Unblinking Eye
                     Monochrome Photographic Diapositives

 

MONOCHROME PHOTOGRAPHIC DIAPOSITIVES -
A RETROSPECTIVE
by Harvey W. Yurow Ph. D.

Darlington Statue, Spring
Washington, D.C.
Kodak Translite Film
from a Kodak IR Negative

As a companion piece to a previous Unblinkingeye article on antique photographic papers, this review is now offered. Diapositives differ from paper prints in that they are preferentially viewed by projection, or by transmitted light (Greek "dia" = through), rather than by reflected light. They consist of a silver image on a glass plate, or on a clear or translucent film base. Diapositives are also known as lantern slides, slides, or transparencies. They can record approximately up to 400 separate tones as compared to about 250 for paper (Lobel & Du Bois).

Vintage diapositive materials are occasionally offered for sale on e-bay or at camera shows. Relevant information from the previous Unblinking Eye article on antique photographic papers is applicable here. While diapositives have a clear advantage over paper prints regarding gradation range, the latter have the benefit in the large variety of surfaces available, e.g., canvas, linen, silk, tapestry, and velour, which are advantageous for reflected viewing. This characteristic translates into greater individuality among the various papers, while most diapositive materials are esthetically interchangeable. Thus, such papers as Dassonville, Gevaluxe, and Kodak Old Master fall into the "legendary" class. This adjective rarely applies to diapositives, an exception being Ilford Alpha Lantern Slide Plates, which are described by Carrell as giving "superb colours, all of the highest transparency". The author would include Kodak Translite Film in this category, an example of which is included in this article.

In the following Table, are listed black-and-white diapositive materials produced from the period 1900 to the present (2007). Motion picture reversal  films are not included, but motion picture positive print films, often used to prepare slides, are given in the Table. In addition to listings in company literature, advertising sources are found in various photographic periodicals including: American Photography (and Annual), British Journal of Photography (and Almanac), The Camera, and Photo Era. In addition, a number of relevant old photographic periodicals are available for viewing on the Internet at book.google.com. Initial diapositives produced were lantern slide plates and transparency plates or films (window or lamp shade display), popular in the 1890's and continuing until the 1930's with the rise of miniature (35mm) slides. These latter in turn lost favor to color slides, beginning in the 1960's.

