Printing a (very) thin negative?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Oscar Carlsson, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Oscar Carlsson

    Oscar Carlsson Subscriber

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    I'm trying to print a very thin negative on a large paper (30x40 cm). I thought using split grade printing would ease the process but my initial attemps were not very successful - I found no highlights but shadows everywhere.

    I'm printing with geometrical time scales and went down to quarter exposure steps but still...No midtones.

    How should I go on? What is a good way of tackling a thin negative?

    I have access to dektol and also some selenium toner, but not very much more than that.
     
  2. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    Not knowing what the subject is, I would print with just a gr. 5 filter and see what you get. Then if you need some brightening up in areas, try to get some ferri for local bleaching on the print.

    Jon
     
  3. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Do a low contrast test strip/print first before messing around with split grade printing. You want to see what information you have in the negative first.
     
  4. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    If it is important to you, which suggests it is, if you wish to print at that size, perhaps you should think about chromium or physical intensification.
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Intensification is a really good idea, and can be done with something as simple as selenium toner, but there are other ways, like cliveh alludes to.

    When I print thin negatives, I always start with the Grade 5 / maximum magenta. It works well for me. Split grade printing usually adds very little with very thin negatives. You basically don't have enough contrast in the negative to benefit from the Grade 00/0/1 or whatever filter you prefer.
     
  6. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    If you decide to intensify the negative be careful of the method you choose, Some methods are archival others are not.
     
  7. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    grade 5, dodge where you can. FB paper will make the dark tones and blacks look a little more impressive since you'll have plenty.
     
  8. John Austin

    John Austin Member

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    I recommend Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner, unfortunately no longer made, but there is quite a bit about - Use 1:2 water for about ten minutes with regular agitation at 20 - 25 degrees C

    If the situation gets desperate don't go for Monkhoven's intensifier, there are too few silver gelatine photographers
     
  9. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    If the neg is really thin, then what about making an interpositive on film first. You can play more curve and compensation tricks with film and film developers than with paper. What you want to do is take all that detail compressed in the shadows and spread it over the linear portion of the interpositive. Then you'd make a dupe neg.

    Just a thought.
     
  10. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Orthochromatic film and develop by inspection too.
     
  11. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    Do you have a reference for this being discontinued?
     
  12. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    KRST won't do squat for a very thin neg. Neither will chromium (I have some and can attest). Neither is particularly good for "saving" a very thin neg, they will merely make a thin neg more easily printable.

    Know the curve; become the curve; use the curve :wink: Paper has a narrow range and you'll bang your head against a wall trying to rescue something with that and dektol.

    There is a impure, filthy, disgusting, sacreligious, non-analogue solution as well, and I will mention it only once in this analogue forum so pay attention! What you do is scan at the highest bit depth you can, auto-level, inkjet print a positive image to a glossy paper with no watermarks, and contact print that back to film to make a contact-printable enlarged neg.
     
  13. John Austin

    John Austin Member

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    My Australian seller told me it is no longer available, if it is available in Canada or south of the border it will reinforce my belief that Australia is a third world country

    Please let me know
    John
    Quinninup
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 29, 2012
  14. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I had what appeared to be very thin negative that actually printed just fine with a grade 2.5 filter. My suggestion is to print as normal and see what it looks like. (shorter exposure time, of course)

    Is it thin because it was under exposed or is it because it was under developed? (or both?)
     
  15. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    I have a friend who told me he used to put a blank, developed negative over the thin one to tame it down. He says he got a flatter result and that he had to play with contrast a bit but got the prints.

    I haven't done this but he sounded convincing.
     
  16. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    In my experience, the Ilford RC pearl or glossy paper will give a brighter, contrastier print than FB.

    Jon
     
  17. Oscar Carlsson

    Oscar Carlsson Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone!

    I think that grade 5, a careful straight print and some dodging/burning is the way to go. Sadly I don't have access to any bleach and the negative isn't mine, so intensification is not really an option. Maybe it's time to read some more on bleach however, is it tricky to put together with household chemicals or should I go for more commercial alternatives?

    Edit: As for the negative - it's severely underdeveloped (we tried developing two tanks with the same caffenol in the same sitting, the first negatives came out too dense but printable and the second batch came out almost blank) but I think it's decently exposed. I remember we used the same exposure and the day was overcast and gray, and my negatives came out dense but printable and a few of them printed beautifully on an old glossy Orwo-paper I found in the darkroom.
     
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  18. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Oscar,

    Severely underdeveloped means low contrast. Shadow detail should be less affected, however. Check your shadows to see if there is detail there. Even if the underdevelopment slowed the film way down, you need to build contrast. Here's what I'd try:

    First, even before trying to print with grade 5, I'd bleach and redevelop in a staining developer. That means using a rehalogenating bleach (I use potassium ferrocyanide and potassium bromide), and bleaching the image away. The image silver turns to silver bromide, which can then be redeveloped. Using a staining developer like PMK for the redevelopment will add an additional stain image to the silver one there already, thereby increasing contrast and adding a bit of detail to the shadows. I've used this with good results in the past. I know you don't have bleach, but the above works well and is easy. Read up on it if you are interested.

    Toning the negative in selenium toner will give you about half a grade of contrast increase. It will also make bleach-redevelopment impossible, so it's one or the other, since toning a stained neg in selenium removes the stain... Anyway, KRST 1:2 for about 5 minutes should do the trick.

    Then, grade 5,and the contrastiest light source you can find. If you're using diffusion, try a condenser enlarger. Use your Dektol straight. All this will help you build contrast.

    If none of this works, maybe it's not worth it. If it is, then I'd go to hybrid next...

    An interneg is also a possibility. You can contact print onto film or paper and see what you get by varying development times. Unfortunately, if there is no shadow detail, you really can't save what's not there.

    Hope this helps some,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  19. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    As you said there is lots available. And there is nothing on the web or at Kodak about discontinueings. Maybe your dealer was confusing toners