Friday, 31 January 2014

Easy lith 200 try out.

Easy lith 200
For the best part of a year I have been looking at a couple of bottles of Moesch easy Lith 200. It is there by mistake, having turned up in an order I placed and could not be bothered to send it back. After looking at the instructions again I decided to give it a go. How difficult could it be, after all it does say easy lith!? It is time to put 'easy' to the test.

What the instructions say:

The lith developer comes in two bottles marked A and B. the former has Hydrochinon and the latter Potassium Carbonate.

A and B can be diluted from 1+15 to 1+50 or any combination of the two. For example 1+25 = 40 ml of developer to 1000 ml of water. (20 ml A +20 ml B +1000 ml of water)

You should over expose your prints by 1 to 4 stops. The amount of over exposure and the strength of the developer influences the interaction between the two, e.g. with a small over exposure you should use a stronger developer of say 1 to 15 dilution, with a larger over exposure you should use a weaker developer of say 1 to 50 dilution.

Reaction when you add part A and B together
The image printed is dependent on the paper and exposure used i.e. lots of light plus weaker developer equals longer development time and greater colour.

If you are using variable contrast papers (VC) you should use white light as contrast is controlled by a combination of exposure and development time.

Short exposure equals higher contrast, underdeveloped middle tones and minimal colour.
Long exposure equals softer and colourful high lights.

It does not matter what combination of exposure or dilution you use it can take between four to twelve minutes for the image to appear whether RC or FB paper is being used. When in the developer it is recommended that the print is agitated continuously and that the emulsion side should not come into contact with the surface of the tray as it will damage it.

The water added in this case was at 26 degrees.
as you can see the milkiness disappears
The development time will extend from print to print as oxidation and bi products build up this can be compensated for by adding fresh developer to regenerate the working solution.

You can vary the relationship between part A and B. Different affects will be achieved by doing this. More part A equals more colour and harder prints but runs out of steam more quickly. More part B equals a softer print that appears more quickly relatively speaking and will produce more prints before it is exhausted.

It is suggested that by increasing the temperature of the developer to around 26 to 28 degrees centigrade it will reduce development times by 30 to 40% but by doing this it will soften the gelatin making it easier to damage.

The instructions above are not verbatim as they are translated from German but contain all the most important bits.

Some thing’s to think about before you start:

Oxidized lith developer after 24 hours
I would suggest where possible that if you are going to use the developer at the increased temperature of 26 degrees +, that it is done separately to the stop and fix which would normally be used at 20 degrees. This is really aimed at those of us who mainly use a slot processor for printing. By doing this you decrease the amount of fumes given off making the air more breathable. It also allows you to cool down the paper when it is moved to the stop therefore hardening the gelatin layer decreasing it's susceptibility to damage as you move it from bath to bath.

Collapsible bottle.
I added part A and B together when I mixed it up for the first time which I think was a mistake, it would be a better idea to dilute A and B separately as one exhausts more quickly than the other. The instructions do not state either way as to mixing the pair together.

It also states that the developer oxidizes quickly when used in a tray and that you should only mix enough for the session and when finished throw it all away. I found that if you pour the unused developer into collapsible bottles it will stay fresh for at least 48 hours. A slot processor slows the oxidation down but not to the extent that it will keep over night.

Because this post is getting a bit long my results will be posted separately. 

Results link

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Angles of view with different lenses..

The diagram shows angle of view or angle of acceptance.

I have been looking back through my college notes and came across this series of pictures. I used the colour film you find in the pound/ budget shops. I have had no problems with the way the film has performed.

These pictures show how much of the view in front of the lens is depicted at the negative. As the focal length of the lens increases the angle of view reduces but the object size gets bigger. Therefore as you go up the focal range so the depth of field lessens.

View at 35mm

View at 50mm

View at 80mm

View at 135mm and the cold is getting to me.

View at 210mm

Monday, 20 January 2014

Ilfords new darkroom paper.

The old Multigrade 4 FB.
Ilford have launched an upgrade to its popular Multigrade 4 FB darkroom papers called Multigrade FB classic suggesting that this is the best light sensitive paper they have produced so far. If you judge it on sales alone and the fact it has sold out you maybe right or they could have simply under estimated it's popularity. It comes in gloss and matt surfaces offering greater sharpness, shorter development times and improved Max D – could this mean less time in the wash? Available at all the usual sizes. The classic paper has a white base tint, neutral image colour, good mid tone range and deep blacks. It has also been made more sensitive to traditional toning techniques but then I didn't find the original that difficult, even with toning developers. As part of the changes a cool tone FB paper has been introduced to complement the warm tone FB papers. This has crisp whites and nicely separated midtones. One of the surprising things about this paper is that Ilford has kept the price of the paper at multigrade 4 FB prices so far.

Technical sheets from Ilford:

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Paper flashing, Pre-flash examples.

I had not envisaged writing a second post on this subject so soon, but I thought I should have included some more examples with the first post.


All the pictures that appear here have been printed on Kentmere VC RC at grade 0, developed in Ilford Multigrade and pre-flashed at one second increments with the enlarger light box at nearly full height and the lens shut down to F16.

Straight Grade Zero print

This picture is a straight grade zero print. When I took this picture I knew it would be a difficult scene to print.

Pre-flashed for one second

This picture has had a one second pre-flash the difference is quite subtle but you can just make out an increase in tone.

Two second flash

This picture has had a two second pre-flash and looks a bit washed out. The tonal range has increased in comparison to the last picture now making it necessary to add the grade five exposure to bring out the contrast and blacks.

Pre-flash test strip:

Exposure curve and Kentmere test strip
in second intervals

I have combined the pre-flash test strip for the Kentmere paper with the exposure curve to show how the test relates to the curve. Intervals 1 to 4 relate to the numbers on the curve.

Example two:

Grade zero print

This is also a grade zero print, when I took these shots I did not think the negatives would require pre-flashing.

Flashed for one second

This picture has had a one second pre-flash. If you compare the two carefully you can make out the subtle change in the sky which appears darker and the  additional tonal range in the details in the shadows.