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Thread: Ilford positive direct paper

  1. #1
    Hack Pawlowski6132's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Detroit - Come Visit

    Ilford positive direct paper

    So, are you kids using this? Do you take it seriously? A novelty? Difficult to expose? H
    ow do you process?

  2. #2
    Analog Photographer Kimberly Anderson's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Re: Ilford positive direct paper

    I got 50 sheets of 8x10 and am ordering another box of 25 sheets. My daughter is doing her science fair project using this paper. We're exploring two aspects of the paper:

    1. reciprocity failure
    2. spectral sensitivity

    We're just getting started, but we'll make it available if anyone is interested.

    I am taking this paper very seriously. I have been making in-camera monotypes for quite some time. This paper will be a wonderful addition to the materials I can potentially use.

  3. #3
    Richard K. Richard K.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Etobicoke (west Toronto), west of the mighty Humber...

    Re: Ilford positive direct paper

    Where did you hear of this Joe? Are you sure you didn't dream it?

    It does sound interesting though! A one-off print!

    Any idea of cost? ISO? Tonal distribution - eg. does it dump shadows or block highlights? Does it use regular paper developers? Do you have a link to any photos printed on it?

    How are you enjoying the Canadian air? Oh, and have you tried the Ilford Art 3000 yet?
    When I was 16 I thought my father the stupidest man in the world; when I reached 21, I was astounded by how much he had learned in just 5 years!

    -appropriated from Mark Twain

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Uralla, NSW Australia

    Re: Ilford positive direct paper

    Apparently they aren't selling it at the moment due to QC problems.

  5. #5
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Stratford-upon-Avon, England

    Re: Ilford positive direct paper

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom J McDonald View Post
    Apparently they aren't selling it at the moment due to QC problems.
    Really ?

    Have you looked at Harmans own web site - its still on sale -


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    The "Live Free or Die" state

    Re: Ilford positive direct paper

    I just had some arrive last week from Adorama. Haven't done any experiments with it yet.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    southwest PA, USA

    Re: Ilford positive direct paper

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom J McDonald View Post
    Apparently they aren't selling it at the moment due to QC problems.
    They're having problems with the RC, but not the FB. Freestyle has some FB.
    Bethe King

  8. #8
    Maris Rusis's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Noosa, Australia.

    Re: Ilford positive direct paper

    Old-time Photographer

    Gelatin-silver photograph on Harman Direct Positive Paper 8x10 exposed in a Tachihara 810HD triple extension field view camer fitted with a Fujinon-W 300mm f5.6 lens. Lighting was from a skylight in a traditionally arranged photographic studio without electricity. This photograph like all direct positive reflective images (Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, Tintypes for example) is mirror reversed with respect to the subject.

    More on "Old Time Photographer" illustrating the desperate measures invoked to get decent photographs out of Harman Direct Positive Paper:

    There is very little picture generating technology involved in "Old-time Photographer" but there is a lot of sneaky subject management and studio wrangling hidden in the back story.

    The subject is me in costume as a tatterdemallion photographer. Because Harman Direct Positive is a very short scale material I dressed in grey to avoid empty shadows and hard highlights. Direct Positive is severely orthochromatic so coloured clothing can deliver bad tonal response surprises. Grey garb sidesteps the problem. The tatty T-shirt with the white pattern came out well. I guess the result is "shabby chic" or the next level down from that.

    The black beret prevents "chrome dome" glare. The "granny spectacles" are a contrivance to put metallic glints near the eyes. The mid-grey studio backdrop is on the back wall but my other backdrop, a brilliant white, is actually on the studio floor to kick light up and keep luminance ratios under some control.

    The main props, camera and tripod, were chosen for the bright metal-work accents. These blow out to featureless white but the areas are small, the eye accepts them, and they liven up the picture.

    Exposure was determined by trial and error starting at an assumption of EI = 6. I would make an exposure, walk to the darkroom, and process immediately, and then re-shoot. Development goes to completion in a couple of minutes so I know what adjustments to make for the next shot.

    Pre-flashing is the key to taming this recalcitrant material.

    I use one of my 4x5 enlargers set to 950mm high, 150mm lens at f16, 150 watt bulb in the lamphouse and 0.8 seconds set on the timer. This delivers an actual pre-flash exposure of about 4 Lux.seconds (if my luxmeter is accurate). Your set-up will surely vary from this but trial and error and persistence always win. After the paper is loaded into the 8x10 holders (dim red safelight) the holder is centred under the "pre-flash" enlarger, the dark-slide pulled, and the 0.8 second blink is given. With the dark-slide back in, the holder is carried up into the studio for trial exposure in the camera.

    Pre-flash is a critical quantity. I find results at 0.7 seconds and 0.9 seconds are discernably different from 0.8 seconds. A confounding factor is that a change in pre-flash seems to cause a change in the the effective speed of Direct Positive. The only way through this nest of variables is continued experiment. My first 50 sheets of this expensive material went on exposure and pre-flash tests! Exposure is critical. Even +/- 1/3 stop makes an obvious difference. I've had all my shutters electronically timed (to the third decimal place) and all lens apertures calibrated to avoid bad surprises.

    A nasty consequence of pre-flashing is the loss of a proper black tone. The picture edge in "Old-time Photographer" didn't get any pre-flash and it shows a good black but nothing in the picture area actually matches it. That's the trade-off: control contrast but kill black. A partial compensation comes from using fresh, strong paper developer. I actually warm the Dektol 1+2 to get maximum activity. Development goes to completion in about two minutes. Direct Positive is demanding of fixer. I use fresh Hypam 1+4 warmed a bit for 5 minutes.

    The orthochromatic response of Direct Positive delivers vile (harsh, ugly, gritty) skin tones but I find that a 2 stop orange filter improves things a lot. The downside is that the effective EI is down to approximately 0.6. Very slow indeed!

    Mysteries still unexplored include the effect of illuminants of different colour temperatures. I suspect daylight is not like flash is not like hot tungsten. And I haven't tried to work out the reciprocity characteristics of Direct Positive. It may be that Direct Positive actually gets "faster" with extended exposure times. I just don't know.
    Photography:first utterance. Sir John Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society. "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..".

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