Best Paper For Negatives?

Discussion in 'Pinhole Photography' started by vrpd91, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. vrpd91

    vrpd91 Member

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    I'm trying to find some single-weight rc (8x10). Is there such an animal?
     
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  2. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    I don't know, butin my experience, the thinner the paper, the more you'll get the fibers in the paper shown, and hence a more "unsharp" result..

    I always use normal RC paper (if you use multigrade, you can put a soft filter on the back of the lens and then get negatives with nice soft tones...
     
  3. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    Single weight RC, I've never seen any.

    For pinhole cameras that are going to be using paper as the negatives, I typically use either Arista Edu.Ultra (made by Foma) VC or grade 2. In both cases, a good baseline for the ISO is about 8. Pre-flashing the paper gives is a bit of a boost. And I've fiddled a bit with using some old contrast printing filters, #0 and #00 with the VC papaer but I wasn't taking good notes, just screwing around. However I've found that just about any RC VC paper works but some tend to have higher contrast than others.

    Joe VanCleave posts here and over at www.f295.org and he might know of a single weight RC paper.

    Are you planning to use the paper in an enlarger or simply contact print? RC paper does work in an enlarger but I found the printing times to be a bit on the long side.

    One final note, fiber papers are also great for negatives because you can use a pencil on the back side to do a little dodging, you can get single weights (but brandname escapes me at the moment) and you can wax or oil them to help increase the transparency. RC paper doesn't respond to waxing or oiling. I've read of people soaking RC long enough to start peeling away layers on the back but I've never found it necessary.
     
  4. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Slavich was making some single weight...check out Freestyle.

    Edit -- never mind....missed the RC
     
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  5. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

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    Foma used to make single-weight RC, but not any more.

    I made extensive enquiries about a year ago and the only single-weight paper of any type I could find is Slavich Unibrom FB. Only place I found selling it is Freestyle.

    Ian
     
  6. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    I have not used the single weight papers for negatives; I don't see the need to, at least with printing onto silver gelatin paper. Perhaps if you're trying to do alternative process, you're better off trying APHS graphic arts film. Earl Johnson, over on F295.com, has some remarkable results with using APHS and a home-mixed developer that yields continuous tone negatives of normal contrast.

    With the standard Arista grade 2 paper negatives that I use (for printing onto silver gelatin paper), contact prints don't show any paper texture, and they're translucent enough to contact print through. Keep in mind that the contact printing process is emulsion-to-emulsion, so the paper backing of the negative acts as a diffusion light source; perhaps it softens the local contrast a bit as compared to sheet film.

    As I find myself using my condenser enlarger as a light source for contact printing, I seem to get adequate sharpness in image transfer from the negative to the print. And I've used this same setup for paper negatives from glass-lensed cameras, with good results; plenty of sharpness, so I don't think I'm losing much in the printing stage, other than a bit of local contrast from the diffusion effect of the backing paper.

    I do wonder if using a condenser light source helps keep the image transfer a bit sharper than merely using a bare light bulb, since the rays are collimated from the condenser and hence more parallel, they may perhaps diffuse less through the paper negative's backing? Just a thought.

    ~Joe
     
  7. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    Has anyone been successful in getting the emulsion off the rc paper like you used to be able to do with release film? I know some people were able to get the emulsion to float off kodachrome. Don't know how, but I seem to remember something about hot water.
     
  8. Silverhead

    Silverhead Member

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    Not RC, but if you leave Kentmere's Kentona FB paper in hot water for extended periods the emulsion will sometimes come off the paper.
     
  9. ldh

    ldh Member

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    Joe...I think Im going to be pestering you in the future re paper negs...I'm on my last few boxes of Type 55 and have been thinking of diving into paper negs...primarily for the look I'm after but also because of the process involved...I am long done with processing 4x5 sheet film. I have seen fabulous work from both lensed and pinhole 4x5 papernegs...some scanned and output on fine art WC paper with carbon pigment inks and also traditional silver prints printed from paper negs. I am really excited about getting in to this. I work almost exclusively with pinhole for my personal work so i guess were looking at some serious exposure times with a paper neg.

    Hope your still hangin around when I'm stumped...thanks for all your info so far...

    Larry
     
  10. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    Larry;

    Fire away, I'm welcome for a continual dialog on paper negatives. I've currently been involved with a project to recreate (somewhat) the type of street portrait photography still being done in 2nd and 3rd world countries, using paper negatives and processing on location using a portable processing box, then making a copy print on site as well. I have a lengthy thread documenting this project on F295, here. I find this to be an interesting off-shoot of the paper negative.

