X-Ray film

DKirk

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Just wondering how many people over here are using X-Ray film (primarily 10x8, though it can be cut down to smaller)?

Need to see if I can get the scanner working again to post samples, but I've been primarily using some Agfa-G Plus, purchased on eBay. Aside from the drop off towards the red side of the spectrum it's been quite impressive for something that costs about 70p or less per sheet.

I see over on the http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?132965-Availability-of-Ektascan-BR-A-xray-film-in-Europe page the single coated film is now a little more easily available - have many folk here tried it?
 

Alan9940

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Hi DKirk, well...I'm over here (US) :) and I've shot quite a bit of Ektascan BR/A in my 8x10 camera. However, after many sheets I have yet to really produce the kind of negative I'm looking for; gotten pretty close...just haven't nailed it, yet. One thing I really don't like about this film is that in my experience the speed really varies based on development time. When I shorten development enough to control contrast (x-ray film is a very contrasty film, in general) film speed falls off the proverbial cliff; when I extend development to maintain film speed contrast builds up, of course. I guess it's a see-saw situation that, so far, I haven't found an acceptable combination of developer and time and/or agitation technique.

A lot of x-ray users prefer the green latitude double-sided stuff, but I've never tried it. I keep meaning to because it's far cheaper than Ektascan and I've seen some beautiful results from it (based on that thread you referenced.) The only downsides that I've read about this film is that it scratches easily (coating on both sides) and that it doesn't incorporate any anti-haloing so highlights tend to bloom a bit. Some photographers really like that, though. If you're interested, you should give both a try. A 100-sheet box of each--Ektascan and green--will run you about the same price as a box of standard Ilford B&W 8x10 film; at least, over here anyway.

Have fun!
 

Sheffield Jim

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It's a little while since anyone posted on here so I wondered whether anyone had any more current experiences of using x-ray film; and possibly some examples of the outputs?
 

cariadus

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Ooh, that SLIMT technique seems ideal for the paper negatives that I've been using lately. I happen to have some potassium ferricyanide too so no excuse not to try it. :)
 

thronobulax

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Ooh, that SLIMT technique seems ideal for the paper negatives that I've been using lately. I happen to have some potassium ferricyanide too so no excuse not to try it. :)
Do report back on what you discover. Inquiring minds want to know ...
 

N. Riley

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What is this fascination with X-ray film? I simply do not understand it. Infrared I understand, (though I think it is typically and frequently abused), and I can lead the most enthusiastic cheers for panchromatic, regular orthochromatic, reversal, and even what we once called recording films. But why oh why oh why are people other than old timey radiologists preoccupied with X-ray film? Is there something - anything at all - radically different about the results obtained from these films that justifies the rapture attached to them? Is regular panchromatic film not good enough anymore? What am I missing? Help me understand.

N. Riley
 

Ian-Barber

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I have quite a few sheets of x-ray film, some single and double sided. I have tried most of them but as of yet, I dont seem to be able to connect with the results
 

thronobulax

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As @David M says, I think the spirit of experimentation has much to do with this, as does a low cost supply of X-Ray film.

I, for one, welcome it. Notwithstanding the decline of traditional silver photography in the wider society, we few, we happy few who still pursue it continue to improve monochrome photography. We've pushed the medium to new limits in the past decade or so because of this very spirit of inquiry. We've seen new developers like Pyrocat emerge, a resurgence of interest in low agitation techniques, people learning to mix their own chemical variants from old formulae and so on.
 

Alan Clark

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As @David M says, I think the spirit of experimentation has much to do with this, as does a low cost supply of X-Ray film.

I, for one, welcome it. Notwithstanding the decline of traditional silver photography in the wider society, we few, we happy few who still pursue it continue to improve monochrome photography. We've pushed the medium to new limits in the past decade or so because of this very spirit of inquiry. We've seen new developers like Pyrocat emerge, a resurgence of interest in low agitation techniques, people learning to mix their own chemical variants from old formulae and so on.
If there has been any improvement in the last ten years, it has only been on the technical side. We are not making better photographs now than photographers from decades ago. Art may change over time, but it doesn't get better over time. It doesn't progress.

