Need help pls to not wast expensive paper.

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by dwdmguy, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. dwdmguy

    dwdmguy Member

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    Thank you for looking.

    I just purchased some Bergger Silver and it's a bit expensive but from what I've gathered, worth it if used in the trained hands.

    Only 10 sheets.

    Can you guys/gals suggest some of the best was to make my testing/exposure strips etc., without wasting paper. No doubt I''m going to have to bite the bullet on some but I'm looking to limit it.
    Thanks tons.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    10 sheets really isn't enough to learn the ins and outs of a paper, but if it's what you've got, you may try cutting some down, printing smaller and multiplying the exposure before printing full size. The standard paper sizes are approximately 1-stop apart (4x5, 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, 16x20--4, 5, 8, 11, 16--do those numbers look familiar?), so if you make your test prints at 4x5" and your final print at 8x10", exposure for the 8x10" should be two stops more than for 4x5",
     
  3. dwdmguy

    dwdmguy Member

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    David, thanks tons. I had no idea about the 1 stop rule between sizes. Makes sence tho'... is this what you mean by "multiplying the exposure"

    I know 10 sheets is not really enough, but it's expensive and with my lil' rug rat.

    It's going to be painful because I like to dodge and burn so that takes a few tests right there.
    Thanks again.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, that's what I meant. Come to think of it, you might even try to keep the exposure time constant and just stop the lens down for the smaller test prints to avoid any reciprocity issues.
     
  5. dwdmguy

    dwdmguy Member

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    Now that's an idea.
    So, to start I think I make one sheet of test strips, make a base line from choosing one area of the exposed test strip, say, 10 sec, and then beginning with a 4x5 which would be the other half of the sheet I'm making my test strips with.
    then if it works stop down two stops for a 8x10, then do my dodge / burn etc...
    Boy, that's 2 sheets out of 10 before a even come close and I don't usually come close that often.

    Hey, but for the finished product of what we know to be like no other media, it's worth it.

    Thanks tons David.
     
  6. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    The technical info, on the Bergger site says:
    "Exact exposure times may be found by test strips (small, extra sheets of the paper are enclosed for this purpose)."
    You may have a little more to experiment with.
     
  7. dwdmguy

    dwdmguy Member

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    Test strips included? Excellent. I've ordered by not yet received.
    Good news.
    Thank you!
     
  8. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    2 Up on 5x7

    My 'test strips' are printed full negative, 2 up on 5x7
    sheets. I cut 8x10 to 2 5x7s. Full frame prints are
    very revealing. If you're lucky one 5x7 will
    tell the tale. Dan
     
  9. dwdmguy

    dwdmguy Member

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    Dan, I think that is a fine idea. I'll try both the enclosed test strips as well as your suggestion of 5x7.
    Boy this paper is expensive.
    Thanks so much.
    Tom
     
  10. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    I ain't a master printer or anything, but the technique I was shown involved test squares not strips on the assumption you may not have large areas of highlight or shadow to test with. I cut approx 1" squares and (recently anyway) proceed by split-grade printing which means I use only 2 sets of test squares: one for shadows and one for highlights. Takes a little longer to do the exposures (colour enlarger is a godsend compared to using separate filters here) but the time saved in developing tests and paper saved in needing only 2 test sets is (for me) significant.

    If you're used to running a test strip at 3 or 4 different grades and picking a grade and exposure from all those then split grade will save you a lot.

    Oh yeah: you will need to open up (not close down) the lens by 2 stops when going from 4x5" to 8x10" and using the same times.
     
  11. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Something I do to cut down on the number of tests - I use a long strip, and run it through the image so it goes through the darkest area I'm interested in and lightest area. The stepped exposures run parallel to the long edge of the strip. This will show me the exposures running through all areas, which might require different amounts, and the light area shows how much I need to burn in. Plus the mid ranges give a sense of tonal separation for contrast judgment.
    I often run 2 strips of different contrast, same exposure steps, and develop together to save time.
     
  12. shotgun1a

    shotgun1a Member

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    For paper-saving tests when I print 11x14, I size and focus the image using my 11x14 test target, then use an 8x10 sheet of the same paper type placed in a strategic spot of the overall image, held down at the edges however is convenient (usually magnets). The paper doesn't know there's image outside it, and the enlarger doesn't know I'm using the wrong paper size. I guess a strip off an 8x10 sheet would be even more economical.

    Either way, if you leave the enlarger head at the same height throughout, and the same paper type, the exposure is going to be the same. Of course, with different paper types, you might be crossing your fingers a touch.
     
  13. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

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    I haven't bought this paper in a while, but I'm sure the price has skyrocketed...£4 + vat per sheet for 11x14!

    What price are you paying in the US?
     
  14. dwdmguy

    dwdmguy Member

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    $32 for the 8x10 and
    $54 for the 11x14

    Both 10 sheets

    Tom
     
  15. Dwane

    Dwane Member

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    What I would do (what I do, actually) is to start with an inexpensive paper and make the best prints I can with that paper. Record everything - exposure, f/stop, filtration, dodge and burn times, everything. When I'm ready to use another paper, I first find the correct exposure and filtration for the new paper with test strips. The dodge and burn times, and changes in filtration if needed, for the new paper can then be estimated from my notes for the old paper. The more you do this, the easier it gets. But perhaps this is so obvious that no one felt it needed to be mentioned?
     
  16. dwdmguy

    dwdmguy Member

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    Great advice Dwane, thank you.
    Tom
     
  17. Keith Yohai

    Keith Yohai Member

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    Thanks, good advice, not quite how I do it, but interesting.
     
  18. Denis R

    Denis R Member

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    my method

    1. view neg on light table
    2. determine what may be worth printing
    3. view selected frame in enlarger
    4. adjust enlarger and easel for optimum results
    5. use "junk" paper to do initial timing strips and narrow down time, sometimes 5 or 10 sec. difference is all it takes
    6. use "good" paper to do trials and calibrate for differences in paper, "paper factor"
    7. print one to see how it looks
    8. adjust as necessary, repeat 7 & 8 until "right"
    9. "factory" printing atleast 3, perhaps 5 prints made
     
  19. naugastyle

    naugastyle Member

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    Lately what I've been doing is large-ish test strips that I can angle in a way to get the important parts of a frame in, set what for me is an average exposure (f/11 8 seconds), and base filtration on how I believe the negative looked. Usually from this strip I can estimate if I need to +/- a stop (or half or quarter or 1.5) and can adjust contrast. If I'm not positive my new estimate is correct, I'll do another strip, but sometimes one is enough. If dodge/burn is needed, of course one strip is not enough.

    I've only been back in the darkroom a little while so I may still hit upon a better method, but since I started doing this, I've been getting significantly fewer mistakes on the full sheets. The only papers I have in 10-pks are 8x10 Polywarmtone FB ( although I have much more than one 10-pk) but I feel comfortable enough in this method now to try it out. (Previously I cut up my Polywarmtone and only printed 5x7s). Last weekend, using much less expensive 8x10 paper (Ilford Cooltone RC), I cut one sheet into 5 test strips, used this method, and got two perfect prints and one nearly-perfect. Not too much paper wasted.