I find every negative to need a different approach to printing and test strips. For most, I find the test strip printer using the template in "Way Beyond Monochrome" a perfect option for finding the correct highlight exposure. Some images need larger areas shown in the test strip and in that case this test strip printer will not work. So for those I go with the classic steps arcoss the image with the card covering small areas at a time. You can never skimp on test strips. I don't try to skimp on the size of test strips, but rather I try to get to the first work print with the least amount of test strips.
I've got a paper safe with shelves that I swear I put test strips of grade #2 on shelf 2, #3 on shelf 3.
When I "run out" of test strips, I take the big scissors and go to town on a sheet of 11x14.
I cut about 2-inch strips from the 11-inch side. Last night when I did that, I had a strip that was a little less than 4x11 inches remaining. I decided not to cut it in half.
Only problem I have to deal with at the moment - I swear I picked Grade #2 strips last night but they proved to be #3. And I cut a #2 sheet of paper last night and added it to the sheets on shelf 2.
I have no idea which is which any more so I might have to throw out the strips and cut a new sheet.
I hate this prospect and am thinking of marking in pencil on the top and bottom backs of each sheet... "A - A" "B - B" etc. and then snipping an inch and popping a sensitometer test on a tiny piece of each sheet.
Going forward, I think I will pencil the grade on the back when I cut strips to prevent future mix-up.
Problem last night proved test strip was #2 and print was on MGIV, I grabbed the wrong box. My greenish Aristo must be giving me Grade 0 unfiltered. Tonight on Galerie 2, the print from last night matched the test strip very nicely.
Originally Posted by Bill Burk
Every time I cut off strips I think about the rising costs and tell myself to make the strips smaller. But somehow I always come up with roughly the same sizes :) Muscle memory I guess...
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
I like Ilford papers best, but they are too expensive for me. I was using Fotokemika paper, but since it is gone - now I think best value for money are Foma papers.
Haven't made a test strip for years, not since I started using the Analyser/pro from RH, it is so good I find I no longer need test strips
I only use test strips, regularly, for prints over 20x24 inches. Since I now use the Heiland Splitgrade system, my initial exposure gets me in the ballpark, and dodging/burning is easier to determine (for me, anyway) in the context of the entire print.
no, i'll continue to make test strips on 5x7 paper:
test strips are invaluable to me. no electronic tool can beat them in my opinion.
+1 I like full sheets as well- Murals I cut a large piece of paper off the roll and do a single exposure.
Originally Posted by ROL
BTW (and FYI for those reading this thread who are less experienced), in reviewing some of the responses, it seems to me that some are inadvertently confusing "test strips" with "test prints". I believe the OP was posing the question regarding the cutting of enlarging paper (test strips) to determine either general print exposure or specific areas in need of dodging or burning, in order to avoid the "wastage" of an entire sheet of paper (not my preference).
A test print, whether by printing device or the simple overlay of a burn card, is made by over exposing a single sheet of paper, of the desired enlarged size, to progressively greater, uniform, amounts of light in order to determine base exposure for the entire print, as well as areas in need of either additional light (burning) or withholding of light (dodging).
It will all get you to the same place, sooner or later, easier than not, more or less expensively, depending on preference.