"1940s look" on B/W enlargement

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Adam, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. Adam

    John Guest

    John, Mar 12, 2007
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  2. Adam

    John Guest

    Also condensor enlargers were the norm then and they caused a lot of
    this type of look.

    John S. Douglas
    Photographer & Webmaster
    Legacy-photo.com - Xs750.net
    John, Mar 12, 2007
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  3. Adam

    pico Guest

    Nikkor 105mm lens at F4, Tri-X at 320, FG-7 with 15% sodium sulphite
    underdeveloped (I forgot how much).

    1972. :)
    pico, Mar 12, 2007
  4. Adam

    pico Guest

    OH, it has a bit more shadow detail in the original print. It is printed
    down a bit but works well when viewing IRL.

    Someone else help me here - it was printed on Agfa Brovira #111. I think
    that paper had a brightener in it to enhance reflectivity. I wonder if
    that's one reason I have trouble scanning such prints.

    'course, I'm not very good at scanning anyway...
    pico, Mar 12, 2007
  5. Adam

    pico Guest

    pico, Mar 12, 2007
  6. Adam

    pico Guest

    pico, Mar 12, 2007
  7. Adam

    Adam Guest

    I know nothing about toners yet... I assume those are after the fixer.
    I don't even know if the college photo lab has facilities and
    ingredients for mixing one's own. Remember, my darkroom experience is
    only a matter of weeks and we are still doing things "by the book."

    I have my father's 1951-1952 edition of CRC's "Handbook of Chemistry and
    Physics," and it has nearly 50 pages devoted to photographic formulae.
    One is a reducer for lessening density and contrast of heavy negatives,
    Potassium Ferricyanide 35g, Potassium bromide 10g, Water to make 1000
    ccs, which is a similar solution to your suggestion. If I knew what I
    was doing, and the lab had the facilities and ingredients, this book
    would be a wonderful source of period solutions!
    Well, this afternoon I decided to combine that with Laura's suggestion
    about using period equipment. I wandered around another local college
    that has many older buildings, and tried to get essentially the same
    shots with my SLR (Tri-X @ ISO 400) and with an Argus C3 (Tri-X at EI
    100). Unfortunately my college is closed this week (Spring Break), so I
    won't be able to get into the darkroom until next week.

    This will be the first time I'll be developing film at anything other
    than standard time and temperature. The lab uses Sprint Standard film
    developer (standard dilution, 1:9), and Sprint's FAQ says that for two
    stops overexposure, subtract one letter from the chart recommendation.
    They recommend letter "O" for normal Tri-X (e.g. 10:00 at 68F/20C) but
    our instructor told us to use "N" (e.g. 8:30 at 68F), and subtracting
    one letter would be "M", e.g. 7:30 at 68F. I guess I ought to use
    something between 5:00 (half their recommendation for normal exposure)
    and 7:30 (their recommendation for two stops overexposed), maybe 6:00 or
    6:30 or the equivalent for the temperature I'll be using. Does that
    sound reasonable?

    Many thanks to you and to everybody who's shared suggestions here! I'm
    pleased to see that my first post in this NG has generated such
    interesting and knowledgeable discussion.

    Adam, Mar 13, 2007
  8. Adam

    Adam Guest

    I think your first example was closer to what I'm looking for. Your
    second example seems to have a complete range of greys between its
    extremes, which are admittedly low contrast. OTOH I am admittedly new
    to all this darkroom stuff, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about!

    I tried something different today. See my reply to John for the details
    (to save bandwidth). Thanks for your help with this!

    Adam, Mar 13, 2007
  9. I'm sorry I can't remember how to remove and replace it without damaging
    anything, maybe someone else can, but you can take the lens off of
    the C-3 and use it as an enlarging lens. It's not as good as a lens
    designed to be used for enlarging but it works and may give you more
    of the results you seek.

    As for using Tri-X at ASA (let's get into the terms of the period) 100,
    I'm not sure it will do what you expect. You could try films that are similar
    in design to period films such as Plus-X (how different is the "new" anyway?),
    Ilford Pan-F (similar to the late Panatomic-X) and Adox/Orwo/Efke KB-25,
    which was sold as KB-14 at one time.

    KB-14 is Orthopanchromatic, so it has less red response than regular
    panchromatic film. It may make a difference.

    You could also try to find an orthochromatic film that works for general
    subjects, I have no idea if they are still around. Most roll film cameras
    in the U.S. in the 1940s used Verichrome (NOT the later Verichrome Pan)
    which was orthocrhomatic. Possibly a green or blue filter will duplicate
    the results on panchromatic film.