                                                     Diapositive Materials

      Manufacturer                 Diapositive                                 Description
         Agfa                        Black-tone Plate                            Pure black
                                       Warm-tone Plate                            Brown to red tones
                                       Matt Transparency Plate                Warm black
                                       Isolar Lantern Plate                               -
                                       Agfacontour                                    Equidensity image
                                       Transparency Film                          Pure black
      Agfa-Ansco               Direct Copy                                    Solarized reversal emulsion
                                         Diapositive Plate                             Speed approx. bromide paper
                                         Fine Grain Superpan Reversible      Reversal process
      Agfa-Gevaert             Scala                                              Reversal process
      Ansco                        Direct Copy (Memo)                       Reversal process
                                       Minipan                                          Normal to high contrast processing
                                       Safety Positive                                Normal to high contrast processing
                                       Commercial Ortho                           Normal to high contrast
      Barnet                       Warm Tone Plate                            Wide tonal range
                                         Cold Tone Plate                             Cold tone
                                       Lantern Plate                                    Warm black
                                       Gaslight Lantern Plate                       Black to warm black
                                       Verona Lantern Plate                       Warm tone
      British Photo              Chess Bromide Lantern Plate          Black
                                       Chess Gaslight Lantern Plate             Brown to red
      Cadett                       Lantern Plate                                        -
      Carbutt                      Lantern Plate                                          -
                                       "A" Transparency Plate                     For positives
                                       Ground Glass Transparency Plate    Window transparencies
                                       Opal Plates                                      Glossy or matt
      Central                      Sepiatone Plate                                Warm tone
      Cowen                      Chlorobromide Plate                        Warm tone
      Cramer                       Lantern Slide Plate                                 -
      Criterion                    Mezzotone Rapid Lantern Plate        Warm tone
                                         Lantern Slide Plate                                 -                                             
      Defender/Du Pont       Seed Lantern Slide Plate                  Black tones
                                         Standard Lantern Slide Plate            Black tones
                                         Adlux                                             Translucent film
                                         Duolux                                            Translucent film
                                         Microscopy                                    High contrast
                                         Safety Positive                                 For motion picture positives
                                         Fine Grain Safety Positive                High contrast
      Edward's                     Special Plate                                         -
      Foma                         Fomapan R100                               Recent addition
      Gem                            Lantern Plate                                   Black to warm tone
      Gevaert                      Warm Tone Plate                            Bromide
                                         Lantern Slide Plate                        Three contrasts
                                         Lantern Slide Transparency Plate   Three contrasts, warm & cold tone
                                         Opal Plate                                     Translucent glass
                                         Diafilm Opaline                              Translucent film, chlorobromide
                                         Dia-Direct 26 Pan Reversal             Reversal process
                                         Diapositive                                      Bromide, normal and contrast
      Grieshaber                   Varieta Plate                                   Warm tone
      Griffin                          Gaslyt Plate                                           -
      Halifax                          Gaslight Lantern Plate                            -
                                           Rapid Lantern Plate                               -
      Ilford                           Alpha Plate                                    Black to red, brown, sepia,
                                         Special Lantern Plate                      Black to warm tone, bromide, 3 contrasts
                                         Warm Black Lantern Plate             Warm black to red-brown, chlorobromide
                                         Gaslight Lantern Plate                     Black to warm tones, chloride
                                         Fine Grain Safety Positive               High Contrast
      Illingworth                    Slogas Lantern Plate                      Chloride
                                         Special Black Tone Lantern Plate         -
      Imperial                       Gaslight Plate                                  Chloride, black tones
                                         Gaslight Plate                                   Warm tones
                                         Special Lantern Plate                        Black tones
      Jahr                             Lantern & Transparency Plate         Black or warm
      Kodak                        Permanent Bromide Transparency   For projection printing
                                         Eastman Lantern Slide Plates            Low, normal & high contrasts
                                         Eastman Positive Film 1301            Normal contrast
                                         Eastman Process Film                      High contrast
                                         Velox Transparency Film                 For use with Velox Water Colors
                                         Translite Film 5361                         Translucent film, warm tone
                                         Translite Paper                                 Translucent paper
                                         Transferotype Paper                         Stripping emulsion layer
                                         Lantern Slide                                  Soft, medium, hard
                                         Fine Grain Release Positive 5302     For motion picture positives
                                         Direct Positive Pan 5246                 Reversal process
                                         Safety Positive                                Printing from continuous tone negatives
                                         High Contrast Safety Positive          Printing from line negatives
                                         Micro-File Safety                            High contrast
                                         High Contrast Copy 5069                Printing from line negatives
                                         B/W Duplicating Film SO-132        Solarized reversal emulsion
                                         Eastman Direct MP Film 5360        Solarized reversal emulsion
      Kodak Ltd.                 L.1 Lantern Slide                              Blue-black
                                         L.5 Lantern Slide                              Warm Black
                                         L.10 Lantern Slide                           Warm black
                                         L.15 Lantern Slide                           Warm black
      Lumiere                        Lantern & Transparency Plate          Black or warm
      Marion                         Lantern Plate                                         -
      Mawson                       Lantern Plate                                   Black to brown
                                         Simplex Lantern Plate                      Black to brown
      New York Dry Plate   Lantern Plate                                          -
      Paget                          Slow Plate                                       Bromide, warm black to red
                                         Gravura                                            Chloride, various tones
                                         Rapid                                              Sixfold speed
      Royal                          Standard Lantern Plate                               -
      Seed                           Transparency Plate                                     -
                                         Lantern Slide Plate                                      -
                                         Opal Plate                                                 -
      Thomas                       Lantern Plate                                    Black to warm tones
      Wellington                   Lantern Plate                                    Cold black to sepia            
                                         SCP Lantern Plate                            Cold black to sepia, slow
      Wratten & Wainwright Lantern Plate                                    Bromide

Of particular interest in the Table are films or paper on translucent bases, and include Adlux, Duolux (Defender, Trade Winds), Diafilm Opaline, and Translite. These materials could be viewed by any transmitted light source without the need of a supplementary diffusing medium, as is found in table slide viewers. In this connection, diffusion in Translite Film is supplied by heavily matting the emulsion (Kodak 1956), with a resulting transmission of 60%, comparable to that of ground glass. Similarly, Translite Paper has a base density of only 0.6 as compared to 0.8 for conventional single weight photographic papers (Miller).

