College Student - Ortho Litho Film Questions
Very first post on the forums, just need some answers about Ortho Litho film. I'm a junior in college and have been shooting digital for years now. However, I took an Intro to Photography class this semester and the class was all film based. Since I had a darkroom at my disposal, I decided I wanted to mess around with pinhole photography. I built a camera out of some leftover plywood we had, an aluminum soda can, and a hinge from Home Depot.
I constructed the camera to fit a 4x5 negative. For class, we were using 8x10 sheets of Ilford Multigrade IV RC paper so I cut the paper down to 4x5 size and used that. After some experimentation, this is what I came up with.
I'm pretty satisfied with how the photos are turning out but I would like to be able to enlarge them to 8x10 or larger, which is why I want to switch to film rather than paper negatives. My professor suggested Ortho Litho film because it's relatively cheap. However, after doing much research all I have gotten is mixed opinions about being able to get good quality continuous tone from this film. I'd like everyone's straight opinion about if you can get decent continuous tone or not. I do realize that it's made for extreme high contrast negatives. I've read that Adonal or Rodinal at a 1:150 mixture is good? Would the darkroom at my college have this available for me? Could I use a diluted version of the paper developer they usually have out? The ortho film would be very nice since I would be able to load it into my camera under safe light conditions. Below is a link to the film I was looking at purchasing.
Sorry for the lengthy post. Any help would be GREATLY APPRECIATED.
I use ortho lith for continuous tone enlarged negatives, and have calibrated what works for me with my 20 year old frozen stash of this film from an old printers shop.
I find it has an EI of about 3-6 depending on if it is daylight or tungsten. This is not too far off of the enlarging paper that you have been using for 'film' in your pinhole camera to date.
, in terms of exposure time.
I home mix a developer that is about 1g of metol per litre in a weak alkali with a touch oif sulfiute to keep the metol alive to process this film. If you don't have the ability of custom mixed developers, I would recommend trying very dilute print developer as a starting developer; think 1:20 from the stock soution of dektol or evel higher if starting with something like Ilford Multigrade developer liquid concentrate to start. If contrast is too high with the dilute paper developers, then try a dilute film developer; perhaps d76 at 1:6 or more, as a guess to start.
To initially calibrate the film for developing times is easy, in that you can watch the level of development with a red safelight. I do go with time and temperature once I want to fine tune my process.
I would recommend that you try to start with this film in the darkroom, to make dups of negs under the enlarger. Treat this duping as a very low contrast subject situation. If you were shooting it in the camera most subjects will have more contrast than you find when duping a neg, so the developer time to a give a similar contrast index value neg will be shorter with in camera pinhole shots.
I hope this gives you some ideas to think on and then grow youir own process with.
my real name, imagine that.
I once tried water bath development with litho film when there was no other option. It was certainly better than nothing. You might want to visit http://www.f295.org/site/.
Many photogrpahers would paint the inside of the back of your camera black to reduce light passing through the film and being reflected back onto the film. Also, a black cardboard or hardboard flange around the back might reduce light leaking around the edges.
Ortho-lith should be able to be developed in any paper developer. I have developed it in diluted Dektol (1+4) with reasonable results, not overly contrasty.
I've done this before, albeit with Freestyle's previous Ortho Lith offering APHS. Works great although like mentioned you'll probably want to dilute your developer to tame the contrast, also I remember the APHS having an ISO close to 6. So be prepared for really long exposures, especially with a pinhole camera.
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If expense is the issue, I think you would be better off with one of the less expensive general purpose films instead of slow ortho, considering that you are using a pinhole camera. Congratulations, by the way, on building your camera.
I'm very interested in this as well for making enlarged positives from separation negatives.
By the way, here is what the freestyle page says...
Continuous-tone results can be achieved by using a dilute working solution of standard paper developer. Dektol 1:7 or 1:9 is a popular dilution to achieve continuous tone results. Ethol LPD, Agfa Neutol, Clayton Extend Plus, Clayton P-20, Nacco Printol, or any of our Arista and Arista Premium Paper Developers are also recommended. Your individual optimal dilution and developing time will vary based on your desired results.
How much of a hurry are you in? I am in the process of testing the Arista II ortho litho film. I am testing it in the following developers: D76 1+4, Rodinal 1+149, Jim Galli's Rodinal+restrainer soup, and Dektol 1+9. So far I have exposed step wedges on 6 negatives for each developer and developed the negatives for 4, 5:30, 8, 11, 16, and 22 minutes. I hope to be able to read the negs this weekend and then do some test prints comparing the developers.
Based purely on a visual inspection of the negatives, D76 1+4 and Rodinal 1+149 look the best, with a slight nod to the D76. The Dektol negs are very thick and contrasty. But I caution, I have not printed them yet and the proof is in the print.
I will post my results when I finish. If you can't wait, try either the D76 1+4 or Rodinal 1+149, EI 6, develop by inspection under red safelight. (I can't imagine a student darkroom not having D76). It's easy to pull the negs too early when doing DBI. You might start around 6 to 8 minutes in either developer.
Thank you everyone for the very quick replies.
Mike - Thank you for your reply and advice about starting with a diluted paper or film developer. Seeing as I've only been involved with the film process for 16 weeks, I know almost absolutely nothing about the chemical side of it. Which is why just simply starting with a diluted film or paper developer would be easy for me.
Jim - Since I took the photo of the camera, I have painted the back black to reduce reflections and made some other improvements. I use a piece of a heavy duty black trash bag to cover the back when I'm shooting, held on with a rubber band. Seems to work pretty well.
ralnphot - Thank you for the simple answer.
JSebrof - I think the paper negatives that I was using have almost the same speed at the ortho litho film. I was getting exposure times of around 5-7 minutes in low contrast areas. Those exposure times add to the fun of pinhole photography!
Chazzy - I haven't been able to find anything that's cheaper than the ortho litho film. I'm on a pretty tight budget (being a college student and all). Besides, I'd really like to be able to load the film under a safe light and be able to develop by inspection.
Allen Friday - I'm not in that much of a hurry. The semester just ended for me which means that I won't have a darkroom available for me to use until the end of January when I go back. I'm very much looking forward to your results using the various developers. Thanks for the tip about the D76. I know for a fact that we have that available in the darkroom. Do you suppose they would have Rodinal for me to use, or is that pretty outdated?
My early trys at Ortho Lith was its really slow, as other have said ISO3 but suffers badly from reciprocity making pinhole exposure really loooong. I was rating it ISO1 in bright day light with a f333 pinhole (200mm 8x10) and was still under exposing. The 3rd and 4th images under "resent" in the pinhole link below are Ortho Lith (Arista ll)