    You could also try developing your film in dilute paper developer. I started
    out with Kodak "Tri-Chem-Packs" which included Dektol, a stop bath and fixer.
    Dektol is a paper developer, but it was in this case used for film.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Mar 13, 2007
  10. Adam spake thus:
    Adam, let me make a suggestion here. Rather than try any of the fancy,
    esoteric solutions that people here have proposed (toning, etc.), why
    don't you just do the following, which you can do with what you already
    have: make a series of prints from your shot, using your RC paper, at
    various contrasts and of varying density. (You do have access to a set
    of contrast filters, don't you? If not, they're inexpensive.) For each
    contrast grade, make a set of prints ranging from light to dark.

    Be sure to mark each print with the contrast grade and exposure data.
    When they're dry, you can spread them out and see if any of them have
    that "30s-40s" look you're after.

    It won't cost you very much, and you'll probably learn more about
    darkroom technique than you bargained for.

    Just as McDonald's is where you go when you're hungry but don't really
    care about the quality of your food, Wikipedia is where you go when
    you're curious but don't really care about the quality of your knowledge.

    - Matthew White's WikiWatch (http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/wikiwoo.htm)
    David Nebenzahl, Mar 13, 2007
  11. Adam

    Ken Hart Guest

    As some "old timers" (sorry, I remember using TriChem paks!) may know, using
    Dektol for film is an old newspaper photographer's trick. Developement time
    is in the 3-4 minute range, and grain is in the golf ball to basketball
    size range. Contrast will usually be higher. The developement speed and
    increased contrast were desirable for older newspaper halftones, and the
    increased grain was a don't care.

    It's an interesting look-- every beginner should try it, just to see the
    effect, and then save it for the proper subject.
    Ken Hart, Mar 14, 2007
  12. Adam

    Lloyd Erlick Guest

    March 14, 2007, from Lloyd Erlick,

    You're in a temporarily awkward position many
    here in rec.photo.darkroom would envy!

    I'd suggest you keep a notebook of all your
    photo activities, so mistakes can be made to
    pay for themselves. Also keep many of your
    'failed' prints, because they can become
    useful for experiments and first tries later.
    Prints you might discard because they are too
    dark are very good for playing around with
    bleaching and redeveloping.

    The potassium ferricyanide bleach being
    discussed here is very easy to prepare. You
    could easily get a small amount of
    ferricyanide even if the school lab does not
    have any. I suppose schools might be
    squeamish about anything that even might be
    imagined dangerous, so a substance with the
    word 'cyanide' in it might be non grata.

    However, the facts about potassium
    ferricyanide are well known; it is not a
    particularly dangerous substance, and will
    not release cyanide in any form under any
    conditions likely to exist in a normal
    workplace or home. (It requires exposure to
    strong acid or high heat, much higher than a
    usual home oven, to release cyanide.)

    It's easy to learn the pertinent facts about
    any and all substances used in the darkroom.
    Fundamental lab safety procedures are simple
    and easy to learn. A normal, non-specialized
    personal darkroom can be much safer than a
    usual kitchen. In fact, in the darkroom it is
    possible to work with close to absolute
    non-contact with any chemicals. I work with
    the single-tray method for making prints, and
    I find I can come very close to not even
    getting my hands wet with tap water.

    Chemical safety issues are easy to solve by
    knowing the substances and avoiding dangerous
    ones unless a specific (knowledgeable!)
    decision to use one is made, and by
    eliminating or limiting bodily contact with
    even those safe substances.

    When I was in school I failed to form any
    long-term relationships with instructors or
    institutions. If you're in a photo school or
    university situation, you might have a very
    long term source of hard to find chemicals,
    valuable knowledge connections, mentors, and
    job search assistance in the future.

    My one big piece of unsolicited advice: keep
    a detailed log of everything. Chemicals,
    camera exposures, film experiences, print
    experiences, people you meet and what they
    might have to offer you. If that seems too
    selfish, do it anyway and just make sure you
    help out some new photog down the road.

    Having too much stuff in your log will not
    bother you in thirty years; too little and
    you'll chuck it.

    Lloyd Erlick Portraits, Toronto.
    website: www.heylloyd.com
    telephone: 416-686-0326
    Lloyd Erlick, Mar 14, 2007
  13. Adam

    Adam Guest

    Thanks, Geoff. I know how to take the lens off (several people have
    posted the owner's manual online), but think that, for now, I'd better
    stick to the standard enlarger lens.
    How much has Tri-X changed since it was introduced? That was in the
    1950s, wasn't it? My 1952 "Handbook of Chemistry and Physics" lists it
    under "sheet film" but not "roll film."
    Thanks very much for all your suggestions, but I'm still a newbie at all
    this darkroom stuff, and a lot of what you're suggesting sounds beyond
    my capabilities at the moment. I'm not (yet) seriously into duplicating
    the "1940s look," just wondering what I can do to print one
    already-developed negative.

