Ortho film for Unsharp masking

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I'd like to try my hand at unsharp masking. It seems that trying to align a piece of regular film in total darkness would be quite difficult. The thought crossed my mind that Ortho film would be much more manageable and still give the same or similar results. Would much appreciate somoe feedback on this.

Also - I saw an article about an unsharp masking system (punch and registration jig) in a recent edition of View Camera. Has anyone had any experience of this system. The fellow who makes it lives in British Columbia, but for the moment his name escapes me.

Many Thanks to everyone who contributes all the useful information on this BB and to those who maintain it.

-- Yaakov Asher Sinclair (sinclair@actcom.co.il), April 12, 2002


With a punch and pin register aligning film in the dark is actually quite easy to do, about on a par with loading a film reel in the dark. I use the Condit punch and pin register but I read the article you're talking about and the system shown there looked very similar to the Condit system. That system works fine for me.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis60@earthlink.net), April 12, 2002.

I use ortho film for masking and it works fine. It is cheaper than regular film, I can process in the same soup I use for prints and work under a safelight.

-- Dave Schneider (dschneider@arjaynet.com), April 12, 2002.


I have not yet tried it, but Barry Thornton recommends Ilford Ortho for making unsharp masks in his book "The Edge of Darkness." He takes a much more low key approach to masking than many others. He also does the process without a pin registration system. Instead, he uses a lightbox and tape to register the negative and the mask.

From the images in his book, his techniqe does not appear to have hurt the quality his photographs. Based on his presentation, I intend to give his technique a try. By the way, I highly recommend his book. A much different approach than your average photo book.

-- Dave Karp (davekarp@ix.netcom.com), April 12, 2002.

Check out Ed Buffaloe's site www.unblinkingeye.com he has articles on using this for making copy negatives and I think for mask. If not check out Lynn Radeka's site, he has a little booklet on using ortho film for many different masks.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (rossorabbit@hotmail.com), April 12, 2002.

I've used Freesyle's Arista APHS graphic arts ortho for this and simply do the alignment on a light table with some scotch tape to hold. Once aligned I leave them together for future printings. Results have been everything advertised+. However some negs lend themselves to this more than others. Do it with a red light on and just use whatever paper developer is left over from a couple of weeks ago and dilute it about 20-30:1. After a few you can see the desired density (called flat) coming up and just pull it and stop.

-- Jim Galli (jimgalli@lnett.com), April 12, 2002.

Make a pin register carrier AND use Ortho. I made one and if I can so can you. the directions used to be at http://hps.vanguard.edu/Photo/Art1.html

But the site doesnt seem to be working now, and I couldnt find it cached at Google either. However Dennis McNutt wrote the article and I think he works at vanguard, so you should be able to track him down for a copy if all else fails

-- Wayne (wsteffen@skypoint.com), April 12, 2002.

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