    There are some aspects I haven't worked with, such as fiber based papers, where you can use charcoal pencil or other markings on the reverse side of the negative to make permanent selective dodging for the finished contact print. I've chosen to use RC for negatives, to reduce rinse time and ensure negative flatness, which helps in registry while setting up for the contact print.

    I also have not tried delaminating the emulsion from paper; I don't see the need for this, as a properly exposed and processed paper negative yields a nice contact print. Delaminating only risks destroying the negative. I have the same opinion about oiling or waxing the reverse side of the paper negative, in an attempt to make it more translucent, as some have mentioned.

    I do have some paper negatives, Ilford MG RC III from the mid-1990s, where there's a discoloration, internal to the paper, that can only be seen when the negative is backlit. So these negatives scan fine, but when contact printing this discoloration, which is on the edges and fades into the body of the paper, makes the resulting print unusable. I don't know if this was processing error on my part (inadequate rinse aid or rinsing), or if it was a problem with this batch of paper. This problem with these old paper negatives only started showing up several years ago. They've been stored in protective sleeves in notebook binders at room temperature, so I doubt if it's a problem with the storage conditions.

    Nonetheless, I continue to enjoy using paper negatives, and hope to see some of your images.

    ~Joe
     
  11. ldh

    ldh Member

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    Thanks Joe...Will be in touch Im sure...I have a project that I think will be suited for Pinhole Paper negs...but it will require me shooting in some remote places and in countries that likely will not have the infrastructure to support my technical requirements..so Im trying to sort things out so I can have some kind of system which allows me to be able to develop negs where ever I am....One thing I havent come across so far is discussion or info about choice of paper developers...and how that choice might make a difference...I also wonder what effect selenium toning might have (other than the obvious archival advantages). I get the feeling I will end up scanning these negs and outputting with Carbon pigment onto FA WC paper...Hannemuhle have some beautiful new papers that look very similar to traditional fiber based paper.

    The fisrt I reckon is to dial in an exposure chart with paper...just I have done with film. I use my Incident meter and EV to arrive at my pinhole exposures with Type 55...the nice thing I see with paper is that you can see your test results very quickly...and thus build a table quickly.

    Thanks again..and of course I would love to hear from others working in paper and or paper/pinhole...

    Larry
     
  12. arealitystudios

    arealitystudios Member

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    This might sounds like a stupid question, but when doing paper negatives, is there a big difference between matte and glossy? Does one or the other lend to making an easier positive through contact printing?

    I've been working with a home made 8x10 pinhole for quite some time but have always used standard sheet film. Not only is the cost killing me, but I think the look of paper negatives might be what I'm going for with certain subjects.
     
  13. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    Larry: I like to develop by inspection whenever I'm able to. Thus, I use a paper developer diluted a bit more than normal. I like liquid concentrate developers like Agfa Neutol WA and Ilford's. I dilute so the concentration is about 1.5-2x less than normal (but ensuring minimum concentrate exists in the solution for the amount of paper being processed) and then develop by inspection to around 3-4 minutes typically. This has the effect of permitting me to pull the negative at just the right point, where the shadows have adequate detail (or all the detail they're gonna get with the exposure they've been given) while the highlights aren't too dense.

    As for the paper surface glossy vs matte, I find glossy much better if you plan on contact printing, there's simply more detail transfered in the printing process. Not sure about scanning matte finish regarding detail, but it may be best to err on the safe side and use glossy for all paper negatives.

    ~Joe
     
  14. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I always hear about people developing by inspection, but I never can tell much about a print until I turn the white lights on. Do you have a very bright safelight right over your developing tray, or use an amber safelight?

    Very interesting; I will consider trying glossy paper now that I have some. I have been told that using glossy paper in some cameras (like those with curved film planes) can cause nasty artifacts from reflection.
     
  15. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    You're right about reflections in curved film plane cameras.

    I use a single red safelight bulb (the type that's a red-painted but otherwise bare bulb) about 4-5 feet from the developer tray.

    At first it's a bit hard to tell whether the highlights have gotten too dense, but with experience you'll get a feel for how dark it looks under red lights equates to a certain density under white lights. Good dark adapted eyes and get in close to the negative in order to see the subtle detail in the highlights.

