Test strips/print stock from different batches?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by vdonovan, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. vdonovan

    vdonovan Subscriber

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    Hi Friends,

    I'm reading Lambrecht and Woodhouse's "Way Beyond Monochrome" and profiting greatly from it. One point has raised a question, however. Lambrecht says that he makes his test strips on 5x7 paper, which he keeps a stock of for each type of paper he uses. So if he's going to print on Ilford MG IV 11x14, for example, he'll use a sheet from his stock of MG IV 5x7 as his test strip.

    I've read (in other forums) that some folks will ONLY test using paper from the same batch they are going to print with. If they are printing 11x14, they'll cut up a sheet from the envelope or box they are working from and use that. They say that there's enough variation between batches that it makes a difference.

    I work somewhat like Lambrecht (I wish I could print like him), in that I keep a box of scraps and cutoffs (all of the same paper type, of course) to use as test strips. Maybe I'm not such a fine-art printer that I've noticed any difference in my work, but I also think if it works for Lambrecht and Woodhouse, that's good enough for me.

    What are other folks observations and experiences? Have you seen such dramatic differences from batch to batch of good quality paper (like Ilford) that it would make a difference?
     
  2. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    It depends. Sometimes it's OK, sometimes it isn't.

    I often find a difference of a 1/4 stop in speed and a 1/4 grade in contrast between boxes of the same paper. Matching emulsion numbers aren't a guarantee of a match.

    Paper will loose speed and contrast and gain fog with time. The more the box is opened it seems the faster the paper ages - at a guess it might be oxygen related. What may have started as matching boxes slowly diverge with time.

    Some East-European papers have a 0.5 stop of sheet-sheet variation in paper speed within the same packet.
     
  3. Kilgallb

    Kilgallb Subscriber

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    Even if the 11x14 or 16 x 20 paper has identical speed to your 5x7 or 8x10 stock, I always find I need to slightly adjust values when I change form 8x10 to a larger format. Mayber my eye sees differently on a large print versus a small print. I find I usually need to print the darker values a bit lighter on large prints.
     
  4. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I agree with Nicholas. I usually keep my pre-cut test strips segregated according to which box of paper they were cut from, but when I use just any strip (all the same paper type, of course) it usually does not make much difference. Or, put another way, there are a number of minute things that can make the final print different from the test strip, and occasionally they will all add up in the same direction and you will get an unusually dark or light print.