Doing a B+W test strip using Ilford filters and Ilford multigrade paper

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by morrisphotos123, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. morrisphotos123

    morrisphotos123 Member

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    Hi i was wondering if anyone can help me as i am having problems doing a test strip. as I am having problems doing a good test strip i have tries 2 seconds, all the way until you reach 10 seconds on the sheet i have also tries 10 seconds up till Twenty But all I get is ever a really light or nothing or just a few little spots when put in the developer I have tried grade 1-2 and 3 and it makes no difference where am I going wrong??
     
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  2. morrisphotos123

    morrisphotos123 Member

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    Hi i was wondering if anyone can help me as i am having problems doing a test strip. as I am having problems doing a good test strip i have tries 2 seconds, all the way until you reach 10 seconds on the sheet i have also tries 10 seconds up till Twenty But all I get is ever a really light or nothing or just a few little spots when put in the developer I have tried grade 1-2 and 3 and it makes no difference where am I going wrong??
     
  3. Craig Swensson

    Craig Swensson Member

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    What do your negatives look like? are they quite dark?
    What aperture is the lens set at?
    Are you using f11-f16?
    I would forget grade 1 and 2 for now.I usually do test strips in 5-7 second stages depending on the negative and format.Sometimes up to 35 seconds in total.
     
  4. morrisphotos123

    morrisphotos123 Member

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    how do you mean What aperture is the lens set at are you meaning the enlarger lens i dont quite get what yo mean 5-7 second stages depending on the negative and format.Sometimes up to 35 seconds in total. also the negs seem quite pail
     
  5. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Member

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    If the paper is coming out white or too light, then you are under-exposing and you need to expose for longer.
    If it's coming out too dark then you need to expose for less time.

    If you are exposing with an enlarger then the lens should have an aperture setting ring with numbers like 5.6, 8, 11, 22 etc on it. Setting it to f/11 would be a good starting point.

    Also perhaps you could describe what paper you are using and how you are developing it (what chemicals, in what order, for how long) in case there is a problem there.
     
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  6. Craig Swensson

    Craig Swensson Member

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    Yes the enlarger lens, what aperture are you using for your test strip?
    For 35mm i usually test strip print at 5 second stages using f8. 7 seconds if the print a little dark
    ( overexposed) 7 seconds x 5 = 35 seconds.
    Have a look at the links below

    http://www.ephotozine.com/article/assessing-negatives-4682
     
  7. morrisphotos123

    morrisphotos123 Member

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    The lens i have is a Meopta Belar 4,5/75 the f setting i have are 4,5 5,6 8 11 16 22 I have it on 4,5 witch is wide open
     
  8. Craig Swensson

    Craig Swensson Member

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    what paper are you using?
    Are you exposing the emulsion side of the paper?
     
  9. morrisphotos123

    morrisphotos123 Member

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    well i think i am esposing the emulsion side is the side that feels smooth
     
  10. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    By the sounds of it, you could do with spending an hour or so with somebody who can demonstrate the basics of darkroom work - If we knew where you were, someone may offer to show you the ropes.
     
  11. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    May I suggest making a contact print of your negatives before enlarging them. This will give you a good basic exposure time/aperture which you can use to guide you in making a print from the negatives.

    The time and aperture which you can best use would be found by (. . . long explanation follows . . .) setting your enlarger-head to a height where the light from the empty neg-carrier covers 10x8", with a half inch or so spare. Focus the edge of the neg-carrier sharp by eye, and double check you are still going to be covering the 10x8" paper. This size of paper is the smallest size which fits six strips of six shots of 35mm negatives - it seems from your other thread that you are using 35mm Lucky film, so it will fit on this size paper. (EDIT2: It turns out the person using 35mm Lucky film was someone else, but 120 roll in 6x6 format will also fit fine on this size of paper.)

    Put the paper down, arrange the negs on top (holding them only by the edges of course) and place a piece of glass or polycarbonate-plastic (a little larger than the paper) on top to keep the negatives flat and in contact with the paper. Make your test strip with the lens stopped down to f8, so that with a grade-2 filter you can only just see the smallest possible difference between black background in the holes in the film and the 'clear' part of the negatives next to the holes. This is the beginning time for a print for an averagely well exposed negative at that contrast grade and head height. For sure it is unlikely to be the best possible time, certainly not for every shot, but it gives a good indication of what is going on with your camera-exposures and film-developing as you 'should' have recognisable images on the contact sheet. If you always follow this routine you will always have a consistent guide to which shots need more or less printing exposure or contrast, and a consistent benchmark for changing camera exposure or film development too.

    The development time for the paper would usually be between one and two minutes for RC paper. Check the documentation with your paper and print-developer for the manufacturers recommendations.

    Posting a shot of the contact sheet will enable further advice from the forum to be based on something visual instead of just words. That will save a lot of messing about!

    Obvious first checks might be to note that you should most likely be using separate developers for the film and the print ('universal' developers exist but even with these the dilutions are very different) and that you have the paper the right way up. You can check the emulsion side of the paper by looking at the curl of it. For the RC paper I have here, Kentmere, the emulsion side is the convex side of the curve. The old test with fibre-paper would be to dampen a finger and then touch both sides to feel the difference, but Resin Coated paper seems pretty much the same front and back.

    Good luck.

    EDIT:
    Good question from the poster above. What is your location and native language? Maybe someone can give you a quick demo, or at least a more understandable explanation.
     
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  12. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Perhaps you have forgotten to move the red filter to one side. I forget this often.
     
  13. morrisphotos123

    morrisphotos123 Member

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    I have updated my Location
     
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  15. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    We don't know enough about what you are doing to help you in any meaningful way. Please explain everything starting from your equipment, setup, materials, timing, and what you are doing. Otherwise, we'd be guessing wildly at your problem.
     
