Kentmere VC Select Paper Need Help

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mryoda, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. mryoda

    mryoda Member

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    Hey all,
    I have again run into some problems
    Kentmere VC Select paper and exposure timing.
    Main problem is exposure timing, i didn't have a lot of cash this time, so instead of Ilford MG4 paper
    I got the kentmere, now i understand its 1 f/stop faster paper than the ilford, but the best i can get
    is a 3.5 second exposure @ f16 from the enlarger as apposed to a 6-10 sec using the Ilford Paper
    Its not a prob to get a pic from the paper, but different contrast levels are a problem
    Below is a shot showing what i mean

    To get the clouds to show (which was why i took the pic) i had to make the picture dark
    But as you can see the contrast seems to be just grey ?

    [​IMG]
    img084

    To keep the image visible in this shot, i had to not expose for the sky :sad:
    or the main focus of the pic would have been too dark.

    [​IMG]
    img087

    Any thoughts ?
     
  2. dorff

    dorff Member

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    Try pre-flashing the paper. Use test strips and expose to find the longest exposure that just fails to show density (i.e. the longest exposure that produces no change from pure white). Then pre-expose the entire sheet prior to use, using this exposure setting (of course with no negative in the enlarger). The effect of this is more detail in the highlights without sacrificing shadows to the same extent. You can also make a negative mask. Ctein's book "After Exposure", available as a free download from his website, explains how to do this. It is more work, but definitely worth while if you are looking for better prints from very contrasty negatives.

    You may increase the exposure time by adding a neutral density filter to the light path. Any ND filter of high quality (Nikon, B&W etc.) will work. Select a diameter that suits the enlarging lens you are using.

    About pre-flashing: It is sometimes worth pre-flashing an entire box of paper and storing it in the same box (just make sure to mark it properly!). Then whenever you have a difficult negative that requires help, you have a convenient stash at hand.
     
  3. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear Mr Yoda,

    First of all....heck of a sky you photographed.....

    Second: Its the neg that makes the print not the paper....

    Third, you are correct, KENTMERE is a faster paper than ILFORD MGIV, but you have all the grades 0-5 in KENTMERE that you have in ILFORD.

    You do not say what grade you are printing at, I also assume that at f16 3.5 seconds that must be a pretty thin neg..

    I do not know how experienced a printer you are, but it seems to me that the print is 'flat' and needs a higher contrast grade, the issue is that when you have sky and foreground you have different contrast levels. What I would do is :

    1) Stop down as far as you can and give yourself some 'time' 3.5 secs is too fast in this instance

    2) Increase your contrast grade

    BUT In going that you will darken the foreground : You can do one of two things

    A) Dodge / hold back the foreground ( buildings )

    B) Split Grade, use a lower grade ( say grade 2 ) on the sky, and a higher grade ( say 4 ) on the foreground to do this you mask the area you are not exposing.

    Finally, are you developing fully, the paper must be in the dev for at least a full minute, 'pulling' your print from the dev before it is fully developed, flattens the print.

    PM me your home address so I can send you our MULTIGRADE printing manual, it does not matter which brand paper you use, the theory is the same and it should help.

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology limited :
     
  4. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    Simon

    Could I also receive one? I will send you a PM with my address

    Thanks
     
  5. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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    If I may chime in. While pre flashing is a perfectly workable technique, I would forgo flashing the paper, it is a confusing process for a beginner.

    Next, it does appear that your negatives need more exposure. Sometimes giving them more exposure (by using a lower ISO) may necessitate a shorter developing time. But first just try a lower ISO. If the bright areas like the sky are printing very white try reducing your developing time by 12% less.

    Neutral density filters do work, although they are pricey. I have successfully used a sheet of frosted Mylar between the condensers in the enlarger. This will lengthen your exposure time considerably. If possible you should be using f 5.6 or f8 on the enlarger since those stops produce less diffraction. Diffraction can cause a loss of sharpness and is most likely to occur at close focusing distances, such as enlarging.

    Next, use a standard developing time and don't deviate from that. I develop RC paper 2 minutes and fiber based paper 3 minutes. One minute will work, but I expect you would see deeper tones at 2 minutes.

    Best to you,

    Doug
     
  6. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I seriously doubt preflashing would help this picture, since the picture appears to be printed from a much too thin negative. Preflashing is a tool used to lower contrast while printing negatives that are otherwise unprintable and have too high contrast, which is exactly the opposite of what's required here.

    Instead, I would recommend giving the negative more exposure when taking the picture. Then at printing time, make a base exposure using Medium contrast filtration, so that the buildings look good. Then switch to Grade 5 filter and burn in the sky to accentuate that dramatic appearance.

    MORE contrast is needed, both in the negative and the print.
     
