Film Photography Podcast – Episode 179 - January 1, 2018
Show Notes By Alex Luyckx
Happy New year! Yes, it’s 2018 here at the FPP, and we’re raring to go for another year! Joining Michael Raso in the studio today is Leslie Lazenby, Mat Marrash, and Mark O’Brien! Topics on the table today include Eastman 2366, X-Rays and your Camera, Darkroom Tips, New Enlarger Lenses, PrintFile Negative Storage, Listener Letters, A Book, and more! So stick around!
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Image by Philip Dygeus / Hasselblad 203FE / Fuji Provia 400x
January 1st, 2018 Podcast 179 Chapters
0:00:28 Happy New Year call from John
0:01:56 Topic today is Darkroom stuff
0:06:02 Letter - Spotmatic for FPP donation program.
0:06:55 Letter - Another donation, from San Francisco
0:07:49 First topic is Kodak 2366 ISO 6 Blue sensitive film - tripod recommended. Available at FPP store.
0:16:00 Letter - listener made it through EVERY episode. (FPP needs a merit badge program)
0:18:16 Creased and rolled negative advice.
0:20:16 The new Beseler darkroom timer, 50mm & 75mm enlarger lenses for 35mm and 120 film respectively.
0:26:00 Negative storage - PrintFile (FPP store available - all sizes).
0:28:09 Wash after fix advice - much shorter wash if using a hypo (e.g.fixer) clearing agent.
0:31:01 Darkroom advice and safety - Labeling to avoid mix ups, be specific, use dates. Use gloves when using chemicals.
0:38:21 Safelight talk. Do not use for unexposed film. They are for B&W paper developing.
0:45:00 Paint your Darkroom walls white not black.
0:47:29 Letter - light meter question. Airport X-ray machine affect light meter? no.
0:53:46 Film - Airport Xray damage to film is rare but <possible/slim/none>. Put your film/camera in carry on.
0:56:40 Book - 20th Century Photography in Detroit by Bill Rauhauser.
1:01:36 VHS Revolution documentary on Amazon Prime and closing comments and Music to close
Eastman 2366 – A Slow Film for a Fast World
While Eastman High Contrast 5363 seems to get a little more love, Mark O’Brien recently gave its slower cousin some love! Eastman 2366 is a blue sensitive copy film designed to transfer black & white negative film to a black & white positive. Of course here at the FPP, we love to use these motion picture films for regular pictoral work! And Mark has discovered what a wonderful film 2366 is! Nominally an ISO-6 film, although Leslie has pushed it to ISO-12. The first thing you notice is the striking yellow backing which turns your pre-wash a lovely yellow tone. While natively a positive film, when you process it in a normal B&W developer you do get a wonderful negative. The blue sensitivity means that you’ll notice your reds are darker than on a regular panchromatic film. As for developers, Mark has used D-76 (1+1), but it responds well to Xtol and Rodinal. And in a world where your average black & white film is around ISO-100, with the lower limit being ISO-25, having a super slow B&W is useful and 2366 is one that Mark will be shooting again! You can pick it up at the FPP store today! Save 20% on Kodak Fine Grain 2366 when you use the code: 2366 at checkout. Visit the Fine Grain 2366 page HERE! (Good through January 15, 2018)
The crisp, clean look of Eastman Kodak Fine Grain 2366! Above: Photo by Michael Raso / Canon EOS 10s - Below: Photo by Dane Johnson / Canon EOS Rebel 2000
New Lens from Besler!
One thing that Mat has on his side working for MidWest Photo in Columbus is that he gets to play with some of the newest photography products. And the most recent awesome news from Besler is that they’re launching two new lenses for their enlargers! These are a four-element design, which as Mat puts it makes the lenses tack sharp! They run an aperture range from f/3.5 to f/22, meaning even your Holga work is going to look amazing! They’re producing two focal lengths, 50mm for your 35mm work, and a 75mm lens for medium format (at least up to 6x6, beyond that you’ll need at least a 100 to 120mm lens). The lenses have the standard M39 mount and come with a retaining ring so they’ll mount right on the lens board of any Besler enlarger like the 23C, 67, and 45 models! So why support Besler, well the company is still producing parts and accessories that work with their older models and are still producing brand new enlargers! And as a bonus, they’re based right here in the USA!
Good Practices – The Darkroom
To get good results out of your film, you have to take care both while shooting, developing, printing, and storage! What does this mean, you have to run a clean, consistent ship in your darkroom and developing! So what does the gang have to say about this!
