How Many Prints in a 4hr session?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Shangheye, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. Shangheye

    Shangheye Member

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    How many "Quality" prints do you do in a single 4hr session?

    I was going to post this as a poll but had no idea how to do that.

    Anyway, I had a bad night in the darkroom last night, and I think it was because I went in without a plan and tried to do so much. To keep it simple, I am interested in the range..

    1-2 Prints
    2-4 Prints
    4-8 Prints

    I am excluding Lith etc (since that takes a bit longer), but I am including toning in the time (but not drying).

    Looking forward to finding out if I am overdoing it....for starters last night, I did 8 print in that time...and today I feel only 2 are OK (but it was also the first time I printed them)..

    Rgds, Kal
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    If, using Ansco John's phrase, I don't have to $hit glass to get the print, probably two or three 11x14 fiber prints and four duplicates of each; including hypo clearing and starting the wash, but not completing the wash and drying the prints. I generally spend about 15 minutes setting up, then 30-45 minutes getting the first print perfectly. (I put test strips through the whole process sans hypo clear and wash, then dry them down in a microwave and view them under low-intensity household tungsten illumination; the light in which I feel they will most likely be viewed. If I know they will be going into a certain gallery's lighting, I will not make copies until I see what it looks like in there.) Then I make copies, and get everything fixed, rinsed of fixer for five minutes, and in to a tray of hypo clear. I then agitate in the hypo clear by moving each print to the top of the stack for one minute, then leave them to soak in the hypo clear and go back to the enlarger. I move on to the next negative, but this time it takes longer after making the print and copies before I can move to the next print. This is because I have to agitate and then rinse the first set that was in the hypo clear, and get them going in a water tray with a siphon set at a trickle. Then I have to rinse the fixer from the second set of pix, get them into the hypo clear and agitate them. This takes a fair deal of shuffling. I probably spend half an hour doing all of this in between the second and third prints. Then I have to do the same after the third print, with the additional step of moving the first set from the tray with the siphon into a holding tank. In the end, when I get all 15 prints plus tests and failed attempts into the holding tank, I begin the timed wash. I move each bottom print to the top every five minutes. With 25 pieces of paper, this means 125 minutes of washing. If I don't have time to carefully monitor the wash, I keep things in the holding tank until I do. It would be very difficult for me to get any more than three 11x14 fiber prints with copies printed, hypo cleared, and into the wash in only four hours. If I had someone else handling the hypo clear and wash routines, I could easily do four easy-to-print prints and copies.

    If I had a vertical print washer, I would not need to monitor the wash so closely.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2009
  3. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I think I have only once done a quality print from a negative, first time.

    I always do straight prints first, then check them out the next day.

    Then I'll have a go at what I think is about right. If it is good, then an 8x10" print either in the intended crop, or full frame, is displayed in our "Fridge print of the week place," in the space reserved especially for this purpose.

    Week is a loose term, sometimes it will be a week or longer stay, before another print takes it's place. Input comes from the missus, and others who see it.

    Once a decision has been made to take it to the next step, then when I feel like a good session in the darkroom, I'm off.

    I can take anywhere from ½ an hour to an hour, for the first good print. Every session is different, it's the nature of the beast.

    Some evenings, and it is mostly evenings, I can do up to three, rarely four good prints, in a session. My sessions usually last around 3½ to 4 hours.

    If the negatives are all from the same shoot, similar in their content or subject, then I can do much better.

    I find that I do sessions in single formats, more than I used to do. I used to start a session in one format, say 135 then switch to 120, not these days. I find if I start with a format, then I'll stick to it, unless I have an agenda specifically in mind, for a multi-format session.

    Mick.
     
  4. OMU

    OMU Member

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    This is a question that I for long time has wanted to ask, and here it is.
    Perhaps it’s a question of how big is a fish? :D.

    The printing depends on the negative; how much dodging and burning are needed etc?
    But an average time for me is about an hour for the first print, to make it perfectly.
    I use the RMdesign Zonemaster and its easy to make several prints from the same negative. But if I’m going to make an new print from an new negative, I have to spend another hour to make it perfectly.
    And after that, I have to add the washing time.
     
  5. VaryaV

    VaryaV Member

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    I rarely, almost never do a quality print from the first batch off the contact sheets. That first session is reserved for test prints and finding that one print that will eventually end up as the one.

    How many test prints varies according to how many I have marked off the contact sheet. Sometimes it's one sometimes it's nearly every frame.

    Once I find and locate that 'one', I will spend 2-4 hours on achieving a quality print. If it requires more I will chuck it that it was never that good of a negative to begin with. That's just my style, I have a short attention span.
     
  6. CuS

    CuS Member

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    Me too . . .

    I am almost exactly in the same boat as Mick.

    I print at least once a week and If I am in a hurry, I can get 5-6 8x10 RC prints done in one session. I dont do alot of fiber at home yet (space issues), but I'm trying this week.
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    When on a roll 15+ high quality exhibition prints in one session off different negatives, with some additional spare prints as well, as an APUG member witnessed in April :D

    I can read my negatives and know where to shade before I start, I do a test strip at a single exposure time and take it from there usually just a slight change in time or filtration, another strip and then print. Usually the first print needs slight adjustment, and the second is as I want it.

    But I have been printing for about 40 years and many in a commercial situation, and the big secret is getting the negatives right in the first place so your not correcting for a por negative instead of enhancing a good one.

    Normally I aim for 5-8 prints a session, but it's much faster if I've printed the negatives before.

    Ian
     
  8. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    For me it depends. Anywhere from 3-8 prints in about 4 hours.

    Jeff
     
  9. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Isn't this one of the ideals of the Zone System, to get negatives where if one is 15 seconds at f/8 they all are?

