film for alt processes
I am a newbie at this and was wondering what films would be good for 19th century processes such as salt prints ,cyanotypes,albumen prints,platinum/palladium and such
thanks for any info zgan
You can't go wrong starting with Ilford FP4+. I also like Fomapan 200 (Arista.EDU Ultra 200) from Freestyle Photo for alt process printing.
You need a film that can be developed to a very high contrast. Albumen and salted paper, for example, like negatives with a DR as high as 2.3 - 2.5, palladium needs about 1.7 - 1.9.
Originally Posted by zgan
Assuming you want to work in LF sheet film, and use a film with ASA of 100 or higher, your choice at this time is Ilford FP4+, Kodak TMAX-400, or Efke (Adox) PL-100. I don't know the Fomapan 200 and can not comment on its characteristics.
You might also want to consider using a pyro staining developer. These processes are exposed with UV light sourcs and stain is highly actinic, meaning that you can often pull more contrast out of a film with a pyro staining developer than with non-staining ones.
For my own work I use for years TXP Kodak developed in ABC Pyro.
I contact print palladium, platinum/palladium or Azo
Results on my web site.
Sandy & Scott can correct me on this but one to stay away from for processes that require UV light exposures would be Tmax-100.
It is my understanding that its base is rather UV-proof.
For Cyanotypes, you need a density range similar to pt/pl printing (a little less, a little more can be dealt with) and I've found that Tri-X, Foma-100 and ERA100 (cheap Chinese film) work quite well. Bought some Foma200, mostly on Scott's recomendation, but haven't gotten around to testing yet.
I wouldn't recommend the ERA100 for critical work, seems to have a bit of trouble with emulsion flaws and overall quality consitancy. But good "practice" film for learning tray development and loading film holders. If you don't scratch it, you probably won't scratch anything!
And finally, Sandy is 100% right about the pyro. Only used it once (in a borrowed darkroom) and it is high time I get set up to do it myself. He has some info at http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Pyrocat/pyrocat.html and http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/PCat/pcat.html and LOTs of pyro related posts here on Apug.
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I would agree that FP4 is a great choice. I process it in either PMK pyro or Rollo Pyro for pt/pd printing.
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Yes- apparently sometime in the last couple years, Kodak switched the base stock they use in the Tmax 100 to being highly resistant to UV transmission. It is virtually useless for alt-process printing. Dick Arentz published some examples (and I think Sandy did as well) showing the horrible degradation of image quality in a pt/pd print with the new TMX film stock.
I would also recommend Pyro as a film developer for alt process printing. I have used PMK Pyro, and Pyrocat HD. My personal preference is for Pyrocat HD, as I develop my negs in a rotary processor (Jobo CPA2). If you are tray processing, PMK is a good choice. Carl Weese uses PMK for his pt/pd negs when he tray processes.
I usually use Fp4+,T-MAX400,Efke 100, Fomapan 100,and Hp5+ for my platinum/print and for AZO all developed in Pyrocat-HD with jobo or ABC pyro in tray.
That's intersting that Sandy didn't mention HP5. Is there a reason for this? Because it is a faster film than the FP4.
I've heard that it doesn't stain as well as other films. Is this the case?