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Thread: Litho Film continuos tone problems

  1. #1

    Litho Film continuos tone problems

    I am just beginning to use Arista litho film with a metol developer, (Soemarko LC-1B, from Tom Persigerlitho1002Sm.jpg) for continuos tone, and getting very low contrast results, which do not seem to change as I make large changes in exposure. The negatives are very thin, see attached positive from a scan. I'm using an old 6.5" X 8.5" folding camera, with an old but apparently decent lens. I'm shooting at f8, exposures from 2 sec - 20 sec.

    My darkroom has one red safelight, but the pattern of a raised "X", from the bottom of the developer tray, shows up in the images!! Do I need a different safelight?

    I also hope to use the litho film for large pinholes.

    Any thoughts will be appreciated.

    Bruce Marsh

  2. #2
    500+ Posts earlj's Avatar
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    What film speed rating are you using to meter the exposure? What development time are you using? How close to the tray is your safe light? Make sure that you soak the film in plain water before it goes into the developer. If you are exposing sufficiently, you should be able to get good density with longer development times. If extended development does not give you density, then you need more exposure. My rule of thumb is to time the full appearance of the image, and then multiply by four for the total development time. Developing by inspection is tricky - it is easy to pull it out too soon.
    because:
    "a squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous, got me?"
    -Don Van Vliet

  3. #3
    Thank you Earl. I replied earlier, but it is not posted...? I made some test strips with the film today, just to see if it might be a problem with the camera. One strip, 2 sec. - 20 sec., made under an enlarger, produced good gradations but nothing darker than about 40%....far from black. I tried another with times of 10 sec.- 2 min., and it all came out the same middle (40%?) gray...no steps. So now I wonder if I need to use fresh developer after each neg., even if the negs are only 2" strips of film. I'll try again tomorrow.

    Bruce.

  4. #4
    500+ Posts earlj's Avatar
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    What recipe are you using? I use one from the World Journal of Post Factory Photography -
    water 750 ml
    metol 3 g
    sodium sulfite 60 g
    hydroquinone 3 g
    sodium bisulfite 15 g
    water to 1 liter

    For working solution, dilute 1:4, and use it as a one-shot (one 8x10 per liter of working solution).

    The developer exhausts quickly, but it is cheap and easy to mix up. A pinch of sodium sulfite before the metol helps it dissolve. My recipe says start with 6.5 minutes.
    Last edited by earlj; 05-11-2013 at 10:17 AM.
    because:
    "a squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous, got me?"
    -Don Van Vliet

  5. #5
    My recipe is close...except I use 4g of Metol and Hydroquinone, 30 g of Sodium METAbiSulfite (maybe the 'meta' is wrong?), 120g Sodium Sulfite, and the same amounts of water at 110 deg F. This recipe from an article by Tom Persinger.

    Frustrating...I plan do more test strips today, changing developer after each one. Hoping to see a black!

    Thanks for the continuing help.
    Bruce.

  6. #6
    Success! I made this 8 X 10 pinhole, with a 54 minute exposure in a 3" deep box, while doing some test strips on the litho film. It's difficult to 'develop by inspection', but I just let this go for 12 min. development. This is a scan at 200 dpi, inverted in Photoshop. Very encouraging! I'll load a bunch of boxes tomorrow and shoot a variety of exposures...sort of feeling my way. The pinhole allows a lot of leeway...from the center out to the edges something is usually well exposed. I'm also very interested in making images which call attention to the process, so technical precision is not a goal.
    litho1003Sm.jpg

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