Darlington Statue, Winter
Washington, D.C.
Arista Ortho Litho Film,
Thiourea Blue Developer
from a Kodak IR Negative

Two unusual types of positives on glass plates,  preferentially viewed by reflected rather than by transmitted light, are opals and doretypes. The former are produced on opal glass (Gevaert 1926, Snodgrass), and are often used for medallions or simile-ivories. Doretypes are formed by coating the back side of a glass plate having a thin image, with a highly reflecting material, such as bronze powder in lacquer (Schwarz, Snodgrass).

In addition to certain of the films in the above Table designed specifically for reversal processing, a number of negative films have been successfully processed to positives by reversal ( Bowler, Jolly, Ilford 2003, Kodak 1956, 1972, Reckmeyer, Verkinderen). Usually, slower films having finer grain, higher contrast and greater maximum density (Dmax) are best. First development is often with a metol-hydroquinone developer containing a small amount of a silver halide solvent such as potassium thiocyanate or sodium thiosulfate. The purpose is to increase film speed and give clear highlights. Bleaching to remove developed silver occurs with acidified permanganate or dichromate. Remaining silver halide is exposed to light or subjected to chemical fogging with subsequent second development. Insufficient reexposure after permanganate bleach can result in a rereversal effect, leading to decreased shadow density and a "hill-shaped" D log E curve (Verkinderen) - a sort of inverse Sabatier effect (Jolly 1997). An exhaustive review of B & W reversal processing is given by Haist. In this connection, the Internet contains a number of references for reversal of such currently available  films as Kodak T-Max and Kodak HIE Infrared (Dietrich, DR5, Laban). Furthermore, a number of recent films, ASA 25-32, by Adox, EFKE, and Maco/Rollei, may be amenable to reversal processing (Freestyle).

Of considerable theoretical interest are Agfa-Ansco Direct Copy Film, (Arens), Eastman Direct MP Film 5360,  and Kodak Professional Duplicating Film SO-132, (Kodak 1999), each of  which, after exposure, is developed directly to a positive. These films are originally preexposed to the solarization level by light or by chemical fogging (e.g., arsenite or hydrogen peroxide), so that subsequent exposure removes density (Glafkides, Harmon) by rehalogenation of the initially present silver development centers. Eastman 5360 film has an emulsion that is dyed red, and makes use of the Herschel effect , i.e., second exposure to red light subtracts density (Bacon).

 

Of special importance in the development of diapositives are the preferred gradient (contrast, gamma) and maximum density recommended for optimum reproduction of the original scene (Lobel and Dubois, Wakefield). When developing a slide one must be aware of the type and intensity of viewing illumination which is to be provided. Nelson indicated that slide transparencies and motion pictures viewed with a dark surround i.e., on a projector screen in a darkened room, with a luminance of 25-100 millilamberts, should have a curve with a gradient of 1.6 in the middle portion, an average gradient of about 1.3, and a Dmax of around 3.2. Slide transparencies viewed with a bright surround i.e., in a well-lit room at 100 foot-candles, on a transparency illuminator, also at 100 foot-candles, should have a curve with a middle portion gradient of 1.1, an average gradient of about 0.9 and a Dmax of approximately 2.0. However,it was observed that with a table viewer, a denser transparency was found superior to the aforementioned, with 500 foot-candles viewer illumination and 100 foot-candles room illumination. In this connection, Agfa recommended a contrast of 1.4 and a Dmax of 3.0 for Scala 200x reversal film (recently discontinued).

