darkroom beginner with problems(ye think?)

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by dec, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. dec

    dec Member

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    ive got a problem regarding my developing contact sheets and i dont think its opperator error now that i tried a few tests.the contacts came out very gray with no true black.i exposed paper alone(as a test) for 2secs intrvals and 30 sec intervals up to 1min 30 secs and the paper comes out gray .i believe ive got the chemicals down regards to mix ,temp and time but still this gray result and no black..any help ? please and thanks ,,declan
     
  2. Dietmar Wolf

    Dietmar Wolf Member

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    You believe. Could you please tell us specific, what chemicals, how old, how did you mix them?

    What paper, how old?

    Thank you.
     
  3. Mark_S

    Mark_S Member

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    If you take a sheet of paper from the box and develop it directly, without exposing it, does it come out gray or white?

    If white, check to make sure that your safelight is safe, and your darkroom is dark by laying a sheet of paper on your easel with a metal object on the paper - a coin, pair of scissors, whatever. Leave it for 5 mins or so (do not expose) then develop the paper - if you see the outline of the object, then you either have a light leak or your safelight isn't.
     
  4. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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  5. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    If you used a developer designed for paper and developed for 2 minutes, you should get a good black. Cut up a piece of paper for test strips. Throw one in the developer with room lights on. It's GOT to turn black in less than 2 minutes or there's something wrong with the developer.

    Tell us what developer you are using for the paper.
     
  6. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    What f-stop do you have the lens set at? You need it fairly bright to expose the paper and I've found contact proof sheets always seem to take longer or need brighter light to expose it correctly.
     
  7. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    A proof sheet shouldn't require any more light than any of the negatives would if they were in the enlarger, with the enlarger at the same height used for the proof sheet. That is, put an empty carrier in, adjust the height to produce an 8x10, focus the lens using the edge of the carrier. In this configuration, a proper exposure for the proof sheet will give you the proper exposure for an 8x10, or at least it should be very close.
    If you mostly do smaller prints, then you'd need to reduce the light some for the enlargement.
    As for the original problem, 1 1/2 minutes of exposure should be plenty, unless the enlarger produces very little light. I agree that a good first step would be a developer test using a completely fogged test sheet. If that works, then it would be helpful to know what enlarger, lens, etc. Especially if it has a color head. For example, in the case of a color head, what filtration is set, if any?
     
  8. radiantdarkroom

    radiantdarkroom Member

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    Definitely need more info on what dec actually did. Grayness could be many things. But it sounds like the developer needs to be figured out. What paper are you using. what about just exposing the paper to room light and seeing what happens? I can't really help you without knowing more.
     
  9. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear Dec,

    PM me your address and I will send you the ILFORD Photo MULTIGRADE printing manual, it helps when you are starting out.

    Simon ILFORD photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  10. DBP

    DBP Member

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    And this is why we love Ilford.
     
  11. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Declan. Are you aware that this is a repeat of your thread "darkroom problems." The problem here is that you now have two separate sets of answers to the same subject and you'll have to look at both. Better if the two were combined.

    Moderators. Can you combine these for Declan?

    pentaxuser