Sunday, December 9, 2012

Astonishingly detailed Daguerreotype

This article (LINK) brings you to an article in Wired about the restoration and presentation of a mid 1800s photograph at the George Eastman House, and it is worth a look.

 This was shot with a simple camera, perhaps with a single uncoated lens. You can read the time on the clocktower, see people, horses and carriages, read all the signs, and more.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

New55 FILM slideshow on Flickr updates

Cropped New55 FILM, click to enlarge
If you have a Flickr account you will see the entire show, and even if you have no account, you can still view this slide show of experimental New55 FILM shots of still life, figures, and other subjects by clicking here.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

New55 FILM Commercialization

People ask about the status, some do on a weekly basis, so eager they are for New55! I am also.  The most recent status report was a while back and linked here.  As we enter 2013 we expect to overcome a couple of things that happened including the loss of Efke film which made a good DTR negative, and the need to find a true commercial source of the paper and layer process that makes the receiver sheet.


1. EFKE has gone out of business and that is bad news. The EFKE emulsion was nearly ideal for DTR. The only other emulsion we know of in 4x5 today that works well is from Shanghai. We have tested dozens of other black and white emulsions.

2. The receiver sheet is not something we can buy. We have to have it made. A major investment in time and money was made that resulted in a separate lab space set up to rediscover how to make this critical part. Progress has been made and we are closer to having this. The same material is needed to continue 20x24 Studio's black and white product.

3. We have not obtained financing to commercialize a product. We have shown that it is possible, and assembled a body of knowledge that could lead to either a production ready design, or enough information for users to assemble their own DTR packs (this could be fun and there are people who are pushing for this).

4. We have supplied early hand produced New55 FILM to several artists, some who have their work posted here, on Flickr, and elsewhere.

5. Several discoveries and inventions have been made. One of them is quite exciting as it could lead to a much less expensive large format direct positive material.

6. The market for New55 FILM has been identified. It is small. Despite this, we are still going forward, because it is supportive of the existing 20x24 Studio business and has resulted in the creation of new art, and seems to contribute well to the growing field of "alternative photography".

When we set out to make New55 FILM, we did NOT try to duplicate Polaroid. We improved upon it in some important ways, making it more environmentally fit, and fixing the either/or problem that Polaroid had when you had to choose if you wanted a negative, or a print to be exposed correctly. Now we have both.

The DTR process which is short for Diffusion Transfer Reversal is possibly the most important photographic process discovered in the 20th Century and was first observed by Edith Weyde and Andre Rott before WW2.  The process was used during the war to make copies of documents and DTR copy systems remained in use up to the 1960s.

DTR works by making use of the part of the negative you normally throw away. This dissolved silver complex migrates away from the negative onto the positive, forming an image. Getting that to work and produce a well toned positive and a good negative is a tricky thing, as some of the processes seem to fight each other. In the early days of New55 we were concerned about that but now our fears are gone! Just look at the slide show on Flickr (link over on the right side of this page).

Early New55 gray scale example exceeded our dreams!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

We are thankful for Dust

Here are some things we are thankful for this Thanksgiving:

1. Great progress on receiver chemistry
2. Continued support from all over
3. The trickle of New55 FILM that has produced awesome photographs by contributors.
4. Volunteers and interns
5. That we are NOT freaking out about dust particles over Thanksgiving


4x5 photogs have a lot of dust to contend with. So it is with amusement that I see many newbie D600 owners' hysteria - over dust. Now, I understand that products should be clean when shipped. Yes they should. Notwithstanding the obvious, it is about as hard as tying your shoe to clean your sensor and like the shoe, it is something that has to be done from time to time. If you wear your shoes.

Ever see one of these? They do get dirty
See here for a sane discussion of this recent freak-out.

It makes me glad my main camera is still a Speed Graphic! (which has a lot of dust too)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Alternative Photography Workshops at the George Eastman House for 2013

I am sold on the Eastman House and its workshops, held at various times of the year in beautiful (it really is) and historic Rochester, NY.

We just got this announcement about the lineup for 2013, and if you haven't seen it, you should!

Here is the link.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spam Comments

I am getting flooded with spam comments and that is the reason it is taking longer for your comments to appear.

Rather than turn comments off, again, let's see how this goes. Please be patient. Right now the main activity is not online, but involves making the receiver sheet. This is extremely challenging and as-yet unsolved.