Let’s work backwards and start with storing your developed negatives! Leslie and Mat both agree that you need to save your negatives in proper archival safe sleeves, and for them, those are the PrintFile brand! Using PVC free material the negative carriers can be stored in a box or a normal binder. Their clear construction means that they’ll even work to make contact prints of your whole roll! This all comes with a caveat, of course, Mat continues, you need to make sure you’ve both fixed and washed your negatives properly to avoid off-gassing. Unless you clean off the fixer completely, it will continue to work on your negatives, often leaving to stained and damaged negatives. After fixing you need to do a long wash, Leslie mentions thirty to sixty minutes. Or you can use a hypo clearing solution like Ilford Wash Aid, Permawash or Kodak Hypoclear; then you’ll look at a lot shorter washing time. And if you do it right you’re negatives will last for years, if not decades. Plus, by reducing your wash times, you save a lot of water.
But of course, the first step is developing your film! Mark’s first and properly most important tip is labelling. There’s nothing worse than grabbing out all the jugs, and thinking you're fixing your film, but you’ve grabbed another developer. Use anything from taking a Sharpie to the bottle, using tape, or a label maker. And be sure to include anything important such as the date it was mixed up and how many times it’s been used. Because you just might have some old fixer that leaves your negatives under fixed. You can, of course, use hypo-check or similar product to ensure it’s still good. But it’s still a good idea to include this in the bottle!
And while we’re talking chemicals, a lot of what we use in film developing isn’t exactly the safest stuff out there; gloves are always a good idea when handling the harsher chemicals like Pyro based developers Mat suggests. They also are great for loading your film onto reels, so you don’t leave fingerprints, or your sweat makes it impossible to load your film onto the reels. And along with the gloves, once you’re done clean up. Especially if you’re developing in the kitchen, the other people in the house will thank you as some chemicals do leave a white residue when they dry.
We’ve all seen it on television and movies, people working in a darkroom and are under a red glow. Well, that’s a safelight. A good safelight is the key to a good darkroom setup. But Leslie has some warnings that not all safelights are safe. The first thing is that you cannot load un-exposed and un-developed film both black & white panchromatic and colour film. Even if that safelight says, it’s for ‘photographic’ purposes. It’s still light, and colour and panchromatic film is still sensitive to it Leslie warns. Of course, the slight exception to the rule is orthochromatic film, but then you need a low wattage (7.5W or lower) bulb, and you’ll want at least 5 feet (1.5 meters) between the light source and the film. For the most part, safelights are designed to work with black & white paper (which is orthochromatic). RA4 (colour) paper cannot be exposed to any light. On the same theme, it’s best to paint the walls of your darkroom a lighter colour in a matte finish, this helps boost on the efficacy on your bulb, the lighter walls will reflect your safelight thus reducing the number of bulbs, a black surface will only increase the amount of light you’ll need and the number of bulbs. You can pick up a good junior bulb through the FPP store, of course, if you want to bulb a modern, energy efficient darkroom, go with a LED-based light Mat suggests. But like a traditional bulb, you want to get a narrow spectrum (between 620 to 680 nanometers) LED, they produce a clean red light Mat adds.
FPP listener writes in with a bit of a problem. He recently travelled, and his trusty Nikon FM was sent through an Airport X-Ray scanner, as soon as that happened he noticed that his light meter seems rather off. So his question is that did the X-Ray scanner affect his camera’s meter in some way. The whole gang agrees that X-Rays do not affect camera meters. The problem probably lies with the camera’s battery, the FM can work without a battery, but certainly, a battery near the end of life will certainly cause the meter to act funny. Mark and Mat also both suggest given the age of the camera, a servicing, clean, lube, and adjust (CLA) might be a good idea also. So what do Airport X-Ray scanners affect? Well they can cause damage to the film, of course, it is a slim to none chance, but still a chance! Mat suggests reading the room if the agents doing the bag check seem to be in a friendly mood, go right ahead and ask for a hand check of the film, but if you get the feeling they’re looking stressed, don’t force the issue. And of course, you never put your film or camera gear in checked baggage. Those scanners are far more powerful, and you don’t want to risk damage to your gear.
Book of the Show!
We have just enough time left to dive again into Mark’s extensive photographic library! Today he has a wonderful book by the late Bill Rauhauser. Bill’s penultimate work, 20th Century Photography in Detroit is Bill’s amazing street photography in the motor city. The 300-page book is the culmination of sixty years of work outlining a turbulent time for Detroit and giving an insight into the vibrant citizenry of Detroit. One thing that makes the books special to Mark is that he met Bill and had his copy signed. Of course you can’t get one like that anymore, but you can still pick up a copy and enjoy it for yourself!
That’s it for this show! But don’t worry, we’ve got an amazing year ready! Of course we’re all waiting for new Ektachrome from Kodak! So what are your plans for 2018? We’d love to hear from you! You can shoot us an email firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular postal service! Until next time, you can join in the community on Facebook or Flickr!