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Thread: Testing old Kodalith development/exposure, suggestions?

  1. #1

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    Testing old Kodalith development/exposure, suggestions?

    I recently got some old Kodalith and have been playing with it to see what I need to do to make it work. First, the attachment is my results so far, and here are the specifics:

    Exposure ISO 6 + 4 stops
    Developer Ilford DD-X 1:4, 3 minutes

    Looks to me like the thing is over exposed (black case and pens have no detail, white marble background is medium gray) but what do you think about the falloff? While the white marble background is gray, the white stars on the pen tops is indeed white (and in real life is a brighter white than the background). I should note that this is scanned in with no editing other than a little cropping.

    I have the feeling it is the developer but that is what I have on hand right now. Suggestions?

    Allan

  2. #2

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    Re: Testing old Kodalith development/exposure, suggestions?

    Kodalith was meant to provide two tones only: white and black. Part of this was the dedicated developer but most of it is the film, as you've found. Since the marble shows up as gray your exposure is ok, your contrast is still high because the dark tones (pens) have dropped down to black. So try more exposure to get detail in the dark tones, and a more diluted developer to avoid contrast buildup. I don't know how far you can take this concept but a test or two will tell you. Of course the film sees red as black anyway. The unevenness may (but I'm not sure) be characteristic of trying to tame a high-contrast film down to normal contrast, a difficult exercise at any time. good luck!

  3. #3
    Gary Beasley's Avatar
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    Re: Testing old Kodalith development/exposure, suggestions?

    The falloff may be related to the films propensity to absorb moisture from the air. At the least you will get the "halo" effect seen here, at the worst the film will stick together. The areas that have absorbed the water seems to loose sensitivity drastically. I've found old boxes of litho film where all the sheets have "bricked" into a solid lump.

  4. #4

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    Re: Testing old Kodalith development/exposure, suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sampson View Post
    Kodalith was meant to provide two tones only: white and black. Part of this was the dedicated developer but most of it is the film, as you've found. Since the marble shows up as gray your exposure is ok, your contrast is still high because the dark tones (pens) have dropped down to black. So try more exposure to get detail in the dark tones, and a more diluted developer to avoid contrast buildup. I don't know how far you can take this concept but a test or two will tell you. Of course the film sees red as black anyway. The unevenness may (but I'm not sure) be characteristic of trying to tame a high-contrast film down to normal contrast, a difficult exercise at any time. good luck!
    I am actually shooting for the two tone look and was surprised to see the gray. My first instinct was to increase exposure until the gray turned white, but with the white on the top of the cap I started to get nervous.

    Since I am shooting for the ultra contrast, I should keep my developer at full strength correct?

    Allan

  5. #5

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    Re: Testing old Kodalith development/exposure, suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Beasley View Post
    The falloff may be related to the films propensity to absorb moisture from the air. At the least you will get the "halo" effect seen here, at the worst the film will stick together. The areas that have absorbed the water seems to loose sensitivity drastically. I've found old boxes of litho film where all the sheets have "bricked" into a solid lump.
    Now that is something I had not heard before. I will continue trying things and if it seems the halo is consistent (which in this shot I really like anyway) at least I will know why. Thanks!

    Allan

  6. #6
    Gary Beasley's Avatar
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    Re: Testing old Kodalith development/exposure, suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flea77 View Post
    I am actually shooting for the two tone look and was surprised to see the gray. My first instinct was to increase exposure until the gray turned white, but with the white on the top of the cap I started to get nervous.

    Since I am shooting for the ultra contrast, I should keep my developer at full strength correct?

    Allan
    If you want the true high contrast you need to use lithographic developer, yes the same you use for lith prints. It induces infectious development that causes extreme contrast and Dmax. You will still see some midtones. If you want no grey you need to print the negs on very high contrast paper.

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