Lynn Radeka - masking kit ?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by liza, Aug 23, 2003.

  1. liza

    liza Member

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    I´m thinking on buing the Lynn Radeka Masking Kit but can´t make up my mind. Is there anyone here who use it and would be so very nice to give me information on how to use, items in the kit and if it´s a good bagain for the money.

    Forumthread "Tri tone separating masking" was very intreresting but too complicated for me, I would mess things up trying to make my own masks at this point.

    Best regards Eva
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Liza,

    The Radeka masking kit was part of my evolution in the use of masking in my process. I purchased it some time ago and I understand that Lynn has upgraded his registration system from the very crude and virtually unworkable system he had at the time of my involvement. I can't speak to the quality of his new system since I have not used it. I do know that he had a price increase with the new system. I understand that his system is not enlarger mfg and model specific...sometimes "one size fits all" works in some things and other times it does not.

    In my case, I ended up designing and having built a registration system that is a modification specifically for my Saunders 4550 XLG enlarger. My system is very precise (repeatability on the order of + - .003)

    Now on to the matter of masks, yes masking is a valuable tool. However it is not used by many, expecially insofar as sharp masking, because it is more involved then simply enlarging a negative. It does possess the capability of very precise control and manipulation of the camera negative information. It will allow printing of a negative in ways that are not possible with any other means. Masking can be as simple as making an unsharp mask for increase of local contrast and reduction of overall contrast. It can be as complex as the tri tone masking which I posted some months ago.

    I don't know that I have answered your question. Please feel free to ask specific questions that you may have. I will try to help if possible.
     
  3. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Eva, I also got the kit, and the information is valuable. As Donald said, the registration pins etc provided in the kit were about useless, but the information about masking is very good.
     
  4. liza

    liza Member

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    Hi Mr. Dnmilikan!
    Thanks for such a promt feedback. Reason for my question is that I´m not satisfied with the results using ordinary technique, usm, split filter, highlight bleeching, selenium, dodge and burn. It delivers nice pictures but not with "it" in them. Nobody around me are making their own masks so there is non to ask.
    Reading about the Kit and the possibilities shown on their webite told me that, that might be the solution. But, as English is not my ordinary language I didn´t really understand what the Kit contained. There seem to be quite a lot of written information and "how to´s" in the kit. But to me items to work with practicaly is just as important and this doesn´t seem to be included only ways to obtain them(probably USA).
    Paying over $100 incl p&p (Europe) for something that don´t gives me the introduction, guidelines AND material I need seems like a waste. On the other hand - I haven´t been able to find any similar litterature on the subject. Now I´m really confused!!
    Do you maybe have an alternative suggestion author/litterarture/website where I can get a really good look in the procedure on how to make those different masks?
    Best regards
    Eva
     
  5. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Liza,
    Before I get into an elaborate discussion of masking techniques, I guess the first thing of a pertinant nature is to find out what film format you are using?

    I could tell you how to do unsharp masking via email if that would help. That type of masking requires no registration equipment on the enlarger. However, sharp masking requires very precise repeatability and film registration.

    I wrote an article in the May-June PhotoVision magazine that discusses one application of sharp masking. That magazine is a sponsor of this site and I am sure that they have a past issue that you could purchase if you are interested. Additionally I am in the process of writing two additional articles that will cover photographing in high contrast situations (above 12 zones) and also an article that will cover masking techniques in printing of negatives incorporating extreme brightness ratios. I am not sure of the date of publication of these.

    If you will advise as to your film format, that would help a great deal on what and how I may benefit you.

    Best regards, Donald Miller
     
  6. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Don,
    I'm also curious about masking and its uses for analog enlargement. Maybe an apug article? I know Sean would be tickled pink.
     
  7. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Jeremy,

    If there is an interest in this, then I will certainly consider writing an article on unsharp masking techniques. Why don't we see if there are others interested. If so then I will put something together. Thanks for your interest.
     
  8. liza

    liza Member

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    Hi!
    What a joy to get such elevating respons.
    Maybe not the right forum but I feel I shortly should introduce myself. I´m a "oldfashioned" darkroom enthusiast prefably B/W but I also work color - all manual of course. Not a youth directly but that doesn´t stop me since I´ve always been working with "picture" in various form.
    Since 5 years back I´ve put all that aside, now concentrating only on photo, gum bichromate and soon mordancage.
    The analog negative is of highest value to me in all 3 techniques. So - I want to be able to make the most and perfect use of it.
    Cameras: beloved 4x5" field camera, old Kowa super 66 medium format, HBL X-pan. All cameras produces exellent negatives but I mostly use X-pan and the Field camera. Films: Tri-x, T-max, Ilford delta depending on situation. Halftone: Agfa P3p and graphic Ortho OP12 for Gum Bichromate.
    So back to things that matters. The USM (unsharp masking) I´m well at home with. It´s the other kind of tone separating masks I´m qurious about and really want to learn how to use.
    I certainly do hope there will be a lot more members asking for an article in how to produce and use those masks (so the Lynn Radeka Masking Kit is put on ice for now) although I won´t be able to understand it completly - but thank God for dictionaries and some patience.
    Here in Scandinavia it´s far beyond midnight now so I´ll say thank you for now and good night.
    Eva
     
  9. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Eva,
    I was happy to see that you had 4X5 equipment because masking is more easily accomplished with the larger negative. However, it can also be accomplished with medium format negatives. Since you indicate a familiarity with unsharp masking, that then leaves sharp masking of various types and effects as the next course of action. As I had mentioned this is where precise registration of the camera negative and masks comes into play. The reason for the need of precision is that there are many times where several mask changes involving removal of the negative carrier from the enlarger and reinsertion with a new mask and additional exposures are the course for accomplishing one's desired result.