We are looking for a local craft intern. Someone with craft skill, tools, making things, process development and lab work. If you think you might qualify for this please contact me via the link on the right of this page.  The subject is a paper like product and you do not have to have camera experience specifically. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jason Edwards New55 FILM

One of Jason's experiments on our behalf using the Shanghai version of New55 FILM on a studio subject. Click on it for a bigger view.

We are deep into the development of a new receiver sheet. The receiver, if you have been following along, is the part of the diffusion transfer reversal process (DTR) that was most secretly held by Old Pol.  No single person at Polaroid knew the whole process.  We started from scratch to find new materials to use, new paper bases that are opaque, and coating services. All of this costs a LOT of money.

Meanwhile, one of our sources of old style silver halide emulsions has gone. Efke will be missed. Shanghai still produces a negative material that works with DTR, at least for now, but their prices have doubled.  These "dip and dunk" emulsions may be primitive, but the availability of the silver halide rocks close to the surface, unlike T grained films, makes DTR possible.  ADOX type films can fall into this category.  We've tried every Ilford film including Delta 100 and were not successful in getting consistent DTR performance, but the door is still open there. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Buy these instant films

Available NOW

1. The Impossible Project's new Color Protection films for the SX-70 and 600 cameras are quite good and come with a guarantee. We got 8 out of 8 keepers!  Nice colors!  Great job TIP!

2. Fuji Instax WIDE. If you have not tried this you are missing a lot, and we think it is near its run. You can load these, with tape, into a 4x5 film holder. The sharpness is excellent.  The funky WIDE camera is available on Amazon for about $50.

3. Fuji FP3000. The Fuji equivalent of 667, this superfast film is super fast. How long it will be available is up to you and Fuji - if you buy a lot, they will make it.

4.  Fuji FP100C. The ProVivid film a la Fuji, Low priced pack film with ever shrinking sell by dates at about $7 a pack. A bargain, for now.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

$2.50 a clip

Biting the proverbial bullet, I think I am going to go ahead and just pay the $2.50 per clip that I can get to spec now and hope that with larger numbers the price will go down to 1/10th of that.

Integral New55 experiment with clip

The clip costs more than the emulsion and the insert!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Current status of New55 FILM

We continue to hand build small quantities of New55 FILM and are getting OK results, some that are posted for you to look at.

The plan for manufacturing and tooling is continuing to be refined.

A budget is in place.

Soundwave is continuing to make some investment and paying for materials and some of the labor, and has a dedicated lab allocated to the project now.

We expect to revisit the budget after the NY film festival.

Patent applications, and other preparations are in place.

We have ready sales channels available.

The basic work of defining the materials has been done, but there are still some supply problems that will need to be resolved.  Emulsion and receiver paper supplies are identified, but require business development that would come after firm funding.

The recent success of TIP's Kickstarter project has led several people to bring that up again.  We have been signed up on Kickstarter for over a year but have not tried crowd funding because we do not have the infrastructure to support the customer service and fulfillment functions that would be needed.  However if those resources could become available in the Boston area we would consider it, but it would also require a high funding goal.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


At Soup Lab, an opening of artist Tobias Feltus' recent work "TRAY".

Location: Norwich UK, LINK HERE

The clip's the thing

To drive us crazy, quotes we have on this one metal part have run into the $2.50 range without tooling.  The advantage of the clip is that it makes the entire assembly shorter. A clipless design has been prototyped by Tobias and Orianna has tried one, but there needs to be a concerted effort to make that idea work. 

I'm inclined to just pay it for now and pass the price along until we can get a cheaper supply.

Now you know why we call for clips!  Thanks to those who have sent them in.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Are we up yet?

Blogger, Godaddy and hackers co-conspired to halt the flow of bits for a while.  All the trouble started though when I went to switch over to our domain  Since this was a disaster and I don't know what I am doing, I will wait until I get a new webmaster. I really miss Philip!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Impossible Project to be on Kickstarter soon

The Impossible Project plans a Kickstarter project beginning September 10. We support the mission of TIP and think that their in-place customer service, fulfillment and marketing infrastructure is well equipped to handle the administration and reward system that Kickstarter requires.  In a sense TIP's Pioneer program has many of the attributes of successful crowd funded enterprise and so we hope this goes smoothly!

