8x10 negs

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by modafoto, Oct 17, 2003.

  1. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    Hi

    I have some 8x10 negs that I would like to make prints of. The size of the negs is satisfying and I plan to contact print.
    Can anyone tell me how to print these negs the best way?
     
  2. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    You might want to read the articles Michael A. Smith has written at www.michaelandpaula.com

    He contact prints on Azo, but a lot of what he says would apply to any kind of contact printing.
    juan
     
  3. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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  4. roy

    roy Member

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    And 'congratulations' to you on reaching your 1000 posts, demonstrating your commitment to the forum , if I may be so bold as to offer them.
    Roy.
     
  5. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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  6. roy

    roy Member

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  7. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  8. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    If you want to make silver prints, you can't do better than printing on Azo. You can also make platinum prints, of course, or use any one of a number of alternative processes.

    I have probably been making only silver contact prints longer than anyone--over 36 years without making an enlargement--and I'll be happy to answer your specific questions if you want to go that route.
     
  9. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  10. jbrodkey

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    If you are already making enlargements on to 8X10 B&W paper,
    the easiest thing to do to get started and see what happens would be to get an 8X10 printing frame. You can use your enlarger as the timed controllable light source and your favorite B&W paper. Anything beyond this approach is alot more trouble.....
     
  11. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The quick & easy way is to contact print on ordinary enlarging paper. A cheap picture frame (from IKEA?) makes a decent contact printing frame for the first attempts - especially with enlarging paper.

    The next step is to go to specialized contact paper, of which there are two: Azo (see above) and Bergger Art Contact (which according to Michael A. Smith isn't a "real" contact paper). I have had very good results with the Bergger paper, I have not tried Azo. To me, the main advantage of Bergger is that it's readily available in Europe. I develop the paper in Ansco 130, home mixed.

    Beyond that there's no real limit to the processes you can use: Albumen, salt print, van Dyke, Pd/Pt, cyanotype, gum... The list goes on, and there are at least as many opinions as there are practitioners.
     
  12. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    There are a number of "best " ways to contact print an 8x10 negative. The list includes, but is not limited to Platinum, Albumen, Printing Out Paper, Carbon, and Azo. Which you choose to use is a matter of personal taste. Printing on enlarging paper is, however, definitely not on that list.
     
  13. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Guess I'll go throw out all those contact prints I made on enlarging paper then...
     
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  15. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    No, don't throw them out yet, but if you reprint them properly on Azo, you will probably be wanting to. I made contact prints on enlarging paper for seven and a half years--good prints--a number were collected by collectors and museums. But when I switched to Azo and learned how to print on it, and reprinted those older negatives, most all of the prints that were made on enlarging paper went into the trash.
     
  16. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If 100 sheets of Azo seems too much to print "a few negatives", Bergger Art Contact is available in packs of 25 at a very much lower price. I buy mine from http://www.monochrom.com in Germany. Unlike Azo it can also be used for enlarging, though with very long exposure times.
     
  17. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  18. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I haven't tried Fomatone, nor have I tried anything else from J&C. Since I live in Norway, it is easier to order from Germany. Some of the J&C products are also available here, like the Foma papers.

    At present I'm trying Bergger, Forte and Maco papers, as well as some Kentmere, Oriental and Ilford paper I've had for a while. I think that's enough...

    The Bergger Art Contact is fixed grade, but responds very well to chemical trickery. I have no difficulties getting good results from grade 1 through 4 by changing the exposure and/or the developer.

    It took me 25 sheets to master this - if one needs 200 sheets to master Azo, I think I'll stick to Bergger...
     
  19. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The 100 sheet boxes is one of the reasons I have not yet tried Azo - it's far too many sheets to buy for trying. Now, if he had packs of 25 I would give it a go...

    What needs careful testing is how to manipulate the contrast to fit existing negatives, not how to make a negative to fit a given paper. I have given up on multicontrast paper, after finding that I have much better control of tonality using graded papers. And the Bergger Contact is one of the most flexible papers I have tried.
     
  20. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Ole, if you have a good mastery already with graded papers (and it certainly sounds as if you do), the learning curve with azo would not be nearly as steep as mine is (with less than a year, total, of black & white so far). It really does add a dimension to printing that is difficult to describe. While my results are not yet what I want, they are encouraging and going in the right direction.
     
