12x20 printing...some frustrations

Discussion in 'Ultra Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Kimberly Anderson, Jun 10, 2006.

  1. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

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    So I'm pretty discouraged this morning.

    After such a productive day processing film and printing, I had very high hopes for my prints when I came back to the lab.

    Heated up the dry-mount press and flattened out the prints w/out taking a very close look at them.

    Got them all flat then made my final inspection. Print quality? Not bad. Subject matter? Interesting. Technical issues? Dust!

    Dust? What? Crap! Dust!!!!! Dust everywhere. Little black specs on the print all through the sky.

    With the digital camera I can deal with dust. A click of the mouse and whoosh, it's gone.

    With the 12x20 camera I have 240 square inches of film to worry about. 240 square inches that is, in essense, a giant dust magnet.

    I'm going to have to do some serious house-cleaning of the camera, film-holders and the black plastic bags that I carry the film holders around in. Other than that, there isn't really much I can do.

    Anyway, here's the photograph of the extinct Teton Dam Reservoir. Fortunately for you, the dust is smaller than the pixels on your monitor and you don't have to suffer with it.

    *sigh*

    Extinct Teton Dam Reservoir

    Some technical data about the image:

    Photographed with a Korona 12x20 Banquet camera, ca. 1930. Lens was a Voightlander 7 1/2 inch lens, ca. 1890. Film: FP4. The 7 inch lens doesn't quite cover 12x20, so the corners are vignetting, or are cut-off and go black. When you're focused on close objects, it isn't as pronounced as when you're focused on distant ones.
     
  2. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Hi Michael,

    Great image, I'm glad to see you are making excellent use of that camera. I'm sorry I can't help you with your dust problem; I haven't printed in years, so I don't know what technologies, supplies are still available.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Neat image. For dust, I really like the Kinetronics 4" antistatic brush (also good for lenses and LP's), and Dust-Off.
     
  4. User Removed

    User Removed Guest

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    The falloff is really distracting in that image, mostly in the top left corner. I've seen black corner be used well in some images, but it does not seem to help this photograph at all. I suggest getting some lenses that cover better. :smile:

    As for black specks on the prints, that would mean clear spots on the negative, which means DUST ON YOUR NEGATIVE. Clean your film holders very well, and maybe get some DustOff to blow off the negative when loaded into the holders.
     
  5. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

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    Can you elaborate?
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you've got black specks on the print, then that means the dust got there before the shot. Clean the filmholders and the loading area carefully before loading, and wear a hat when you load film.

    If you've got white specks, that means that you got dust on the neg between development and printing.
     
  7. User Removed

    User Removed Guest

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    If you have dust on your negative when making the exposure, the light will not travel thru the dust speck, so that area of the film is unexposed (clear on the negative). When printed, it prints black.

    From here on out, just make sure your holders and clean and you load your holders in a clean space. Usually blowing off the negative is not needed, but you might need to in your case.

    As far as your negative goes, you can use a VERY fine spotting brush and some Spottone to spot out the tiny clear dots on your negative. Some people are really good at this and can make it match the surrounding area, if not...just make it a black dot on the negative which would print as a white dot on the print. A white dot on the print could be spotted very easy then.
     
  8. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    I have had continuous dust problems with 4X5, but I can never see too much when I contact print. It is when I enlarge that things get really bad. I have been able to improve things by being incredibly anal when loading film. I first hit them with dust off and smack them a little to get dust dislodged. I then use a small vacuum to clean any remaining dust off of the holders. I always store them in antistatic ziplock bags and also use an air cleaner in the room when I do this. I use a changing bag, so I also clean that out every time. So far this has helped, but in no way completely solved the problem.

    Good luck,

    Paul.
     
  9. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    About the only way I found I could eliminate dust when loading holders was to use the bathroom after I had run the shower on hot for about 10 minutes, and then let the steam clear for another 10 minutes. After making sure the holders themselves were dust free I completely eliminated any dust on the negative prior to exposure.

    For printing I use one of the kinetics brushes and also run a negative air ionizer (or is it de-ionizer?) which seems to help quite a bit.
     
  10. Harrigan

    Harrigan Member

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    You may be able to minimize the dust specs by retouching the clear spots on the neg. Not that its easy but it can help to hide them a bit. Personally I think if you're going to use lenses that do not cover the format the vignette needs to be centered on the image or equal in each corner. Its obvious that the lens was not properly centered on the board and i find this distracting to an otherwise good image.
     
  11. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    I vacume my holders before each loading session--that helps. I don't keep 12 x20 film holders in plastic bags either----way too much static-e---- I use dust proof zippered pillow covers from Walmart. Maybe that'll be of some help.
     
  12. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    I always turn off my Vandergraaf generator in my darkroom before loading holders.
     
  13. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    The other culprit can be dust in the bellows especially with older cameras. About the best you can do here is remove the GG and use a vacum on the inside of the bellows. If it is a very old bellows pull the GG and vacum it out. Now shine a light in the lens board end. Contract and extend the bellows a few times or thwack the side with you finger. If you see a lot of dust or particles being raised, either the bellows material, liner or possible glue used is deteriorating and literally turning to dust. Not much can be done about that other then reline the existing bellows or buy a new one.
     
  14. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    Clay, just thinking about that is enough to make my hair stand on end...
     
  15. sanking

    sanking Member

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    o

    If there is a lot of dust the best way to deal with the negatives at this point is to scan and correct them in Photoshop and make digital negatives.


    Sandy
     
  16. colivet

    colivet Member

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    Michael, is that the lens vigneting or bellows. My Korona12x20 was doing that same thing until one day I realized that extending the bellows all the way when using a long lens eliminated the vigneting completely. With the 19" lens I try to hold the bellows pulling forward before exposing the neg. No vigneting.
     
  17. philsweeney

    philsweeney Member

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    Hi Michael,

    Sooner or later you will have to learn how to spot your negs. I have some red and black dyes I use (not spot tone and no longer available). After I run my proofs, the next step is spotting the problem negatives. I guess your area of the country is dry so you may have a bigger problem with dust! Vacuums create static. If you use the vacuum go over the holders by hand again.
     
  18. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

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    Colivet,

    I am fairly certain that the bellows are not vignetting on this 12x20. The bellows are only 2-3 years old, and so they are not deteriorating, or at least they shouldn't be!

    I do see them sagging a bit, so I prop them up from below if they seem to droop too much.

    The lens is not centered on the board, and the darkcloth that I have with this camera ain't so light-proof, so it's hard to see the corners well and center the lens.

    It does look like it is consistantly 'low', so a bit of front rise when using that lens will be something to remember. Right-to-left centering might be off a bit on the lensboard, but it is not my camera nor lens, and I am not prepared to take it apart and mess with it.

    Apart from making sure the mounting screws are tight and the lens is parallel to the film plane in the lens board, there's not much that I can do to a piece of equipment I do not own.

    I'm going to take the camera apart and rack the bellows out, give them a good dusting-off, see if I can't find a good small vaccuum, clean the camera and holders out, then look for one of those anti-stat brushes or cloths.

    Right now in south-eastern Idaho it is pretty dry, lots of fields are still just plowed with no crops yet, and plenty of wind.

    I am using large plastic bags for the film holders, I'm thinking that the suggestion of the dust-proof zippered pillow cases might be a good one. I'll start looking.