Contacts vs. Enlargements

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by kq6up, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. kq6up

    kq6up Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Does printing via contact have a different tonal response curve with the same film/paper/developer than enlarging? I have great results with Fomapan 100 and Rodinal with roll film. However, when I contact print my 8x10's the dark shadows look really muddy. The overall contrast seem to be ok, but the local contrast in the dark areas are murky. I am afraid if I soup it longer I will just blow the highlights.

    Would rating the film at a lower speed solve this? The 100 speed I rate the film is perfect for the roll film. The sheet film version of Fomapan 100 (Arista EDU Ultra) behaves like a totally different film so far. I am thinking at EI100 most of the shadows are falling in the toe. Maybe rate it at EI50 or even EI25?

    I have over exposed this film by forgetting to stop down (by 5 stops) and pull N-1 and they scan much better. I have not tried to print these as the overall contrast seems to be too low. I think I will try tonight as I might be surprised by the result. Maybe I will have to print at a higher grade, but the local contrast might be more tame.

    Thanks,
    Chris Maness
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,093
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Foma films are extremely responsive to slight changes. It's important to do film speed/dev time tests to find the optimum combination for you and your working methods. Do that and they are excellent films.

    My experience is halve the box speed and cut the dev times compared to normal films as well by 65%-75% and I get negatives that print easily.

    Ian
     
  3. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,205
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I dunno your set-up and printing frequency and experience. I WILL offer this WARNING... I was driving myself NUTS with contrast filters and all only to find that the paper I have on hand was older and the chemistry was older than I thought giving me muddy prints.
    I threw out the old paper and bought some new and mixed fresh stuff and all was well.
    It's hard going from once-a-week in the darkroom to a couple times a year.
     
  4. kq6up

    kq6up Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks Ian. The box time for Rodinal 1:25 says three minutes. That is WAY off for me. I am using R09 in trays and pulling sheets 1/minute (to reduce the chance of scratching). I get even development and decent DMAX at 8 minutes. I will try IE50.

    Thanks,
    Chris Maness
     
  5. kq6up

    kq6up Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Fresh chemistry and fresh paper. I am just going to have to play with my 5x7" or 4x5" sheets until I get it dialed in better.

    My original question: If I have good contact printing negs, will they enlarge just as well as contact printing, or should I have in mind what I want to do with the negs first?

    Thanks,
    Chris Maness

    Chris
     
  6. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,239
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I too have found that Foma 100 is best used at EI 50, and using Rodinal you may wish to start using 1+50 dilution to make sure you get sufficiently long developing times. That would actually help your shadow detail as well, whether they are contact printed or projected.

    - Thomas
     
  7. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,205
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Mine was similar situation... Nice contact prints of 120 negs that I could not make a good print of later.
    I find from my experience good negatives print well either way.
    Never went down the AZO path... but old day contact printers swear by it... and the prints in museums sure speak for it.
     
  8. kq6up

    kq6up Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks, Thom I have a daylight tank for 4x5" so 13' @ 1:50 is no big deal (I invert VERY gently with Rodinal). However, that is REALLY long for tray processing. I guess I will have to get some music going or I am going to be board in the dark :surprised:)

    Thanks,
    Chris
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    20,098
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    hi chris

    how dense are your 4x5 sheets and other films ?
    i have found that when i contact print my sheet film ( even roll film exposures cut and contact printed )
    the density of the film really makes a difference in the final print.
    if the film is too thin, the optimal exposure will be short, you will need to boost contrast with
    filters, or different strength developers and water baths to bathe the print in ...
    and it really makes a more difficult task, not that it can't be done ...

    les mclean has a great article on split grade ( filter ) printing, and i use it often when printing film on the
    thin side ( thin meaning not as bullet proof as my contact printing film )
    http://www.lesmcleanphotography.com/articles.php?page=full&article=21

    using a hard filter and a soft filter really makes muddy tones rich and crisp ..
    it takes a little bit of practice but in the end the prints speak for themselves :smile:

    good luck !
    john
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    20,098
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    vpwphoto,
    do you have one of those contact printers with the series of light bulbs so you can
    burn and dodge, or do you mean a contact printer / contact printing frame ?
    i have always wanted one of those multi bulb printers but unfortunately
    my printing space is cluttered and filled with other "stuff"
    i'm sure using a contact printer with paper negatives would work well too (wishful thinking)
    ... at this point, my only contact printer is 2 sheets of thick glass
    and a light bulb :pouty: it works but it isn't very sophisticated !

