View Full Version : I plan on getting ortho litho film for experimentation. Got some questions

4-Aug-2012, 12:47

I do not intend to use this film for line work.

I need to ask the following; How do i "basicially use this film" to :

capture/transfer images to this film without a 4x5, 8x10 camera or reproduction camera -

Process the film ? Can modern day everyday photo shops process this film onto photopaper?

Since it is black and originally used for line art how do you get midtones or add color within posterization for example.

PS- I'm just above an amateur in photography. My primary interest for this film to blow up/edit images, special effects, and artistic experimentation and illustration/graphic design related things. Possibly screening as well.

How long does this film last for?

Is it hard to scan?

I have access to a darkroom and the purchasing of color and black and white basic darkroom chemicals and even some "repro/lith developer chemicals " ( Are those even necessary?) I heard AB developer is . Not sure

I have a 35mm nikon F3, a set of filters and a whole ton of slides.

I have a book from the 1970's on special effects that show how to create these effects.

Could anyone offer any help?

4-Aug-2012, 22:22
If your slides are 35mm and you want them on this film, you will need to use an enlarger to expose the 35mm slides onto the lith film. That will give you negatives. You can do it under red safelight because the film can't see that... but that raises the issue that the film can't see the reds in your slides either, so anything red in the slide will behave as if it were black. If you want to make B&W internegs from chromes, a panchromatic film is a much better option.

Most photo stores won't process this stuff; good pro labs will but the cost will be horrible (think $5 to $20 per sheet), so you will want to invest in your own processing equipment, e.g. BTZS tubes, a deep tank, whatever. For a cheap initial go at it, google for the "taco method", it requires only a 3-roll Patterson tank.

Processing this stuff for continuous tone is a little tricky but not impossible. You probably want to use a very diluted developer, e.g. Rodinal 1+100 with minimal agitation. A bit of googling will help you a long way there and you might want to have a read of some sections from the FAQ in my signature.

The film will last for easily a decade (probably two) if you freeze it, or about 3-5 years at room temp. Just don't let it get above 30C.

This all begs the question of what you're going to do with these internegatives. You'll need a 4x5" enlarger to print the manipulated negatives onto paper. Or a good film scanner (no, not a flatbed), in which case if you were doing it digitally you wouldn't need these internegs to start with... so what's the end goal? Where are you trying to go?

Edit: you might want do some research on your chosen film vendor, there are a number of people quite unhappy with their quality (fogged, scratched products). If you're in the US, look at B&H and Freestyle for a start.

4-Aug-2012, 23:03
thanks for the info. I don't want to involve any scanning. But it might come in handy for a few things. What kind of scanner. Don't tell me those old tube scanners that are impossible to find anymore.

Basically like i stated for stand alone effects prints ex. posterization, montage and it makes the ability to edit a lot easier with masking film. So i want that pure film development.

Also for art and design: for posters, prints and archival prints.

In case case it seems a lot cheaper to give to these labs for just a short phase of experimentation than getting all this stuff.

What kind of chemicals does it need? I'll will continue to read on on the site that i found it said normal A B developer or standard black and white paper developer.

5-Aug-2012, 05:08
Well, drum scanners will give you the best quality, but they are very expensive, slow and finicky. For small/medium format film, there are good options like the Nikon 9000 - still $1000 to $4000 though. For large format, I'm not sure there are any currently-produced scanners that are both affordable and good, though Plustek I think have announced one and there are threads here about it. I have a SprintScan 45U which is decent (better than a flatbed) but nowhere near the quality of my Nikon 8000, let alone a drum scanner; you can buy scanners like that for about $300-500. If you want a flatbed, get a V750 and the third-party adjustable holders. If you only need 35mm, there are many excellent film-scanning options. And then there's services like scancafe.com (http://www.scancafe.com/). If you only have 35mm chromes and want to manipulate them, scanning really is the easiest way to do that. There are no readily-available analogue technologies for directly printing chromes any more.

If you want to go all analogue and have colour, the mainstream technologies are C41 and RA4; they are very mature and excellent processes at this point and both can readily be used in a home darkroom with a modest capital investment (colour enlarger, temperature-controlled processor like a Jobo, etc). If you shoot colour neg, you can directly print that large and do as much compositing as you like. You can make masks (unsharp, contrast-reduction, SCIM, etc) for printing from colour neg.

You can also (as per the PM conversation) make internegatives from the chromes by contact-printing them onto negative film with reduced development. That gives you a colour-neg photo of the chrome, which you can then use to do your compositing, etc.

Another option is to make separations from the chromes. You'd expose 3 separate B&W sheets from each film using R, G and B colour filters but then combining them without scanning requires alternative printing processes like dye-transfer and that is a huge amount of work.

I would suggest that if you want to make B&W internegs, you use a normal B&W film (not lith film!) developer. Use ortho if you don't need red response (it can be handled in safelight), otherwise use a normal B&W film in a normal film developer. If you want to manipulate colour, you will need to be able to process C41 and RA4. Chemistry for both processes is readily available but you need decent temperature control. While you can get a lab to do your C41 for you, most of the techniques you speak of (masking, montage, etc) are printing processes, so you will need your own colour enlarger and RA4 chemistry+paper. That's pretty cheap though.

However, I think you'll need to spend a fair bit of time familiarising yourself with these processes before doing advanced manipulations. The lack of normal- and low-contrast papers in RA4 makes things more difficult; it basically means you need to do BTZS-like contractions/pulling in your C41 process in order for the print to come out well. I would suggest that becoming proficient at basic B&W printing is a necessary first step before even beginning to dabble in this stuff.

5-Aug-2012, 06:10
thanks for the advice i am proficient in basic B&W printing. lets continue in PM