basic elements of contact printing

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by Don Wallace, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. Don Wallace

    Don Wallace Member

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    I am sure I asked these questions in the middle of another thread, but danged if I can find it.

    I am contact printing 8x10 negatives on the baseboard of my dichchroic enlarger. I put the negative emulsion side down on a piece of VC paper and cover it with a piece of glass. I set the head to the same height for all my contact prints and adjust exposure time with the lens aperture. I adjust contrast with the filters on the dichroic head.

    Is this the best way? Is there something I am doing wrong? Finally, what is the best kind of glass to use, or does it matter (assuming it is free of any defects, such as bubbles or scratches, and clean)? How thick should it be or does it matter?

    I know a lot of people suggest using a bare bulb, but that would require some work on my part, whereas the enlarger is already there.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Well, you left out all the complex mathematical calculations (sorry--a reference to another thread on this subject), but otherwise it sounds like what you are doing is fine. If you aren't getting good enough film flatness, you could use a larger and/or thicker piece of glass or use a spring back contact printing frame or a vacuum easel, but otherwise, I don't see any problem there.
     
  3. Don Wallace

    Don Wallace Member

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    Thanks David. I did see the other thread and it was so convoluted, I got nervous. Working all alone, one can often develop bad habits, but I am happy to see that I got it right.

    Another question, if anyone is still listening: are there any tips on dodging and burning? Unlike projected negatives, it is very hard to see the image in order to do "the dance" over it.
     
  4. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This is exactly what I do, except I use a springback contact print frame, instead of gravity. The frame helps flatness, but the primary reason I use it is to maintain registration, because my printing style involves two exposures.

    If the neg is difficult to see in the frame it can help to make a quickie print to set by for reference.