    - john
     
  11. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,205
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    No just enlarger cranked up a bit...
     
  12. kq6up

    kq6up Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for the tip. I was thinking about giving split grade a shot for the muddy shadow detail. I am going to try to print the over exposed negative first. I think since there is an incredible amount of shadow detail in that negative, I should be able to print it ok if I use a hard filter to increase the over all contrast of the print.

    I am going to also try shooting at a lower EI and souping the film in a lower dilution of Rodinal as well to increase the compensating effect to get the shadows out of the toe of the film. This should fix that problem because I do not want to be doing split grade printing in the future unless I have to. I guess the old saying is true -- expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights.

    Thanks for the help guys,
    Chris Maness
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    20,098
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format


    i guess you have the same contact printer as me :smile:
    i use a 350W flood light ( azo paper ) or
    my regular enlarger like you for regular paper ...

    edited:
    maybe it is a 300w bulb?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2011
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

    Messages:
    3,219
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Where did you get a 350 watt R40 flood?
     
  16. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    20,098
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  17. X. Phot.

    X. Phot. Guest

    Have you tried dodging the area in question, in the process of printing?

    I just recently read about this in "Photography" by Charles Swedlund, pg. 220-223
    ISBN 0-03-056699-1

    . . . says you can use dodging to bring out detail in deep shadows. To lighten and clarify.

    Another option might be to use a two-bath developer technique (for negatives) to bring out a range of intermediate tones. Covered on pg. 171
     
  18. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

    Messages:
    3,219
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    20,098
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    :wink: i bought 2 when i was there ... and checked, it is a 300 -
    they said it was going to remain a stock item for a long time,
    but that was a year ago, and a lot can happen in a year i suppose ...

    good luck finding one !
    john
     
  20. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,239
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ha. Well, your choice then. Quality and consistency, or getting done quickly. Up to you, good buddy. :smile:
     
  21. kq6up

    kq6up Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The 5 stop over exposed (and pulled 1 stop) negative printed pretty well with a grade #4 filter. A little hot, but my filters are old and need to be replaced. The 3½ grade filter has faded to something much lower.

    I didn't think it would be such a tame negative considering the horrendous over exposure. Now I am wondering if I should rate this 100 box film EI25 if I want to soup it in Rodinal 1:25. The 4x5 film I develop in a daylight tank, and I don't mind long dev times in a tank. Have you guys also noticed that souping a film in a stronger concentration of Rodinal lowers the EI? That does make sense because there would be less compensation by local developer exhaustion.

    Thanks,
    Chris Maness
     
  22. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,239
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    1. The more you dilute your developer, the longer you need to develop the film.
    2. The longer you develop your film, the more shadow detail you're going to get.
    3. Shadow detail = film speed.
     
  23. kq6up

    kq6up Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That's funny. You posted this just as I was typing up my results from last nights printing session. I am a little more comfortable with tray processing now than when I first started doing it. I absolutely hated sitting in a pitch black room. I like the glow of the safe-light, but the dark bathroom was like I sensory deprivation tank :surprised:)

    I have tried printing by inspection. It seems fun, but I have a more sensiometric approach than a gut approach. The zone system seems contrary to printing by inspection. All though I am not saying that one is better than the other.

    Chris
     
  24. kq6up

    kq6up Member

    Messages:
    207
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks, Thom. Indeed that makes sense to me. If I go with the long dev time with the dilute developer, should I still rate the film at EI50?

    Thanks,
    Chris Maness
     
  25. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,239
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Chris,

    You should rate the film at whatever speed gives you the amount of shadow detail you want. There is no right and wrong.
    Try shooting a roll at 25, 32, 40, 50, 64, 80, and 100. Develop the film, print the negatives, and see which gives you the amount of shadow detail you want. After you pick that, shoot one roll at your favored speed, and now dial in the rest of the tone spectrum by adjusting developing time. Once again, print the negs to see where they fall into place without much effort.

    Hope that helps.

    - Thomas
     
  26. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,239
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I hate tray developing too, so I quit using sheets. But eventually I think you get used to it. I recommend bringing music. Loud good music. Makes it happen much faster.