Alan
 

thronobulax

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Oh, I don't know. The Arts world tends to fetishize the past body of work. In truth, I think there has always been a sort of bell curve of quality in art. The reason we don't notice it so much in the past is that only the great stuff tended to survive and the dreck disappeared in the dustbin of history. With the ubiquity of the internet, pretty much everything survives now. We thus are far more exposed to contemporary arts detritus. So naturally, we think of the old stuff as better - we're mostly only seeing the very best of the past.

Whether art it better- or worse today seems to me to be the wrong question. The real question is whether artists today are producing work that will stand the test of time. I think the answer is decidedly "yes" but in the same miniscule percentage artists have always survived time - because excellence and transcendence are so very hard to find.

P.S. There are exceptions like the burning of the library at Alexandra, that almost certainly made some great literature unavailable for all time.
 

Alan Clark

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You began by saying that we happy few who still pursue traditional photography have improved it because we have pushed it to new limits. All I am saying is that improvements may have been made on the technical side in te last decade (though I actually doubt it) but this doesn't equate to better photographs being made. Excellent photographs have been made in every decade of photography. And plenty of bad ones too, and plenty of everything in between.

Alan
 

David M

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We hit the peaks of creative expression some time ago. Tutankhamen’s mask can still move us to tears. If this was what a very minor boy Pharaoh was given, what might Rameses’ burial goods have been?
Technique has improved since then of course. We could scan and 3-D print it today, instead of bashing it with bronze hammers.
 

thronobulax

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We hit the peaks of creative expression some time ago. Tutankhamen’s mask can still move us to tears. If this was what a very minor boy Pharaoh was given, what might Rameses’ burial goods have been?
Technique has improved since then of course. We could scan and 3-D print it today, instead of bashing it with bronze hammers.
So, artists everywhere are: A) Doing nothing important and B) Why bother .... I rather disagree with this.
 

David M

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Hmmm... I'm not quite sure if that was my intended corollary. The unknown makers of that mask are the giants upon whose shoulders we stand.
Although, now you've said it, "Why bother?" is certainly a question that deserves an answer.
 

thronobulax

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Art is a funny thing. You see the mask and see great art. I see - at best - fine craft. Art is always a triangle of artist, artefact, and consumer. That's why it's so difficult to judge what is "good". Is it good because of the artist's vision? Is it good because of their execution of the artefact? Or, is it good because the viewer/listener finds the results evocative?

This is why my preferred - but impossible to certainly know - measure is "Will it last?"
 

David M

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Have you seen the mask in person?
In this sort of distant conversation, one is obliged to offer well-known objects as examples. We could trawl through our respective memories for an agreed target, but it hardly seems worthwhile.
For myself, I'm never sure about the word art. I use a capital A to distinguish the fancy stuff.
For me there is Making. Art is part of making, but it seems very tricky, particularly today, to see where the boundary lies between clumsy art (or Art) and fine workmanship.
In fact, close examination has revealed that the Tutankhamen mask is a bit of a bodge, and done in a hurry. No semi-stand goldsmithing in Egypt!
 

thronobulax

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I don't recall if I have seen that specific mask, but I have seen work of that era at the Oriental Musem in Chicago some decades ago. It may, in fact, have been the Tut show, I don't remember anymore. I do recall being more impressed with the craft than the output. Obviously, the historicity was paramount. As a general matter, I am rarely drawn to the folk art of any culture, but that's just me.

I agree about the Making part - that's what make photography compelling to me still after nearly 50 years.

As I said, we tend to fetishize the past because we don't see much of it's failures in existence anymore. We also assume high levels of craft when maybe, just maybe, it's not so. cf "Tim's Vermeer" for one example.
 
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