Filters for creating a classic "ortho" look? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello- I need to create a classic "orthochormatic" look on Panochromatic film (Tri-X) like the work of Atget, Watkins etc. Does anyone have any filter suggestions? I am thinking a heavy minus red filter (any number suggestions?), but was wondering if anyone has gone in this direction. Please don't suggest that I simply use Ortho film in camera, because that is not an option. Thanks for any help!!

-- Dave Orndorf (, March 15, 2001


The standard filter recommendation for producing the effect of orthochromatic film on panchromatic film is a Wrattan 44a (medium blue/ green or, as you say, "minus red"). It will reduce exposure by about 2.5 stops, depending on conditions.

Keep in mind, however, that Watkins and probably Atget (his dates are not available to me as I write this) worked in the era *before* orthochromatic film. Ortho film is sensitive to both blue and green light. Watkins, and probably Atget, used "color blind" emulsions which were sensitive only to blue light. If you want to duplicate *this* effect on panchromatic film, use a 47b filter, with a three-stop exposure compensation as a starting point.

-- James Meckley (, March 15, 2001.

You might consider using Efke KB-50. It has what has been described as an ortho-panchromatic emulsion--it is more sensitive to green than a standard panchromatic. It would get you close without a filter, or perhaps you could use a milder filter with it.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, March 15, 2001.

I know you can use Tech Pan with special development to achieve this "look". I believe the info is available on the tech. sheet. I'm not sure if it's available in sheets though. It seems that I've heard of developing film in Dektol to achieve this result. Maybe someone here knows the details.

-- Eric Blevins (, March 17, 2001.

Tech Pan gives you the opposite rendering of ortho film -- red comes out very light, smoothing out blemishes in a manner similar to IR film (minus the halation).

If you develop Tech Pan in Dektol (which I've done) you get 3-tone line art.

For the early 20th century look, I'd go with a deep blue filter. Adams's "The Negative" has plenty of good examples of the effects of blue & green filters on landscapes. Portraits with blue-sensitive materials often involved makeup to lighten lips and blemishes.

-- John O'Connell (, March 17, 2001.

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