Drydown reference

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Rich Ullsmith, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,061
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Wondering if anybody knows if there's a reference out there, somewhere, that gives drydown compensation for fiber papers. You'd think they'd have it on the data sheets, but I have never seen it. I don't work with any one paper long enough to really fine tune it, so I generally just dial in 5%. It would be nice to see a compilation from folks who get to know a paper particularly well, something like the developing times on unblinkingeye.com. If anybody knows if such a list exists, I'd love to hear about it.
     
  2. JHannon

    JHannon Member

    Messages:
    969
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  3. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,609
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2002
    Location:
    Northern Eng
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Rich, fibre papers can dry down as much as 11%. I have tested every paper that I have used for the past 20 years and have found drydown can vary from 8% to as high as 11%. The test is easily done and takes about 2 hours and I would recommend that you carry out your own test. I published an article on how to calculate the drydown for fibre papers here on APUG some time ago.
     
  4. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,196
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Location:
    North Coast,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2007
  5. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,061
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Yes! thanks a bunch, folks.
     
  6. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,061
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    And thanks for your work, Les. I'm putting a copy of that down in the darkroom.
     
  7. pauledell

    pauledell Member

    Messages:
    12
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Rich:
    Ever try zapping the wet print in a microwave for maybe 20 seconds, just
    enough to dry it substantially. This is not for the final print but it might give
    you an idea what effect drydown will have.

    Paul
     
  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,191
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For all those who recommend using a microwave to dry the print, do I assume correctly that this advice is for FB prints only?

    For those of us who use more RC paper, is it even safe to use the microwave?

    Matt
     
  9. AlanC

    AlanC Member

    Messages:
    347
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Location:
    North Yorksh
    I think it's worth pointing out that factoring in dry down is not a guaranteed way to make prints with glowing highlights. After all, anyone can subtract 10percent off the final print time. Even I can do it and I'm hopeless at maths!
    The real difficulty is to decide in the first place what that final print time will be. This requires real judgement. You need to be able to decide just what you want the finished print to look like,and be aware of other factors such as the strength of the dakroom viewing light. Even varying the viewing distance can change the look of the print.
    Hands up everyone who factors in dry down but still ends up with prints that are too dark.
    (you can't see it but my hand is up!)

    Alan Clark
     
  10. pauledell

    pauledell Member

    Messages:
    12
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Matt

    You are probably correct about RC paper in a microwave. I might suggest using a portable hair dryer set at a lower heat setting for RC paper. That
    seems to work for examinig the print. Again, I would not recommend it for
    final prints.

    Paul
     
  11. filmnut

    filmnut Member

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Ont
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I always use a hair dryer (usually on high, as I'm too impatient to wait!) after a quick wash, to dry a test strip, then I look at it under various lighting conditions. I usually display my prints under fairly bright lights, so I use something close to the final viewing conditions to judge my test print, then adjust accordingly, if req'd. This is mostly for fibre, as I find the dry down on the RC paper isn't as much but sometimes its' necessary if its' a tricky subject.
    If I'm making changes, or printing other very similar negs, I'll put the test in a tray of water near my fix, so that I've got a ready reference for what I want, and its' wet, so I don't have to guess as much.
    Keith
     
  12. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,609
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2002
    Location:
    Northern Eng
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Keith, spend a couple of hours testing your papers for drydown and you'll never have to go through the process you describe above ever again. I started testing for drydown about 25 years ago and check out the drydown of the current papers I use perhaps once every year.
     
  13. JHannon

    JHannon Member

    Messages:
    969
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Les, do you find that the drydown value varies much from batch to batch of the same paper?
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

    Messages:
    3,894
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2003
    Location:
    Middle Engla
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Just for the record R/C prints are not effected by drydown as they do not shrink on drying, although a wet print will look different to a dry one.
     
  16. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,609
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2002
    Location:
    Northern Eng
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    I have not found that to be the case John, for example Ilford Warmtone Fibre had a drydown of 11% when Ilford first introduced it. The last time I tested it about 12 months ago it was still 11%. I have been tempted many times to publish my drydown figures but the test is so simple that I believe that it is best for everyone to do it and arrive at their own conclusions.
     
  17. JHannon

    JHannon Member

    Messages:
    969
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks Les!
     
  18. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,260
    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Location:
    Daventry, No
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Dave. That's what I had always assumed and yet I have just looked at the article mentioned in Circle of the Sun and he mentions Ilford Cooltone RC at 7% and Kodak(RIP) Polycontrast IV RC at 8%. I think all the others on the list are FB.

    So is this valid and is there a way of accounting for drydown in exactly the sem way as for FB? Clearly there is a difference between a wet and dry print but I can't say that I had spotted the dry down effect with RC. Maybe that's because I wasn't looking for it or my printer's eye is still at early apprentice level.