    Adam, Mar 15, 2007
  14. Adam

    Adam Guest

    Thanks, Ken! That sounds very interesting. Later on in the semester,
    when I have a roll of film that I'm willing to risk, I may try that.
    The college photo lab uses Sprint Standard film developer and Sprint
    Paper developer. How would I figure out the appropriate development time?

    Adam, Mar 15, 2007
  15. Adam

    Adam Guest

    Thanks, Lloyd! I guess that right now, for the most part, I ought to
    learn how to do things well the "standard" way, rather than
    experimenting with techniques for special purposes. It took me a while
    to realize that I'd been "spoiled" by those machines that automatically
    adjust the exposure for each print, as my first few rolls had negative
    densities all over the place.
    I just recently learned the "trick" of writing exposure info in pencil
    on the back of each enlargement. (Somehow our instructor forgot to tell
    us about that!) I have a small notebook in my camera bag, to keep track
    of where and when photos were taken.
    I've been keeping the ones that are too dark. Several times I've
    developed the "scrap" sheet of paper used for focusing, and gotten a
    solid black print, which I didn't keep.
    Our instructor hasn't said much about that. I think he keeps forgetting
    that we are beginners and don't know things he'd consider "obvious."
    This is just a community college (state-supported, two year) and the
    number of photography classes is relatively small. And I'm not going
    for a career or a degree in photography, just taking one course a
    semester in whatever interests me.
    So far I've just been keeping a record of where and when photos were
    taken, and putting exposure info on contact sheets and enlargements. I
    haven't yet figured out how so many people keep such detailed info on
    each shot they make and still have time to take pictures!

    Adam, Mar 15, 2007
  16. Adam

    Adam Guest

    Thanks, David! That's certainly within my capabilities at this point.
    We already learned about contrast filters. In fact, on the negative in
    question, I tried a #2 filter and the instructor thought it was great,
    then I tried a #1 filter and I thought it looked more "40s-ish" that way
    but the instructor didn't like it.
    By the time Spring Break is over, I'll have enough paper to do that.
    The instructor told us to buy one box of 100 sheets, but so far the
    class has only met six times (out of 14 or 15) and I only have about 15
    sheets left. An order from B&H is en route as I write this.
    Thanks! It sounds like a very workable and educational idea!

    Adam, Mar 15, 2007
  17. That's beyond the scope of this group. A few years ago Kodak closed their
    factory that produced their black and white films and sold the equipment
    to Lucy in China.

    They modified the films they continued to make so that they could be
    produced on the same equipment as color film, Kodak claimed there
    was no difference except that the developing time was slightly different.

    If you ask on any group that discusses Tri-X you will get answers that
    range from "no change at all, including development" to "it's a
    completely different film" and everything in between.

    You might want to collect opinions, but since it's a moot point (there
    is no old Tri-X except in private collections) you can just assume
    what you get is it and use it as it comes.

    Note that there were two films sold as Tri-X and they were (are)
    slightly different. One in 35mm and 120, and the other Tri-X Pan Professional
    in 120, 220 and sheet film.
    I think you still need to define the "1940's look". The problem is that
    for every shortcoming that people have mentioned, you can find someone who
    did it better. Even before multiple grades of contrast paper where
    available, people adjusted their results with exposure and development

    I have often seen the claim that RC paper, invented in the 1970s changed
    the way prints look, but I remember glossy prints I made in the 1960's
    that had the same surface and similar brightness if they were dryed
    properly. RC made it easier and more common.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Mar 15, 2007
  18. B&H is a good place to order from, but you should look at Freestyle in L.A.
    They have a much wider selection of film, paper and chemicals.

    You could email them and tell them what you are looking for and ask for
    product recemendations.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Mar 15, 2007
  19. Adam

    Lloyd Erlick Guest

    March 15, 2007, from Lloyd Erlick,

    That method necessitates flipping the print
    over on a surface, which just invites crud.

    I prefer to work with a numbering system so
    each exposure on film has a serial number,
    and each print has a number derived from
    that. Each print gets a tiny number written
    at the outermost edge when it's under the
    enlrger, so I can make lengthy notes to my
    heart's content in a notebook (with pages
    numbered ... you get the idea ...).

    Lloyd Erlick Portraits, Toronto.
    website: www.heylloyd.com
    telephone: 416-686-0326
    Lloyd Erlick, Mar 15, 2007
  20. Adam

    Lloyd Erlick Guest

    March 15, 2007, from Lloyd Erlick,

    Well, it's mostly because many rolls are used
    for a given session. So the details are very
    similar for many exposures.

    Street photographing under random light over
    long periods on a single roll of film --
    well, I have years of that from the seventies
    with no notes and there are things I'd love
    to know ... it's a good thing the film comes
    with edge markings.

    Lloyd Erlick Portraits, Toronto.
    website: www.heylloyd.com
    telephone: 416-686-0326
    Lloyd Erlick, Mar 15, 2007
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