First time enlarger question.

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by DebbieT, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. DebbieT

    DebbieT Member

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    Hi all,

    Today I enlarged my first print and the results were unexpected. The first print came out very dark, with a dark round blotch in the center of the print. I made another print and exposed a shorter time. This improves the result, but still had the blotch. I realized I had forgot to increase my stops by 2 and ran another print with a short exposure time. This was the best but the center of the print still had a dark round blotch.

    This is 120 film, 80mm lens, on a Beseler 45s head. Can anyone offer advice?

    Deb
     
  2. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Do you have the upper bellows adjusted for the format you're printing?
     
  3. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Hello and welcome to APUG Debbie, can you post a picture of what you are looking at?
     
  4. DebbieT

    DebbieT Member

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    Hmm. Not sure. How would I tell?

    And thank you so much for replying!

    Deb
     
  5. DebbieT

    DebbieT Member

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    Sorry trying to post pic from my ipad.
     
  6. DebbieT

    DebbieT Member

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    image.jpg image.jpg
     
  7. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Can you post a photo of the enlarger? It sounds like you're using a color head, on a Beseler. If so, I believe the upper bellows should be collapsed completely (it's been years since I used a Beseler, so my memory may be off). If it's a condenser head, the upper bellows needs to be adjusted for the format you're printing.
     
  8. DebbieT

    DebbieT Member

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    Hi!

    Yes Beseler MXT and Beseler Dichro 45s Color Head.

    Thanks!
     
  9. DebbieT

    DebbieT Member

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    Thank you so much for the tip! I read through the manual and did not see recommendations for bellows usage. Do you have a resource you go to for that?

    For right now I am sticking to 120.

    Thank you again!!
     
  10. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    If you look at this pdf, part no. 20 shows the upper bellows. It should be collapsed as far as possible, when using the color head. I'm not sure that's the problem, though.
    http://backglass.org/duncan/darkroom/beseler_45mxt.pdf
    Another thought: I once had a Beseler color head which gave me a similar problem. The diffusion disc, under the color head, had faded in the middle. This caused increased exposure to the central areas of the prints. Take a look. The disc should be even in density across the entire disc.
     
  11. DebbieT

    DebbieT Member

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    Thank you so much Eddie! I will study the manual and check those items!

    I will let you know tomorrow! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Deb
     
  12. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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  13. DebbieT

    DebbieT Member

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    Hi Eddie,

    I tried collapsing the bellows as you suggested and ran another test print. Same results. I looked inside the Color Head and it has a 35 mm diffusion tank and I am enlarging a 120 negative. Do you think that would make a difference? When I bought the unit I found a slide in the negative carrier.


    I also checked the diffusion disc and it looks good. It is so perplexing.

    I thank you for all your help!

    Deb
     
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  15. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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  16. DebbieT

    DebbieT Member

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    Thank you David!!

    Learning this hobby by trial and error! Right now with enlarging...mostly error. :smile:

    On a side note: When I bought this Beseler 45s They also gave me a Beseler 23cII. I changed out the lens went through the process of making a print. The entire paper was dark after the exposure except the edge I designated as border. No visible image. Im guessing that tank is also wrong.

    No printing today! On the bright side, I now am a certified Beseler mechanic!

    Thank you again for your support!

    Deb
     
  17. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Looks like David is right. You don't have enough coverage for your neg. BTW. I have the same enlarger for over 30 years and it's a work horse. I use the 45S color head for VC paper it works great! I used my enlarger over the weekend and it's like an old friend. Bought it new during the 80s and it's the best purchase I ever made.
     
  18. DebbieT

    DebbieT Member

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    Thank you for the support!

    Until my new diffusion tank arrives for the 45s, I will see if I can get a print from this 23c II.

    I really appreciate the suggestions and support from everyone!

    Deb
     
  19. walbergb

    walbergb Subscriber

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    Debbie,
    The Besler 23cII has only one mixing chamber that is use for both 35mm and 120mm negatives. There should be a scale on the right-hand side that shows how much bellows extension is needed for a given negative size. Here is the manual for your 23c. Having said that, there is an alternative mixing chamber that "multiplies" the amount of light. It cannot be used with 120mm. It is easy to identify because the bottom "glass" is not the full size of the mixing chamber.

    Are you making a test strip or guessing at the exposure? If you make a test strip, you will (a) save paper and (b) get a good idea of what the proper exposure should be.
     
  20. DebbieT

    DebbieT Member

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    Bob,

    Thank you for the info and help!

