70+year old negatives

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by connie2, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. connie2

    connie2 Member

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    I need some advice, i have found some old black and white negatives of my late grandmothers which must be over 70 years old and are of varying sizes up to 2.5" x 4.5". I have 35mm, 6 x 6 and a minox enlarger and not sure best way to print them as some i would like to print bigger than the original if possible. I do have a 350d and traditional film cameras too and wondered if there was a way of copying them too.

    :confused:
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    A 4x5 enlarger with a glass negative carrier is likely your best bet. Fairly cheap these days. Do they say safety film? I think check for vinegar smell. If the negatives are in good condition I'd just print them and not worry about copying.

    The postcard size will make nice contact prints and I'm guessing really were aimed at small contacts.
     
  3. connie2

    connie2 Member

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    The negatives have been kept in box within an old shoe box and just smell a bit musty. Do you know where i could get a 4 x 5 enlarger?
     
  4. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Depends where you are but they tend to be pretty common on Ebay. Can be pretty cheap to.
     
  5. connie2

    connie2 Member

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    i am in the UK. Do you know of any makes?
     
  6. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Devere,Durst. Both are very good pro grade. Still in todays world neither should be too expensive.
     
  7. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Really depends on how many negs you have to print from and what sizes the majority are. 5x4 enlargers still aren't cheap in the U.K. in my opinion and unless you intend to do a lot of big neg work on a regular basis it could be expensive to get one just for these negs.

    If most are of the old 6x9 cms size which is the old 120 folder size popular between the wars then the old Gnome enlargers will manage these and they are quite cheap. Quite a number appear regularly on U.K. e-bay.The other options are: to place the larger film negs in the 6x6 carrier on your existing neg carrier to get the important piece of it and print.

    Contact print as has been said then copy the print with a 120 or even 35mm film. I have had reasonable success with a telephoto lens on a tripod and postcard size or slightly smaller prints

    Take out the neg carrier and place a glass neg into the space. This space is quite large and as long as the glass doesn't stick out too much you can tape round it and the enlarger head to prevent light leak and again print from what you can see on the baseboard. I had reasonable success doing this with a glass plate neg on a Durst M605 which only manages 6x6.

    Of course its slow and only you know how many you are prepeared to attempt this way before getting fed-up.

    It should be possible to do most if not all one way or another.

    Best of luck

    pentaxuser
     
  8. connie2

    connie2 Member

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    Thanks fot the info - i got a pro proof printer plain glass one delivered this morning. Looked on ebay for an enlarger and you as you say they are still expensive in the UK and alot are collect only! There's only the odd one or two of the negatives which are postcard size about to 2.5" x 4.5" size. Hadn't thought that could use the my late dad's MPP 6 x6 enlarger for them.
     
  9. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Just to make you smile. There was a sale quite recently. I can't re-call if there was a reserve nor do I know how much the seller got for it. It was the note attached that had me chuckling. It was a 8x10 enlarger. The seller said Collect Only and added something like,"well I am sure you expected that" and added. "but don't bother with a car or even a small van. It weighs over half a ton!

    It was somewhere in Wales and if you'd had the space and a Transit van to carry it, this was probably the bargain of a lifetime if you were into ultra LF.

    pentaxuser
     
  10. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Connie, I was asked recently to print some Negatives that had been found of my wifes’ grandfather as a young man.

    We were not sure of the exact date but somewhere in the region of 1919 to 1923 (ish)

    The amazing thing was how well they printed - grade 2 no problem - and hardly a scratch on them.

    I made lots of copies and sent them out to all his descendants - now scattered across the world with a note enclosed of who and what the photos were.

    A fascinating glimpse into a lost world

    Good luck and have fun

    Martin
     
  11. connie2

    connie2 Member

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    Thanks Martin

    The photo's are of my late grandparents, dad and uncle when they were in India in the mid 1930's, and when my late dad was a baby.

    Out of interest which enlrager did you use or did you use a contact printer?
     
  12. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Hi Connie, my negs were 6 x 9cm (2.5 x 3.25 inches)

    I have a Kaiser that will do up to 6 x 9 (chosen as all my fathers’ photos from 1946 to the 70s were shot in that format) and a 105mm enlarging lens.

    The 2.5" x 4.5" negs are going to be a problem for you to enlarge – if you can only go up as far as 6x6cm – you will have to selectively crop the neg to get a print – or find some one with a Large Format Enlarger.

    However, 2.5" x 4.5" negs would contact print quite nicely without too much eye strain for the viewers – and would be a good place to start.

    Have fun

    Martin
     
  13. connie2

    connie2 Member

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    Hi martin

    have seen this on ebay Durst CLS 450 Laborator 1000 colour enlarger - what do think?
     
  14. Bobby Ironsights

    Bobby Ironsights Member

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    I think that if you can afford large format colour gear, you go girl! I think everyone should do 4x5, it's awesome!

    But if you just want to print some large format negatives, then you'd have a very hard time spending more on a decent lab, then getting into a whole new format.

    P.S. Buy the enlarger, then a 4x5 camera, then get into colour.
     
  15. connie2

    connie2 Member

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    I would just like a decent 4x5 enlarger to print in black and white negs for time being as am a budget. Knew to this format so wasn't sure of the makes and models to search on the net.
     
  16. Bobby Ironsights

    Bobby Ironsights Member

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    Sorry, I'm not sure I was clear.

    When I said you'd have a hard time spending more on a decent lab...etc...etc.., I didn't mean you going out and buying a decent lab setup. I meant you might be better off getting your negatives enlarged by a decent commercial photolab, and paying them for the enlargements, than buying your own gear.