Using Ortho film: Why is film continuous tone?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Vautrin, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. Vautrin

    Vautrin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi,

    So I picked up a roll of Rollei Retro Orthographic 25 just to play with and see what kind of pictures it shoots.

    I've had some trouble getting it developed:

    First the lab wanted to know if i shot "continous tone" or letter images
    Then the lab wanted more money to develop because ortho films require a special process
    Lastly the woman from the lab mentioned the negatives didn't look like any she'd seen before, and she was mailing them back today

    Anybody know what I got myself into?

    What is continuous tone and what is letter?

    Any tips on shooting orthographic film?

    Sometimes I buy strange films just to see how I shoot, so I'm comfortable if the pictures turn out terrible. But I'm more curious as to how I can shoot this type of film and get interesting results...

    And it's still two or three days before I'll actually receive my negatives so I'm dying to see the result.... =)

    Thanks,

    Dan
     
  2. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Orthographic films were the precursers of today's panchromatic b&w films. They were less sensitive to the red end of the spectrum, permitting them to be developed by actual visual inspection under dim red light. One of their interesting characteristics was that people's lips printed somewhat darker than with modern panchromatic films.

    The lab's questions regarding continuous or 'letter' probably indicated some confusion on their part. They may have confused your film with high-contrast types used for eliminating grey shades. Ortho films are 'continuous tone'.

    The 'standard' ortho film for many years was 'Verichrome'. Some confusion occurred when Big Yellow [Kodak] named one of their newer films 'Verichrome Pan'.

    Have fun. Enjoy your 'experiments'.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The lab personnel probably were thinking of Kodalith ortho, which is a very high-contrast film often used to make line art and titles.
     
  4. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    Technically "ortho" (orthochromatic) refers to a film's spectral sensitivity (what colors it is sensitive to) and has nothing to do with its contrast. The lab's confusion arises from the fact that ortho films were replaced 60-70 years ago by "pan" (panochromatic) films in the types used for conventional photography, what they were referring to as "continuous tone". They continued only in graphic arts films, such as Kodak's Kodalith. This long period of the only ortho films made being lithographic films (high contrast graphics arts films) has lead many to use "ortho" when they mean "litho", (e.g. "Kodalith Ortho" being abbreviated to "ortho" instead of "lith" or "litho").

    When they saw "ortho" on your Rollei film they confused it with the graphic arts films. They apparently weren't familiar with the Rollei product.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2010
  5. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    No, again you're wrong. Stop answering questions here. You are insufficiently equipped to do so.

    Very slow films tend to have high-contrast and are used as 'microfilms' to photograph text. They can in some cases be developed (using special soft-working developers) to give normal contrast. Kodak Technical Pan was such a film, and Technidol developer was the special developer for it.

    Litho films (such as Kodalith Ortho) are even contrastier and cannot easily be developed for normal contrast.

    There have been panchromatic litho films and ortho(chromatic) continuous-tone films. 'Ortho' and 'litho' are not synonyms.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2010
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Douchey answer Pee Pee... $100 says the newbies at the lab thought "ortho" meant Kodalith. I was a newspaper darkroom tech and photographer for a number of years. I have probably developed more film than you'll ever encounter in your life P-P...you're funny!!!
     
  7. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Rollei Ortho is a document film, rather like Technical Pan in the respect that it is naturally very high contrast (though they have very different spectral sensitivities). It has to be developed in a low contrast developer to get pictorial results. It seems quite reasonable and intelligent for the lab to ask what contrast you wish it to be developed to. It's not unusual for labs to ask for more money to develop high contrast document films to pictorial contrast.

    I would really recommend developing it yourself, if at all possible.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  8. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    Hardly possible. I have developed thousands of rolls in 46 years.

    It sounds like the lab was asking what Helen also thinks: document or pictorial development? I understood it perfectly. So did the lab. So did Helen. The fact that you didn't means you should not be here answering questions. Get out. Everything you think you know is wrong. Your posts are ill-informed and misleading to people. You have no business here and replying to correct the misinformation you hand out is a waste of my valuable time. Get out!
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2010
  9. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Me too. I shoot a lot of Kodak Contrast ortho in 4x5 at ISO 12 and develop in HC-110 1:100 for 10+ minutes (after 10 or 12 minutes I get diminishing returns on development). If I gave the film to a lab I would fully expect that I needed to tell them to develop it in this manner.
     
  10. Chris of Arabia

    Chris of Arabia Herding cats since 1988... Supporting Member

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    I'm hopeful that any further name calling will cease.
     
  11. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    This is not the sort of material I would send to a lab.
     
  12. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I don't see why not. Any professional lab should be capable of developing it. In this instance in particular, the lab had the good sense to ask if the OP wanted it developed as continuous tone or high contrast, which indicates that they know how to develop it either way...
     

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