Practicing LF using paper instead of film

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by LyleB, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. LyleB

    LyleB Member

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    Over the past couple of months I've seen reference made to substituting photo paper for film as a low cost, and quick way to practice LF technique. An alternative to using Polaroid.

    Are there any sources of step-by-step instructions or explanation of this process for a beginner, including what is necessary to develop the paper?

    I've tried some searches on Google, but was unsuccessful in finding actual description of the process. Any particular books reference this?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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  3. LyleB

    LyleB Member

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    Thanks, good intro with some additional resources I'll have to hunt up.
     
  4. ajmiller

    ajmiller Subscriber

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  5. hirokun

    hirokun Member

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    I did this as an experiment when I discovered the Harman Direct Positive Paper. Fortunately, they sell 4x5" sized papers, which fit nicely into standard 4x5" film holders. As the name already implies, it's a direct positive paper, meaning that when you process it, it delivers a positive - as opposed to a negative when using standard paper. You won't need any special developer, you can use the standard paper developer.
    As far as I can recall the paper's sensitivity is rated at about ISO 3. You will need rather long exposures. Plus, the paper yield a rather strong contrast, which will be difficult to handle but certainly creates an interesting effect for certain scenes.

    Anyway, shooting directly on paper is not any more difficult than shooting on film. You will still need to remove the paper from the holder in the dark in order to process it, just like with film. The only difficulty with the aforementioned paper will be handling the contrast / gradiation. Other than that, very straight forward.

    Wish you good luck with the experiment :wink:
     
  6. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Paper's advantages should be cost savings and ability to load film holders and process it under safelight conditions. The Harman Positive Paper does both of those, so I'd recommend it.
     
  7. cblurton

    cblurton Member

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    Safelight Conditions

    I teach kids pinhole photography as a starting point to learning about photography in general. The advantages of using paper instead of film include: (a) it is cheaper than film, (b) paper can be handled safely in safelight so complete darkness is not necessary, and (c) paper used as a film substitute can be processed just like paper is processed for contact prints or enlargements. No special equipment, chemicals or treatment is necessary.

    There is a lot of information about using paper instead of film out there. There are even books about it (do a search on Amazon for "paper negatives"). It is very easy to do and yields pleasing results, pretty much indistinguishable from film to the untutored eye.

    You might also take a look at:

    http://www.f295.org/Pinholeforum/forum/Blah.pl
     
  8. cblurton

    cblurton Member

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    Pre-Flashing Direct Positive Paper

    We've used the Harman and the Efke positive papers. Both yield very high contrast results. With the right subject matter this can work, but for most subjects it doesn't work very well.

    The answer is to pre-flash the paper. User JoeVanCleave on the f295 pinhole forum (http://www.f295.org/Pinholeforum/forum/Blah.pl?) discusses his experiences with Harman and pre-flashing at length.

    You might find these two articles helpful, too:

    Paper negative - the underestimated medium
    http://www.marktweedie.co.uk/blog/i...Paper-negative-the-underestimated-medium.html

    Pinhole
    http://www.davidrichert.com/pin_hole.htm
    (skip down to "Introduction")