Can the material used to print Xrays be used as an ND filter ? I would like to do some long exposure photography and since I am stuck at home , so was thinking if it is possible.

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    \$\begingroup\$ try it.......... \$\endgroup\$ Apr 20, 2020 at 7:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Chloritone, it's an interesting question, but this site format works best when questions show some prior research. Here's some pointers on how to ask a fitting question. If you run into problems when trying out X-ray plates as an ND filter, feel free to pose a question here. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 20, 2020 at 10:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Almost anything can act as a light reduction filter, but it's a question of quality. Both optical quality and color neutrality are the question. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 20, 2020 at 16:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Be aware that there may be safety issues if you are planning on doing solar photography using exposed/developed X-ray film. Just because something attenuates visible light is no indicator that it also attenuates the infrared and UV energy contained in sunlight. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Apr 21, 2020 at 16:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelC Thank you, I was not asking for solar photography, but just for long exposure photos during daytime. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 22, 2020 at 17:06

1 Answer 1


Film blackened by exposure and developing has long been used as a neutral density filter for viewing the sun during an eclipse. While this procedure produces a safe to use filter for visual use, it has its drawbacks. X-ray film generally has an emulsion on both sides, thus it has twice the density of pictorial film. This density is due to the accumulation of metallic silver. Now photo films and X-ray films are poor substitutes for a photo grade ND, so my answer is, give it a try. Why not? The drawback will be turbidity within the emulsion.

Consider using the ND filters or polarizing filter you already own. Mount one and cover with aluminum foil with a pin-hole in the center. This pin-hole overlay might just do the trick for you without any added filters.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As @Michael C pointed out in a comment on the question. While that has been a common practice, it's not safe! \$\endgroup\$ Apr 22, 2020 at 0:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Tried it , you were right the quality of photos taken using the Xray plates were not upto the mark. Thanks \$\endgroup\$ Apr 22, 2020 at 17:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Try the pin-hole in foil - you will like it. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 22, 2020 at 17:24

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