Advice on hardware for contact printing

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by dustym, Oct 8, 2007.

  1. dustym

    dustym Member

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    Im embarking on my first contact prints from 10x8 negative.

    I need some help or advice on how to get crisp edges on the final print, what material to use to achieve this.

    Im using plate glass quite thick to sandwich the neg and paper confusedwhich is a little over 10x8 should I get some other glass cut at a larger size and what should the approx dims be.

    Any help as always will be gratefully recieved:smile:

    rgds
    Dustym
     
  2. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    AN 8x10 or 11x14 contact printing frame will serve you well. Window glass will work as well as plate, and may pass more light.
     
  3. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    You can get by without a contact printing frame but it's so much easier and more convenient that it's well worth the money. I got one from Bostick and Sullivan and am quite happy with it. Make sure it's slightly bigger than the size negative you will be printing to avoid edge cropping. I print 8x10 and my frame area is 9x11. Good luck! Shawn
     
  4. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    I too have a Bostick & Sullilvan contact printing frame. I'm very happy with mine and would highly recommend them.
     
  5. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Member

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    Hello Dustym,

    As you can probably imagine the equipment needed for contact printing can be as minimal as you'd like. Edward Weston made absolutely wonderful prints with a simple contact print frame and bare light bulb. IMO the main obstacle in contact printing of any size negative--and, the larger they get the greater the pain--is trying to achieve good contact between the negative and glass. Any minute pockets of air space, refraction within the glass itself, etc, can and will cause Newton's rings. This can be a MAJOR pain to resolve!

    FWIW, I've read comments that a thinner piece of glass is better than, say, plate glass because of refraction characteristics of the glass itself. Others say to use plate glass because you'll get better contact. Many years ago Ron Wisner and I embarked on a "mission" to resolve issues with Newton's rings that I experienced with nearly every print. Our (mostly Ron's) solution was to single coat one side of a 9x12 piece of plate glass--this was the same coating used for lenses--to bring the transmission properties of the glass closer to 100% and to eliminate as much reflection/refraction within the glass itself as much as possible. It worked great! At first, I printed images (8x10) of mine that I'd had trouble with before...no Newton's rings. After a couple of weeks, I decided to get really sinister and contact print a neutral gray target. I can't imagine a worse scenario for testing of contact printing! I found a couple of very minor issues, but nothing that would cause concern in normal printing. Didn't mean to bore you with this story...rather simply trying to pass on some thoughts about how "simple" contact printing can be! :wink:

    BTW, I do all my contact printing using an enlarger as the light source; makes for better control, IMO.

    Good luck as you move forward with your own contact printing. And, welcome to a wonderful world...if you've never experienced a contact print of your own work you're in for a real treat! Enjoy!!
     
  6. JLP

    JLP Subscriber

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    Another wote for Bostick & Sullivans CP frames, i use the 11x14 for 8x10 and 5x7 negatives. Very well made, will last a lifetime.


    jan