    As to the original question, I usually found I could do one good quality print in about 2 hours, about 5 average ones and about 10 crappy ones.
     
  10. Larry.Manuel

    Larry.Manuel Member

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    After printing intermittently for two years, I'm happy with two 16x20 FB prints in a four hour session. I'm not able to dodge and burn yet. I do all my lead-up work with test strips. If doing RC, sometimes I do an 8x10 test of the most critical section of the print - at the same scale as the 16x20. Single-tray processing is my method.
     
  11. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I take my time and try to enjoy it. Sometimes I genuinely enjoy it but when it sucks I get out.

    Probably 4 to 6 prints that are average, with maybe 2 of those being above that. I don't factor in toning time, or extra washes, drying, etc.
    I usually wait until i'm finished printing and they've dried to tone, just to be able to judge things a bit better. Also it helps me to think about the image and what I wish for the end result to finally be before I commit to toning, even if it is just a selenium soak. With polytoner this becomes much more important. At least I think it does, to me.
     
  12. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    1-2. Making up a batch of 8-10 prints is a whole day affair for me.
     
  13. Usagi

    Usagi Member

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    Quality prints, 2-4 when they goes for exhibition or for gift/selling.
    Just for "memory prints" to myself, perhaps 4-8. These are good, but not really-really finished. But they're acceptable under the glass frame.
     
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  15. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Wirelessly posted (BBBold: BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    Fresh prints, 3-8. Prints from notes, 6-12.
     
  16. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    0 to 10 of the same print. Depends on how things go. I don't really count washing as time in the darkroom
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    sometimes about a print / hour
    and that includes a handful or extras / print ...

    like ian,
    i was taught how to mass-print like a human-mini-lab.
    once you learn how to, it isn't too hard ...

    john
     
  18. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    It takes as long as it takes.

    Personally, I have found that trying to keep a print rate up to some theoretical nominal rate is counter-productive and destroys the fun - it is a hobby after all

    I now work on a single Neg until I am reasonably happy with a print - and then leave it around for a while to see if I still like it after a period from a few days to a couple of weeks.

    Often, I change my mind about how a print should look after it has been around for a while.

    I can repeat this iterative process quite a few times, while others are right first time (but not very often :sad:)

    Martin
     
  19. wogster

    wogster Member

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    I find that my own mood will often define a print, from the same negative one print will be light and happy, another dark and ominous, yet each is right for the day it's made. I never kept notes on what was the best exposure for a print, because the next time I dealt with it, I might not want that.
     
  20. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Do postcards count?

    Every negative is different - even if they are all well exposed and developed.

    As a result, the number per session is always different.

    If the target is prints of a good technical quality (record shots etc.) than the volume can go up considerably, especially when I can leave the darkroom mostly set up over several days of printing.

    You should have seen me go when I used to do colour wedding proofs :smile:.

    Matt
     
  21. rst

    rst Member

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    LOL

    Yes, when it comes to postcards, after an adjustment phase of finding where I want to go (which might be much different from where I wanted to go at the time of capture) I can print 50 postcards in about 2 hours. The last exchange took longer since I sent contact prints. That took me 4-6 hours.

    Usually I get 4-6 lith prints in an evening session of 3-4 hours. These are prints which I feel comfortable to show others.

    Cheers
    Ruediger
     
  22. insertclevername

    insertclevername Member

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    In a 3 to 4 hour session, I can only manage 1 decent 11X14.
     
  23. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    printing 10 or more from heavily controlled (E&D) negs is one thing, but try doing that with 35mm negs shot under variable, contrasy lighting and developed for the average! Does not matter how much experience you have, this is one tough requirement as you will find grades vary considerably, as does the need for pre-flash etc.

    I find I normally print no more than one as I would be drying strips and checking highlights/drydown etc. On occasion I might get 2-3 done but that would be rare. Sometimes getting a good print can take me into the second day after spending a lot of time staring at a dry print, complete.
     
  24. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    Today in 4 hours I did two decent 8X10 fibre prints from 4x5 negatives. It wouldn't have taken any longer to do 11x14's. Most of the time was spent dialing in the exposure time and filter. I probably wasted 4 sheets getting that right. I do a minimal amount of dodging and burning (because I'm not very good at it unless it's simple). The time includes selenium toning and washing, right up to the time I paste them on a glass sheet for drying. It doesn't include the time I spend fussing over which of the negatives I have that are worthy of all this fun.
    I would dearly like to watch one of you printing masters do some of the extremely complicated dodging and burning I have seen illustrated in books and magazines, where the photo is mapped in detail with 10 - 20 different sections showing how many seconds of exposure to each, and with which filter. I can't even imagine the skill and dexterity it would take to do that, let alone figuring it all out in the first place.
    In the end, I still try and second-guess myself. Maybe this area is too dark, maybe I need more contrast, maybe it's right as it is.
    My next windfall job $ will have to be spent on a darkroom course. I believe someone puts them on in Montana occassionally, a place I could drive to.
     
  25. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I just started printing again after 23 years so my volume is quite low as I re-learn with the newer papers. A few nights ago I got 3 decent 8x10 prints in 4 hours. Now that I have been looking at them I will probably reprint 2 of the 3 so for now I made 1 keeper in 4 hours.
     
  26. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    It depends on the negatives and on how fussy you are. If the negatives are all similar and I am just doing routine prints, I can get into the 4 to 8 range. But I have had difficult negatives that have taken me over 4 hours to get a single decent print. Once I find the basic exposure, things usually go fairly well, and I can get a reasonable print for display in about 4 more tries - say an hour. That makes about 3 prints in a 4 hour session for good but not extremely fussy work. One thing is certain, when you see a negative that you know will print easily in one or two tries, it takes 15 sheets of paper to get it right; those that look harder usually aren't.