    For the shadows it's pretty easy, you're looking for some detail below paper white as the darkest part of your negative that still has detail. You'll have to wait on this to happen, as the dense highlights come up first in the developer. The trick is allowing sufficient time for the shadow detail to come up adequately while not blowing the highlights too dense.

    Also realize what parts of your image will have no shadow detail even if left in the developer overnight; you want to ignore these areas when assessing the development of the image.

    And for landscape images taken with paper negatives, you want to ignore the density of the sky. It's going to get real dark, because it's full of blue/UV light and you have to over-expose it to get adequate exposure on the landscape itself.

    The quality of the mid-tones will tell you a lot about how good the negative is going to be. I can spot it in the tray, when the mid-tones have that full look about them, you know it's going to print well.

    The nice thing about paper is that it's cheap to experiment until you get a feel for the materials, exposures and development.

    ~Joe
     
  16. blokeman

    blokeman Member

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    I've been trying to perfect my paper-neg use for the last few months. Been there, done that for most papers but recently I like the look of some where I've used old Brovira FB medium weight and after development I carefully and painstakingly use varying grades of sandpaper (the white no-clog type) to make the paper thinner & more transparent. Yeah I know... there are probably easier ways but I enjoy the 'sheltered workshop' method. Also have been tinkering with both wax and cooking oils for increased transparency. Wax very difficult to coat evenly but the look can be almost 'gumoil' when printed.
    Also, I seem to get a better tonal range by pre-flashing under my enlarger. I read somewhere that this also increases the working ASA?
    It's an interesting topic........ oh and my use is with handmade & pinhole cameras mostly.
     
  17. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    How much do you preflash? Enough to bring the paper to a light grey when deveolped, or just less than that, or what?
     
  18. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Anyone tried the EFKE Positive B&W paper for pinhole work. Seems like it could be worth trying.
     
  19. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Andrew, I tried the Efke and that stuff is just too freaking contrasty! Haven't gotten anything useful. I haven't tamed it as yet and lost interest in it.

    BetterSense, I do preflashing to about 2-3 stops below the point at which normal development gives a light grey tone. I marked off a distance on my enlarger for that. I stopped the enlarging lens down fully, the bellows extension was something like 3 feet, and I did something like a half sec exposure. Haven't done it in a while but it worked well. In my case, I wasn't really trying to reduce contrast as much as boost the paper speed. Incidentally my paper was ilford rc glossy. Actually I hate that finish, but for paper negs....
     
  20. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    I've been preflashing my paper negatives for years now. I started by using my enlarger, lens stopped down to f/32, but the required exposure time of 1-2 seconds was too quick to accurately time with my old enlarger timer. So I made a custom preflashing light source, a type S-11 bulb (frosted white, 7.5 watts, 120vac) inside a metal soup can, with an aperture of about 1/8 inch. It stays suspended about 30 inches above my work surface, and typical preflash times for Arista's grade 2 RC paper is 10 seconds. I preflash enough so an otherwise unexposed sheet would develop to a faint gray tone.

    Preflashing helps to increase the shadow exposure without significantly increasing the highlight exposure, thus reducing the contrast range of the negative.

    I believe that using preflashing, with graded paper (which doesn't exhibit a contrast sensitivity to the color of light, like VC paper) together will significantly improve paper negatives of scenic subject matter.

    As for the Efke direct positive paper, I've worked with it some last summer, and found that if it was significantly preflashed, the resulting image was pretty good. By "significantly" I mean that a normal preflash time for my grade 2 paper is 10 seconds; the Efke direct positive paper required about 30 seconds.

    I also rated the exposure index of the Efke paper around 1, whereas my normal grade 2 RC I rate around 2-3.

    Here's an example:

    [​IMG]

    ~Joe
     
  21. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    That looks really good Joe, maybe I'll give the Efke another go.
     
  22. blokeman

    blokeman Member

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    Wow! Great clarity for a paper neg!!
     
  23. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    Thanks Blokeman; but it was actually a paper positive; that is, it develops in paper developer as a direct positive image. Made by Efke, available here in the States through Freestyle. It's weird to work with, because the paper turns completely dark in the developer if it has not been exposed to light. It also has a weird tonal scale and sensitivity, hence the need to do some significant preflashing and exposure testing prior to use. I also don't know if it has a contrast sensitivity to the color of light, like VC paper has.

    ~Joe