Diapositive emulsions contain silver bromide, silver chlorobromide, or silver chloride, with contrast increase and printing speed decrease following in the same order. Colors produced on processing the latter two types by straight development can vary from cold black to warm red, ( Anon, Brown, Fraprie, Modern Encyclopedia) depending in large part on the size and shape of the reduced silver particles (Baker & Davidson). Milner and Glover have noted that a range of colors can be obtained with a M-Q developer containing: increased potassium bromide, or ammonia, or a "restrainer" of ammonium carbonate and ammonium bromide, without or with thiourea. Because the latter two developers require considerably greater times of exposure and development, a sparse image is produced throughout the emulsion layer, resulting in a noticeably diffuse image (Milner). In this connection, it has been observed that the toe of the characteristic D log E curve with developer containing excess bromide and/or a silver halide solvent, such as ammonium carbonate, becomes more straightened, yielding improved highlight contrast (Miller).The blue image with the last named developer can be changed to green (blue plus yellow) by brief toning with a polysulfide solution, followed by a dilute bisulfite clearing bath.  Formulas of interest are indicated below.

No consideration of diapositives would be complete without a description of coloring methods for an initially black-and-white image (Fraprie, Friedman, Gregory, Kodak 1984, Lockrie, Milner, Neblette, Ryan, Walley, Ward). Considerable impetus has been given to the tinting and toning of diapositives by the motion picture industry (Kodak 1927, Film Archives), which was also made applicable to lantern slides (Kodak 1924). Tinting gives an overall color to a slide, while toning changes only the silver image, and both may be used in combination. Early motion picture film stock was often tinted, resulting in a large number of tinting and toning dyes in subsequent years.  With the shift from silent to sound motion pictures, ca 1930, new dyes were required because many of the old dyes strongly absorbed in the infrared and interfered with sound reproduction.

 

DIAPOSITIVE FORMULAS

Developers

Warm Tone Paper Developer (Glover)

Solution A

Sodium sulfite

25 g

Metol

5 g

Hydroquinone

2.5 g

Sodium carbonate (anhydrous)

18 g

Water to make

1 liter

Solution B

Ammonium carbonate

10 g

Ammonium bromide

10 g

Water to make

100 ml

Parts A

Parts B

Exposure

Dev. Sec 20

Color

16

0

1x

60

Olive-black

15

1

1.4x

120

Warm black

14

2

2x

200

Sepia

13

3

4x

225

Sepia-brown

12

4

6x

350

Brown

10

6

19x

450

Purple-brown

8

8

60x

360

Red

Thiourea-Blue Diapositive Developer (Mees, Glover)

Solution A

As above

Solution B

As above

Solution C

Thiourea

7.5 g

Ammonium bromide

2.5 g

Water to make

1000 ml

Parts A

Parts B

Parts C

Exposure

Dev. Sec 20

Color

16

0

0

1x

30

Normal black

14

1

1

4x

300

Neutral black

12

3

1

8x

600

Blue-black

11

4

1

16x

720

Blue

10

5

1

32x

800

Violet-blue

The author has found that ammonium carbonate and ammonium bromide in the above formulas can be substituted by diammonium phosphate and potassium bromide, 20g/100ml and 10g/100ml respectively.

The above formulas work well with lithographic films such as Arista Ortho Litho (Freestyle), to give gamma 2-3 contrast monochrome transparencies, an example of which is included with this article. The author has found that for this film, a 12A + 3B + 1C mixture and 300 seconds development are satisfactory. Litho emulsions contain 60-90% silver chloride and 40-10% silver bromide (Mueller), resemble fast chlorobromide printing papers, and are amenable to warm tone formation.

 

Reversal Processing

First Developer - Kodak D-67

Water, 50C

500 cc

Metol

2 g

Sodium sulfite

90 g

Hydroquinone

8 g

Sodium Carbonate, monohydrate

52.5

Potassium Bromide

5 g

Sodium thiocyanate

2 g

Water to make

1000 cc

Bleach - Kodak R-9

Water

1000 cc

Potassium Dichromate

9.5 g

Sulfuric Acid, concentrated

12 cc

Clearing Bath - Kodak CB-1

Water

1000 cc

Sodium sulfite

90 g

Second development following reexposure can be with Kodak D-72 or a similar paper developer. Bleach R-9 can be replaced by potassium permanganate 2.5g, sulfuric acid concentrated 10cc, to 1000cc water, followed by a clearing bath of 5% bisulfite.

