Contact Printing Without an Enlarger

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by mmezyk, Jul 8, 2006.

  1. mmezyk

    mmezyk Member

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    Perhaps this issue was covered here many a times but I am completely new to APUG.org and would ask for your patience and hopefully pointing me in the right direction.

    I want to start contact printing my 4x5 negatives without an Enlarger. Simplest setup would work best. It will be done is a small bathroom so an easiest setup is most preferred. Would anyone have perhaps a picture of their setup? Or recommendations on the lamp type to get? The general distance of the light source? The details of how strong the bulb should be in the lamp? Anything and everything helps.

    Sincerely,
    Marek
     
  2. seadrive

    seadrive Member

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    Maybe this will be of some help:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=19519

    The bullet reflector is about three feet from the contact printing frame. With a 30 watt mini-bulb, I still needed to reduce the light output, using some diffusion material.
     
  3. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi There

    Micheal Smith ran a workshop here in toronto and his requirements were only a bulb and timer for his contact process.
    I think it is very easy set up , if you want to print silver and use different grades I think a filter setup below the bulb would be easy to set up for the contrast filters.
     
  4. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    My setup is similar to seadrive's. I use a clamping bullet reflector and a 15watt bulb. Both can be purchased at any hardware store. I have taped some neutral density film over my reflector to cut down on some light and slow exposures to the 15-30 second range. If you can find a 7watt bulb to fit the reflector, that might be better. It all depends on how dense your negs are, how fast your paper is, and how high you set the bulb above the paper. My bulb is about 3 feet above the paper. The bulb is plugged into a timer. I use a second reflector with a 120w grow light for Azo.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You don't need much. For Azo I use a cheap Ikea halogen desk lamp with the UV filter removed. Weston used a lightbulb with a cloth over it as a diffuser, on pegboard that could be set at different heights.
     
  6. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    You don't really need the reflector. A low wattage bare bulb works. If a 7 watt bulb is too bright, look for a cheap night light. Nor do you need a timer. A quartz clock that ticks once a second lets one count the seconds while printing, dodging, and burning. I like that better than a timer.
     
  7. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    If you plan on contact printing without an enlarger, then you should be aware that you will need to stick to graded paper or find a way to filter the light that you are using to expose VC paper.

    Also it would be important to recognize that enlarging paper is a lot faster then Azo.

    If you plan to use Azo, then your camera negatives need to have a density range that is substantially more then a negative used for enlarging.
     
  8. John Bartley

    John Bartley Member

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  9. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Early photographers would contact print without even a light bulb. They would have a red screen over a small window in their darkroom. They would place paper and neg in a contact printing frame, then go to the window, slide the red screen to one side, hold the contact frame (neg side out) to the window and count seconds. Then they would slide the red screen back across the window and develop the print.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you use POP or another alternative process, you can contact print with the sun, like AndyK says. In general, these processes require substantially denser negs than you would use for enlarging paper, and somewhat denser than you would use for Azo. Here are three negs in printing frames being exposed to the sun for albumen printing--

    http://www.apug.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=5113

    I find the negs that print best in albumen take about an hour to expose in shade, and about 15-20 minutes in direct sun.
     
  11. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Edward Weston printed with a bare bulb. He had it mounted on a brass rod in order to vary its height above the negative/paper sandwich. Additionally he used toilet tissue to attenuate the light when necessary.

    You can't get much simpler than that, or produce finer prints than those of E. Weston.
     
  12. ethylphenethylamine

    ethylphenethylamine Member

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    Does this mean you would adjust you development time with the negs - or change your exposures?
     
  13. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Development time should be somewhat, some would say absolutely, constant. Density is altered by changing exposure times.
     
  14. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    Most of the alt processes, however, require negative with a longer scale/more contrast. These would definitely require longer development times than negs destined for silver gelatin prints.
     
  15. ethylphenethylamine

    ethylphenethylamine Member

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    So to create more density you would under exposue by 1 or 2 stops and also increase your dev time by a minute or two for contact printing?
     
  16. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    How you expose and develop your negative all depends on what process you'll use for printing. What process do you plan to use?
     
  17. ethylphenethylamine

    ethylphenethylamine Member

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    Well, I need to get an 8x10 camera first :smile: mostly just thinking about this for future use. I am most interested in POP or Albumen Printing or just contact priniting the negs...