Contact printing with 4x5 -grey prints

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by analoguey, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. analoguey

    analoguey Member

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    I started contact printing (4x5) recently. Burned through a few papers before realising my room light was too bright and switching to a less powerful light source.

    Also switched to testing with 120 negatives to see if it was my negatives.

    I got some good prints of those and even tested with a couple of 4x5 and got acceptable times (10s) and decent prints too.

    However that bulb went kaput and I'm back to testing with the brighter bulb - the last few prints came out middling grey with clear blacks only at the edges.

    So I'm a little confused now whether it's the because of underexposure or any other issue?

    All prints were on Ilford rc grade 3.

    Development usually about 1:30m stop 00;10 and fix 0:45-1:00. Final wash of 2mins.

    All Kodak chemicals. Dev is 1:8 dektol (fresh)

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  2. Kevin Harding

    Kevin Harding Member

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    How do the negatives look? Are they really thick?
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    You say the last few prints were grey without strong blacks; did the initial prints with the new bulb look ok?
    If so, then it's probably a problem of developer exhaustion.

    1:8 is a lot of dilution for Dektol, it's usually used at 1:2 or sometimes 1:3
     
  4. analoguey

    analoguey Member

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    Not really, mostly average with good definition.

    They looked okay with 120 - with even darker negatives.
    It might be exhausted, I have anyways dumped the dektol to make new working solution.

    1:3 is actually too strong - temp is usually close to 30c I get little or no time before over development, 1:8 is just fine.

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  5. Kawaiithulhu

    Kawaiithulhu Subscriber

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    At a dilution of 1:8, which is approximately 3x weaker than 1:3, your soup will only last for 1/3 the square inches of developing as mentioned on the instruction sheet. I think :D
     
  6. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    plus one
     
  7. analoguey

    analoguey Member

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    Hmm. Link? I have tried to find one via Google or apug but havent been lucky


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  8. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Kodak's datasheet indicates that Dektol is good for approximately 32 8x10 sheets per liter at their recommended dilution (1:2)
    So, that would be 32 sheets per .5 liter of stock solution. A liter at 1:8 might be good for as few as 4 8x10 sheets, if I'm doing the math right. Also, at 30C the developer will oxidize faster.
    You may want to mix the working solution with chilled water, or possibly even use the tray in a chilled water bath. Or else dilute less and get used to really fast developing times.

    Reference pdf here;
    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/e103cp/e103cp.pdf
     
  9. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Where did you come up with a 1:8 dilution for Dektol??
     
  10. analoguey

    analoguey Member

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    Not necessarily 1:8 but I think both 1:7 and 1:9.
    Here on apug itself. 1:9 referencing Ansel and 1:7 as recommendation

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  11. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Unless I am missing something ... save yourself some magic bullet moments and go with Kodaks recommondation.
    There is a reason for 1:2 or 1: 3
     
  12. analoguey

    analoguey Member

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    Thanks for the link.
    I'll try a water bath, but unlikely to be able to keep water cooler than 25 - would require too much ice. Still might be better.

    At 32 sheets per 330ml of dev(1;2), that would be 1 sheet per 10ml or 8 sheets for 80. 1:8 gives me 110ml so still shouldnt have gotten exhausted - I'm using 5x7 paper and have only gone through about 15 (so 7 of 8x10) of them with this (now discarded) working solution.




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  13. analoguey

    analoguey Member

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    I realised I probably communicated this wrongly, so heres an actual print -

    [​IMG]


    Taken via my phone (low Res)

    What I realise I meant was that the prints weren't coming out at the right contrast levels.
    Thats what the greys were.

    So, would this be more development or more paper exposure thats required?

    Thanks!

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  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi analoguey

    i think you might have misread what people are suggesting using
    dilute dektol ( 1:7 &c ) for ... people typically use those
    dilutions when using dektol to process FILM, not paper .. with paper
    it is usually used as recommended by others in this thread ...
    do you do test strips tofigure your light and exposure ?
    together with stronger developer it might help you get better prints ..

    have fun!
    john
     
  16. analoguey

    analoguey Member

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    Thanks John,

    Yes I did to test prints earlier, and this negative is similar to those.
    Ill probably have to pull up the dektol links, but they're around -recently I think Ralf also mentioned 1:7.
    I did print other images than this one and they came out pretty decently. I'll try a higher mix 1:5 or so with this negative and see how that goes.
    1:3 just blew dev times to under 10s and thats just impossible to work with.