  7. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    OP, I am not sure whether you are saying that with similar or the same neg and Ilford MGIV you didn't have the contrast problem or simply that you haven't got similar negs printed with Ilford paper to make a real comparison and you are simply assuming, possibly wrongly, that it must be the different paper that's given the issue.

    Does this neg look very much thinner than others where the contrast has been fine with Ilford paper?

    Have a look at the dual or single filtration table supplied with the paper. If it is the "new" Harman Kentmere paper then I think the filtration is very similar to that of Ilford paper. However and this in unlikely now unless you bought secondhand, if it is the old Kentmere( made in Kendall) paper then the filtration is quite different.

    It may also be that Kentmere paper has a slightly different contrast at say grade 2 than Ilford does.

    It might be worth doing a test print on the same section of the neg at several grades to see if that improves the print.

    You may find that whereas this neg is best printed at grade 2 on Ilford paper, it requires grade 3 on Kentmere.

    Unless the neg is very thin I'd have thought that the grade range of Kentmere paper is enough to take care of a low contrast neg.

    Let us know how it goes.

    pentaxuser
     
  8. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    To the OP, are you using any contrast filtration to make your print? You don't mention this and that might be part of the reasons for the flat-print and the short exposure time . . . Look at the leaflet which comes in the packet of paper, and the Ilford website, for more information on changing contrast-grades.
    :wink:
     
  9. mryoda

    mryoda Member

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    Thanks all for the replys,
    There is a lot of info between you all and its hard to know how to reply lol
    The film is Also Kentmere 100
    I dev'ed the Film this way
    9 Mins @20c with R09 (rodinal)
    5 Turns to start and 1 turn every Min thereafter
    Then Ilfostop for 1 min turning for the whole min,
    Ilford Rapid Fix for 2 mins turning every 30 secs

    The enlarger is a Durst M370 Colour
    The Magenta wheel was set at 30 then 40
    I did try dodgeing but messed that up and i think loads more practice is needed
    I forgot to remove my thumb from the light lol

    Simon i think you sent me the Manual before, which i am reading now :smile:
    Ilford Multigrade Papers - A Manual for the Darkroom,
    if its a different one, pls let me know :smile:
     
  10. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    OK, the magenta is there for you to increase contrast. The yellow is there to decrease it.

    It still seems like your negative is very thin, meaning the developed silver is not of adequate thickness to stop too much of the enlarger light reaching the paper surface. That's what is causing your excessively short printing times most likely. So what I would suggest is to photograph the film by setting the ISO dial to 50. This will give you better shadow detail, and then develop normally for a more dense negative, which will give you longer printing times.

    Once you have that figured out, print your negatives again. If the contrast is too low (like in your above post), just increase the magenta until the contrast is right. If the contrast is too high, you dial the magenta to 0 and start adding yellow.

    Hope this makes sense.

    - Thomas

    PS. Make sure that ALL of your film processing liquids, including the washing water at the end, is at 20*C. Developer should be bang on 20*C, and the other liquids could be +/- a degree or two without ill effect. The reason I'm saying this is that for being ISO 100 film your print is extremely grainy, which leads me to believe your stop, fix, or wash water may have been much too cold.

     
  11. mryoda

    mryoda Member

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    Thanks for that Thomas, i will give that a go,
    Yes it does make sense, i have another film in the Camera ready to go, so i will use that one :smile:
     
  12. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    I use a fair bit of Kentmere paper, and it is indeed quite a bit faster than say MGIV.. A couple of thoughts spring to mind:
    See if there are any local apuggers willing to make a print from your neg - This would allow you to see what effect different techniques can have on the final print.

    I think the Open Studios season is coming to a close across the country (most areas seem to be June/July), but it might be worth seeing if there are any darkrooms close by where you could pick someone's brains - If you were in this neck of the woods, you'd be welcome to drop by.
     
  13. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear Paul,

    Good idea.....

    If Mr.Yoda would send me the neg I would happily print it for him.......Simon.

    Simon ILFORD Photo / Harman technology Limited :
     
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  15. mryoda

    mryoda Member

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    Thanks for that Paul, i will have a google to see what i can find.
    Trouble is Taunton is not in the best location for population masses lol
    So it may be hard to find someone willing that has there own darkroom.

    Simon, PM me you address and i will definatly send you the negative :smile:
    You can then also give your thoughts on how thin is it ?
    Thanks a lot :smile:
     
  16. mryoda

    mryoda Member

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    OK Guys well i tried a different method to developing the film
    R09 (rodinal)
    9 mins, 7 vigorous turns to start
    and 5 Vigorous turns every 30 seconds

    Continous vigorous turns for a min in the Stop
    and 5 Vigorous turns for 2 mins in the fixer every 30 secs,
    5 min wash

    They are still poor prints
    I am still getting dark foreground subjects or blown background
    I have been able to drop the lens to F11 to achieve the same results as before.
    All temperatures were 20c, even the wash.

