Condenser to Diffuser

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by ChrisFairfowl, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. ChrisFairfowl

    ChrisFairfowl Member

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    Any ideas please.

    I found a box of 10x12 Kodak paper, it must be at least 20 years old and to my surprise and delight it is still giving a full range of tones from deepest black to clean whites! It’s a really nice paper and there is a hundred sheets. It is grade 3 Hard and with my Durst DA900 condensing enlarger it prints a little harder than I like for some negs. I tried removing the condenser but the exposure time was far too long, I tried placing a piece of tracing paper between the condenser and the Lens bellows to act as a diffuser but this too made life hard. Can any one suggest the best material to use for a diffuser or any other suggestions? I would really like to use this paper rather than throw it in the skip. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Instead of trying to reduce contrast with diffusion, you can "pull process" your paper. Increase exposure and reduce development, that will give you softer contrast. It would be a good idea to dilute your developer more than the recommended. The reason is that if your development times are shortish, consistency could suffer. When development rate is slow, you can be pretty accurate and have repeatable results. A side effect of this technique is that print tone can change, giving warmer results. The extent of tonal shift depends on the paper and the developer.
     
  3. bill spears

    bill spears Member

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    You could also try preflashing.
     
  4. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Or post flashing.

    Rick
     
  5. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    AARGH ! Put the tracing mylar on the negative carrier, right above the film. A thin sheet of translum/plexiglass works, or milkglass. Rosco Tough Rolux is perfect (google).

    What is your paper developer ? If you are using Dektol, using LPD or Selectol Soft will help a lot.
     
  6. ooze

    ooze Member

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    I would pre-post flash and/or use this paper only for suitable negs.
     
  7. ChrisFairfowl

    ChrisFairfowl Member

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    Brilliant!!!! I only posted this today and I've got some really good advice. I'll try a few and see what works best.
    Glad I didn't get moaned at for using out of date paper, this Kodak Bromesko is really nice stuff.

    Thanks, much appreciated.
     
  8. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Grade 3 will be grade 3 no matter what you do. The paper's contrast curve is what it is and changing the light source will not affect that. Going to a diffusion type light source will help a little, but only just. In reality, all that really changes is that the transitions from dark to light tones become a little smoother.

    Pre-flashing the paper will help a little, and it works by raising the fog level. If you're not careful, you wind up with less than clean whites and/or muddy shadows. It works with some images, but it's not a panacea.

    Pulling the paper before development is complete is almost asking for trouble. Paper develops fast, and it's too easy to get an unevenly developed print that way. A soft working developer is probably your best bet. If you can source Selectol Soft or something equivalent, try it. There are lots of formulas you can mix up yourself that will give similar results. But before you go through all that trouble, you could just try diluting Dekol 1+4 or even 1+5. It won't have much capacity or tray life, but it will act like a soft working developer. If you look at the soft working developer formulas, you'll see that they contain less alkali, less developing agent (usually metol), and more bromines than standard developers. Adding a measure of well used and partially exhausted paper developer to a more dilute working solution of Dektol will accomplish that.

    In the end though, the best use of the paper would be to use it when a hard paper is called for. That's how it was designed and that's how it will work best.
     
  9. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    As long as you develop "to completion", that's true.

    The way I've seen it (by experimentation), it doesn't affect Dmin, at least in a perceptible way. Any photographic emulsion has some kind of inertia. It needs a minimum amount of exposure to record something. If you give it a minimal amount of even exposure, it will later react to further exposure quicker. What it means is that void highlights tend to have some more detail, but I agree, it's not panacea.

    Yes, snatching paper from the developer tray can lead to uneven development - streaking, but that's why I proposed dilute developer. You see, 3 times more dilute developer is slow; some would say boring. In the end, you can have repeatable results, as long as you're consistent. One more detail that I missed previously is the need to use a fair amount of concentrate. You can't expect to have capacity and stable performance if you use too little.

    I tried this technique because I'm curious and because the available papers and chemicals over here are very, very few. I find it a viable technique if you want to use some materials for something that they weren't meant to be used.

    Agreed!
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You can't over expose & pull a Bromide paper with out compromising quality.

    There's a very simple answer use Selectol Soft - D165/ID-3. Although no longer manufactured it's a simple Metol based developer and easy to make up. It'll give you nearly a Grade drop in paper contrast.

    ID-3

    Metol 6 g
    Sodium Sulphite (anh) 25 g
    Sodium Carbonate (anh) 37.5 g
    Potassium Bromide 1 g
    Water to 1 litre

    To use: Dilute 1+ 3

    Ian
     
  11. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    I'm certainly not as experienced as you Ian, but how does this compromise quality?
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You can't under develop a Bromide paper without the shadows looking very muddy and flat, hence the drop in quality.

    Ian