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  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi again ..
    i think i found the thread ...
    that was ralph's response in pdeeh's paper negative thread ?

    i think ralph was talking about using dilute dektol to control contrast with paper negatives
    dilute dektol is less active so the contrast doesn't get so crazy.
    my guess ( maybe i am completely wrong ) is that ralph uses dektol at regular dilutions
    when making a contact print (positive print ) of his paper negatives ... ( maybe not? )

    if you haven't played with paper negatives, its a lot of fun ( and less expensive than film ! )
    if you decide to play a little, you might experiment rating your paper at around iso 6 or 12 or 25 depending on the time of day
    ( its sensitive to blue light, which varies depending on the time of day &c AND open shade is wonderful with paper negatives ) and developing THAT in
    your 1:7 dektol :smile: and when you contact print, your paper negative will have longer exposure time when making your contact paper positive
    you can wax your paper to make it more see-through / translucent but it will still require more time ..

    have fun
    john
     
  18. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    The exposure should be enough to show as completely black at the film edges just outside of the image area. Ideally, you want just enough exposure to get the edges completely black, and no more.
    This is assuming that you're processing the print in fresh, active developer. Your 1:7 dilution may or may not be active enough to accomplish that.

    Assuming it is, and the image of the area of the print is too dark, it would be an indication that the negative was underexposed in the camera, or possibly under developed. In that case, you may be able to get an acceptable print by reducing the paper exposure, and using a higher grade filter or paper.
    Start with an exposure reduction of 1 stop, and adjust from there. Note that if the underexposure is severe, you may not be able to get a true back at the edges without making the whole image too dark.
     
  19. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Sounds to me like dilution and temperture combined to cause this problem. Dektol does, in fact, oxidise rapidly at temps higher than recommended by Kodak. Making Dektol too dilute exhausts it rapidly as well. Large image areas require a minimum amount of chem to develope a full range of tones. Contact prints from 6x6cm negatives will do well in dilute solution, but an 8x10 inch requires tremendously more. Maybe the OP should change developers to LPD which may be diluted and still retain useful properties even at higher temps.
    IDK, I think maybe there was a reason Kodak developed "tropical" developers for these high temp climates.
     
  20. analoguey

    analoguey Member

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    Right, I did use this a couple of weeks after I had made the working solution so maybe temperature had effect on oxidation.
    What is the LPD dev that you refer to? would Kodak still be making the tropical developers you refer to?

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  21. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    The developer was not only overly dilute, but two weeks after mixing the working solution you are lucky it had any life left at all. It should be diluted 1+2 or 1+3 IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO USE!
    Try reading the Kodak directions for Dektol rather than items on here referring to using the developer for processes different from those for which it was designed.
     
  22. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    this advice does not seem to be sinking in Jim. I agree with what you say.
     
  23. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    If the ambient temperature is above 30C (quite likely over much of India) then Dektol is clearly not the best developer choice. But what is?

    I recall there being special-purpose tropical film-developers, for use at high temperatures, but is there a readily available (in India) paper-developer for the same purpose, or a restrainer that could be added to a standard developer? These might help the OP's temperature problem, for developing the contact prints. It would be helpful to see the negative(s) which are giving these results too.

    To make it completely clear, high-temperature extremely diluted Dektol will be of unusable quality in an hour or so.
     
  24. kintatsu

    kintatsu Member

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    Aside from everyone else mentioned here, I can only suggest trying different light with the appropriate grade filter. When I started contact printing my 4x5, I used a YN-560 flash and a Rosco Skelton's Exotic Sangria filter to approximate Grade 3 printing. I used a manual remote trigger and flashed into a Flashbender, bounced off he white wall. 9 pops at 1/32 power was usually about right for grade 3. Due to the diffusion, the grade was between 2 and 3, so it worked out.

    With the Ilford filters, I got better more accurate results. That may help you. I hope it does.
     
  25. analoguey

    analoguey Member

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    That is a very repeatable, interesting suggestion - did you try altering distances or such? I have a 560-iii so can directly try it out Or even try with Metz too.
     
  26. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    The dev is clapped out (oxidised) end of story.