Finally took the plunge: I printed for the first time!

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by sterioma, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. sterioma

    sterioma Member

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    Hi all,

    I just wanted to share with you the excitement I had last night when I was finally able to make my first prints!! :smile:

    After months of readings ("The Print" and "Master Printing Course" in particular) and collecting darkroom items, I had my first print session in my bathroom!!!

    I started with 10x15cm Ilford MG RC Deluxe, together with Ilford Multigrade developer, and finally I was also able to experiment the image forming in the developer tray!

    I made my mistakes of course, like
    * exposing the paper on the wrong side ("why the hell is this coming out mirrored?!?!" :D)
    * Turning on the bathroom light with an unexposed piece of paper under the enlarger
    * Turning on the bathroom light with the packet of paper half opened (it seems that I have ruined only a couple of sheets, black line along the border)

    But it was fun.... In the end I had something like ten decent prints (plus a similar amount of wrong exposures).

    The only problem I had is that the exposure times were REALLY short even at f11 (something like 3 to 5 seconds). Is this normal? Consider that I do not have any filter (I still have to verify whether my old Meopta enlarger can accept them somehow), or is it just because of the small size (so the paper was very close to the light source)?

    I still miss an easel and a focus aid (even though with some tape and f11 I was able to overcome major issues).

    Hopefully I will be able to post a scan of my first print soon (and not just neg scan as I used to do till today) :smile:

    Stefano
     
  2. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    The closer the enlarger is to the paper, the shorter the times will be. What size paper were you using?

    - Randy
     
  3. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    Oops! I see now. If you make larger prints, the times will be longer (because of the inverse square law). It helps me to have longer times so that if I need to dodge and burn I can control the effect better. Keep on printing!

    - Randy
     
  4. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Or you may have thin negatives.

    On the mistakes. Been there done them all -)
     
  5. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    That is great. I wish that I could make my first print again. You have a lot of enjoyment (and perhaps just a little bit of occasional frustration) to look forward to.

    :smile: Of course, nobody here has ever made those exact same mistakes. :rolleyes:
     
  6. haris

    haris Guest

    What Meopta enlarger you use? I used Opemus 5 and now use Magnifax 4, and both can accept filters. Filters goes in drawer above the lens. Check at www.meopta.cz, there are manuals for old and new(er) enlargers.

    If you have short times try to use 75w bulb instead of 100w or 150w if you use b/w head. And do you use proper condenser lenses for your negative size? If you use colour head don't change less powered halogen bulb, use recommended one. Next, if you use colour head do you use proper mixing chamber for your negative size? If you make small prints like 13x18cm or even smaller, short times are not unusual. Try to close lens at smallest aperture opening (If you use Meopta Anaret lenses I think it is f22). But at small apertures you will lose sharpness, so be ready to that (well, maybe not if you make small prints)

    Congratulation for first print. Me to at beginnig didn't have easel or focusing aid, but that didn't stop me. Hell, I didn't even had enlarger exposure clock for first month or two...

    About errors. We all have been there, done that.
     
  7. mark

    mark Member

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    Lost your virginity eh. Congratulations

    The magic of that print coming up will never leave.
     
  8. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Welcome to the Dark Side!

    For enlarging think in areas. Double the area to be covered = double the exposure time. Adding a multigrade filter will cut the amount of light which will help with the times. I think you got some ideas in an earlier thread how to use them if the enlarger does not have a filter drawer. You really do need them because otherwise you are likely to have prints that have too much, or not enough, black in them. It will improve your success rate by leaps and bounds.

    Ah yes, leaving the box open. Try to get in to the habit of always closing the box after taking paper out & always looking over at the paper box before you turn the light on. I've only done it once (like you, I was lucky) but I have looked over with my finger on the switch to see the box open quite a few times... Always a heart-stopping moment...

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  9. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    Isn't that first one something? I took my first printing class this semester and I'm still always amazed seeing the print show up in the safelight.
     
