Short Print Times
I got back in the darkroom today after a long time not having a darkroom. I printed a negative from a fairly thin, but not super thin negative. Tri-X 400 pushed two stops. I just obtained a Leitz Focomat V35 and used that. I printed it on Adox MCP 312 RC paper, at 5x7. I ended up with a time of 4 seconds at f11, this seems to be excessively short? The print came out fine but if I had to dodge or burn much it would be difficult.
Stop the lens down to f16 that'll double the time.
Sounds about right for the V35 and thin neg at 5x7. My negs are fairly dense and I usually end up around 12s at f8 with the 5x7s. I've lowered the voltage on the V35 by using the 250V setting (although we have 230/40V here), that helped a bit. Check your voltage setting if there's any room to go up a notch. Going to 220V with a 120V mains might make it way to dark. However, another pragmatic approach would be using a transformer 120V->220V then setting 250 on the V35.
Are you using the color module? If not try to get one. Those filters also swallow some light. Using ND filters under the lens is another possibility.
f/16 is an awfully small aperture for 35mm negatives. The grain of even Tri-X may become a bit mushy at that aperture. You can check sharpness at various apertures by observing the image with a fairly powerful focusing aid. I found that stopping below f/8 with the finer grain T-Max film noticeably affected sharpness in large prints. Maybe f/16 for Tri-X will be acceptable in 5x7 prints.
Can you lower the wattage of the lamp? This is certainly possible with a Durst. You don't say whether this exposure includes under/over the lens filters or dialling in the appropriate Y&M dichroic head filtration.
If you printed unfiltered and the neg's contrast was right for grade 2 then of course the print will look right but will look equally good and at a longer exposure if you dial-in Y&M or place a grade 2 filter under/over the lens.
id suggest a lower wattage light bulb, or getting a dimmer ..
i have an aristo ( as in aristo grid cold light head people ) one
it is pretty much un-used, if you are interested, let me know ...
I think from reading all this that the simplest solution in my case will be to get some good ND filters. I don't know where to mount them on the v35 so I may just tape them up under the lens or something. I don't think I can use a lower watt bulb as the V35 has a strange housing in the first place.
To answer questions about filtration: I have the color head on my unit and was using that. I have been reading Way Beyond Monochrome and I'm trying to learn F-stop printing and other techniques in the book. Thus I used the method of exposing for the highlights and then using contrast to dial in the shadows. Therefore I did not adjust times for the filters. I just did a search about this and it seems like there's a lot of disagreement about whether to do that or not. I think I printed at what would be a grade 3 for a durst enlarger, which if I recall was about 45 magenta.
One other thing to note, I had a hell of time trying to make a test strip using the f-stop method. Of course once I discovered that my time was less than 8 seconds I realized that was some of the problem. Also noteworthy on my first foray back into the darkroom- my gralab 450 I bought on ebay sucks! the button would stick and sometimes it would expose for a bit then turn off. I'll try to get something else, I'd like an fstop timer but I can't afford one, and they don't make them new. I'm working on building the arduino based one( http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/9...-released.html ) but it's way over my head for now.
Also, I love my Focomat. Never printed on anything I've enjoyed more. I shoot 35 on a leica m6 and love to have the leica optics all the way through. I also have a besseler 23ciii with a vc head that I'll set up for 6X6.
I've been working on building this darkroom for about 8 months in my very limited spare time. I had to completely drywall a room and all that, so it feels great to be printing again.
Sorry for the rant, probably some stuff that should have separate posts.
lower wattage bulbs is great advice
Is there a way to do this on the Focomat?
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
Seems like there's just the one bulb, but I've been known to rig my own stuff up.
many engineers on this site that can answer this, I am not familiar with the Focamat.
Originally Posted by mexipike