Sunday, February 28, 2010

$19.95 and says "YES"

12 black and white film presets from Michael

Interesting, possibly useful array of images here showing various digital presets for a number of black and white emulsions, including Panatomic X (shown here). 

Quote from Michael:
My presets are completely free, under a creative commons license, and are designed to provide a free alternative to the Photoshop film emulation plug-ins.

If nothing else, here is a good place to compare shoes and pant legs. Seriously, this is interesting and valuable for two reasons: 1. It helps me adjust my monitor settings a little more like Michael who has spent part of his career understanding and now presenting various monochrome presentations, and 2., it allows me to sample his image of what he believes to look like Panatomic X and post it with a link to his site, on the pages of this blog, and next to other images.  Here is a link to Life in Digital Film which delves into the new art and possibilities of using high quality affordable scanners with films, among other things.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Monobath rapid test II

Another sample of Pan F in concentrated monobath A that I scanned in. This sample shot has some smoother areas to look at.  Yes, those are the very rare Eames side chairs with Nelson legs, from Herman Miller.  These and the Herman Miller table were all trash picked.  Shot with the Seagull, 6X6, no rinse or anything after the monobath (note dust) and scanned in at the default settings on the epson 750. Click to look around.  This two minute monobath is not bad in my opinion, and gives TMY sort of a vintage look. I will have to shoot a proper grey scale and map it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Speed Graphic front standard mod

This is a bit off-topic, but thought you might be interested in seeing a swing and tilt modified front standard for a Speed Graphic.  The swing mod involves reshaping the clamps at the bottom which you cannot see in this image. The stock standard does tilt back, but not forward.  That has been changed with the addition of long slots in the stainless steel bottom of the standard, first cut out with a fret saw, then filed, laboriously.  Shown sitting on the vise of a milling machine, which was not used to make these changes.

I use a Speed Graphic as the test camera here in the lab.  Click on the image to zoom.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Comment on the mission

Just to be clear, the main reason I used 55 was for the high quality negative. If I need a decent positive 4X5 print only, then I recommend Fuji FP-100B45.  This material is very good, sharp and consistent. We are not trying to make a print material - we probably will have a print, but its purpose will be to accomplish the reaction necessary in the DTR process to produce the highest quality negative - such as we came to know in 55.  That means no "sideways" diffusion, and we need fast, direct solution of silver salts over to the receiver (print) to do that.  Then the kinetics of the process chemistry will have an effect on the characteristics of the negative. That's very important.  I never understood why some people thought of 55 as a positive print producing material and threw away the negative when there were so many other black and white print materials available, but of course the user gets to choose how they use the material, not the manufacturer.

Polaroid developed type 55 under the guidance of Ansel Adams and, using what may have been a Kodak Aero product or something like Panatomic X, managed to produce a quick and sharp negative with little grain clumping, and fine detail using only a single a reagent, close to certain monobath formulations, but that are unlike most of the other Polaroid B&W reagents.

The negative is the focus of our attention - a negative so good, so convenient, and accessible to all, that we can afford to travel far from Jobo tanks, or dip-and-dunk, or other inconveniences, and still enjoy the process of fine image making, with its magic and technique, sans batteries and USB cables.

We can certainly make a positive too, but that's not where the need is. Like composing on an upside-down ground glass, examining a negative becomes second nature with a little practice, and with 55, or maybe New55, you might do it within a minute of exposure and still have light for another shot or two. Scanners have become so good and cost less than a kilobuck or less. Yet truly high resolution on-camera digital capture devices, such as those made by Phase One, are still up to $45,000 to buy, and too far out of reach of all but the most affluent, or urgent.

So with simple and inexpensive tools such as an old Speed Graphic, a 545, and some field processable material, the artist, the newbie, the student and the old pro can still produce even higher quality images, without a darkroom, and still have money left over to buy a new car!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Land's patent no. 2,669,516

Above is a link to the Land patent that does not seem to say too much about the preparation of the receiver layer.   Rott's complete description of the kinetics and chemistry in his book, mentioned below, may seem to have possibly obviated the need, or perhaps the desire, for Land et al to publish a follow-on book that would have had to teach what Polaroid might have considered trade secret information, to be complete. 

This is the key reference on DTR

I am still engrossed in

Photographic Silver Halide Diffusion Processes
Authors: Andre Rott, Dipl Ing, Edith Weyde, and Dr Ing.
Focal Press, London 1972

Which among other things describes the history and development, dozens of configurations, and many examples of diffusion transfer reversal techniques.  This claims to be part one of a two-part series published by Focal Press and promises a follow-on named "Instantaneous Photography" by Land.  But I cannot find a trace of the second book that is named here. Perhaps it never was written.

Not that it matters all that much right now, because Edith Weyde and Rott et al have done such a thorough job of describing the DTR process from a chemical and electrochemical aspect, that I have a hard time believing that we cannot extract enough information from it to at least get started producing DTR-assisted negatives, as I term them.

