First experience: was contact-printing on enlarging paper

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by dr__red, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. dr__red

    dr__red Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I've finally got a setup to start making contact prints: printing frame, simple enlarger etc. The actual hands-on printing experiences from 4x5 risen a few questions...

    I've got some RC MG enlarging paper. Mostly for a reason of availability, Ilford support, and diminishing volume of AZO multiplied by its price. Yes, I heard of Michael's replacement paper but it is still pretty much uncertain.
    So my question is there any value of contact printing on enlarging paper? Will the prints be any better than the once enlarged?
    Ultimately I'm assessing the feasibility of moving up to 8x10 here...

    60w tungsten bulb setup in enlarger leaves me with 6 sec exposure time when the stopped all the way down. If I replace it with say 25w bulb, would it give me a longer exposure time?

    Thanks
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,946
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Yes, a well made contact print even on enlarging paper can have a tactile quality that can't be matched by a well made enlargement, in my opinion. Some will disagree. Try doing both for a while and look at many prints made by others, and see what you think for yourself.

    Yes, if you use a smaller bulb, you will have a longer exposure time, but if it's not a bulb that is made for the enlarger, it may not provide even illumination. If you are contact printing with an enlarger as a light source, there is no disadvantage to stopping the lens down all the way, and you can add ND filter material to reduce light output further.
     
  3. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    One can contact print on enlarging paper just wonderfully.

    Try laying a piece of white, translucent plastic over the glass that holds the negative to the paper. It does a lot of good things.
     
  4. sanking

    sanking Member

    Messages:
    4,813
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    Greenville,
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    You could also contact print directtly without the enlarger. A 7 watt night light placed about 36" from the printing frame will print in about 10-20 seconds on projection silver papers. And it would be very easy to attach a small frame under the bulb to accept VC filters if you want to print with VC papers. I measured light fall-off with the bulb and it was less than 1/4 of a stop 20" away from the center of the coverage so you shoud be able to get very even exposures with this method of contact printing.

    BTW, the night light I am using is one of the frosted round ones that go into regular outlets, not the kind with the small screw-in fitting.


    Sandy
     
  5. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    How high do you have your enlarger head? Go ahead and move it all the way up if it isn't already, that will give you longer, potentially much longer, exposure times.
     
  6. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

    Messages:
    2,894
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    You can also raise the enlarger head to decrease the light intensity. I set mine with the lens stage at 2 feet above the print frame, then vary the lens opening to get a 30-60 second exposure. This allows for some dodging/burning if necessary.
     
  7. dr__red

    dr__red Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    That's what I was thinking of. Given the enlarger I've got is mounted on a wall I can easily remove its base which would allow for quite a drop to the table top below. That should give me a long enough exposure I need.

    On this note, what should one prefer in terms of VC paper: fiber or resin, matt or gloss? I've been experimenting with resin/satin so far, but coming from colour printing experiences matt paper surface should accommodate for a wider tonal/density range. Is it a same in b/w world?

    Thanks
     
  8. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

    Messages:
    6,242
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    You can also put sheet ND material into the light path. 3 stop ND would increase your 6 seconds exposures out to 48 seconds at the same aperture
     
  9. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

    Messages:
    6,242
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Glossy fiber paper seems to be favored by a lot of people. I use it.