    Here is a scan on the Neg and if it matters, Its bulk loaded Kentmere

    [​IMG]
    Kentmere 100
     
  17. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Where is Ye Olde England?


    Steve.
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Those negatives seem pretty dark, so density is definitely not an issue.
    How do these compare to the old ones you were printing?

    If your other negs are this dense, or almost this dense, you must have an incredibly powerful light source in your enlarger to get printing times in single seconds at f/16.

    Do you know how powerful your enlarger light source is?
     
  19. mryoda

    mryoda Member

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    I assume that its a standard bulb for the Enlarger
    Its a durst M370 Colour and now i am going to take it apart and see lol
    will report back....
     
  20. mryoda

    mryoda Member

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    OK stripped and its a
    12v 100w Halogen
     
  21. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    That's about equivalent to a 150W incandescent light bulb in luminance, which is about normal.

    So, we have negatives of normal density and contrast, and an enlarger with normal light source.
    It's probably such that your developing times are what they are, and you have to live with it.

    What's different between Ilford and Kentmere is that Kentmere is about 2-2.5X faster.

    Regarding the poor contrast:
    1. I'm starting to wonder if it's a safelight problem, where the Kentmere would react quicker to safelight issues than the Ilford would (because it's twice or more sensitive).
    Have you tried just taking a single sheet of paper out of the box, holding it in the safelight illumination (for as long as you normally handle it when printing), with a coin or something like that on it to stop the light in a small area, and then develop it without exposing it in the enlarger? That would be a simple test to do to see if your safelight is safe for the Kentmere paper.
    2. Is the paper developer at full strength?
     
  22. mryoda

    mryoda Member

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    I have a Patterson safelight like this one
    http://www.photographyattic.com/product-496
    Its kind of not Red as in bright red, but exactly as the pic above
    I will test the light as you described tomorrow,

    As for the developer, i tried 2 different ones,
    First Suprol
    Second Ilford MG Developer,
    this did make the dark parts of the image slightly lighter maybe 1/4 stop as a guess.
    Both fresh.
     
  23. Sim2

    Sim2 Subscriber

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    Hallo,

    I do not use colour head filtration so this suggestion should be taken with a pinch of salt but if equal amounts of the colours (c/m/y) are added, in addition to that needed for contrast, would that add a neutral density element into the light path? This might enable longer print times.
    Thoughts on this suggestion by all welcomed.
     
  24. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Based on my experience if you are using fresh Ilford MG developer then you can eliminate the developer as a cause of your problem.

    Secondly and again based on my experience if you process your film exactly as the developer maker suggests you do then the negs should not come out as dark as yours have and they should have a normal range of contrast so at the usual range of grades(2-3) the prints shouldn't look flat, provided that there is nothing wrong with camera exposure.

    I am puzzled as to why you are experiencing an issue. Have you tried other negs that look OK with Kentmere paper? I would try other negs and I'd send my problem neg to Simon Galley. The conclusions that Ilford reach about the neg and how to print it correctly might be the quickest way to resolve the problem.

    pentaxuser
     
  25. mryoda

    mryoda Member

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    I am no expert, but as you can see, i haven't made a thread like this for the Ilford paper
    Every time i use Kentmere paper i get issues like this.
    The first prints in the thread were taken using a Nikon F65 on full auto
    The negative scan came from a Canon EOS 50E but i increased agitation by at least 5x so the neg wasn't as thin

    Although my enlarger timings are the same for both papers, prints using ilford papers always come out usable.
    Out of this box of 100 i have used 30 pieces and totaly wasted 28 of them
    only 2 came out reasonable, even these are close to blowing out the whites and are more grey than i would like.


    [​IMG]
    Steam Engine

    [​IMG]
    Milverton Church Entrance
     
  26. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    "My enlarger timings are the same for both papers" -- the Kentmere paper is at least a stop faster than Multigrade. If you use the same exposure under the enlarger and pull the print too soon then you are going to have a low-contrast, grey result like you showed above. As a guide to a starting time with any combination of negs and paper, make a 10x8 contact sheet using Grade-2 so that the filmbase is only just different to black (ie. so that you can only just see the sprocket holes). If always done in the same way, this will give you a start point for deciding if your negs are ok. It 'should' be possible to make a reasonable work-print at that size and exposure and if not it gives you a baseline from which you can adjust things.

    It also sounds as though there is something unusual about the exposure of the film. Try using the camera manually so you know how it is actually metering, compare that with a good light-meter (or even sunny-16), then develop according to the manufacturers instructions. Rodinal is sensitive to agitation and will change the contrast of the negative a fair bit depending on exactly what you do, so try using ID11 or something similar.