Reciprocity in 1930s

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by coisasdavida, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. coisasdavida

    coisasdavida Member

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    My name is Guilherme and I’m a brazilian photographer and teacher. I’ve been having some difficulty finding some info in a research I’m doing, so please excuse me while I ask for help here.
    In a conversation with a fellow photographer it was suggested to me that Brassai’s, Sudek’s and Brandt’s bodies of work at night (1930 to 1933) happened immediately after a film was launched that managed reciprocity effect better.
    There is even a Time article that suggests such a thing.

    Would you know where can I find a source for these statments?
     
  2. Loren Sattler

    Loren Sattler Subscriber

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    I have a 1947 Kodak Reference Handbook which appears to be a predecessor for the Kodak Data Guides issued later. In a quick look, I cannot find any reference to reciprocity for film exposures despite much data contained on exposure index and guides for exposure under various lighting conditions (sunny 16 rules), flash, etc.
    Good luck with your search.
     
  3. jvo

    jvo Subscriber

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    guilherme,

    do you mean that their pictures were taken with recently manufactured film, which resulted in better ability to handle reciprocity?

    jvo
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Kodak films made a major improvement in reciprocity failure after about 1970.

    PE
     
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    coisasdavida

    coisasdavida Member

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    No, jvo, what was suggested was that a new emulsion made night photography easier.
    But now I found an article in which there is a quote by Brassai, saying he timed the exposures at night smoking a cigarette.
    Maybe it was just that the cities were becoming better lit.
     
  6. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    Acros :D
     
  7. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    If you look at Mees's "Theory of the Photographic Process" (in the public domain now, available for free e.g. here), there is a chapter specifically about reciprocity failure. It appears there were many relevant publications about reciprocity failure in the years around 1930, so there's a good chance, that photographic film saw significant improvements in that time.
     
  8. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    Kodak's Super Sensitive Panchromatic, Panatomic & Super-X might all fit your time window for panchromatic stocks in the time period - Verichrome was introduced in 1931 but was orthochromatic until the 1950s. I think the Scheiner speed of Super Sensitive Pan equated to about ISO/ ASA 64-80 in post-1960 speeds (32-40 before then), Super-X was apparently about half a stop faster, & Panatomic was equivalent to about 40-ish (20 pre-1960 speed revision). Super-X was introduced in 1935 so that might be stretching the timeframe a bit, SS Pan was 1931-ish & Panatomic somewhere in the middle. And that's before you consider Agfa, Ilford, Gevaert, & various other smaller/ subsidiary companies, all of whom had fairly comparable products. Kodak-Pathe, Lumiere & Guilleminot, Boespflug et cie were all active manufacturers of photographic products in France at that time.

    Better panchromatic sensitivity & better latitude would be important improvements for night photography, alongside improved reciprocity.
     
  9. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

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    Maybe films reciprocity was improved specifically for astrophotography? I don't know... I really can't see a manufacturer improving a film just with night photographers in mind.
     
  10. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    I'm probably off base but I think I remember reading somewhere that Sudek used fomapan ( which makes sense!! )... and his famous night shots from Prague might have been later, like in the 50's? It's easy to see how panchromatic film could help with night photography in a city.... been meaning to look at Sudek's work more... I'm going to see if our library has any books I can borrow...
     
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    coisasdavida

    coisasdavida Member

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    Thanks, Lachlan! Thanks, Rudeofus!
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Lachlan some of the Kodak films you mention like Super-X were late 1930's 38/9 and included Tri-X in LF formats (made in Rochester, Harrow and Kodak Ltd's new factory in Hungary). These Kodak films were in response to Ilford/Selo Fine Grain Panchromatic (1930 plates) and Hypersensitive fPan (as roll film 1934) which were way ahead of Kodak products, in fact FP2 and HP2 came along (1937) just as Kodak hoped to catch up.

    I'd have to check my BJP Almanacs for the 1920's/30's but it's the switch to Leica and higher end MF cameras etc that brought huge improvements to emulsions.

    Ian
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
  13. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    Generally agree - Super-X would be pushing the outer limits of the stated time period by the OP - it appeared mid-decade & Super-XX in 1940 from the documentation I've encountered. The Ilford/ Selo stocks you mention, Kodak Super Speed Panchro & the Agfa or Perutz equivalents are all more likely.
     