For more watch their website here.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Zoe Wiseman's New55 Experience

Photographer, friend, collaborator and cheerleader Zoe Wiseman put together a nice blog posting on her first five New55 FILM shots.  Few photographers have had as much experience, and success, with old T55, and Zoe was one of the first people who contacted me when we started the New55 project.  I find it cute that she thinks it is a privilege to get some of the Orianna-built prototype material, which Zoe of course earned over the last two years of support.

Here is a link to more.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

About Packfilm

Plenty of people ask about packfilm.  Some history: Graflex made multiple sheet backs for 3 1/4 X 4 1/4 and 4x5 cameras that allowed the user to load up to a dozen sheets of  film into a box that could be manually operated to expose each sheet without changing the back or a sheet film holder. I have an early 12 sheet version that has a patent date of September 7, 1920 on it.

 A 1920s Graflex film pack

Kodak and Ansco supplied packs of ready to use 4x5 and other size sheet film in the late 30s, 40s and 50s for use with packfilm adapters on press cameras. Press photographers paid the extra price to have this pack of Tri-X ready to go. If you see a pack film adapter, you will notice that it looks like a 550 style holder for instant film packs.

Here is a link to details about the early pack films with a cross section view of how one is assembled.

Polaroid knew about packfilm and had ideas to produce pack film from almost the beginning of their photography business. But, packfilm was complicated, and required expensive machinery to produce. The choice of "picture rolls" also known as Polaroid roll film, was the result. Picture rolls were produced until the early 90s, when they were discontinued. 20x24 Studio still uses a big "picture roll" of sorts, with two rolls in the camera, one the negative, the other the positive.

After the business grew and improvements were needed, and the capital was available, the decision to switch over to packfilm was made.  Both Polaroid and Fuji made packfilm.  Fuji still makes some of the smaller pack film today, but has discontinued 4x5 pack film completely, due to poor sales. After being approached six times by an associate of ours, it became clear that Fujifilm is planning on exiting the packfilm business completely. Attempts to get Fujifilm to supply materials to various instant film projects go unanswered.  Poor sales of the pack film were blamed on the high cost, but that's not the entire story. Few 4x5 pack film backs were manufactured compared with the smaller backs that shared the same format with millions of still working pack film cameras. With so many "mouths to feed" Fuji enjoys sales to those cameras that take the smaller pack film. Those who still have a stock of 4x5 Fuji pack film are fortunate.

 Polaroid also had 4x5 single sheet from very early on and produced it for about 50 years.

There really is no reason for us to make pack film, especially not in 4x5.  The sales figures would not support it, and the value proposition to the user is not as good as its single sheet cousin that can produce a positive print and a high quality negative with one exposure. Even this improved value still needs to be proven in the marketplace and steps are being taken to learn if the market is strong enough to support that product. We think it might as there are more of the 545 type backs in the world than any of the pack film backs, and nearly all of the 545 backs are still in operating condition, a testament to their durability.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

New55 FILM is official name of first planned product

The first planned product from this group will be called New55 FILM.  The two word name with a combination of letters and numbers, and with the word FILM in all capital letters is the correct term to use for this product.

New55 FILM is the product, and New55 is a brand, not a company, and we may have other names and designations for various types. As we learned with our very successful ribbon microphone line, names and not just truncated numbers, are far more effective.  The Wayback Machine has a nice stored page of Crowley and Tripp Ribbon Microphones made up until 2009, at this link.  Give it a few seconds to load.  Note that unlike their less successful competitors, names, not numbers, were given to the models. Once that was taken away, product recognition, and overall mojo, slipped.

Here is a link to an amusing, old rant about product naming that quite a few people commented on.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

About New55 FILM

New55 FILM is a new, trash-reduced 4x5 film that produces a positive print and a high quality negative in about 2 minutes. The photographs you see posted on Flickr at are experimental in nature and are put there so that the extended and geographically distant New55 group can show and discuss failures, findings, and successes as this new material is fine tuned for later distribution.

There will likely not be widespread distribution at first, but small batches made as people, tooling and market converge, we hope. There are no "beta testers" nor is there a test supply - all New55 FILM is purchased or otherwise paid-for by the user. Doing so covers some of the cost and also reaffirms the value proposition of the estimated $6+ per-sheet selling price. This isn't a bad price considering the yield of both a positive and a negative.

New55 FILM can be exposed for whatever artistic purpose the user desires and make a positive and a negative that are balanced more closely than its discontinued predecessor. There are many other differences such as the trash reduced design, the use of a more advanced reagent, and the clearing step with ordinary photo fixer.