    Unfortunately, this then brings us back to a need to accomplish this precise repeatability through modifications to enlarging equipment. My modifications to my enlarger system involve a film punch that is registered with a mask printing frame and these two componants are also registered with the negative carrier of the enlarger. The negative stage of my enlarger was modified to provide for repeatable positioning of the negative carrier after each removal and reinsertion. My modifications cost several times what Lynn Radeka charges for his newer system. As I mentioned before, I don't have any opinion on his system (hardware) since I have not used it.

    If you are interested in pursuing this further (beyond unsharp masking) then these issues must be addressed. Possibly if you could indicate your enlarger manufacture and model that may be a place to begin. It may very well be that Lynn Radeka's newer system is what would be best for you. This may be a time for further evaluation of the level of your desire.
     
  10. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Don, I would be interested in an article about unsharp masking.
    Alex
     
  11. Poco

    Poco Member

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    Don,

    I'd also appreciate an AGUG article on masking!
     
  12. KenM

    KenM Member

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    Just thought I'd mention that I also have Lynn's masking kit - the complete system.

    Regarding quality, the construction of the carrier, and carrier holder is very nice. Black anodized aluminum is the name of the game. Looks very professional.

    The holder is positioned in the enlarger through a 'friction-fit' type system. On my Saunders 4500-II, I had to remove the lower portion of the negative stage (it just lifts out). Insert the holder, lock it in place, and it stays put. It's square, so you can rotate it 90 deg. for different orientations.

    I've done some masking with it, and it does work well. Now that I have a new darkroom with more room, I expect that I'll spend more time working with the masking process.

    While expensive, it is recommended.

    Cheers!
     
  13. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    ..
     
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  15. KenM

    KenM Member

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    Would people be interested in a few pictures of Lynn's carrier, and of it mounted in the enlarger?
     
  16. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Aggie,

    The modifications and additions that allow precise registration on my enlarger are in the nature of the following:

    1. Film punch with redesigned and installed punch dies and a fence to provide for precise film positioning while punching.
    2. Mask printing frame that has registration pins incorporated to allow the film and mask material to be printed in registration.
    3. Redesigned enlarger negative stage that is bolted to the enlarger lamp house for stability and that has stops installed for negative carrier positioning and also an adjustable tightening bar to lock the negative carrier in position.
    4. Redesigned negative carrier that has registration pins to provide for precise negative and mask positioning.

    As I have previously mentioned my system is enlarger mfg and model specific. I purchased Lynn Radeka's original system and looked at Lynn's new system and opted to spend the additional money because of greater precision.

    My actual cost of these modifications came to very near $1,000.00.
     
  17. KenM

    KenM Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean by 'greater precision'. The current system uses a two hole 1/4" punch which offers large holes. The supplied negative carrier has the 1/4" brass pins already spaced. Once you've taped the film leader to the original negative, and punched the masking film, you get perfect registration (or as perfect as it needs to be) every time.

    The negative carrier slides into the mount, and is held in place by a magnet, again offering perfect replacement. You can remove the negative carrier, replace it, etc. and it always goes back to the same place.

    Am I missing something?
     
  18. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Yeah I would like to see a picture.....
     
  19. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    The problem that I envisioned with Lynn's system is in the area of the negative stage and negative carrier. The information that he provided did not address the matter of the negative stage being immovable and I also was bothered by the fact that the negative carrier wasn't specific to my enlarger. Additionally at that time he offered an over the counter paper punch as a film punch. The punch that he offered is not a machined item, they are rather a stamped production item and not subject to a great deal of integrity insofar as precision is concerned. I have found that absolute repeatability is required when degree of enlargement becomes great. In my masking I most usually remove and reinstall negatives and masks many times in producing a print. I am quite obviously not in competition with Lynn Radeka since I don't sell a competitive system. I try to spend money for valid reasons, as well. I researched the matter thoroughly and had valid reasons for taking the approach that I did. Those reasons were greater precision.
     
  20. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    I use tape - it is really hard to do but after five or six tries, I start to like to original more. The special effects I get are also somewhat interesting.
     
  21. KenM

    KenM Member

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    If I remember correctly, you have the 4550 XLG, which has the same negative stage as the 4500 II. Let me say that the negative carrier frame is locked quite securely in place when you flip the lever. In fact, once you lock the negative carrier 'frame' in place, it does not move. Yes, you can move it if you push hard enough, but if you're doing that sort of movement to the enlarger, you've got other things to worry about.

