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Basic Contact Printing Question
Old 07-21-2005   #1
wlewisiii
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Basic Contact Printing Question

Now that I have some 4x5 film on it's way to me, I've been thinking about being able to contact print from the negatives. I understand the process well enough, though it has been about 21 years since I last did it . What I am wondering though, is there a paper & paper developer combination that is as idiot proof as Diafine is for the negs? This is going to be a bath room or basement deal so I need to cut out as many variables as possible.

Thanks,

William
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Old 07-21-2005   #2
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I use Ilford multigrade resin-coated paper (pearl surface) and ilford Multigrade paper developer. To get max detail in a contact print, gloss surface is best, but you have to decide how you want your prints to look. You'll also need a red safelight to see what you are doing. What are you going to use a sa light source?
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Old 07-21-2005   #3
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Going to have to buy one - thank you for reminding me of that "minor" detail.

At this time, my "darkroom" is a changing bag. Which works just fine for getting the negatives done and is all I need if I then scan the negative. But the idea of doing some kind of printing w/out having to get an enlarger is compelling.

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Old 07-21-2005   #4
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Even better yet:

http://www.albumenworks.com/printing-out-paper.html

Printing out paper. Designed for what you want to do, it sounds like. No development. Just watch it get dark, rinse it, tone it (if you want) and then fix it.

Fun, and you get to be part of the "alt-processing" scene.

Oh! And looks good, too.
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Old 07-21-2005   #5
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For contact printing you will actually need a dark room. Get a piece of thin foam to lay down first, place a peice of photographic paper on top of it, place your neg (emulsion face down) on the paper, and finally place sheet of glass on top of everything to press the neg to the paper with no gaps.

Look around for a used enlarger. There are lots available with photogs abandoning the traditional process and going to digital printing. You can use it as a light source for printing and to make enlargements from your 35mm negs. Medium format and 4x5 enlargers are more expensive, the latter being much more expensive, but jsut keep your eyes open.

In lieu of an enlarger for a light source, you can hang a bare bulb over the glass/neg/paper/foam sandwich and experiment with different lengths of time to get a good exposure.

Good luck!
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Old 07-21-2005   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankS
...you can hang a bare bulb over the glass/neg/paper/foam sandwich and experiment with different lengths of time to get a good exposure.

That is exactly the way Edward Weston did almost all of his most famous and beautiful prints.

Tom
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Old 07-21-2005   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdos2
Even better yet:

http://www.albumenworks.com/printing-out-paper.html

Printing out paper. Designed for what you want to do, it sounds like. No development. Just watch it get dark, rinse it, tone it (if you want) and then fix it.

Fun, and you get to be part of the "alt-processing" scene.

Oh! And looks good, too.
Thank you, sir; that is a very interesting link. I think I'm going to have to give that a try.

William
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Old 07-22-2005   #8
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One of the best papers for contact printing is Kodak Azo.
A photoflood bulb in a reflector might give you a nice even print.
Developer isn't critical. Use whatever you like.
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Old 07-22-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poptart
One of the best papers for contact printing is Kodak Azo.
A photoflood bulb in a reflector might give you a nice even print.
Developer isn't critical. Use whatever you like.

Developers for Azo may not be "critical" but if you question any of the cognoscenti on the subject of contact printing on Azo, they will tell you that you are committing heresy if you use anything other than Amidol

Tom

PS: Some of us heretics have used Agfa Neutol in the past but beware of being struck by lightning.
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Old 07-22-2005   #10
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Yes, try POP.
Pick up a few contact frames and do it in your yard (print by sunlight).
No darkroom required.
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Old 07-22-2005   #11
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you an also try CYANOTYPES.
They require 25-30 minute exposure in sunlight and give beautfiul tones
http://www.photogs.com/bwworld/cyanotypes.html

The chemistry is very simple and it can be done in a variety of papers to suit your taste.
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Old 08-31-2005   #12
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I have a question for you about contact sheets.
I have developed my first 6x6 negatives. I don’t have yet a 80mm lens for printing them. Can I do a contact sheet with the 50mm lens?
Thought to ask before i try.

