First attempts--paper questions

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by ghinson, Nov 20, 2004.

  1. ghinson

    ghinson Member

    Messages:
    30
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Location:
    Nantucket, M
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Tonight, in a makeshift dark room with a sink, I set up my newly-assembled-from-eBay-puchases bargain B&W darkroom. I'm very new at this. Experience so far in 4 community class hours. I have a pretty basic chemical setup; Dektol is my developer, Ilford MGIV RC paper.

    Tonight I printed the same exposure about a dozen times in order to experiment with the VCCE filters, exposure times, etc. I'm sure I will get more efficient as time goes by, and I'm sure I wise up and cut strips for test strips (instead of using whole sheets), but does anyone have a good source for bargain or bulk papers? I know (though have yet to try it) that different papers will need different times in the trays, but will I ever need to vary the actual exposure times according to the paper used? I ask because I envision buying a large box of RC papers to experiment on, and a smaller lot of a nicer paper (maybe fiber) to print the final print on when I like the result. If I have a final RC print I like, will the exposure be the same for a different paper?

    Thanks. I already have a dozen or so questions in my head, but I'll go one new thread at a time.

    Greg
     
  2. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

    Messages:
    3,042
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Greg my advice is stick to MGIV RC until you are comfortable with printing. Otherwise your going to waste a lot of money developing your technique.

    You will need a test strip for every negative your going to print. Cut length-ways I get 4 strips out of each piece of paper.

    When you use filters double the exposure times for grades 4 and 5. So for example if you use 5 second intervals for the test strip grades 0 to 3, then use 10 second intervals for grade 4 & 5.
     
  3. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,769
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2003
    Location:
    NH
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Each paper will require a different time, and possibly a different filter. While learning it make sense to experiment on a cheaper paper amd the generics from Freestyle (Arista) and Adorama are reportedly very good. As stated above each negative will also require a slightly different time.
     
  4. ann

    ann Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,923
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    Shooter:
    35mm
    doubtful , sorry to say. However, there are ways to figure paper speeds vs. times once you have more experience ; that will get you in the ball park.

    What i would suggest is that you use one film, one film developer, one paper, one paper developer and work with that for at least one year * yeah i know that seems like a long time*, but that will give you a better foundation than jumping around from various "favors of the month", which can leave you with sloppy technique.

    It may also help to take one negative and work on that until you master making an acceptable print. Try not to get into production minded process. i.e. I must print every negative on that roll, as fast as possible. This a very common thought process for beginners and altho it is very exciting to see all those wonderful images come up in the developer, you will learn to print if you work on an image getting it correct rather than print whatever, how ever.

    What an exciting adventure you have before you. Enjoy have fun and work as much as possible.

    IMHO, there is no way to speed up the learning process except with practice and filling the learning bin. Hopefully you have a good instructor in that community class as that can speed up your learning curve.

    Send me a pm and i will forward several sources for paper.
     
  5. ghinson

    ghinson Member

    Messages:
    30
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Location:
    Nantucket, M
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks for the good advice. I like the idea of sticking with one setup until I am better at printing. With that said, I am not sold on Ilford MG RC and Dektol combo. My stash of that paper is about gone. With value in mind, since I'll probably go through a lot of paper over the next few months, if you were stranded on a desert island and could only take one paper and developer with you, which would you want?
     
  6. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

    Messages:
    3,042
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    LOL The immortal question :D As your just starting out if you like the Ilford MG RC stick with that. I always use Ilford Multigrade developer for my printing. But everyone has their own favorite.
     
  7. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,133
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    check the price for a 250sheet box of MG IV (or one of the generic brands mentioned above). I buy Agfa RC in boxes that size and that is cheaper by enough to warrent buying it that way (Agfa RC Semi-Matt is the pretty much only RC I use other than Ilford Postcard stock). Doing this will also get you to stay with the one paper for a while and learn to print rather than chase some magic bullet. Once you've used the box, buy a few different things and you'll have enough experience from printing the original box that you wil be able to see the differences and not waste so much while you decide if you like them.
     
  8. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    5,307
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    They let you have darkrooms on Nantucket? :D
    Sticking with one film/developer; paper/developer is very good advice. Keep printing and keep learning.
    As far as test strips go, I use a full sheet. It gives me so much more info than narrow strips. It gives me pretty good info on any dodging and burning that I may need to do. Don't think of it as wasting paper, but as gaining useful information. And I am not in a great position to waste paper. But I feel that this is a very useful process.
    The most important suggestion I can give is to have fun.

    gene
     
  9. ghinson

    ghinson Member

    Messages:
    30
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Location:
    Nantucket, M
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    We can have darkrooms, but we can't have liquid developers. Thanks to the Homeland Security, I've been told (though I haven't tested it yet), that I have to order powdered chemicals. The others have to be delivered via ground transport only, and we don't have ground for 30 miles on any side of us!
     