There is a section that talks about the use of lead acetate and other metal acetates in the receiver sheet of Polaroid materials which are not mentioned in any of the MSDS that we have on hand for 55.  But at least we know how to imbibe paper with lead acetate easily, and probably produce a number of different nucleating particles in a receiver layer with enough experimentation. Still, I wish I could find someone, anyone, with specific knowledge in that area. I have made inquiries, but no luck so far.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Poll Results: How often do you use 55?

Quite often, if available
  21 (42%)
Once in a while
  11 (22%)
  3 (6%)
Never have
  3 (6%)
Not yet, but maybe
  11 (22%)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Aerecon II (Panatomic X Aerial Film)

Just in case this is a useful emulsion I am going to try to get a sample of 3412.  Before I do that, I thought I would ask if anyone has a few feet of it around.

See Polaroid Type 55 being made two minutes into this great video

Current Reading at New 55

Photographic Silver Halide Diffusion Processes
Authors: Andre Rott, Dipl Ing, Edith Weyde, and Dr Ing.
Focal Press, London 1972

Preface by Professor W. F. Berg

Excerpt: "The diffusion transfer process is one of the few genuinely original inventions in photography...Nevertheless, photography had to wait for about 100 years, before this inventive step was taken, and the idea matured, almost simultaneously and independently in the minds of no fewer than three inventors to whom the term genius can very fittingly be applied: Rott and Weyde, who are responsible for the present book which is devoted to Document Copying, and Land who will be the author of the second book in this series on Instantaneous Photography".

Interesting, and I will be looking all over for part two, "Instantaneous Photography", which I see listed in no Focal Press index.  In the meantime, 1930s diffusion transfer inventors Rott and Weyde are keeping me entertained with a lot of information about emulsions, development rates, transfer kinetics, reagents, and nucleation schemes, which are of highest interest to New 55.  

Plate 1 in this book shows the very first "accidental" silver diffusion transfer print ever made, and discovered by Rott in 1939.  I'll scan it in later.

Packaging rate = about one per second at 0.20

Friday, February 19, 2010

Type 64 Sleeve, with holes not found in 55

Notice the holes at the end of the sleeve (click on the image to enlarge it).  These holes normally look black because you are seeing the back of the negative, which has a black mask on it.  In this scan, the negative has been removed.  Type 55 has none of this type of hole in the sleeve. It can't, because the negative lacks the mask.

But what are these holes for? To let air escape/enter as you move the sleeve over the captive negative?

If you can put a half dozen holes behind a masked negative, I'd assume you could put many more, which would be handy if you needed to immerse this in water and flood the sleeve.

Good Advice

Why did Pol attach small metal foil corners on these sleeves?  The white strip is raised, and is either a stop so you don't pull the sleeve out too far, or a spacer to help hold the negative flat, or some of both.

Type 64 Negative

Rather than waste precious remaining 55, I wasted a precious remaining 64 today, removing it from its sleeve. Look closely and you will see that the negative is attached to the clip in the same was as 55, and the pods are on a tail, attached to the negative.

But this negative has an opaque mask on the back. It appears to be masked with the same removable black material as the fuji color pack film, and the base is a polyester (I believe) that is the very familiar 0.004" thickness.  Thanks to Aaron for supplying some of this material for the New55 Project - very much appreciated, and valuable!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You might not want to throw these out yet

Under consideration at the moment as a possible holder format for New55, this simple Kodak Readyload film holder has certain attributes that make it a good candidate for future use.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Updates on the Three Main Things

New55 has narrowed down areas of worry to three:

1. Emulsion. New55 identified more than one emulsion that can be processed in two minutes using a reagent. The results to date are contrasty and have some other problems, but are an excellent start. Even TMY can be processed in two minutes if one is aggressive. The image of the rocks at the beach is somewhat unfair, as the speckled texture gives the impression of more grey scale than was actually achieved, but it is still an interesting result. So-called "monobath A" produced quite smooth tonal gradients when camera was aimed at the bench, and its shadows, but took longer.

Scroll down or look at earlier posts to see these examples.

2. Reagent. There are several reagent options, of which two have been tried. Both do something, did not cause fires, nor were they difficult to make. Images are posted below. There are many different possible ratios possible just using the Type 55 reagent information we have from the MSDS. If someone could assist in tweaking, or simply remembering, that would save a lot of time and money. It occurs that a very aggressive reagent could be made with materials never used by Polaroid.

3. Receiver sheet. New55 Project considers this essential for controlling the rate of silver diffusion from the negative if processing times are to be short enough to label "instant". I think, personally, that two minutes is the limit but if it had to be a little longer and the results were very good then I think that might be OK. Not everyone agrees. In any case we do not have enough information about the nucleation and migration kinetics with respect to reagents and receivers, and are seeking advice and help.

In other words, we still have no real info on how the receiver sheet will be prepared, especially the non-coaterless 55 type receiver sheet construction, which we suspect is very much like the old 47 and the like, with that wonderfully scented pink coater swab that prevents browning. The FP100B material is being looked at, but it is not like 55. Chances are this is something simple and we will look stupid soon.

Things like packaging and how actual processing will be carried out are being left open right now, as there are several options beyond existing roller and pod methods. Roller and pod have not been ruled out by any means.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

P5 on New55

Need a little upbeat music from P5 to go with our remaining P55?

