I received my Photographer's Formulary 8x10 print frame today. I have to say it looks a lot different than the catalog photos showed -in a good way!- very solid and I'm impressed. On examining the glass I noticed a few fine scratches, not many but they are noticable when held to the light a certain way. Should I worry about this? Should I get a new piece of glass cut or is it impossible to get a perfect piece? If I do need a new piece what type best suits contact printing? I can't really send it back because the shipping would cost more than the glass. Unchartered territory here, thanks!
Sean, my glass has a few minor marks and I havent noticed any problems. Should be fine. As to replacement glass? Any good window glass is fine
I'm using a printing frame from the 1930's - with original glass. No problem at all as long as it's reasonably clean. Minor scratches won't affect the image, bigger scratches can - depending on your light source: Sunlight is sharper than fluorescent tubes...
Sean, the real proof is if the scratches show up in the print. Minor scratches usually do not.
All that's needed is just standard window glass, the plain type without any UV blockers or tinting. There was an extreme case recently where a fellow thought he needed to use heavy automotive safety glass for safety concerns. Then he was wondering why his exposure times were unreasonably long and the contrast was screwed up.
I realize that shipping to New Zealand must be very expensive. On the other hand, I once fought with a print frame that invariably put an oval blotch in the sky. The glass appeared to be clear, but the blotch occurred with every negative and always in the same spot. I shone a light through the glass onto a white card and there was this defect, bigger than a sesame seed. It was invisible to the eye but refracted light from within the glass. Chemically glass is a liquid and has a random molecular structure. My glass was non random in this one site and ruined every print.
Moral: Test your print frame and don't accept any merchandise that is sub-standard. If you send it back to the retailer now you can expect satisfaction, but if you wait, you will have to cobble something together that is less than what you bought.
The glass I get is the normal window type from a local glass shop. There seem to be small imperfections inherent in most window glass which is not usually a concern. If you have imperfections on one side, make sure they are away from the negative. This allows for a little leeway when exposing as a small flaw which is above the plane of the negative usually causes no problems..
I have to get something called "select" glass. It is regular window glass except it has been inspected, and should NOT have any of the normal window flaws. Just a bit more expensive than regular glass, but drastically less than "optically clear". It is worth it not to have a miniscule glass bubble in the center of things.
But I have to agree that surface scratches do not tend to affect the outcome of images. Dust and dirty glass are much more of a concern.