    Admittidly, the punch is a mass produced item, but in my experience, the punch and supplied pin strip/negative holder are in perfect registration. I have a print of a tree I tried to work with (unfortunately, not even masking could save this one!), with lots of leaves - there was no shadowing/double images on the leaves, which to me indicates that registration is pretty good, if not exact.

    My personal feeling is that the kit would have worked just as well as your solution, but then again, perhaps it wouldn't have. All I can say is that it works very well for me, and works very well in my enlarger. Obviously, if you've spent over $1000, you must certainly believe that your setup warrants it. So, everybody's happy! :-D
     
  22. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    If I remember correctly, you have the 4550 XLG, which has the same negative stage as the 4500 II. Let me say that the negative carrier frame is locked quite securely in place when you flip the lever. In fact, once you lock the negative carrier 'frame' in place, it does not move. Yes, you can move it if you push hard enough, but if you're doing that sort of movement to the enlarger, you've got other things to worry about.

    That is the reason that I went to the system that I have and use. Unfortunately, I know of no way to remove the negative holder from the enlarger for mask changes without releasing the lock lever. If the frame that Lynn has developed is locked by the lock lever and the negative holder is removed and reinserted the very fact that is removable is indicative of greater the .005 available spacing since a "machinists press fit" is .005. The term "machinists press fit" means that with .005 a human being could not physically insert one piece into another without the use of mechanical aid in the form of a hydraulic or mechanical press. It is at this point when one would remove the negative holder to change masks that the negative holder registration would move. In moving the negative stage, it would throw the "whole shebang" out of registration. Even taking the fact that greater then .005 spacing exists (it must if one is physically inserting and removing the negative holder), when one enlarges that by a factor 800% (16X20 enlargement from 4X5 camera negative) the .005 becomes .040. This is a highly noticeable lack of registration. In fact, I imagine even a neophyte would notice that in a print.

    My registration system while more expensive and I believe more precise is still relatively crude in comparison to another photographer here in Kansas(Charles Phillips) who does tri tone separation masking through a $61,000 enlarging system. This allows a selection of higher contrast filtration through the highlight and shadow regions of the paper (toe and shoulder of the papers characteristic curve) and another contrast filter selection for the midtones where tonal separation is normally greater. He has shared that even a very costly Condit system that was incorporated was prone to registration problems.

    The potential for masking extends far beyond what Lynn Radeka has addressed. Lynn has taken from the earlier work of several photographers that were exploring masking. While beneficial and available to the masses it does not fully cover the potential of this process.
     
  23. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    You have lost me entirely here. A "Machinist's press fit..." is what? The idea of a "press fit" is that one part will *require* force of some level to be assembled into another, due to the fact that the internal part will be physically *larger* than the external. The greatest interference in use is provided by a "Shrink fit" where the internal part is cooled to shrink it, and the external heated to expand it. That is rarely as much as a difference of .001 inch - or .025 mm. Press fits are from about .0002 inch to .0005 (.005 - .012mm.).

    It is entirely possible to have a "line-to-line" (zero clearance) fit - where the internal part is extremely close in size to the external - that will result in a "wring" fit ... (we had a number of display examples for this in the aerospace guidance system - and optical systems - business).

    Very close tolerances are difficult and *expensive* to manufacture - so a lot of equipment is designed on "Kinematic" principles. I don't have enough time or space to go further...
     
  24. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Ed,
    Obviously, once again, you are the person to address when it comes to matters of an extreme technical nature. All that I know, not being a machinist myself, is that the machinists that I have had contact with (including my son who works for Boeing here in Wichita) is that they commonly use the term "press fit" and that is identified by the clearance dimensions that I provided.

    Now I will give you that it may be a local machining term. However we have somewhat of a aircraft manufacturing hub here and normally employ a number of machinists and engineers. Therefore we are are not located in some remote technically impoverished hinterland.

    I indicated my reasons for doing what I did in regards to a registration system for my photographic applications. Beyond that I have "no dog in this fight". However, if in the future I want the real "skinny" on something of a technical nature I will contact you.

    Thanks for sharing your input.
     
  25. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Aha!! Do I detect a smidgen of ....

    I'll apologize. In a different life, I wuz a "Quality Assurance Specialist" - one of my major duties was checking manufacturing prints *before* release for design anomalies .. and I HAD to be cognizant of fits, tolerances, strange configurations that would defy measurement ... stuff like "ANJ threads" that were NOT specified as "Class 2"....

    What triggered an old knee-jerk response was the idea of an .005" interference fit. Not hardly ... simply too much interference. Something would bulge/break/squash out of shape.
     
  26. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Don, Ed, you're both right.
    Don, I think you left off a decimal place. A .0005 interference would be appropriate for a pin in the 1/4" range or smaller, which is about the size I imagine your registration pins to be.

    Ed, you're right, a .005 interference would certainly bust things apart up to a certain size.

    Old machinist thumbrule for press fits: .0005" for less than 1/2", .001" up about 1-1/2", then add .001 for every 1" larger. A .005 interference would be appropriate for a 5" diameter.

    Caution: Thumbrules are known to vary from source to source. :smile:

    Alex (Once trained in Wichita area shops)