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  1. #1

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    Enlarged Negatives for Alt Processes, Your Recommendations and Experience

    I have been making enlarged negatives for gum printing and recently tried the new Arista film and the Photowarehouse litho film and there direct negative X-ray copy film. I have tried the inter-positive method with standard litho film and was not happy with the loss of mid-tones. I also dabbled in negative by reversal found here: http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/NbyR/nbyr.html and I really have to give this method another try.
    I was not happy with the lack of contrast that I was getting with the X-ray copy film.

    I am thinking of going over to the dark side and making digital negatives, but I am not sure where to start with that. I have dabbled in inkjet printing, but always felt that I could get better prints the traditional way as I have a darkroom that is B&W and Color capable. If I were to get a printer such as the Epson 1400 I could devote it to making enlarged negatives and possibly B&W prints. I have read a bit about the Piezography method of Jon Cone and was wondering what members may think of this method for a dedicated printer?

    I guess what I would like to know is what method you use for making enlarged negatives and where on the web I might be able to get some information on making enlarged negatives?

  2. #2
    Barry S's Avatar
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    I've started to use x-ray duplicating film and haven't had any contrast issues. It faithfully duplicates the contrast of the original negative, so that may be your issue. Are you trying to increase the contrast of the original neg? I'm not overly impressed with most of the alt process work I see from digital negs--lots of overdone photoshop, loss of definition, artifacts. Not to say you can't make high quality digital negs, but they're no panacea in terms of effort, skill, and cost.

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    Barry...Thanks much for the speedy reply. What is your strategy for using the X-ray copy film? What developer do you use? I have tried Dektol, Ilford Multigrade and D-19 with varying results. Also the heavy density of this film makes my exposures for Gum rather long. What are you using your enlarged negatives for?

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    Robert,

    I can't speak for gum printing but I have used Kodak XOMAT x-ray duplicating film for duplicating x-rays for over forty years and for enlarging negatives or platinum/palladium printing for many years. I develop it with Kodak GBX developer and fixer with a water stop in between. It gives superb results. The GBX chemistry dev and fix to make a gallon of working solution costs about $23 together and should last about a month in covered containers. As you know it is a reversal film and in my hands tends to be slightly more contrasty than my original negatives which is fine for pt/pd. If you go that route you should test what exposure and development time will work for you. The film is slow and rather grain free. You might have to get the chemistry from a dental/medical supply or through your dentist.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/

  5. #5

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    Jeffrey, Where can you get this film and the chemistry? Does Kodak even still make this film?

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    Robert- I'd be happy to talk to you about my (limited) experience with making digital negatives, but that's off-topic for APUG. Suffice it to say there are a lot of printers that will work, but there are some that are preferred greatly over others. Same with media. Ron Reeder has produced a couple of books on the topic that are quite good - I'd look them up and do some reading before investing in a printer. As with any method, there are some calibration steps you have to go through that are rather tedious. Without following those steps, you will not be any more successful with digital negatives than you will be with doing analog enlargements.

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    With a printer like a 3880 for example, and Cone's selenium ink set, with a little tweaking you can make digital negatives that are good enough for contact silver gelatin prints. I know because I've made quite a few just to see if it was possible. I've showed them to experienced traditional printers and they could not tell the difference. The weakest link is really scanning. Anyway..too much to cover and this is apug. I make digital positives for photogravure that are flawless and there are a lot of resources out there to get great results. As with anything..time and money are needed

  8. #8
    Barry S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Ley View Post
    Barry...Thanks much for the speedy reply. What is your strategy for using the X-ray copy film? What developer do you use? I have tried Dektol, Ilford Multigrade and D-19 with varying results. Also the heavy density of this film makes my exposures for Gum rather long. What are you using your enlarged negatives for?
    I'm using Formulary BW-65 developer with Fuji MI-DUP film. So far, I've only done some cyanotypes, but the exposures have been close to what I get with normal negatives. I make test strips and dodge/burn on some negs, since it handles like paper. If you're negs are too dense, you may be under exposing--the film requires a lot of exposure compared to paper or conventional film. You may also be overdeveloping.

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    Robert,

    The film and chemistry is available from dental supply houses and possibly from other sources. You could get you dentist to order it for you if necessary. I happen to be a dentist and just received the chemistry for my office x-rays and I am quite sure the film is available as well. The film is not cheap but it makes an extremely high quality negative. About three years ago I enlarged and printed four limited editions for an internationally known photographer using that film and printed in pt/pd/au. The prints were highly regarded by his agent and complimented by Peter Fetterman.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/

  10. #10

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    Barry, I have some of the BW-65 developer, but haven't really tried it yet. Where do you get your Fuji MI-DUP film? Is it much the same as the Warehouse dupe film? Are all these x-ray dupe films pretty much the same or are some better than others?

    Jeffrey, I did a little searching(thanks Google) and came up with cxsonline.com. They seem to have Fuji, Kodak and a CXS brand that is Agfa in 14x17, 10x12, and 8x10 Along with chemistry to process. It is not GBX chemistry, but I suspect it is very similar. I also found a place to get the GBX chemsitry for about the same price as the chemistry from CXS. Have you ever, or is it possible to machine process this film? I have a Fujimoto CP-51 color processor that I have used for color, b&w and graphic arts film with paper developer for a continuous tone image. The processor has an infinite adjustment in speed and temperature of chemistry.

    I think that I am going to try the darkroom methods for enlarged negatives again and fully explore all the analogue ways before going over to the dark side Eventually I will probably have to go to digital negatives if I want to do full color Gum as that requires color separations and that is a lot easier with P***toS**p.

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