  21. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    Ole, If you are satisfied with your prints, no need to switch to Azo or to anything else. There is never any need to switch until you have seen and really know that your prints can be made better. I did not switch until Dody Thompson (Edward Weston's last assistant), whom I met in 1975 and showed my work to sat me down, put a huge stack of Weston's prints in front of me and we looked at his prints next to mine. I had seen hundreds of Weston's prints previously--and close up, but I never had the opportunity before that moment to really compare, side by side, his prints and mine. As I said, my prints were good ones, but it was immediately obvious that Weston's were far better. Dody and I discussed why that was so, and she eventually came up with, "It has to be the paper." I had tried Azo previously, but could not make good prints on it, but I determined to try it again. (Dody's advice was to try a contact printing paper, not an enlarging paper.) I did, and finally, after much experimentation, figured out how to get it right. For the most part, the difference in my prints was astounding. ( I might add here that it was because of this that good things started happening--an exhibition at the Eastman House, major grants, and on and on. My vision had not changed. It was that the prints were so much better. And solely due to the paper, to the use of Azo.) (I had previously tried all of the enlarging papers then available.)

    To repeat, no need to switch papers if you are satisfied with the prints you already make, but if someone has not yet bought paper and is starting out and wants to make the "best" contact prints as the original poster said he wanted to do, it is doing them a disservice to recommend enlarging paper--have them invest in it, only to find later that there is something that is much better--and easier to use as well.

    I was writing about Azo long before I had any inkling I would ever be selling it, which, I will repeat again, was nothing I ever wanted to do, but was forced to do in order to save the paper. So, please, no comments that my posts about Azo have to do with my selling it. I used to make the same type of posts before selling Azo was even an option.

    Kodak used to make 25-sheet packs of paper, but they have not done so for about six oe seven years now. If someone will supply us with the black bags that it used to come in and the foil-lined (I think they were foil lined) paper enclosures, we would sell 25-sheet packages. But we would have to charge for our time to count out the paper and the cost per sheet would be prohibitive (in my opinion), and I would not recommend it. We do have a very few 25-sheet- package envelopes left, and from time to time I have filled them with paper and sold a few of them, not before recommending against it because of the high price per sheet we must charge, because of the time we must spend. But if, after that, people still want it, we have sold it.

    jdef is right. You really need 200 sheets--a box of each grade. No one that I know or ever heard of makes negatives that always print properly on one grade of paper and I can imagine nothing more frustrating than buying one grade, having the prints be either too soft or having too much contrast, and having to not only buy the other grade after all, but having a totally disappointing printing session because of not having the right materials from the beginning. So we always recommend that, for those starting out, that they buy a box of each grade.

    If you, or anyone else wants a 25-sheet pack, although we do not recommend it, we'll sell it to you as long as we have the envelopes and black bags the paper came in. We do, however, only have a few left. Contact me off-forum.
     
  22. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Michael, as I see it, people dont try azo for the significant investment it represents. Why dont you offer a "sampler?" You must have an open box of G2 and G3, if they send you the paper envelope and the the postage money, why dont you have your assistant put 3 or 4 sheets of each grade in the envelope and put it in the mail?

    Most people have empty envelopes of photo paper lying around, if you are willing to do this, you might be able to sell more paper. I would even go as far as saying that it would be good if your assistant included a work print with the sheets, so people can compare.

    You can screeam until you are blue in the face that Azo is a wonderful paper, but your biggest obstacle is the 100 sheet box. Ole is a good example, he is a very good printer, I have seen his photographs, I am sure that with 3 or 4 sheets he could make a judgement if this is a paper he would like to use, hell, even I would try it if you were to do this.

    Give it a thought and learn something from people like Fred Picker, say what you will of him, he was a great promoter of his Zone VI stuff and found ways to make people try his products.
     
  23. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    Very interesting suggestion, Jorge. We will seriously give it some thought.
     
  24. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    I must admit that the high price of the 100 count box kept me from trying Azo for some time. While I did want to try it, it was a large investment for something that could have turned out to being not to my liking. It wasn't until I got some old 4x5 sheets and a 25 pack of 8x10 on e bay for a few bucks that I saw how good it was. If that hadn't happened I would probably still be holding out and making due to graded enlarging paper for contacts. Its just like anything someone tries to sell...if you know its the best, then give them a sample and rest assured that they will come back for more.
     
  25. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I began to buy Zone VI Brilliant paper (probably the second incarnation - mid-80s) after I bought one of the prints Fred Picker sold for $25.00. He made them from negatives that didn't require dodging or burning, and he sold them in part to advertise his paper, and in part so that folks living in the backwoods (as I did then) could see what a good print looked like.

    It worked. My printing improved a great deal from studying the print, and I bought his paper to print on. Wish I had known about Azo then.
    juan
     
  26. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Jorge,

    You may not recall but I made that offer here some months ago. I had two that said they wanted to buy the paper and then did not follow through. Based upon their stated desire I bought 1000 sheets of grades two and three. I am really rather happy that they did not follow through now. The 2000 sheets that I now have should keep me in paper for awhile.