Thank you,
Dimitris
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Old 08-31-2005   #13
Wayne R. Scott
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Yes.

Wayne
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Old 08-31-2005   #14
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Contact printing is when you place the negative in direct contact with the paper. There is no enlarging, so no enlarger or lens is needed. The print though, is only the size of the original negative. As a result, contact printing is generally used as a final print in Large Formats like 4x5, 5x7 or 8x10. It can be used to get proofs from smaller negatives to use to decide which negatives are worth enlarging.

I hope to use contact prints as my final prints for my 4x5s. Even though it's a small size, I think that with portraits and some types of landscapes, a small almost jewel like framed print could be effective.

You could use your 50mm to print the 6x6 negatives, but it would probably cause strange proportions due to the fact that 50mm is a fairly wide angle lens on that format.

Hope this answers your questions,

William
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Old 08-31-2005   #15
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Crystal clear.

All questions are answered rapidly!

Thank you all.
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Old 08-31-2005   #16
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SURE!
All you have to do is to raise your enlarger head enough to evenly llit the paper
It is, in fact, a lot easier to mke contacts with the 50mm than with the 80mm for me because of the height of my enlarger

Quote:
Originally Posted by dim
I have a question for you about contact sheets.
I have developed my first 6x6 negatives. I don’t have yet a 80mm lens for printing them. Can I do a contact sheet with the 50mm lens?
Thought to ask before i try.

Thank you,
Dimitris
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Old 08-31-2005   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wlewisiii
You could use your 50mm to print the 6x6 negatives, but it would probably cause strange proportions due to the fact that 50mm is a fairly wide angle lens on that format.
In most cases, 50mm lenses don't have enough coverage for a 6x6 frame, and the projected image would vignette.

Also, how would the focal length of the enlarger lens affect the proportions or perspective of the image?

I can understand that different focal lengths can have different effects on the proportion of a subject at a given distance, in relation to the other elements in the frame, but how would this apply to projecting a flat piece of film?

Thanks.
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Old 08-31-2005   #18
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My thought was - and it may be wrong - that the film plane in the negative carrier would be the same distance for both lenses and that the 50 would then act as a wide angle lens. I was pondering out loud mostly.

William
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Old 08-31-2005   #19
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the logic we use for picture taking doesnot work with enlarging lenses.
Those are in most cases flat field or close to macro
so a 50mm will not cover a 6x6 negative
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Old 08-31-2005   #20
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William,

Justin was right. You have confused wide-angle lens with wide field lens. even though they are sometimes lablled that way in enlarging lenses by the marketing people.

Look at it this way. For camera lens, a 35mm WA lens for 35mm film covers an angle of approximately 63 degrees (relative to the front element of the lens). However, the circle of light coming out of the rear element covers a circle of just over 50 mm (i.e., the diagonal of the 24X35 mm film.)

The equivalent for MF is a 50 mm lens. Even though it covers an angle of about 63 degrees, the circle of light coming out of the rear element has to cover a circle of just over 80 mm (i.e., the diagonal of the 6X6 negative).

Hence even though both of these lenses are WA lenses, they are not wide-field lens relative to the film that they are intended to be used for.

There are some enlarging lenses that are wide field. For example, a wide field 40mm lens can cover a 24X35mm negative, while a 60mm wide field lens can cover a 6X6 negative. The shorter focal lengths in both instance would allow for a higher magnification with the same enlarger height.
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Old 08-31-2005   #21
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It depends which 50mm lens you use. A 50mm from a hasselblad, or a 47mm Super Angulon cover 6x6cm fine, but a 50mm designed for 35mm camera use might only have an image circle 45mm in dia.

Sorry, I'll shut up now.
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Old 08-31-2005   #22
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Hi ManGo,

Don't waste your time teaching me maths. The last time I touch anything Mr. Pythagoras said was in the last millenium.

I sure didn;t do any actual calculatons, I pick those convenient numbers just to illustrate a point.
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