lith film

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by ferny, Nov 27, 2004.

  1. ferny

    ferny TPF Noob!

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    I've got a new book (Special Effects in the Camera - John Wade (1983)) so expect a flood of questions for a while. :mrgreen:

    I've just got to a part where it has a couple of paragraphs on lith film. It says what it does and that it needs to be developed in a special way. It says to use Kodalith Super Liquid or Super RT developers. But as this book was published in 1983 there is a good chance they don't exist now. So I'm wondering, has anyone here used it? If so, what are your experiences and how did you get it developed? Can I send it into the local chemist who send it away (like I do with my colour 35mm) or am I going to have to send it to a pro lab (probably yes)? And will all pro labs develop it?

    I think I'll mark lith film as something to try in the future. :)
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Lith film used to be used a lot in the print trade. The film (and you used to get paper too) has an incredibly steep contrast curve so that here are no greys, only black and white. The point at which black became white was determined by exposure and development.
    Lith developer (Kodalith) was a high contrast developer that gave maximum contrast and high accutance.
    Lith was used to copy black and white artwork (photographs being copied via a half-tone screen) as the first stage in producing plates for printing.
    Using lith film like panchromatic b/w film is very disappointing and isn't worth the bother. It's main use now is for producing resists for silk screen printing and for some photographic effects.
    No labs that I know of process it. The chemist certainly won't. It is very easy to process yourself. It will produce acceptable results in an ordinary b/w film developer. Lith film is insensitive to red light so you can process it by inspection under red safes.
    It is the sort of stuff that most people will try once, say 'yes that's very interesting' and then never use again. To be honest you can get the same effect - with more control - in Photoshop.
     
  3. ferny

    ferny TPF Noob!

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    It's not the same as having a print in your hand though is it? :)

    As I said, I think I'll try it in the future. Probably the distant one. :mrgreen:
     
  4. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    there really isn't a need for lith film, even for darkroom printing (that's all i do anyway). this only works if you have vc paper and proper filtering.

    ..grab any ol' neg....any.

    - over expose by one stop under the #5 filter
    - use a developer such as edwal black or even dektol at a fairly low dilution (i used edwal ultra black at 1:9) at around 75-80f or so
    - pull the print as soon as your blacks come in. this will happen in a matter of seconds.

    you're done. kiss your mid tones goodbye.
     
  5. Jamie R

    Jamie R TPF Noob!

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    I don't think Ferny was suggesting that lith film was going to have a mass market appeal. It remains a fringe interest, dying slowly with fewer lith film manufacturers.

    I agree that lith film has a limited pictorial application. Lith printing is different altogether - it is used for the elimination of half-tones. Therefore using full tonal range as a yardstick for its use isn't particularly helpful.

    The German group of film manufacturers still have lith film in production. Try www.silverprint.co.uk for the Maco version of lith film and developer. I recall reading John Wade - that's a very old book you've got Ferny. I'm certainly keen for photographers to discover trad processes rather than photoshopping or forgetting the merits of specific alternative processes.

    Document photography benefits from the qualities of lith printing, as does fine art work producing interesting relief and abstractions of normal pictorial material. In highkey photography, the relief and silhouette of the human body produces an interesting form; by eliminating tonal detail, there is a precise concentration on the etched lines of black on white; or white on black, producing a calligraphic effect, as well as a distinctive transformation of line drawing. It would be a shame if modern photography forgets its artistic potential; thinking that lith film 'effects' are achievable by cobbling up a computer or cranking up the enlarger misses the point; not the real McCoy.

    Still, In terms of potential; a normal panchromatic or orthopanchromatic neg with a full tonal range has more application than a lith negative.
     
  6. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    you miss a key point: latitude is latitude. either film latitude or paper latitude. do it in the camera or on paper; the only difference is where you do it.
     
  7. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Jamie R wrote: 'thinking that lith film 'effects' are achievable by cobbling up a computer .... misses the point.'

    What is the point, exactly?
    Every magazine, book and newspaper publisher in the world thinks that you can achieve the same effect as lith film by using a computer. This is why they no longer use lith film to produce printing plates and have invested heavily in digital technology.
    And nobody noticed when they changed over.
    There is nearly always more than one way to get to where you are going - you just have to decide wether it is the journey or the destination that is important.
     
  8. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I did one assignment using this film in my photo class in high school freemen year. Developed it with Deklot B&W paper developer. That about all I can recall 24 years later. One of my favorite photo came for is assignment. Macophot still makes this film in a 35mm roll. You can get it for Freestyle or J&C photo in the US.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    oh freaky. the title of your pic and the song to which i was listening when i read your post.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    :shock: :shock:
     
  11. ferny

    ferny TPF Noob!

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    Are you calling me old? :x That book was published the same year I was born. :mrgreen:

    Thanks for the replies. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with doing this effect in Photoshop. But, it would be fun to know that I've done it the old fashioned way. Looks like I'll have to wait until I get some sort of darkroom set up. That'll be years away. :)

    And that's a great photo Jeff.
     

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