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Thread: Use of X-ray film: technical discussion with example images

  1. #6251

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    Re: Use of X-ray film: technical discussion with example images

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Bullen View Post
    Whatever the reason I don’t think it’s fair to criticize someone for doing something they enjoy and is also harmless to you.
    The reasons you mentioned are certainly valid. And given the time and effort I put into trying to make x-ray film work for me, rest assured that I know from first-hand experience how they work and what the appeal of the material is - I recognize everything you said (well, almost)!

    But...I see many people who are experimenting with this kind of film in the apparent expectation that it's a substitute for regular photographic film. But it really isn't. In its tonal reproduction, it is fundamentally *impossible* to make x-ray film do the same thing as even a low-cost, archaic-technology film like Fomapan 100. Anyone on that path may find themselves spending a lot of time, and ultimately also quite a bit of money, on something that just will never do what they hope it will do.

    And yes, they may end up with something they like nonetheless and be content with that. On the other hand, I'm sure that several people who posted in this thread and even more who've read (parts of) it ultimately turned away from x-ray film in mild disappointment and either moved on to regular film, or just abandoned the format they intended to shoot on altogether.

    So while I respect and agree with your view, I do feel that whenever someone who is new to the trade expresses interest in x-ray film, someone should give them a fair warning of what they should NOT expect from it. Speaking from my own experience, even though I'm plenty stubborn enough to have tried it anyway (I would!), I sure would have appreciated it if the many blogs and posts that waxed lyrical about this nearly-free alternative to real film would have been a bit more nuanced.

  2. #6252
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Use of X-ray film: technical discussion with example images

    NOBODY on this forum in the X-Ray thread EVER promised a DAMN thing

    I shoot all kinds of film

    I really like ancient film as I love to experiment

    My oldest glass plates give me great joy, I think the plates are 125 years old and still work!

    Many here are NOT DAMN EXPERTS and don't give a shit what the self proclaimed experts say

    WE have several 'esteemed' members who NEVER post an image of their masterpieces, wtf



    Glass Plate Box by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr
    Tin Can

  3. #6253
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Use of X-ray film: technical discussion with example images

    Tin Can

  4. #6254

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    Re: Use of X-ray film: technical discussion with example images

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    NOBODY on this forum in the X-Ray thread EVER promised a DAMN thing

    [...]
    WE have several 'esteemed' members who NEVER post an image of their masterpieces, wtf
    Nobody said anyone promised anything.

    And so what who considers whom esteemed and whether people, esteemed or otherwise, post images?

    Why the aggravation? I just expressed my opinion and experience. Apparently you don't like it; that says something about you, not about what I said.

  5. #6255
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Use of X-ray film: technical discussion with example images

    no problem

    some of us like X-Ray

    you don't
    Tin Can

  6. #6256

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    Re: Use of X-ray film: technical discussion with example images

    Understood. Enjoyment is ultimately what this is about and that is a valid enough reason to try/use x-ray film. It also makes sense if the specific characteristics of x-ray films are what one is after.

    On the other hand, if the motivation is simply to circumvent the cost of large format film some criticism is healthy. It is a misguided pursuit. If the cost of large format film is prohibitive the photographer would be far better off using medium format film (whether on a large or medium format camera) than with x-ray sheet film. The other point is that if one is nevertheless determined to experiment with x-ray film in an attempt to save money, despite insurmountable differences in spectral sensitization etc., at the very least more appropriate processing should be considered. Things like dilute general purpose developers, reduced agitation/stand etc. just arenít going to do much of anything to help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Bullen View Post
    Some of us are interested in experimenting, some canít afford the cost of a box of ilford 8x10 or the like and shoot as much as we like. 500 sheets of X-ray is about the same as 1 box of 25 sheets of ilford fp4. Not to mention the high contrast of x-ray works beautifully with alternative processes and also has a different look than modern film. Whatever the reason I donít think itís fair to criticize someone for doing something they enjoy and is also harmless to you.

  7. #6257
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Use of X-ray film: technical discussion with example images

    Perhaps experts worry X-Ray will dilute real film usage

    Our oldest member prefers Orthochromatic, for several reasons

    He has been using it since the 1930's
    Tin Can

  8. #6258
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
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    Re: Use of X-ray film: technical discussion with example images

    No, it's not a sub for regular films...but neither is Ilford Ortho, or those Lane glass plates. They stand on their own for what they are and what they can do. I simply use xray film for it's orthochromatic characteristics. It's lovely that I can get it in 14x17...for cheap! It makes great alt prints. I prefer double-sided green. Also, my senior photo students use it in their big box pinhole cameras!

  9. #6259

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    Re: Use of X-ray film: technical discussion with example images

    Koraks and Michael R, it’s true that x-ray film is not a substitute for panchromatic film. We might be coming at this from different perspectives, I have been shooting with film since the 80’s and although that’s not as long as others here it’s a fair amount of time. Everything from 11x14 on down so I knew what I was getting into with x-ray. People who are newer to large format or film photography in general might not understand the differences, it does seem that most forums and blogs clearly state that it’s orthochromatic, scratches easily, double sided and more contrasty. I chose X-ray in 8x10 and larger for several reasons, I love the look but I love the price even more. I can afford regular film and shoot that as well, especially in smaller formats. If someone can not afford a box of 25sheets of ilford or tmax but would like to try large format I would totally recommend $40 for 100 sheets of film, I would also suggest they do their research. As far as standard developers diluted or otherwise is perfectly fine, any developer chosen can work and work well, that’s why people should learn and experiment to find what works best for them. I’ve used coffee, d-76, pyrocat and others all with great results and I’m happy I did.
    Is it the right choice for everyone, no way! Is it ok to try new things, learn and grow, hell yes. Let everyone decide their own path. Discouragement is not a productive way forward.

  10. #6260

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    Re: Use of X-ray film: technical discussion with example images

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Bullen View Post
    Discouragement is not a productive way forward.
    My point exactly. Which is why I press my point. If it's clear up front to someone what they're getting into, the chances that it's something they're actually looking for are higher. That's managing expectations, not discouragement! It's great that you knew what you were getting into. I bet most people who try xray film for the first time don't and expect something that's a cheaper but nearly equivalent alternative to regular film. If you love it for what it is, that's great. And indeed, I don't, but that doesn't mean the next person should feel the same way. Obviously!

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