What is contact printing

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by nlochner, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. nlochner

    nlochner Member

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    Hello, the only thing i know contact printing by is when you put all your 35 mm negatives flat on photo paper, put glass on it and then shine light thru them so that you can see all your pictures, on one piece of paper, and use that to base your exposure weel calculations on to get the proper exposure time the first time you make the print. I also make a contact print for my customers when they ask me to take a roll of film of subject x and then they want to pick the pictures they like. That way they can see a small version of each picture on one piece of paper wich saves money on paper and chemicals and most importantly, time.

    Other than what i described above, what is contact printing?
    So far i have made the educated guess that its what you do for large format (8x10 negatives), but i could be entirely wrong. So im embarrassed for asking this, but but there it is. If anyone could help me out thanks.

    Nick L.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That's all it is--printing a negative in direct contact (usually) with the paper, emulsion to emulsion.
     
  3. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

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    Yep - that's basically it - as you refer to it with 8x10 - usually printing a larger negative (5x7 upwards to 20x24...etc , but some also do 4x5) by direct contact and exposure to the printing paper.

    And you can get into also sorts of voodoo - pyro developers, AZO paper, POP (printing out paper), Platinum prints etc.
     
  4. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    here's my interpretation...

    generally, a 'contact sheet' is a set of negs printed in the manner you describe, a contact print usually means a single print made in a similar manner, although usually a bigger (4"x5" and larger) negative would be used
     
  5. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    People who make contact prints from large format negs, generally engage in it for specific purposes. Most alternative processes must be contact printed, as they require UV light for exposure, and there exists no practical UV enlarger.

    In these scenario, a larger image requires a larger neg, thus some of the impetus behind ULF (Ultra Large Format) cameras.

    The aforementioned AZO and hopefully soon forthcoming Lodima contact papers are slow silver chloride papers, specifically designed for contact printing. The printers who use these papers do so for the specific abilities they find in the paper, notably, dense blacks coupled with an ability to resolve the finest details in the highlights, along with the almost unreal apparent sharpness of a contact print. A well executed contact print can appear almost three dimensional.

    Almost any paper, however, can be used for contact printing, some work better than others. In the last day, I have posted an 8x10 contact print made on Polywarmtone titled "Spun Aluminium Lamp" Because the negative prints directly to the paper, there is no technical equal (IMO) to a well executed contact print in the analog or digital realm.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2006
  6. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

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    Polywarmtone in either Neutal WA (above 24c I think it is - don't recall off-hand) or Glycin developer makes for a particularly nice contact print based solely on fairly "standard" materials
     
  7. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, I prefer Ansco 130, lasts forever, and I am a Glycin snorter. It's also less messy and easier to mix than Amidol, and that is important when you're as clumsy as I am. For the record, Nick, Amidol is perceived by many of the Azo printers, as the best developer for the process. I personally don't see any difference in a 130 print over an Amidol print, all other things being equal, but my opinion is purely subjective.
     
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  8. Kerik

    Kerik Member

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    Although I haven't printed AZO in a few years (I'm into other sorts of voodoo now), I completely agree. I did some side-by-side testing many years ago with Ansco 130 and Amidol. I showed the prints to many people and no-one could pick a clear difference. I encourage anyone who's drinking the Amidol Kool-Aid to give it a try.

    BTW, color is voodoo, too.
     
  9. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Bingo. Work better with large negatives. I use 11x14 negatives and contact print them with a 6mm thick piece of glass.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Sandy King did some comparisons of Ansco 130 and amidol a while back and demonstrated that they could produce identical results when used straight, but that water bath processing is not as effective with Ansco 130 as it is with amidol.
     
  11. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Yes, that is pretty much what I found. Ansco 130 at 1:2 dilution gives results virtually identical to the MAS Amidol formula with AZO in terms of Dmax and curve type. Unfortunatley, water bath processing to control contrast is not nearly as effective with Ansco 130 as with Amidol.

    Basically, if you are using in-camera negatives with a fairly wide range of DRs Amidol is a much more versatile developer for AZO than Ansco 130, IMO. On the other hand, if you have suffucient control to develop all of your negatives to similar DR, or if you print with digital negatives, Ansco 130 will give great results, and is both less expensive and easier to use than Amidol.

    Sandy
     
  12. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Ansco 130 will probably give you 95% of what you'll get with Amidol. But if you're printing on Azo and unwilling to compromise on print quality, there is no substitute for Amidol. It gives you that last 5% that makes all the difference.