    On the other hand if RC prints are effected by it then knowing what to do about it may be worthwhile. At 7 and 8% respectively it seems hardly to be inconsequential. At least not in Dektol. Maybe with Ilford Developer it is inconsequential.

    It goes without saying that others with first hand knowledge should please feel free to speak as well.

    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,191
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Polymax RC N surface I am using (until it is gone) definitely dries darker. I don't know if the effect is due to something different then the dry down effect experienced when using FB papers, but it certainly is obvious.

    Matt
     
  20. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,117
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Melbourne Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have been using copious amounts of RC paper, mainly Ilford MGIV Pearl; I find that there is a very slight dry down effect.

    The way the print is dried also has an effect, slight, but still there.

    I have a heated RC paper, roller dryer, which means I have a wet to dry 8x10 print in about 34 seconds. Prints dried this way seem to retain their luminosity better, I cannot explain it any other way.

    When I hang wet prints up to dry and then compare an air dried print with a Roller heater dried print, the force dried print wins out by a poofteenth. The force dried prints seem to have a slight sparkle, that is only available in an air dried print by pulling exposure by 1/12 of a stop.

    In my own darkroom with my current MGIV RC paper stock, I know I need to pull a wet print by 1/16 of a stop if it is going to be air dried.

    When doing large batch printing, which can be anything from 20 to 500 or more prints off the same neg, I keep a print under water in a dish, so I can do a quick running check after another load of prints have hit the fixer.

    I quickly pull the reference print out with my left hand and pull one of the latest prints out with tongs, then check them side by side.

    Mick.
     
  21. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

    Messages:
    3,894
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2003
    Location:
    Middle Engla
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    With respect to R/C prints I accept that there is a visual difference between wet and dry prints, more so with matt than gloss finishes. As with FB paper we print for the effect seen on a dry paper; unless we intend displaying our work in the shower.
    Because it is so quick to dry R/C paper it had never occurred to me that anyone would want to compare a wet R/C print with a dry one. With FB and it's much longer drying time the problem is real; unless one resorts to frying one's paper in a microwave we are left, at the very best, trying to compare a damp print with a dry one. The method of drying FB, as with R/C will also have a marked effect on the finished print, so as ever consistency is needed to achieve the results you are happy with.
     
  22. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,117
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Melbourne Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Dave, I agree with you. Another interesting thing I have done (and occasionally still do) is to run a fibre based paper through a paper dryer without the heater on.

    Very interesting way of accelerating the drying procedure.

    I did for a while live in a house with a clothes washing machine that had a set of rollers on top for running clothes through. I used to run my test prints through that first, then hold the print in front of a radiator to dry. I didn't have a hair dryer and in fact I didn't know of anyone outside of a hairdresser owning a hair dryer at the time.

    I ensured that the landlady never knew about the clothes roller being used that way!

    Mick.
     
  23. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,191
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Mick and Dave:

    Thanks for this information, it is very interesting.

    All my prints are air dried. I'll have to try borrowing my wife's hair dryer :smile:.

    I really do see a change when the PolyMax prints go from damp, to dry.

    I have some Ilford MGIV RC in Pearl to try out, for when the PolyMax is finished. I'll have to experiment a bit, and see if the effect is similar, or distinctly different.

    Matt
     
  24. fschifano

    fschifano Member

    Messages:
    3,216
    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Valley Strea
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, the microwave is fine for FB prints, but not so good for RC prints. I use a hair dryer for RC. They dry quickly that way. The finish of some RC papers can suffer a small loss of quality if you run it too hot for too long, so I don't use it for final prints.
     
  25. panastasia

    panastasia Member

    Messages:
    625
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    Location:
    Dedham, Ma,
    Shooter:
    Med. Format Pan
    AA talked about how wonderful the microwave was for quick drying test strips in his book THE PRINT (or it was 40 PHOTOGRAPHS, I can't remember which book). He said one photo he printed for many years was finally printed to his satisfaction after much trial and error, making small adjustments, using a microwave for quick results. I believe the only problem with RC prints would be the curl.... which wouldn't matter if you're only drying test strips. I only print FB, so I can't offer anything more.

    A hair dryer set on low sounds like a good alternative - when you heat a print in a press, it's similar - RC (plastic) prints are more easily damaged by excessive heat.

    Regards, Paul
     
  26. psvensson

    psvensson Member

    Messages:
    625
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2004
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I print RC exclusively, and air-dry. The drydown is substantial on all of them, and similar to the percentages quoted here for fiber - 5-10 percent. Unfortunately, if the test print is right on the minimum exposure for good shadows, decreasing exposure to compensate for drydown will yield a print that doesn't reach Dmax. It seems to me the proper way to adjust for drydown is really to raise contrast to make the highlights lighter, not reduce overall exposure.