  16. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

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    That is a possiblitliy. You would be suprised how many photo students at my school expose with the emulsion side facing down! If you are not sure which side has the emulsion, hold it up at an angle to your safe light. The side with matte sheen is the side you want. If you still cannot tell, lick a finger and touch a corner of the paper. The sticky side is the emulsion side... please don't lick the paper! :smile:

    andrew
     
  17. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    That is why students new to darkroom work should use gloss, as it is easier to see the difference between the emulsion side and the back.
     
  18. Arkasha

    Arkasha Member

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    I wonder if paper developer was used?
     
  19. Craig Swensson

    Craig Swensson Member

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    Devizes - very English sounding village:D
    OK, so you are in UK. Good.have you replied to the message from Simon? - on your thread about filters to use.He has offered to send you a book free of charge.This guy is from Ilford.Take up his offer.
    2nd. do not get discouraged with problems as once we find out what the problem is you will see how easy it all is, hey, you have developed the film no problems.
    As i said in the enlarger thread, i have meopta 6 and the under lens filter did not fit well for me, i do not know if the meopta 3 will have same problem.How about not using the filters to start and see if you can get an image on the paper.
    The lens you are using (75mm) is the lens for 120 size film,you should really be using a 50mm lens and i think you will find that the lensboard ( the place you screw lens into on enlarger) is reversible. The lensboard should recess for 50mm and protrude for 75mm.
    You say that you are using f 4.5 for the test strips and have tried various times up to 20 seconds, this time at
    f 4.5 should have given a result you could work from. 2 seconds would be far too light, 20 seconds should have given some image. I am assuming that you have 35mm negatives by the way.
    I suspect you are exposing the wrong side of the paper or your enlarger does not have the correct bulb, or you are not shifting the red under lens filter away when you make your exposure.
    And these are all mistakes many still make at times, i have a blackboard in darkroom to list the process and still occasionally forget something.
    To test the paper emulsion side theory simply do two test strips at the same time using both sides of the paper.
    Assume that this is the paper developer you are using
    images.jpg
     
  20. morrisphotos123

    morrisphotos123 Member

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    In the Darkroom what I am doing is mixing up the chemical baths and getting them to 20C then I put the neg in the enlarger and shine it down on to my board so I can focus it ok. then I put the red safe light on in the room with the safe light filter over the enlarger. Then I line up a pace of cut paper to develop to then I set my Philips Enlarger Timer PDC1010 to the correct seconds then move the red safe filter out the way and insert grade 2 and do a test strip like you i have read on here and in books . I then develop it and hope something comes out
     
  21. Arkasha

    Arkasha Member

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    A few questions:

    1. What "chemicals" are you using? List them.

    2. How do you know what the "correct seconds" are?

    3. What paper are you using?

    4. What is your "grade 2" filter?? In my experience, grade 2 generally doesn't need a filter.
     
  22. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Try the following,
    Put the negative in the enlarger and focus the image on your easel, using the full width of whatever size paper you're using. I'm assuming it's likely 10x8 or 12x8 (in.).
    Set your enlarger for grade two, either with built-in filters, or Ilford filters.
    Get a piece of cardboard or other opaque paper that is more or less the size of your enlarging paper or larger. The envelope the paper comes in will work well if you have nothing else.
    Set your timer for 3 seconds.
    Set the lens at f/11
    Make sure the enlarger's red filter is not in place.
    Turn off your white lights and switch on your safelight
    Put a sheet of paper in the easel. Most papers curve gently towards the emulsion side. If it's a glossy or pearl/luster surface paper the emulsion side will be shiny and reflective even under the safelight.
    Expose the entire sheet for 3 seconds.
    Cover about 25 mm of the long dimension and expose again for 3 seconds
    Repeat until you run out of room.
    Process the paper for at least 1 minute in fresh paper developer.
    You should have an image ranging from very light to very dark with one or two sections that look more or less ok. Now you can count by 3 to that section, and make another print at that exposure time.
    If you don't have an image, then something else is wrong, the paper is still upside down, or you are using the wrong developer, or there is some other chemical or material problem.

    If the entire test sheet is too dark then stop the lens down (bigger number) one stop and repeat.
    If the entire sheet is too light, try f/8 on the lens.
    Before you turn on the white (room) lights make sure the paper is back in it's plastic bag and in the envelope or box.

    Let us know what happens.
     
  23. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I'm wondering if the OP does not have an easel.
     
  24. Arkasha

    Arkasha Member

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    I did another check, just to be sure, and according to the info at Freestyle (http://www.freestylephoto.biz/tl_techtips_det.php?id=8&p=2) there is no need for a "grade 2" filter when aiming for grade 2 contrast - even with a Meopta enlarger.

    I wonder if this is a possible reason for his difficulties?
     
  25. R.Gould

    R.Gould Member

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    As I understand it MG4 RC prints as grade 2 without a filter, as does most MC paper, but I personally would always use a filter to obtain the correct grade as in my experience with MG type papers you do not get a ''true'' grade with out the correct filters, if you compare an unfiltered print and one with the 2 filter you can see a marked difference, besides which, why would Ilford include a G2 filter if it was not needed, besides which I understand the OP problems started when he was trying to make a print without any MG filters, and could not get a decent print,
     
  26. R.Gould

    R.Gould Member

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    Jst had a look at your freestyle page, doesn't make sense to me, every other list, including Ilford themselves, give colour head settings for G2, in fact every list this side of the world gives 2 settings, one for simple setting, where the grade speeds are not the same, and one where the speeds are matched for grades 0=4, I am looking at one such now from a box of paper, and there is a setting for G2, so it must be needed.