A number of people have recommended this be crowd funded by Kickstarter which we looked into. Kickstarter is fine for pre-selling things that you have or will have, but not for tooling, engineering or infrastructure costs that are needed to achieve the industrial mass required to produce a complex product. An alternative to this will be sales of batches online, perhaps on auction sites, as that will tell us, and investors and supporters, about the demand, or not, for this new medium.

New55 FILM is a new medium or sub-type: A less industry-intensive approach to making artistic materials for large format photography aimed at the growing number of artists who are just discovering photography with any of the millions of 4x5 cameras that are still operating perfectly. New55 FILM is likely to be produced in very small quantities at first and larger numbers if the sales are good. Fuji discontinued their 4x5 instant film due to poor sales. We may be in a better spot as there are perhaps over 100,000 545 holders that are still in working shape, and they are likely to remain that way for a long time, vs the very limited number of 4x5 pack film backs that were sold.

20x24 Studio is an essential partner in New55 FILM commercialization. As a supporter and instant film center of excellence, and with their long expertise in sourcing and building photosensitive materials for sale, 20x24 will bring together access to materials, venues, major artists, and sales channels, in addition to its own artistic and technical expertise which is unparalleled. There are still plenty of risks and many assumptions being made about the viability of the marketplace for large format instant 4x5 photography.
New55 FILM scan of negative.
Photo by Orianna Reardon

So far on the New55 Project blog and elsewhere you have seen the circuitous and incremental steps that led to our present state of fairly consistent and high quality "hand made" results. These still need refinement, the type that comes from engineering, tooling and investment. If you have not seen the results to date, look at the New55 slide show on flickr, and soon at Orianna Reardon's work with this evolving material.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Not quite so Instagram

Early in the history of Polaroid film the company supplied albums, copiers and mailers, this one so a freshly-coated instant photograph could be conveniently stiffened and prepared for sending through the post office.

The other side has a place for the postage, and an address.  The adhesive is still a little sticky, even after decades. Not sure how old this one is.

Note the die-cut shape in the middle. Polaroid had a lot of steel rule and other dies to cut the many paper and plastic sheet materials used in the products.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Orianna Reardon Joins New55

Artist, photographer and alternative process enthusiast Orianna Reardon has joined New55 to start up the pre-production phase, and to develop further improvements so a useful product can be made. Orianna's website has some photographs that are also on display at The Panopticon Gallery, Kenmore Sq. Boston. She was introduced to New55 by Boston-based photographer and teacher Keitaro Yoshioka at Mass Art, NESP and collaborator with 20X24 Studio.

The recent example, below, demonstrates New55 FILM's ability to go out-of-doors - finally - even into the sunlight, thanks to improvements to light sealing and general assembly care and quality. It's a good sign. Orianna will be co-moderating the New55 facebook page, and will work with the assembled New55 group to accomplish some of the many things that still need to be done.

New55 FILM photo by Orianna Reardon

Monday, June 25, 2012

Soundwave Research files patent applications on improved photographic processes

In preparation for funding and commercialization, we have or are prepared to apply for patents regarding improvements to instant photographic articles, and also a new direct positive system. While simply applying for a patent does not automatically mean it will be granted, there is a good likelihood that one or more patents will issue. Even though this has been run as an open source project, it is incumbent on us to properly file when new, useful and non-obvious discoveries are made, as investors expect it and sometimes require that intellectual property be protected. A number of discoveries have been made, departing greatly from what was, long ago, the starting point of T55, and could become quite valuable, as old T55 is too complex, requires expensive tooling, and an elaborate supply chain.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Comment spam

If your comment hasn't been published, it's probably because the comment spam filter rejected it. That happens when we have a flood of spam comments. I won't turn off comments, yet, but I might have to again like I did before. After a while the spammers see everything they try to post bounce and go away, at least for a couple of months.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Adjusting the spread of 8 x 10 P/N

As you can see, an incomplete spread from this test photograph, scanned from the 8x10 negative.  Because we peeled it from the positive at about 90 seconds, we get the familiar edge effects we saw in New55 4X5.  But this is so much larger. Click on the link below to see many details.

Click here to see this large file.

There are other photographs of this quality and type in 4x5 in the slide show, button to the right. If you are signed in to Flickr you can also see the otherwise restricted content, too.