 

Tinting and Toning

Kodak Dye Tinter

Acid Dye

0.2 g *

Glacial acetic acid

1 cc

Water to make

1000 cc

* or 5cc of food coloring

                                

Kodak T-20 Single Solution Dye Toner

Dye

g *

Acetone

100 cc

Potassium ferricyanide

1 g

Glacial acetic acid

5 cc

Water to make

1000 cc

Average toning time 3-9 minutes at 20C.

*Dye

Color

grams/liter

Safranine Extra Bluish

Red

0.2

Chrysoidine 3R

Red

0.2

Auramine

Yellow

0.4

Victoria Green

Green

0.4

Rhodamine B

Magenta

0.4

 

References

Agfa, Agfa Scala 200x Professional Black and White Reversal Film, Data Sheets, n.d.
Anon, "Enlarged Negatives and Transparencies", The Photo Miniature, J.A. Tennant Editor, XIV, No. 164,
       pp 301-331, 1917.
Arens, H.,"Direct Positive Film", to Agfa-Ansco, U.S. Patent 2,005837 (1935).
Bacon, R.E., "Latent Image Effects Leading to Reversal or Desensitization", The Theory of the Photographic
       Process
, T.H. James Editor, 4th Edition, pp 184-188, Macmillan, New York 1977.
Baker, T.T. and Davidson, L.F., "Warm Tone Lantern Slides: The Relation Between Exposure, Development,
       Colour and Gradation", British Journal of Photography, 71, 77-79 (1924).
Bowler, S.W., "Miniature Transparencies by the Reversal Process", British Journal Photographic Almanac,
       pp 136-146, Greenwood, London 1950.
Brown, G.E., "Lantern Slide Making", British Journal Photographic Almanac, pp 495-525, Greenwood, London 1912.
Carrell, G.N., "Thiocarbamide Physical Development for Warm-Tone Lantern Plates", The Photographic Journal,
       87A 157-163 (1947).
Coenen, J.H., "Processing Reversal Films", Photo Technique 3, 28-34, Dec. 1940.
Defender, The Defender Book: Photographic Papers and Film, Rochester October 1940.
**Dietrich H.F., "Reversal Processing for T-Max Films", www.frii.com/~jkbl/reversal/pf.html
DR5, "Reversal Process",
www.dr5.com    
**Film Archives on Line, "References: Colour Toning of Film", http://evora.omega.it/~demos/faol/references.htm
Fraprie, F.R., How to Make Lantern Slides, American Photographic, Boston 1940.
Freestyle Photographis Supplies.
www.freestylephoto.biz
Friedman, J.S., History of Color Photography, Chapter 21, "Dye Toning", American Photographic, Boston 1944.
Gevaert, Descriptive Price List, Gevaert Sensitized Photographic Products, New York 1926.
Gevaert, Film, Plates, Papers, New York 1939.
Gevaert Manual of Photography, A.H.S. Craeybeck, Editor, 4th Edition, pp 277-289, Antwerp 1958.
Glafkides, P., Photographic Chemistry, p 211, Fountain, London 1958.
Glover, B.T.J., "Thiocarbamide and Blue-Toned Lantern Slides", British Journal of Photography, 70, 135-138 (1923).
Glover, B.T.J., Lantern Slides, Fountain, London 1935.
Gregory, C.L., Motion Picture Photography, 2nd Edition, Chapter XI, "Tinting and Toning" Falk, New York 1927.
Haist, G., Modern Photographic Processing, Chapter 7, "Reversal Processing", McGraw Hill, New York 1975.
Harmon, J.N. Jr., "Duplicating Negatives", The Complete Photographer, W.D. Morgan Editor, pp 1416-1421,
       National Educational Alliance, New York 1943.
Ilford Manual of Photography, Chapter XX Lantern Slides, Ilford, London 1935.
Ilford Manual of Photography, J. Mitchell , Editor, 3rd Edition, pp 354-366, Ilford, London 1946.
