Yes indeed, everything becomes fussier in color if one expects high quality. But the same lessons
become valuable at time in black and white work. 120 roll film can be esp fussy to enlarge because
it tends to be thin and not dimensionally stable. Scanner fluids are a proven asset in scanning per se,
but in enlargement would mainly serve just to supress dust and Newton rings - but I have no temptation to go there - just too much risk to the original with all that handling and cleaning. I'm prepping for color work now, but keep a more casual setup in a different darkroom for less demanding
black-and-white printing. Fiber-based paper creates a bit of lint, so when potentially working with
both processes during the same month, try to keep them isolated. One of the big problems with
conventional float "window" glass in a carrier is that it picks up dirt and condensation rather easily,
just like an uncoated lens filter, and also is really nasty if shattered.
I have a 6x9 glass carrier for my Beseler and since my setup is in the garage I am always contending with a lot of dust, cat fur etc. I find getting all the surfaces of the glass clean and nothing sandwiched in between a real chore but I do notice a difference in sharpness. Got me to think that maybe a single piece of glass and wet mounting might be easier. Not sure I want to mess with Kami fluid, but has anyone ever tried soaking negative in water with a bit of Photo-Flo to get it to stick?
My thought is to:
1) Do a quick wash in water+Flo and wipe to remove any debris.
2) Stick damp negative to single pane of glass.
4) Dunk negative back in tray with water+Flo and then let dry.
Interesting idea if it doesn't dry out during the exposure or buckle anyway. I assume you'll experiment with an insignificant negative before attempting one of value. But you'll get the emulsion
itself wet and fragile, and any uneveness at all in the drying rate will look a lot worse than Newton
rings. Sounds like you need a circulating air cleaner out there. When I first started out I developed
color paper in a drum in the bathroom, did masking work in a the furnace closet, and had the enlarger in a carpeted bedroom. Was that ever hell, esp with big un-retouchable Cibachromes. But
I still managed to bag a few distinctly highbrow gallery venues. Would be impossible to do it that way
now, with cats roaming around the house and shedding everywhere.
I've used a drop of Edwal no scratch to wet mount a negative, works perfectly and a quick rinse off with Ronsonol lighter fluid leaves it clean and dry. Kami fluid is a heavier naptha than Ronsonol mixed with mineral spirits. No Scratch is mostly turpentine, so a mix of turps and a bit of ronsonol will work, so will straight mineral spirits. None will harm a negative and no scrubbing required to clean them afterwards. A quick google for msds sheets will give you the cas numbers and proportions.
Don't use water to wet mount. It's very likely you will damage the negatives. Water softens the gelatin so the negative is very fragile when wet.
Kami is easy to use, and there is tape available that doesn't dissolve in Kami. I imagine the tape will also work fine with your homebrew mounting solution based on naphtha. Make sure you use a mylar cover sheet and don't just tape the negative down.
I only use wet mounting for scanning. For enlarging I find it easier to print dry between two pieces of glass. It takes less time to remove the dust than to wet mount and clean up afterwards.
I'd be concerned about the flammability of any wet or outgassing petrochemical in any enlarger equipped with halogen, or even if the wiring wasn't immaculate. Some enlargers run pretty hot.
Both glassless and glass carriers seemed to have problems even for 35mm. After trying the lot, I have ended up with a top glass but no lower glass. This holds the negative pretty flat, but dispenses with 2 of the dust-bearing surfaces. Obviously the optical quality of the top glass doesn't matter too much, though there are sometimes humid days when I wish mine was anti-Newton.
I have been using glass carriers for the last 15 years. Combined with a laser alignment tool, the glass carriers deliver the best overall sharpness without a doubt. Cleanliness is certainly an issue, especially if you use a condenser enlarger, but it is worth it in my opinion. I would love to replace the lower glass in my Saunders 4550xl glass carrier with coated glass but haven't found any likely candidates yet. I doubt I would see much improvement at this point with the coated glass but every little bit helps.
I agree with Patrick
one note, when we focus we are focusing on the emulsion or grain , which is important to note, if the glass carrier holds the film flat and if the enlarger is aligned I see no issues.
I have tried the glass only on the top of the neg, it has caused me problems in the pass therefore regular glass bottom AN glass on top for me.
Humidity in the darkroom will solve a lot of issues and a good cleaning workflow of the glass and negative.
Originally Posted by Patrick Robert James
You can get coated optical glass from Schneider Optics (Schneider's U.S. arm), cut and bevelled. For pieces in that size they will source it from their cinema/TV filter division. That's what I ended up going with in my Saunders 4550xl 4x5 carrier. In my 35mm carrier for the same enlarger I was able to use Schneider/B+W MRC "Multi Resistant Coating" glass cut from a clear B+W filter. As noted earlier, however, I can't see any difference in print quality compared with the non-coated glass that came with the carriers. And these modifications were not cheap.
Originally Posted by Patrick Robert James