It is late Friday afternoon, Summer, and maybe time to go fishing.

Similar shot but with a different film shows a more complete spread

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Instant 8x10 P/N

Nafis Azad holds up the first instant 8x10 P/N in Ashland
If you can make a 4x5 positive negative system that can be field processed that gives you a sharp negative and a balanced print, why not one for 8x10?  Precisely that is being done, this one just from today's experiment at New55 conducted by 20x24 Studio's Nafis Azad, who muscled our Saltzman around with its 8x10 view camera into a position looking at a lot of 4x5 results we had posted. 

Just like New55, less Polatrash is produced, but with four times the area and more acreage to process, this will be a boost that 8x10 photography has needed for a long time, as Polaroid didn't produce a monochrome 8x10 equivalent to T55.  But we can. Click here for more fun.

Link to a large file

Shop New55

The link here to Shop New55 brings you to some for-sale items that are here at New55 that we want to sell to help pay for some of the expenses incurred during the project. Along the way very exotic and desirable items have gone through the shop, including a new in box model 180, a rare and excellent form of the Kodak Aero Ektar, and several other items that appeal to medium and large format photographers.  Right now there is a featured Schneider 150mm Xenotar, with an aperture of f2.8, fast, sharp and in great shape, with a custom machined tilt mount for a Pentax 67 camera, and a sized lens board for a Pacemaker, with ring, so you can use the lens on your 4x5, too. The kit even comes with a helicoid mount and achieves perfect infinity focus.  Go here for more details.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Suwen Chee's Instant Shop

Very impressive and nice collection of instant and other cameras to be seen here in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

Controlling the spread

One of the challenging aspects that was solved early in the history of Old Pol in Cambridge was the problem of getting an even and consistent spread of reagent, or "goop".  The problem is further compounded by the fact that over time, the pods that contain the water based reagent have a tendency to dry out. If something "dries out" that is a sure sign that water is escaping.

Impervious materials exist, and some are more impervious than others! Such is the case with anything that contains water, as even the tiniest gap can allow a very slow release of the water over a long time. Old Pol used lead as a pod material, since lead is very well known for its impervious nature. Later, as lead became something that people didn't want in their hands, aluminized plastics were employed, and techniques to encapsulate them by folding and heat sealing were developed. Today, a large and growing pod "sachet" industry exists to put ketchup and hand cream and many things on the shelf for you to use, one at a time.

Getting back to porosity, potato chip bags are a good example of an aluminized plastic that prevents nitrogen egress. Potato chips are often packed in nitrogen gas with almost no oxygen, as that retards spoilage.  Nitrogen is a fairly small atom and can make it through many thin materials, so a coating of aluminum is used to seal the holes. Other sealants include Parylene, and various co-extruded or chemical vapor deposited materials.

Knowing the egress rate of an average pod is important: That tells you how long it will take for it to dry out and become useless. Since all pods do lose a little water, the pods are initially overfilled, so, a fresh pod has more goop in it than one that has been around for a while.  Excess goop can be expected from a fresh pod. All this affects the spread, and designers have to set the spacers, or rails, to make sure an even and complete layer of goop is spread each and every time.

The example above is a good one, edge to edge, and evenly spread. Amazing what careful hand-building of things can do. Now, the next step is to use the same quantities, spacings etc, in a more controlled environment of a factory. There is a big jump in investment to go from hand assembly to mechanization, and that has been our problem so far, but we are getting closer to an answer.

Monday, May 7, 2012


The old Polaroid office building in Enschede, Holland.  If you look closely, you can see the shadow of the Polaroid name. As you know, a new brand or group of brands are gradually coming to mean "instant photography". And since instant photography is today one of the most active and growing aspects of film photography, one could argue that instant is the realest thing going today.

We have not posted much because there have been plans in the making, and business progress.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Aero Ektar in The Shop

You might want to check out this delicious 1950 Kodak Aero Ektar I have in ShopNew55.  Proceeds go to New55.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

DTR by Tobias using his reagent

 Very interesting result from Tobias Feltus of Edinburgh who made his own pods and reagent formula, and here used it with Shanghai 4x5 sheet film.  The top scan is of the negative, which looks quite good, and the bottom is a diffusion transfer reversal positive print from that same negative, comprised of the diffused materials from the negative during processing.

Though this P/N is not balanced, it is still a very good result as it shows there are alternate ways to perform the "New55" idea, and that there are even more material choices than we thought.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Impossible by Nigo Edition PX 70 Color Shade

I hope in the future to make more comments on why I think Impossible by Nigo Edition PX 70 Color Shade is one of the most interesting and brilliant branding solutions (and I rarely use the term "solutions" that way) that I have seen in a long time.  All I ask for you to do is look at it and study it a bit, because there are various levels of meaning and joy, that I see, and I want you to see them too.

And buy it! I do. PX 70 Color Shade works very nicely in my Jordan Marsh SX70 and I have posted photographs here that I like very much. Not to oversell, I think TIP is showing some results that a person new to instant photography might achieve, as those who have taken the time to look into this new material more closely (I was at the plant less than a year ago) have really started to learn how to make PX 70 Color Shade go!  Now, you go here and see for yourself!

The R in a circle is used to denote the registration 
of a trademark. Here it is used as a design element. The further irony is the photograph of a discontinued Polaroid product bearing the Giambarba rainbow.

Product branding, trademarks, and trade dress, are an interesting field that we artists and photographers can participate in. Lawyers can get in on it too. Photographers of the 21st Century will increasingly look back on these days as a transitional time, and with fondness.  Today we can be part of it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New from New55 North

This highly intriguing New55 photograph by Tobias Feltus demonstrates the sometimes-seen texture surrounding a defined subject area. The delineated, pronounced edge effect may not be unique to New55, but is certainly a strong underlying characteristic that we sometimes see.

I will let Tobias Feltus make additional remarks on the photograph. Click on it to make it larger.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


If you are wondering what is happening now, I'm taking a break.  Also selling some things to cover expenses as the price of the sheet film has increased dramatically.

Progress on certain fronts: specifications, vendors, plans for interns, etc.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Yellow Dot Bausch & Lomb 12"

Where do these yellow dots come from? Here is yet another enigmatic yellow mark on the rim of a lens - this one an uncoated, apertureless B&L projection lens or something of the like, mounted on a Speed Graphic lens board.  Proceeds go to New55. This went for a really low price on ebay which was disappointing. One of the biggest obstacles we are facing with New55 is the paradox that many of our supporters will spend $3000 on a DSLR but think that $6 for a 4x5 shot (that the DSLR can never do) is too much.  How can we present this in a cost per shot, or price per yield manner? I think it is hard to do.  Five good photographs in a month would be a decent yield, though that depends on what one considers to be good.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Early color transparencies at the George Eastman House

I'm putting up this shot of the emulsion making workshop group taken in October 2011 when our class was shown some very early two color pre-Kodachrome transparencies.  The solemn gaze of the participants is coincidence as we were having quite a fun time that day among the Westons, Adams, Evans and Langes perched on the wall for us to admire, and co-instructor Mark Osterman (right) an early process historian, had this additional treat for us to view. Here we were in the basement of the Eastman House conservation rooms, the epicenter of reposed photographs of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

You must imagine these early 8x10 color transparencies: The delicate two part system has to be placed in perfect registration and even the parallax error from our viewing position was enough to produce color fringes. But straight on, there was yellow, and other tones we recognized among the reds and blues, and greens. A charming garden scene, Victorian color. Another view - A portrait of a rather stern woman, in vivid pink - elicited some humorous chatter, perhaps a bit impolite amid reverence for the pioneers of color who early on sought to find, and refine the highly specialized photosensitive materials we consumed for decades and now rarely buy.

Last week we heard that Kodak was discontinuing the manufacture of color transparency film, due to lack of demand. Lack of demand is a good reason not to do something and is logical if not regrettably justifiable in the face of more productive ways to obtain commercial photo-like images. One only need to look back at the work of Albert Kahn to see that color photography is not at all new, and realize, that with effort, even black and white processes can be adapted to color, when we need it. If we need it. One thing that amuses me most about the Kahn color photographs is how similar they seem to our much more modern fujinegs, even to the borders, or rebate areas, irregular and somehow charming as they take us deep into the past.

You would think that E6 film would be gobbled up at this news, but there is plenty on ebay and on Amazon, and Fuji, for now, still does produce color slide film. If you need some 4x5 color slide film for not much money, look into Kodak Readyloads, still plenty of those available, and a handy way to do three or four shots with that field camera.

Link to the early Capstaff 2 color Kodachromes here. 

embedded here

 Chris H. has left a new comment on your post "Early color transparencies at the George Eastman H...":

Found some more stuff of interest. This blog is apparently by Capstaff's grandson! Seriously, I didnt' expect to find that...

This portrait of Mrs. Capstaff reveals the dye colors (in the scratches). Examples we saw actually looked much better than this, in terms of color rendition.

Another still life.

And finally, the holy grail... GEH's IMAGE, Vol. 30, No. 1, September 1987

I will try to put together a more concise article on this at some point, as per your suggestion Bob.

Hmm, there's probably actually some money in nanolithography. Maybe I should dive in there. haha...

p.s. Sorry for the long links.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

f2.5 Aero Ektar Lenses

There are quite a few versions of the coveted Kodak Aero Ektar lenses.  Here are the two most common versions: The 12" f2.5, weighing 7.3 Kg/16.1 lbs is on the left. It sports two dots, one yellow, one purple, and was made in 1953. Perhaps it was used to spy on Iron Curtain countries during the Cold War.

In the center is the much more common f2.5 7" version, with a weight of 1.45 Kg/3.2lbs. There are lots of these around from WWII. This example was made in 1944, about three years after Aero Ektar inventor George Aklin's 1941 patent.

To the right is a far rarer, and more desirable Aero Ektar with a very much slimmed down mount as supplied by Kodak in 1951, making it one of the later versions of this useful lens. It weights a "mere" 1.2 Kg/2.8 lbs, and has a slim aperture ring, a much slimmer front hood with the indicia placed at the periphery, and appears to have a hard coating.  This also sports the two dots, one yellow, the other purple. It has a manufacturing date of 1950.

These were very expensive to produce. Kodak took a great deal of pride in the Ektar lenses, and today they are still among the sharpest.  Our masthead of the Charles River and trees was shot on Type 55 using an Ektar lens, and you can view it with a microscope and see every leaf, so sharp it is.

All of these are quite well made and thick lenses of the double Gauss design, with rear elements comprised of mildly radioactive thorium glass that, over time, produces color centers at the molecular level responsible for producing a reversible yellowish or even brown cast to that element. The physics of color centers has been studied in crystals and other optical substances and this sub-micron change to the actual structure of the molecules can be brought on by gamma radiation and reversed by exposure to UV. Read Micheal Brigg's emphatic, and excellent treatise on Aero Ektar radioactivity.

Online there is this un-named shot of an even later Aero Ektar having a sort of hybrid mount. Like the distal end of our slim Aero Ektar, above, this version uses a peripheral beauty ring too, but retains the more massive aperture ring. It has a manufacturing date of 1960. One wonders what Kodak was up to during the peak of the cold war, and how many of these were made.

The lenses shown are of the same design, just scaled up (or down) depending on the focal length.  There are other longer and shorter focal length Aero Ektars too, including a 6" f2.5 version, and slower, longer versions that are not often much sought after, but show up on ebay frequently.

People love the mysterious dots, so here is more about the dots, here, and even more here.

Even more from Aero Ektar inventor, George H Aklin....Click Here

Aero Ektar Patent

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bob's Leitz Microscope

Monocular biological microscopes are not very common today. The curve and style of this 50s era Leitz is well captured with New55 FILM.

Bouquet of Wires

Ted McClelland's pod still life test shot done with New55 FILM as he gets up to speed with the mechanics of the pod, sleeve and insert which all have to fit, be straight, with well attached clips and of the exact size to fit into the 545 holder, all accomplished in this photograph.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tobias Feltus and Rachel Rayns on New55

Edinburgh: February 8, 2012:  Artists Tobias Feltus and Rachel Rayns recent collaborations include the first uses of New55 FILM in Europe, marking a milestone in the progress to bring 4x5 instant film back to photographers.  Rayns, noted for her self portraits, experimental motion pictures, and the highly visible "Soup Lab" posed for this portrait in a portrait for artist and photographer Tobias Feltus of Edinburgh, Scotland during a visit there.

"We got one decent shot out of the five" remarked Tobias Feltus, who is part of the New55 group and is recommending improvements. "The pods are too full, and we could only get them in [to the 545 holder] by opening it first." he remarked.

Despite this, the New55 negative yielded a photograph showing Rayns and one of her trademark expressions on The Impossible Project film.

"We have a way to go", said Bob Crowley, who has financed New55 to-date. "The progress has been good, and there is no reason we cannot produce this film without defects in the future if we have adequate financing."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mind the gap - again

Yesterday, Ted McClelland of 20x24 performed some experiments, of which this is one, showing the effect on the negative of too-thin a reagent gap, and what happens.