  10. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I've never exposed paper in the box (knock on wood), perhaps because I've been using a paper safe from day one. My first paper safe has a lid that opens on top, so gravity closes (but doesn't lock) it once I've removed paper. I recently bought a second two-tray paper safe off of eBay. It's got spring-loaded front doors, so again, there's little risk of accidental exposure. I also keep the paper emulsion-side-down in the paper safe, as an added precaution.

    The error that I keep revisiting is forgetting to stop down the lens after focusing. Sometimes I remember as I'm making the exposure, in which case I chuck the paper immediately. Other times I remember after I've put it in the developer.
     
  11. sterioma

    sterioma Member

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    Haris,
    the enlarger is a Meopta Opemus Standard. It should be able to print up to 6x6. The problem is that the condenser lens is not its own; probably it was replaced by the original owner with some other: when I put a 6x6 negative in, the projected image is severely vignetted. The bulb is 75W already :sad:
    The lens is a Komura 50mm f4.5 which has f22 as minimum aperture.
    The timer I use is my own Sector watch which has fluorescent lens :D

    Bob,
    Yes, you've got good memory: we discussed about the filters already. Need to find some time to buy and try them. Maybe I should even go a bit higher with the paper size....

    srs5694,
    The error that I keep revisiting is forgetting to stop down the lens after focusing
    Of course I did that also :tongue:
     
  12. Daniel Lawton

    Daniel Lawton Member

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    Don't feel bad. Last week I fogged nearly 100 sheets of Kentmere fiber paper when I flipped the lights on and realized I forgot to shut the lid on my paper safe. More than a few vulgar words were shouted.
     
  13. Ralf

    Ralf Member

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    Oops, fogging 100 sheets of fiber paper -- I guess the word filter of the forum software would not allow you to elaborate on the specific swear-words used at that moment.

    While I seem to be the lucky one regarding the accidental fogging of paper, which never happend to me, I once dropped a film negative into the paper developer basin. I panicked and nervously tried to get it out of there. Being an idiot, I had the impression that some sort of hydrochloric acid will eat up my valuable film within fractions of a second (I scored badly at chemistry back in school). Result: I spilled the entire developer, 2.5 liters, on the floor and my trousers. Which really sucks if it's a parquet hardwood floor...

    @sterioma: Congrats and great to hear you liked it! Though I made my first print around 15 years ago, I still do feel a lot of excitement whenever I'm in the darkroom, I'm not one of the guys who (can) do that every day. I love watching the print in the developer (as long as it's in the basin), and just like a kid on christmas I can't wait to turn on the room light with the print in the fixer.
     
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  15. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Condenser enlargers need condensers that are matched to the lens, which in turn is normally matched to the film size. It's possible that the condenser is the original one (or at least a genuine Meopta condenser), but that it's intended for a 50mm lens and 35mm negatives. This would produce vignetting such as you describe. To do 6x6, you'll need another condenser, but if you want to enlarge two or more negative types, you might want to change condensers whenever you change film types to obtain optimum results.
     
  16. nihraguk

    nihraguk Member

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    I'm with you on that. Keeps happening to me. I get these black, black sheets of paper appearing in the developer and then I mentally kick myself.
     
  17. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I had an Opemus Standard some (many) years ago!

    It looks as if you have the 35mm condenser set. I had the MF set in mine, and used it for all sizes. Come to think of it I still do the same, with a 6x6 mixing chamber in the colour head of my Opemus 6...

    I suppose it shouldn't be impossible to find a 6x6 condenser set? I had difficulties getting (affordable) condensers for my Durst 138S, but eventually got them from an ebay seller in Australia!
     
  18. Peter Williams

    Peter Williams Member

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    I just bought an enlarger myself and I printed for the first time two weeks ago. I'd say you're doing very well to have come out with 10 good ones - I made 15 poor ones and 5-6 solid black ones.
     
  19. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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    Congrats Sterioma!
    Do you have room under the lens for a neutral density filter?
    That would increase your times.
    For focusing, use the back side (the undeveloped white) of one of the test prints of the same thickness sitting in the easel. I do this and don't need a grain focus up to 20x24. White construction board also works.
    I do color, without safelights, can you imagine my first attemps!?! :surprised:
    Good luck! :smile:
     
  20. sterioma

    sterioma Member

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    I managed to scan my first "decent" print:
    http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=10461&cat=500&ppuser=1297.

