW, I see there's also a high contrast version (type M) that's listed as suitable for reflective originals, in case you have prints you also want to archive...
    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.

  4. #4

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    [QUOTE/] ... so an 80A filter would make it suitable for outdoors ... [/QUOTE]

    Probably an 85 or 85B, depending on wheher it's balaced for photoflood (3400K, 85 filter) or 3200K photo lights (85B filter).

    BTW, what is special about the P5 process? How does it differ from other color processes?

  5. #5
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nworth
    Probably an 85 or 85B, depending on wheher it's balaced for photoflood (3400K, 85 filter) or 3200K photo lights (85B filter).

    BTW, what is special about the P5 process? How does it differ from other color processes?
    I thought I read 80A on the Ilfochrome Micrographic page at Microcolour, but I could have remembered it incorrectly -- you can find the page yourself if you Google for "ilfochrome "P-5"" (with the inner quotes, but not the outer), or drill down in the Microcolour site I linked previously.

    P-5, like P-3, P-3.5, P-30, etc., is a process suited for the Ilfochome material, which forms its image by dye destruction. All the dyes to form maximum black are present in the film at exposure (which explains the very low film speed). The developer is a more or less ordinary B&W developer (and in fact, Ilfochrome printers have long used contrast controlling B&W print developers in place of the P-3 developer to control print contrast); the bleach reacts with the developed silver to proportionatey degrade the dyes in the image regions of each color layer while rehalogenating the silver image, then pretty ordinary fixer removes the halide to leave only the dye; degraded dye products wash out with the fixer. Three baths and a wash, and hang the print to dry like a B&W RC print.

    Given the archivality of the dyes, the only reason Ilfochrome-like materials haven't taken over color transparency photography is the very low sensitivity due to light absorption by the dyes (though Ilfochrome prints are relatively expensive, Ilfochrome P isn't much more expensive than Kodachrome, and far cheaper to process).
    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.

  6. #6
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Rise old thread! RISE!

    This Ilforchrome Micrographics film is blowing my mind. It's available in 35mm as well as 105mm, which is basically 4". Those could be cut to 5" and used in 4x5" film holder I betcha. The chemistry is simple.

    Anyways, this is the ultimate color film, bar none. Despite of course its incredibly slow speed, it could be very interesting to mess around with. I can think of a few good uses...

    I've contacted this website and haven't heard anything yet (less than a day has passed though) - http://www.microcolour.com/mci02.htm

    The archival stability of the film is greater than 500 years and its fading in a projector is negligible.

    Is it practical to use? Probably not; but to know that your pictures will survive for half a millenium... well that's kind of exciting.

  7. #7

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    Mind = Blown.

    I've scanned through a couple of websites on using just the paper in camera, and this material could very well be more or less amazing. Once the kinks have been worked out. Thankfully, all the forseable kinks are pretty easy to deal with

    - Its very slow, so it'd require some bracketing of exposures and some careful calculations. Perhaps someone who knows about using paper negatives could give some pointers on this one
    - Its sensitive to UV light, which can ruin an exposure. So a UV filter will have to be used reliably.
    - Its tungsten balanced, so fantastic for studio work (possibly its forté), but outdoors will need a filter
    - For the paper atleast, different packs have different filtrations. I'm sure that it would be acceptable for most uses, but perhaps shooting a grey card and doing a test exposure will help you narrow down colour balance. I'm almost positive that I read somewhere about using chemical baths to correct colour casts when it comes to Ilfochrome that could be applied in this situation, but it will take me a while to dig it up.

    So yeah, to me it sounds like its a doable idea. . . I just don't think I have the funds or the ventilation to progress on with it at the moment!

  8. #8
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Oh right.. funds. Hmm, maybe there's a grant out there for hare-brained photo experimenters.

    However, I am referring to the microfilm, not the paper.
    If you are the big tree, we are the small axe

  9. #9

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    I know you're refering to the microfilm, its just the entirety of the internet seems to only know about the paper unfortunately, so I'm trying to apply that to this. Sorry if I'm causing any confusion! I'm just hoping that the lessons learnt from one could be applied to the other.

  10. #10
    accozzaglia's Avatar
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    What kind of relative ISO are we talking about here?

    In no way is this class of emulsion related to this older Ilfochrome, is it?

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