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  1. #1

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    Oil/Solvent Immersion Enlarging

    Recently I've experimented with scanning wet-mounted 35mm negatives using Kami fluid and mylar. This produced sharper scans with less grain and dust spots than 'dry' scanning, and I'm considering trying a similar technique with my enlarger. I know that there have been oil immersion carriers made for some enlargers, and so someone must have some experience with this. Has anyone here done this? What were your results? Since Kami fluid is a solvent which is meant to evaporate fairly quickly, I expect that using it near a 250 watt halogen bulb might not be a good idea. Does anyone have a suggestion for a good alternate fluid? Would mineral oil work?

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    This is called 'wet gate' printing in the motion picture industry. The common wetting material is, or was, a silicone oil which can be easily removed from the negative.

    It has been proven to improve print quality and has stood the test of time.

    There was a thread here or on PN recently with lots more information.

    PE

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    From what I remember, working in a photo store in the late 60's: I met a guy named Carl Ness, in the Wash DC area, who invented, and at the time was manufacturing the "Carlwen" neg carrier (I think named for him and his wife-Wendy?) It was a sliding flat holder with 5-6 apertures spaced like film exposures. It slid, very smoothly (it was well made as I recall), in a carrier, which mounted in the enlarger like a normal carrier. You could move from one image to the other without removing the whole thing, kind of like Beseler's negatrans, which came soon after, but with a different design.
    I believe the film was immersed, or coated, in silicon, I never knew why, but your post reminds me of it. I don't know why I remember all this, nor how accurate it is, but I'm pretty sure. (This is where I would put in the winking face - where do you guys get those?)

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    I have more silicone 200 than I know what to do with. I have used it to magically make scratches disappear! It works wonderfully. And yes, it helps with dust, some.

    Immersing your film in it can be very messy if you don't have the proper carrier. Of course condit made them, I've seen them form time to time on ebay. I should say it is also messy with the proper carrier :-)

    If you are interested I could probably part with some of my silicone for a small charge to help offset the $150+- I paid.

    Corey

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
    This is called 'wet gate' printing in the motion picture industry. The common wetting material is, or was, a silicone oil which can be easily removed from the negative.

    It has been proven to improve print quality and has stood the test of time.

    There was a thread here or on PN recently with lots more information.

    PE
    Sorry Photo Engineer, that is wrong. The fluid is perchlorethylene, or dry cleaning fluid as most people call it, a solvent that is used because has relatively the same optical refractive index of acetate and is a pretty good degreaser.

    We use about 500 gallons of the stuff a year in our motion picture wetgate printers and in our Lipsner/Smith Mark IV ultrasonic cleaners.

    Wet gate printing (for motion pictures) was developed by the Technicolor Corporation and has been refined over the years by others, but I have never heard of silicone oil being used as a wet gate agent...

    Of course, the properties of noseoil are legend, right?

    I don't know about the optical properties of silicone oil; it might possibly work in an optical printer, like an Oxberry or an Acme , but it would prove disastrous for continuous contact printing, where the oil would make contact with the element being exposed, which is the bulk of what we do.

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    Perschlorethylene looks like fairly nasty stuff, especially for use in a home darkroom. I usually only enlarge one negative a day, so if I have to spend 15 minutes mounting it to the glass carrier, and 15 minutes cleaning it and the carrier at the end of the session, that's not a big deal. Thus, I don't really need something that dries quickly.

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    Yes, Peter and All; my response was strictly informational to PhotoEngineer. Guess I should have sent it as a PM, but I didn't...

    I DO NOT recommend you use perc (as we call it); it is carcinogenic and we wear organic vapor respirators when handle the stuff and have a routine medical monitoring program that does an annual battery of tests to chart blood protein levels and other variable to make sure we are not sliding over into Cancer.

    Not a good chemical to mess with; somewhat on par with Carbon Tet.

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    Epson has just come out with a flat-bed scanner that supports wet mounting. "That" might be a source of information. The Condit immersion carrier had a shallow "dish" in which the film sunk and was covered with the "oil" and a piece of high quality "float" glass (in place of today's mylar). Bubbles were to be avoided if possible and nudged out to the edge otherwise.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kino
    Yes, Peter and All; my response was strictly informational to PhotoEngineer. Guess I should have sent it as a PM, but I didn't...

    I DO NOT recommend you use perc (as we call it); it is carcinogenic and we wear organic vapor respirators when handle the stuff and have a routine medical monitoring program that does an annual battery of tests to chart blood protein levels and other variable to make sure we are not sliding over into Cancer.

    Not a good chemical to mess with; somewhat on par with Carbon Tet.
    I'm glad that you mentioned it. A brief search pulled up some interesting info on it.

  10. #10

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    Is there any reason that I shouldn't give it a try with mineral oil?

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