View Full Version : Wanting Vintage Look

18-Jun-2014, 18:58
I posted a photo in "Image Sharing," but am looking for some broader technical information.

I think I kind of like using my old Petzvals on my 4x5, and want to do some more of it this summer. I've been using Efke 25 with ~6 stops of ND to get exposure times of half to one second, and this did work. Now I'm wondering about using something like Ilford Ortho (ISO 80?), Rollei Ortho 25, and Adox Ortho 25. I'm after a very vintage (1860s) look here, at least as close as I can get. I had some additional thoughts:

1. To get a little bit of the halonation "glow," what if I slipped a thin piece of silver mylar into my film holders, behind the film? Or painted in inside with white Tempra paint? Has anyone ever tried anything like this?

2. To replicate the blue sensitivity of wet plate, what if I used a very strong (80D?) filter along with the ND?

Anyone have any ideas here?

Tim Meisburger
18-Jun-2014, 19:05
I don't know, but as I recall in early photos they did their best to get sharp images, and the ones you posted looked wide open.

Might be good to work on the print as well (i.e. sepia, and an oval vignette).

18-Jun-2014, 20:00
The lens is f2.8, and I'm finding DoF is very shallow. I also think I need to center the faces better and then crop. The lens itself is from 1845, and it's obviously not as sharp as my Heliar.

Tim Meisburger
18-Jun-2014, 20:56
Maybe you can stop down some. F2.8 sounds really fast for 1845. I thought the petzvals were the first fast lens at around f6, but could be wrong.

19-Jun-2014, 05:39
The lens truly is f2.8. That's how it measures out, and how it performs exposure wise. I too was a bit surprised. It's a smaller lens, a bit less than 6 inch. Those are easier to make fast. Most of my others are around f4.

John Kasaian
19-Jun-2014, 06:30
Maybe ortho film would look more "Civil War Era-ish?" Freestyle cataloged a replacement for the old APHS that's supposed to give a continuous tone using diluted paper. developer.

19-Jun-2014, 07:57
1. Try paper negs,graded; or 2, coat a glass plate with a liquid emulsion, i.e., blue sensitive. In both cases your EI will be very slow, 3-6 ISO.


19-Jun-2014, 09:02
Blue sensitive X-ray film would give similar results to graded paper and 19th century wet plates, and would be much faster. As a bonus, most general purpose X-ray films are coated on both sides, so no anti halation layer.

19-Jun-2014, 11:42
Achieving a "convincing vintage look" to a photograph can be quite a chore. It really helps to sit down an analyze all of the characteristics of a vintage photograph and determine "what" makes it look vintage.

Here's some of the "variables" on my list that would be considered . . . .

The sitter's attire
The sitter's pose
The sitter's movement during the exposure
The objects in the background
The direct lighting used
The diffused and indirect lighting used
The type and character of lens used
The character of out-of-focus objects
The distance between the camera and the sitter
The size of stop used
The character of the stop used
The length of the exposure
The type of shutter used
The type of emulsion used for the negative
The negative development process used
The type of emulsion used for the printing paper
The print development process used
The type of print toning used
The print surface
The paper texture
The paper color, before and after processing
The color of the developed image within in print
The cropping used for the print
The size of the physical print
The shape of the print, oval, rectangular, square, etc
The type of borders for the image area
The method of mounting used for the print
. . . and I'm sure I've missed many.

But, once you have determined which "variables" attribute to the desired effect, and eliminate those that have little to no influence . . . You've got the formula. Then comes the fun part. What does the printer have to do to achieve the required characteristics?

I avoided this thread for go reason. But, I feel better now. :D

19-Jun-2014, 14:46

I have been thinking about those factors as I study period images. There was a definite "protocol" behind the poses.

Where can I buy blue sensitive x-ray film in 4x5? I've also been considering buying a few 4x5 plate holders and trying the Liquid Light products. OR, just using the Watson & Son half plate camera with the book-style holders I already have.

Kent in SD

John Kasaian
19-Jun-2014, 15:02
I've been getting x ray film from---

19-Jun-2014, 16:42
Here's another source, one I've used. They also sell other brands and sizes.

http://www.zzmedical.com/analog-x-ray-supplies/x-ray-film/kodak-x-ray-film/8x10-in-carestream-kodak-x-ray-film.html (http://www.zzmedical.com/analog-x-ray-supplies/x-ray-film/kodak-x-ray-film/8x10-in-carestream-kodak-x-ray-film.html)

Kent, If you are already in possession of a Plate camera, you're almost to home plate. :D

20-Jun-2014, 07:56
You might also give thought to how best to develop the images. In the album I referenced in your other thread about Custer, the one image that really stands out as most "authentic" to me was the result of a mistake during development. The shot of the officer and private standing by the tree was done in Pyrocat HD at 1:1:10 (not the 1:1:100 I meant to use). Realizing what I'd done as soon as I poured, I improvised and did continuous inversions for 6 minutes rather than intermittent for 17 as I usually do with Ortho. Most agree that image looks the most authentic, though it's obviously more expensive to develop.

Once you scan you can, of course, add textures (something I guess you could even do during the scanning), and add a few light orange and purple marks around the edge (I use a PS "chalk" brush when I do this).

Another point that's difficult to control is to find subjects who are shorter than average and much skinnier than average as that was the norm "back in the day".