Two Minute Monobath Process Result

To be expected, aggressive, rapid development of TMY, but here with what we are calling "monobath A" a reagent with pH of nearly 11, and very close to room temperature, on a so-called thick emulsion that ought to have a long-ish hydration/diffusion rate.

Looks a little like Mars, but is actually rocks near Spouting Horn, Koloa HI.

A 20+ year old latent image.

Shot on TMY in 1989 and sat in the can all this time. Perhaps this is the answer to all those undeveloped rolls that nobody will touch. Send them here!  Now that I think of it, this latent image sat unprocessed more than 20 years - and I have another shot that I did in 1972 or so, and only had processed last couple of years. 35 years in the can!  That one, of the waterworks, was accidentally cross processed, and produced a thin negative.  Here is a link to that one.

Urgent Second Call for 55 Trash

We really need clips, and sleeves, and it turns out that empty boxes would also speed up the ability to finalize the packaging format.

Please take a moment, save some up, and send them to us.   Pieces get sent for quotes and often prove to vendors that someone else has already done what the drawing says.

here is the address

72 Nickerson Rd
Ashland MA 01721

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Impossible Project hits a snag

You may have read in the press that The Impossible Project is delayed. We have no connection to them and we want them to succeed.  Risk has always been one aspect of their quest.  I have never been in a project that was finished on time, or within budget.  Very often, in medical device development, which I think is at least as complex as integral film, probably more, there have been delays caused by material problems. Materials that won't cooperate, or arrive late, or have characteristics that weren't anticipated, or have turned into unobtanium.  This is typical, and does not mean that the process has been pettered, but it usually does mean that more late nights, worries, and of course expenses will occur.  I found the wording of their press release curious - as if they were only giving themselves another month.  The tension builds...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Poll Results: Must we have "holes" in new55?

It's essential
  17 (33%)
It's an affectation
  17 (33%)
I don't care either way
  18 (35%)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Experiments planned and started

There are a lot of possible emulsion/reagent combinations possible based on existing, in-production materials and even more of course if you start adding in custom run materials. Today a shipment of lab equipment came in that will accelerate the process of sorting these out, and a series of experiments aimed at zeroing in on one or more suitable formulations have started.  Just to get the ball rolling, I exposed some Ilford and mixed up surfactant-laced monobath. No wash, no sodium sulfite, just point at the table, expose, process, let dry, and scan at default settings with no post processing at all.  Monday I will set up a permanent test camera on the copy stand with a test target, contents of which are to be determined.  Chances are one of the many Speed Graphics here will be the test camera, but I might use the Super D.  Shown here slightly cropped 6X6 Ilford Pan F at 50 shot with a Seagull (seriously, I could not find a battery for the Mamiya) and aimed into the shadows under the shelves that are above our lab benches. Hardly "lush" mid tones, and you can see clumping, but OK for day 10.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

From the top of the page - just so it is clear

"The goal is to enable the supply of a very high quality 4x5 (and possibly 8X10) negative material, for artistic purposes, that can be easily field processed, such as so-called "instant film" of discontinued Polaroid type 55, and get this to happen any way we can! We will need your help to make it happen."

We realize we cannot (and probably would not want to) make a replica of "55". Pods? maybe, Polaroid film backs? maybe, or maybe not. Holes? See the poll. Positive print? I don't think we need to. Highly profitable? Haha.

But some decisions are clearer

  1. It must be easy to use - We want to enable the wider use of larger, analog cameras, for what I think are obvious reasons.
  2. High quality must be inherent - Definitely, that means sharp, "good" greyscale, film flatness, and of course fine grain.
  3. Field processing is a must - Obviously! But we have several ways to possibly do this, and some seem attractive, because it might give us a choice of several emulsions.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Week One Progress - The Learning Curve, and Curvy 55 too

It has been one week since New 55 Project got going. You can read the chronicle of findings to date - lots more learning to do. Today was spent studying formulas, dozens of them, and reading more patents, and comparing them to existing commercial materials that are still available.  Also I got a very valuable email from Jo Lommen who alerted me to the lack of film flatness (see his photo with markings) with 55 in a holder - made all the more apparent to Jo with his vast experience with the Kodak Aero Ektar, an F 2.5, 7" lens that covers 4X5 quite nicely!  Jo manufactures lens mounts, shades and filter holders for the Aero Ektar that are beautifully machined, and they can be seen in some of my earlier posts.

Oh, and something I learned this week that surprised me very much - that I can easily recover Fuji FP100c negatives quickly, and without damage. They are durable, not too unsharp looking, and that I kind of like them! Shot of my Speed Graphic (and yours truly) with one of Jo Lommen's Aero Ektar shades, taken with another speed graphic and a 65mm Super Angulon at f11.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Polaroid Pods for Pack Film

Today looking at the sealed edges of the various pack film pods from 669 and also the Fuji color material.  These are identical in construction, material and dimension, and look like they came from the same processing machine.  A surprisingly small amount of residual liquid remains in these pods, which have two compartments, left and right, which I assume prevents a center bulge.  The pods are made of aluminized paper.