Ilford, Application Sheet, Reversal Processing, September 2003.
Jolly, W.L., "Transparencies by Photographic Reversal", Journal of Chemical Education, 39, 63 (1962).
Jolly, W.L., "Solarization Demystified", Chapter 6, 1997.
http://www.cchem.berkeley.edu/wljeme/SOUTLINE. html
Kodak, Lantern Slides: How to Make and Color Them, Rochester 1924.
Kodak, Tinting and Toning of Eastman Positive Motion Picture Film, 4th Edition, Rochester 1927.
Kodak, Motion Picture Laboratory Practice, pp 53-54, Rochester 1936.
Kodak, Eastman Films and Plates for Professional Use, Rochester May 1941.
Kodak J-6. Kodak Direct Positive Pan Film 35mm, Rochester 1956.
Kodak G-18. Translucent Photographs with Kodak Enlarging Paper and Kodak Translite Film. Rochester 6-56.
Kodak, F-19. Black-and White Transparencies with Kodak Panatomic-X Film, Rochester 1972.
Kodak, G-23. The ABC's of Toning, Rochester 1-84.
Kodak, H-1-5360. Eastman Direct MP Film 5360/7360, Rochester March 1999.
Laban H., "Two Formulas for Kodak HIE Slide Processing",
www.markerink.org/WJM/HTML/hieslide.htm
Lobel, L. and Du Bois, M., Basic Sensitometry, 2nd Edition, pp 152-156, Focal, London 1967.
Lockrey, A.J., "Lantern Slides", The Complete Photographer, W.D. Morgan, Editor, pp 2198-2216, National
       Educational Alliance, New York 1943.
Mees, C.E.K., "Thiocarbamide Developer", British Journal Photographic Almanac, p 427, Greenwood, London 1927.
Miller, C.W., Principles of Photographic Reproduction, pp 145-146, 162-163, 197-198, Macmillan, New York 1942.
Milner, C.D., Making Lantern Slides and Film Strips, 3rd Edition, Focal, London 1957.
Modern Encyclopedia of Photography, S.G.B. Stubbs Editor, pp 864-865,  American Photographic, Boston 1938.
Mueller, F.W.H., "The Photographic Emulsion", Neblette's Handbook of Photography and Reprography, 7th Edition,
       J.M. Sturge, Editor, p 32, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York 1977.
Neblette, C.B., Photography - Its Principles and Practice, 1st Edition, Chapter XIX, "Lantern Slides and
       Transparencies", Chapman and Hall, London 1928.
Nelson, C.N., "Tone Reproduction", The Theory of the Photographic Process, T.H. James, Editor, 4th Edition,
       pp 537-538, Macmillan, New York 1977.
Photo Lab Index, H.M. Lester Editor,  9th Edition, Section 19, "Slides and Transparencies", Morgan & Lester,
       New York 1947.
Reckmeyer, V.H.,"Agfa Reversal Development", American Photography, 30, 329-331 (1936).
Ryan, R.T., A History of Motion Picture Colour Technology, 2nd Edition, Chapter II, "Tinting and Toning", Focal,
       London 1977.
Schwarz, S.A., "The Dore-Type", American Annual of Photography, 34, 34-46 (1920).
Snodgrass, L.I., The Science and Practice of Photographic Printing, 3rd Edition Revised, pp 275-276, Falk, New
       York 1931.
"Trade Winds", "Duolux", Photo Technique, 1 (Nov.) pp 50-51 (1939)
Verkinderen, I.H.,"Reversal Processing", British Kinematography, 13, 37-45 (1948).
Wakefield, G.L., Practical Sensitometry, pp 168-174, Focal, London 1970.
Walley, C.W., Colouring, Tinting and Toning Photographs, Fountain, London 1955.
Ward, H.S., "Lantern Slides", The Photographic Annual, 4th Edition, p 153 (1908).

 

Custom Search

 

[Home] [Articles] [Travel] [Books] [Links]

E-mail Webmaster