    Please not that I was using my Zorki4k for the first time: not that much used to the rangefinder world coming from the SRL, and in fact the framing is not that perfect :rolleyes:

    I will look around for 6x6 condensor, then. Actually I don't even have a 6x6 camera now :D One thing at a time, as they say :smile:

    Not sure about room for the density filter: should I look for the filter screw in the lens itself?
     
  21. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The "Standard" was made for using filters attached to the metal bolt under the lens - like the red swing-in filter.

    I believe there was an accessory filter drawer for it too, but I haven't seen that outside of the manual. That was intended for CC filters for colour printing, I believe.

    PS: The old Ilfospeed III G3 I tried a little while ago is exactly 3 stops thick. I wondered why I got such soft prints and needed so much exposure, until it occurred to me to try the other side of the paper!
     
  22. g_pren

    g_pren Member

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    glad to hear you had fun I think everyone has had there share of problems the first time in a darkroom I always have fun every time I set up my darkroom. I'm days away from trying colour for the first time can't wait.
    one thing that i have found is if you show a kid how to use a darkroom they are hooked and the skills will live on
     
  23. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    Congratulations on your first (analog b/w) print! May you mark your calendar (in memory of the Glorious Event) and forge bravely into a future of passionate creativity - of the dr bob variety!
     
  24. DarkroomDan

    DarkroomDan Subscriber

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    Keep that first print. I still have mine. It was crappy and is now discolored because of bad processing but it was the first magic I ever did. I still have it here somewhere in a folder. I haven't looked at it for several years but I remember it well. It both reminds me of the thrill and keeps my perspective when I am teaching someone new.

    I have printing for 40 years and still get a rush seeing a print appear in my tray. For maybe 5 or 6 years I use to print color also but gave it up. I liked a lot of the work I did but found no joy in the darkroom. Developing in tubes was just a long, dull chemistry project.
     
  25. dcelfving

    dcelfving Member

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    Welcome!

    I'm relatively new to the world of printing as well - I've been at it for almost a year and find it a really enjoyable experience. Every Sunday, I spend the evening in a darkroom. Something about the darkness and wordlessness (if that makes sense) is incredibly relaxing. I spend my days working at a computer and teaching classes at a local university (I'm a grad student) so getting away from all that is something I find very necessary.

    Which isn't to say that I don't get incredibly irritated when things don't go my way. A speck of dust that I don't notice until I've spent hours getting an exposure perfect really sets me off.

    Anyway, you'll find that your exposure times will increase as you gain experience working with the equipment. When I first started, I noticed that I rarely had paper under the enlarger for more than 10-12 seconds at the most. But as you learn how to work with filters, etc. that will start to increase significantly. Not that I'm an expert, of course.

    Good luck! Have fun!
     
  26. haris

    haris Guest

    Well, when I used Opemus 5 I used 6x6 condenser and mixing chamber for both 35mm(50mm lens) and 6x6(80mm lens). Did you put lens properly? I mean for example for my earlier Opemus 5 I must put 50mm lens inside of lens carrier, and 80mm outside. I mean, for 50mm lens I must turn lens carrier 180 degree of its "normal" position and then to screw lens in.

    To try to show: For 80mm lens I must put lens in carrier like this: )- (mark ")" is lens carrier and "-" is lens). But, for 50mm lens I must put it like: this: (-.

    And for my Magnifax 4 )- is for 105mm lens and (- is for 50mm, 80mm and 90mm lenses.

    Try contact Meopta. I was able to find everything needed for my Meagnifax 4 and before for Opemus 5, at Meopta. Both my enlargers are long time out of productions, but Meopta still have parts for them. I bought glasless negative carriers, mixing chambers and condenser lens for 35mm (my enlarger came with 6x6 up to 6x9 condenzer lens) two years ago for Magnifax 4. So try Meopta, they maybe still have original condenser or other parts you need. And prices are low, atleast were when I bought mine accesories.