In the upper left, there is sufficient gap for smooth and complete processing with no solarization after pulling either. On the lower right, the mottled appearance is where the reagent was exhausted before the process was complete, resulting in an uneven appearance.  All this matters to the construction of the pod, and the rails.

The difference between these two areas in terms of thickness is slight, perhaps a tenth of a mm, or less.

Other artifacts that look like little wings if you zoom in close are the receiver sheet top coat pulling away from the substrate. This happened, I think, because we over humidified the receiver, which has been severely curling on us due to the very dry weather.

Summer was a better time to build New55. Our lab is not climate controlled, and there is no way to humidify it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Frequently asked questions

Here is a link to Frequently Asked Questions about New55.

This has been well-received and some people have offered to help with the early development of this new 4x5 material now that they understand what is involved in R&D and bringing such a product to market. There are three things that need to be done:

1. The design must be shown to be feasible
We've done this up to a point, and feel it is well enough defined and demonstrated.  Here are some examples.

2. The product must lead to or contribute to an ongoing business.
We think that is possible and have a variety of scenarios that could fulfill it.

3. There has to be an investment made to pay for labor, tooling, materials, infrastructure, and to support the steady rollout of the product that would be mass manufactured.
This is not in hand. Kickstarter would not provide this, because Kickstarter represents a preselling of a slug of materials or product, not an ongoing steady sales pattern needed to establish a going activity. Fortunately, the investment dollars are not very large and those with vision see how it may lead to other new products, technologies, and the ability to license or sell into new and growing fields.

Please read the FAQ

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dmax will never be the same

Just for fun, here is a link to my work on UBA tm, the Ultra Black Absorber. Its use is primarily in optics, in optical receivers, and for solar thermal systems.

it looks like this, from here

to here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Too much goop or not enough seal

Fine tuning amounts and how we put things together have unexpected results, witness this diptych by Nafis Azad, who wrestles with 20x24 camera by day, and even has his own 30x30 camera. The miniature format of mere 4x5 is no problem to Nafis.

A happy accident as some of the reagent pulled away from the face, or is there some visual intelligence within the DTR process itself?

We need to get some tools to seal the pods so they travel well. Right now the pods do open on their own too easily, but that could be corrected with a new heating and sealing tool. The many successful New55 FILM examples to date have all been hand-assembled by Jack Willard, so we know we are close to a good design, but once we scale up, (assuming we do) we will have to have some custom built machinery.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Too much solarization

After one minute of processing, New55 produced this surreal headshot with surrounding reversal and other oddities. It is amazing, however, that the effect can be so selective and controllable. In fact this was the inspiration for the photograph of the model and camera showing the camera reversed, but the model nearly normal in presentation. That one is in the slide show. I have several of these "too weird" examples that  in retrospect appear to be at least fun to see. On the left is the edge of goop, the limit of reagent spread. Just enough is used to cover the entire area or in this instance, not quite enough. But close.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Collodion tintype

I've been looking through Youtube searching alternative photography and find there are hundreds of posts about tintypes, transfers, collodion, Daguerreotypes, and much more. This one caught my eye though, as it looks pretty easy to do and a lot of fun. I doubt you really have to make a mess like this one shows to be successful, but it may be inevitable. Here is a link to more on collodion, including some big ones. Another site, Scully and Osterman, I've pointed to in the past and is quite relevant here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

je ne parle pas bien francais...

I greatly appreciate the enthusiasm for New55 in France

Les ventes ne peuvent pas commencer avant 8 mois après le financement est disponible. Le financement n'est pas ici aujourd'hui. Il pourrait être obtenu quelque temps dans l'avenir, et nous essayons de le faire. Mais, il faut savoir qu'il n'est pas encore fait, et donc les huit mois seulement après le financement, après l'argent est garanti.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New55 Examples

10X enlargement of corner of New55 
Here is a link to a slideshow of photographs taken with New55 FILM.  There is some additional content that is available to Flickr accounts, so you may want to sign up. Also, the slide show can be slowed down, and the captions can be displayed as the show plays. I cannot set it to do that from here, but you can while it is playing.

Some of the photographs are from the scanned in New55 negative, and a few are the corresponding positive print. A couple of the examples show both the positive and the negative.

Here is the link click here