    That is funny you should ask about the test strip as I had not done that in my earlier attempts and was blowing through paper!

    Earlier I ran a test print with the 23cII and it came out very dark at 25 seconds. Not sure where 25 seconds came into the picture, but probably from a youtube video I watched showing how to enlarge. Anyway...

    I poked around the unit and realized there was a condenser head in it. When I bought the lot of enlargers and equipment I remembered there was a diffuser head, so I changed them out and also adjusted the the bellows extension.

    I ran some test strips. :smile: I got a decent print (finally yay!) using a 8 second exposure. My first print!

    I'm sure I don't have to tell you how exciting and rewarding it is to make my own picture! Im addicted!

    Obviously, I am a work in progress. Shooting and developing the film is a cakewalk compared to enlarging!!

    Now I must learn how to improve my prints! Do you recommend any books or websites that teach these techniques?

    Thank you again for all your wonderful help.

    Deb
     
  21. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Start here: http://www.ilfordphoto.com/applications/page.asp?n=27

    Then:

    Way Beyond Monochrome, Ralph W. Lambrecht and Chris Woodhouse, 2nd edition 2011


    The Amateur Photographer’s Handbook, Aaron Sussman, 8th edition 1979


    Black & White Photography - Basic Manual, Henry Horenstein, 2nd edition 1983
    (note: Half-Price Books on NW Hwy had 10 of these on Oct. 27)


    Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual, Henry Horenstein, 3rd edition, 2004


    Creative Black and White Photography, Les McLean, 2002


    The Camera; The Negative; The Print, Ansel Adams, 1995


    The Darkroom Cookbook, Stephen Anchell, 3rd edition 2008


    Basic Developing, Printing, Enlarging in Black-and-White, Kodak, 1982
     
  22. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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  23. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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  24. dorff

    dorff Member

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    8 seconds sounds kind of short. It's fine for straight prints, but if you want do dodge and burn, you are going to struggle at such short times. If you have run out of f-stops on your enlarging lens, you still have the option of inserting neutral density filtration. Are you printing with graded filters, or are you using colour filtration? I think if you use graded filters, they will slightly increase your exposure times, which will be to your benefit. You are printing variable contrast, right? If this is all new to you, then check out the books below. The best explanation on how to do this I found in "Way Beyond Monochrome 2".

    Yes, I found a few to be very useful: I'll echo Ansel Adams's trilogy and Ralph Lambrecht's (a member here) "Way Beyond Monochrome, 2nd ed."; I'll add Tim Rudman's "The Photographer's Master Printing Course" and John Blakemore's "Black & White photography workshop". There are several more, but those ones put me strides ahead of where I would have been otherwise. Remember that you cannot really look at negative creation (film choice, exposure and development) in isolation from print making. They are parts of the same process and either influences your take on the other. So it is best to keep the bigger picture in mind while dealing with the details of either the one or the other.

    You will find most techniques explained on YouTube and also on many blogs, but I find greater value (and joy) in owning good books, and prefer printed books over digital resources in the same spirit of choosing film over digital. Of course, you don't have to do that just because many of us here do. Buying a book is just a greater acknowledgement of the author of the work, in my opinion. I also strongly advocate attending one or two workshops or a personal printing session with an experienced darkroom printer. Seeing things first-hand will likely change your technique much for the better.

    APUG is a nice place, and not just because I am here :smile:. Actually, it almost fully answers the website part of your previous question. Not much you won't find here if you care to dig a bit. It is also a returning the favour that most of us have needed and accepted at one time or another.
     
  25. DebbieT

    DebbieT Member

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    Wow! Thank you all! Such great information!

    Go me! I have the Ansel Adams books and the John Blakemore book as well as the John Schaefer books 1 and 2. I am a book fiend, and my choice for learning as well. I will keep reading and absorbing.

    I have not incorporated any filters yet or used the options on the color head, and have not gone above f11...but I will now. The paper I am using is variable contract. I started with the Arista EDU Ultra FB VC because it was less expensive and I figured that I would be making some mistakes.

    Dedicating myself to making more prints this evening and trying out those filters!

    In the last 30 days I have taken up film, and learned how to develop it myself. Now that I am printing, I can see how it is all tied together.

    I am really amazed at all the excellent help I have received and I am grateful!

    Hopefully I can help someone else when I have the wisdom to share. In the mean time I am getting my younger friends hooked on film!

    Deb
     
  26. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    You started with film, developing, and printing all in the last 30 days? That's fantastic!
    Where do you live? There may be a local member who can give you some help.