  10. ann

    ann Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,923
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Something just came to mind with regard to this question of yours. We all have address your specific question but i think there is something more important to work on and that is consisitency with making your negatives. For every hour you spend in the field making the correct decisions about metering, exposure, etc you will save 2 hours in the darkroom.

    There is no such thing as a perfect negative *unless of course, you are in a studio and have control over every inch of the film* all will need some sort of tweaking.
    However, it is possible to fine tune your technique and become consistence with making your expsoures .

    So, don't forget to put some time and effort in to tuning up that area of photography and you will find the darkroom much more fun (usually)
     
  11. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

    Messages:
    726
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A little money saving tip if you make square prints from your medium format. If you have a rotary trimmer in your darkroom, you can take the spare 2" X 8" strip off the end of 8" x 10" sheets before exposure and use it for your test strip. That way you get a 20% saving in paper. Also, if you make contact prints before printing you can get a feel for the difference between negs on the same film so that once you have a good exposure for one, you can get a fair idea for the others.

    David.
     
  12. rbarker

    rbarker Member

    Messages:
    2,222
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
    Location:
    Rio Rancho,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Only powdered developers? Do they also make you drink powdered wine and scotch? :wink:

    I think someone is pulling your leg with the "Homeland Security" ruse. There are certain chemicals that are on the restricted list for air transport into the U.S., and there is probably a separate, potentially more restrictive, no-no list for the U.S. Post Office. AFAIK, both of these sets of restrictions existed long before Homeland Security was created. If UPS does deliveries onto the island (once a day via ferry?), you should have no problem with liquid developers, I'd guess. Even if so, I'd probably opt for an occasional ferry trip with the car to the mainland to stock up from a mainland dealer.

    The most convenient and economical print developer I've found around here is ½ liter bottles of Agfa Multicontrast developer ($2.50/bottle @ B&H, my local dealer sells it for $2.09). Half the bottle makes enough mix for an 11x14 tray and a typical printing session. The remainder lasts long enough to not oxidize in the bottle before the next darkroom session. Larger bottles might be less expensive per ounce, but risk wastage due to in-bottle oxidation.

    Like Gene, I prefer to make full-sheet "test strips" so I can see the entire image area and use the test sheet info for devising a dodge/burn plan. I vary the placement and angle of the "blocker sheet" based on the content of the image, so the transition lines between exposure segments don't get hidden by elements in the image. But, I also cut a few sheets in half for localized, "fine tuning" test strips.

    About a year ago I bought an enlarging meter from RH Designs in the UK - a ZoneMaster II. It provides both exposure and contrast grade info, along with other features, so the first test print is in the ball park. It's a little pricey (£150), but well worth it.
     
  13. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy Member

    Messages:
    395
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2004
    Location:
    Zenith City,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I think Ethol LPD can beat the economics. $8.49 for powder to make a gallon of working, which comes out to $1.12/per ½ liter. Then I further dilute it to 1:4, 1:8 for processing prints. I use 2 oz of the working per session of it if I am making 5x7s or smaller, and 6oz if I'm working in an 11x14 tray. I think I'll try mixing up a tray from a liter of stock solution that is about a year and half old that I forgot about to see how well it holds. :smile:
     
  14. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,974
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    Location:
    Wine country, N. Cal.
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I agree with everything Ann said.

    And have fun.

    If you have access to someone who you respect their printing, get critiques often. It will probably help your progress.



    Michael
     
  15. bmellis

    bmellis Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm not sure what your personal definition of affordable is, but I'm in the same situation you are. I buy Kodak Polycontrast IV RC paper (100 sheets 8x10) for $27.95 on eBay from the seller chambrenoirecan 's store. Here's a link to the paper, they always have this paper in one listing or another: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=15226&item=3853629634&rd=1

    B&H sells the same paper for $44.95, so it was a good deal for me. I'm no expert, but the paper seems good to me. It's not fogged, images look nice.
    Considering the price, I'm not as conservative when messing around in the darkroom as I was before when paying $15 for 25 sheets of Polymax.
     
  16. bmellis

    bmellis Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  17. ghinson

    ghinson Member

    Messages:
    30
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Location:
    Nantucket, M
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I placed an order from the above ebay seller for 100 sheets of Ilford MGIV RC in Pearl. I also am watching the seller printingsupplydepot who has 100 sheets of Ilford MG FB Warmtone ranging from $5.00 to $15.00 current bids.