New Lens, New Paper, New Woes

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by senorverde, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. senorverde

    senorverde Member

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    Hi there folks. Here's a little enlarging/printing problem I've been having.

    Recently a friend of mind gave me a 6x9 carrier with along with an ancient (but nearly new) 105mm lens for my Beseler. Eager to try these out, I decided to make an 8x10" print on variable FB paper for the first time, since until now I had been using strictly RC paper.

    After exposing a test strip at f/8, I developed/fixed/washed accordingly but was surprised to see nothing. Not even the thinnest of shadows had popped through in my longest exposed area. Frustrated, I kept opening my lens until I was at its widest and only after a minute exposure (that's right, a minute!) I got something.


    Here's what I've been doing right:


    • Used a decently exposed neg. Nothing too dense to make a long exposure.
    • Mixed my developer at standard room temp from a new bottle.
    • Used a normal #2 filter, so no long exposures for using a higher grade.
    • Developed all test strips at the manufacturer's given time for the developer.

    So, what am I doing wrong? I've made 8x10" prints from 35's before with ease.

    Does FB paper expose more slowly? Are 1min+ exposures common?
    Is it the lens? I didn't want to try to a shorter lens because I didn't want to lose coverage.
    Is 8x10" too big of a size for 6x9 negatives since the head had to be so high for cropping?
    Should I try to make a smaller 5x7" print with the same lens and negative and call it good?

    Boy am I confused! I hope someone can share their insight on this, or my signature at the bottom will look pretty silly! :laugh:
     
  2. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Slip the negative a bit out of the holder so some white light shows, and make another test strip. If you get a nice black bar where the light shone through, then you might be able to rule out the negative density. Though I think you should have seen something even from a very dense negative.

    Is there any possibility you placed the paper upside-down on the easel (face down)?

    You should be able to make 11x14's with ease with your setup.

    I can't imagine you happened upon some contact-printing paper by mistake?
     
  3. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    I echo the above probable causes.
     
  4. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I was thinking face down paper too. Nothing else really would account for that, if you've been printing ok with RC paper. FB matte paper can be hard to tell emulsion from base in some papers (it generally curls toward the emulsion.) FB glossy is easy, but still not as shiny as RC gloss.
     
  5. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    1. No. Some are faster than others of course but I've not noticed any consistency in FB being slower, certainly not this much.
    2. Can't imagine how. Anything that made it THAT dim would show up. Did the image on the baseboard/easel look normal, easy to focus?
    3. No, not at all. I print 16x20 cropped from 6x6 negs, no problem.
    4. No, something is clearly wrong.

    I'm thinking what Bill was, about paper upside down, or maybe just bad or old paper. Can you test the developer with some RC paper too?
     
  6. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Since you're dealing with at least 3 new variables all at the same time, why not reduce that number by choosing the first possible cause--the paper. Try the new carrier and the new lens on your old paper. If the problem remains, then there is an obvious 4th variable not yet considered. See that your condenser combination and/or adjustment is correct for that lens.
     
  7. momus

    momus Member

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    Tom has the right idea. Go back to what was working originally. Obviously, if you see a good image on your easel and trial paper when focusing, there's nothing wrong w/ the lens and enlarger. Probably the paper either being totally fogged or upside down. You mentioned using a #2 filter....you don't by any chance have graded fiber paper do you? If so, nix the filter.
     
  8. dorff

    dorff Member

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    Upside down paper is a distinct possibility, and very easy to figure out. You only need a test strip, and you can develop it in daylight if you want to. All you need to see is which surface is the emulsion, and the curve and surface finish will then help you in the dark to tell the correct side. Once you know which side in the envelope is facing up, the direction in which the flap folds over is also going to help.

    Another possibility is safelight (red) filter in place in the enlarger. It happened to me once. I have a Durst, and the filter is internal, so when the switch is flipped the filter goes in. If you are unaware, the first exposure will yield nothing, even though you can see an image on the board and do grain focusing. Just have another look to be certain it isn't that.

    An exhausted developer might also be to blame, though it seems unlikely. It is easy to check with a test strip.
     
  9. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    If you have glossy paper it's easy to know the correct side. With matt paper it can be trickier and I see people put there paper upside down quite often.
     
  10. Bill Banks

    Bill Banks Subscriber

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    Emulsion side down?

    I was taught years ago to put one corner of the paper between my lips then gently open them. The emulsion side is the one that sticks!

    Bill
     
  11. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    This
     
  12. senorverde

    senorverde Member

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    Wonderful suggestions guys!

    For those who are wondering, I am using Ultrafine's cheap variable grade matte FB paper, switching from their RC stuff.

    There are two possibilities I'm thinking of right now. One is the likely fact that I slipped the paper under the easel with the wrong side down, but I always thought that the shinier (in the safelight of course), smoother side is the emulsion side. Is this my folly? Another possibility is I goofed on developing times. I know FB paper's image doesn't 'pop' immediately like RC paper, but rather a slow gradual process. Maybe I found the wrong dev times and pulled it out of the developer too early? I'm filling up my trays right now and I'll be back later with my findings.
     
  13. senorverde

    senorverde Member

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    *EDIT: Using mostly Ilford-based liquid chemicals, I'm sure that I mistaken the dilution of Ilfostop (1:19) with PQ Universal (1:9).

    Proceed in pelting me with tomatoes. Does anyone know if there's an embarrassing darkroom mistake thread on here?

    Well... at least I was using the right emulsion side.

    Thanks again guys. Now to laugh this off.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2014
  14. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Now let me tell you about the really dumb thing I just did and now have to repair....
     
  15. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    I have lots of PAL (Efke} grade 1 FB. Last time I tried it, there was no image, on either side! That was a few yrs ago. I have made some rather nice prints with it before, but they were a little fogged{which problem I hope to clear up thanks to APUG}.
     
  16. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Haa I was wrong.
     
  17. senorverde

    senorverde Member

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    Did a LF camera get blown over into a pond? :smile:
     
  18. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    One could remain optimistic and say that you 'have recently discovered a new learning opportunity' . . ?

    :wink:

    Edit: And well done to the original poster for working out what the problem was. That was also a good 'learning opportunity' :smile: