weren’t we talking about Ortho Lith film the other day?

If my memory serves me right, there was a topic about darkrooms and Litho film here not too long ago. Since the discussion was related to availability of film nowadays, I decided to look into what is still out there in the world.

I was pleased to find that there are still some good stuff on the market. After my searches, I ordered a box of Arista Ortho 8x10 from Freestyle Photo, and some developer.

It arrived earlier today, and I just got done with my first negatives. I must say that I’m impressed!

The blacks are nicely dense, the lines are crisp, and the clear areas are very clean. Of course I use a grey-scale, but I’m not overly persnickety about development time. I just developed it until the scale looked right, then pulled it.

I can recommend the Arista film. I’ve also read some good things about the Rollei Ortho 25, but I’ve not tried that yet.

SO…. don’t throw away your cameras just yet. Put those big boys back into service!

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Good for you! Are you using a red safelight like we used to do years ago? A quick and dirty opacity test was to hold the neg up to a fluorescent light tube and make sure we couldn’t see the tube. What step on the grey scale did you develop to? I think we went to a solid step 4 if I’m not mistaken. However, with fine linework we went a little less.

Winking Cat, Valley Litho Supply, in Wisconsin, sells
rapid access & Lith A+B film and very good prices
for this day and age, I still shoot line work and 1/2 tones
and tray develop to make my photpolymer plates.
best james

I love Arista litho. I have used it for X-rays, half-tone with paper developer, interpositives. good stuff.

Geoffrey- yes, I use a red light…an old 15w light I’ve had since the 1970’s. Also yes about the developing, but it depends on your scale. My old KODAK scale is #0 being white, and #10 being jet black. I develop to #7 (30%) or #6 (40%). If you’ve got a scale made for litho, 4 is about right.

James- thanks for the tip on Valley Litho. I’ll check them out. Does your camera have a mirror? or do you expose your plates through the back of the negative? or do you use an intermediate to get emulsion side down? (I get asked that question all the time.)

phup- I’ve heard it is great for med-low contrast if used with a slow paper developer.

Properly dense black for old style litho platemaking was referred to as ‘d-max 4’ Never did find out what that meant. but we had to spot out pin holes (caused by gamma rays during long term stoarge - yes really) with Gilbeys red opaque. and a fine sable brush. One other thing, decent litho film has a pronounced rise in contrast performance, way above its usual, in the 762 nanometres region. We never got round to trying illumination of the subject artwork with ‘pure’ green light, but if you have extremely difficult artwork, it might be worth trying. Red safelight of course, as you say.

“Pin holes caused by gamma rays during long term storage”

I can believe that. We had issues with one series of computers crashing if they weren’t being used enough. The eventual cause was that cosmic radiation was flipping bits in memory. This wasn’t an issue when it was being used, but if it was idle the memory wouldn’t be refreshed often enough. The solution was for the system to just read and write its memory when it wasn’t doing anything else.

Indeedy so, tiny pinholes of clear in the black areas that should’nt be there. The film was of course properly packed ( in our case from Ilford not Kodak) and sometimes it came with a black paper/aluminium laminate as packaging. ( But never of thick lead.!) Ask your local physicist. In passing the Kodak rep became a lifelong friend and 40 years on, I had his christmas card yesterday.

Seasonal wishes to all from The Happy Dragons Press

Ummm… I am my local physicist. I worked at Daresbury Laboratory for a year when they had both the Synchrotron Radiation Source and Nuclear Structure Facility running. I worked in the Health physics section monitoring environmental radiation on site.

Have a Happy Christmas and a merry New year.