  14. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    There were a whole host of film/plate manufacturers in Europe in the early 1930's. Kodak Ltd (not Eastman Kodak) had branches in France and Germany as well as other countries long before building their coating plant in Hungary (later to become Forte). Lumiere were the largest French film/plate manufacturer best known for their Autochrome process but they made other materials as well, they became part of Tellko in Switzerland which became Ciba and then Ilford, their sales arm still exists as the French Ilford distributor. I'd need to look up other French manufacturers.

    The OP asks about Brassai, he used flash for his Paris by Night photos, there's some excellent recreations of him at work in the film "Henry and June". He was a friend of Anais Nin and Henry Miller.

    Ian
     
  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Remembering that most films were made and sold in their country of origin, France had Lumiere as I already mentioned 1929 their UK agent states they sell a "every speed & variety" of plates inc Panchromatic etc as well as roll films and film packs.

    There was Guilleminot (R. Guilleminot, Bœspflug et Cie) another large company founded 1858 which closed in 1994 spawning Berger, agfain a wide range of plates films and paper.

    Finally a third large French company was M Bauchet & Cie, again a full range of plates, there would have been smaller French manufacturers but these three exported.

    Just over the border in Belgiumwas Gevaert another world leader like Ilford and Agfa in plate and film manufacture, they also sold films & plates which were re-branded, for instance under the Voigtlander name.

    So anyone working in Paris 1930-33 had a wide choice of materials.

    Ian
     
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    coisasdavida

    coisasdavida Member

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    coisasdavida

    coisasdavida Member

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  18. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    He's using flash more often than you might think, particularly when there's people/groups in the images. He was usually accompanied by friends, distances were often measured as focussing was difficult, the flash wasn't synced and might be a distance from the camera.

    Ian
     
  19. fdonadio

    fdonadio Subscriber

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    The OP meant the opposite: newer films at the time dealt better with reciprocity and photographers took advantage of that for night photography.

    @coisasdavida, welcome to Photrio (p.k.a. APUG)! This place is a lot of fun and we sure need some more Brazilians around here.
     
  20. Arklatexian

    Arklatexian Subscriber

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    It is my impression that panchromatic films became regularly available about or shortly after that time, i.e. Plus X, Super XX, from Kodak here in the U.S. In the late 40s or early 50s, a fellow named A.E. Wooley. (I think he was from Louisiana) wrote a book about photographing at night using, as we used to joke, "available darkness" (available light). I never owned the book but if you can find one it might offer an insight to the period before our modern films came out. By the way, "reciprocity failure" did not mean that pictures at night were impossible but required longer exposure. At least that much hasn't changed......Regards!
     
  21. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    I'd actually included Lumiere & Guilleminot in my original reply before deleting them, thinking that it made things too France-centric for a fairly international list of photographers...

    I'm intrigued as to what the postwar film & paper product ranges of Lumiere (before Ilford swallowed them) and Guilleminot were but that would be starting to wander off-topic I fear.

    Regarding Sudek, did Neobrom ever make film, or were they purely a paper coater?
     
  22. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Lachlan, Ilford never took over Lumiere the company was absorbed by Ciba in 1961 who had already taken over the Swiss Tellko company, Ciba approached Ilford with a merger plan in 1962 I think the merger was 1963. The Lumiere factory became Ilford France in 1982.

    I remember seeing Guilleminot papers I think in Silverprint not long after Martin set up, I can't remember what types though, I don't remember seeing Lumiere adverts in BJP Almanacs after WWII, I employed a consultant in the late 1970's whose mother was a Lumiere, he joined me on a visit to Ilford at Mobberley in the 80's where we had meetings with a couple of Directors and a research chemist.

    Ian
     
  23. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    Cheers - couldn't remember which order the Lumiere - Ciba - Ilford mergers/ acquisitions happened in.

    Am I correct in understanding that Bauchet was swallowed up by 3M at about the same time?
     
  24. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The question would be did 3m take Bauchet over before or after they took over Ferrania in 1964. It's interesting that consolidation was rife in the photographic industry 1961-64, Ciba/Lumiere, 61 then Ciba/Ilford 63, Agfa/Gevaert 63. These are cross border consolidations the larger company wanting to increase there overall market share and presumably cut costs.

    This was also a period where we lost a lot of the UK photo industry during a finacial crisis, Johnsons stopped making equipment and enlargers, Ross-Ensign ceased camera production 61, although Ross enlarger lenses and binoculars survived a few years longer, Barnet paper, Criterion/Mason papers and equipment closed, DAllmeyer and Wray disappeared into oblivion.

    I suspect that a lot of the smaller German, French and other European manufacturers disappeared during this same period.

    Ian
     
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