All, thanks for the excellent and informative thread. When I first got my Hasselblad I wondered why the negatives seemed to lack sharpness when compared to modern Zeiss 35mm negatives. Both formats made very nice prints, but still. Hanging out here and a little study has taught me a lot. There's nothing 'wrong' with either format, they're just different.
Originally Posted by Roger Cole
Spotting is best done digitally. That's the unfortunate truth.
The Master Printer of my Ilfochromes remarked when he retired that he was "fully over it!" (spotting prints). It was tedious, labour intensive and time consuming, with deadlines, deadlines, deadlines from many photographers all around the nation. Three staff were at times employed to concentrate on the task of "zero spotting"; with some prints costing $6,000 raw, it was the unspoken rule that no print would leave the lab with any blemish, notwithstanding the raw Ilfochrome Classic materiel was often blemished to start with. The biggest prints, almost 2m across, took close to a full working week to spot. Dust during exposure is unavoidable, and I have seen hairs, dust, dirt, sand, pollen, kitty litter, wax... not necessarily in the 'chroming room, but in hobbyist darkrooms too.
“The photographer must determine how he wants the finished print to look before he exposes the negative.
Before releasing the shutter, he must seek 'the flame of recognition,' a sense that the picture would reveal
the greater mystery of things...more clearly than the eyes see." ~Edward Weston, 1922.
How the #$%^ do you spot Ilfochrome? (Non digitally of course.) I used to print it some, type R paper more, and the only way of dealing with a black spot on it from dust in my experience was to re-print.
Similar question for those who are apparently successfully "spotting" black spots on prints from sheet film negatives that had dust on exposure. The ways I am familiar with, none of which I've had success with:
1. Spot the negative so that the spot prints white, then spot in the usual way. The problem with this is that one must be EXTREMELY careful or you end up with an absolutely gigantic and almost impossible to successfully spot white spot on the print. Also, I'm not sure of the material to use for this. Something used to be recommended, something red I think, but I can't recall the name. At any rate, I could never find the stuff.
2. Bleach back the black spot with very strong ferricyanide bleach. You'll never bleach it just enough to match so bleach it too far then spot it back down. Same problem as spotting the negative, only worse - hard to control and prevent from running or making a way too big bleached area. I have a set of spot pens that are supposed to work on this principle, one bleach pen and one spot pen. Just like the regular spot pens, I never got them to work worth a damn either.
3. For very small dark areas, take a sharp fine x-acto knife and carefully abrade some of the emulsion off. I actually have been able to make this work acceptably well, but only for very, very tiny areas.
One thing I like when I use my TLR is all the interesting people you get to meet on the street who ask you questions.
In two outings I think I was stopped by 5 people, including a man dressed as Ronald Macdonald!
New Coccine. PM me and I'll mail you a pinch of the stuff. Then pick up a copy of Lootens and all the instructions how to use it are there. Another trick is opaque. Yes absolutely gigantic gobs of it. Well on 4x5 it's only a pinpoint. You do have to spot it back to gray on the print. But here, you have a chance to make it gray (instead of full on black). And the trick often works 100%. Most of the time it works 80% and that's good enough to keep the spot from detracting.
Originally Posted by Roger Cole
And the third trick is literally a pinpoint. Rough up the base behind the speck, and it will disappear (visually) on the print. On close inspection you will still have a gray dot with a light halo. But done right, it's well camoflaged.
I don't often use 2. and 3. though I have the Farmer's Reducer and Homer knife. I find the etching knife always leaves a dull spot even when done properly.
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Goofy's assistant really got a kick out of the Bessa II at Disneyland... You know these guys see every camera ever made, so they're not easily impressed.
Originally Posted by Karl T
I think Photo Opaque or something similar sounding was what I never succeeded in finding even in the 90s. If I couldn't find it then, it's probably rarer than fairy dust now.
Originally Posted by Bill Burk
A quick google of "New Coccine" shows it's a red dye also suitable for food use (though blamed by some for hyperactivity and apparently a problem for those sensitive to salicylates.) Other than getting a pinch from you I've no idea where I'd get the stuff. Is it removable? I think that was the advantage of Photo Opaque, wasn't it, that if you made a mistake it could be removed?
What's Lootens? Sounds like a book but I need more than an author's last name to find a book.
I can certainly drop you a PM though.
J. Ghislain Lootens F.P.S.A., F.R.P.S
Lootens on Photographic Enlarging and Print Quality.
My local camera store has a copy on the shelf, I almost picked it up just so I could give it away.
Yes the red dye can be removed by soaking negative in plain water for 12 hours if you mess up.
Thanks. Used one on Amazon for $4.99, shouldn't be too hard to find even if that sells.
Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour
Well, as soon as you figure out how I spot an 8x10 contact print digitally, you let me know.