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  1. #1

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    Getting deeper blacks

    I have a relatively cheap enlarger (Bogen T35) and am having trouble getting the "pop" that some members here get from their prints. When I print, I can only ever seem to get lowish contrast - everything usually different shades of grey, no dark blacks. I'm exposing the Ilford Pearl paper for about 15-20 sec, and developing for 30-40 sec. Am I close as far as those numbers go? If not, what should I be doing differently?

    Here's some examples:

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  2. #2

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    Where did you get the 30 to 40 second developing times? Two minutes minimum for print development.

  3. #3
    Rick A's Avatar
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    For starters, you don't mention what contrast grade or filter you are using. Next, I will recommend developing the paper for no less than 90 seconds, I develope for a full two minutes(some fb papers for even longer). You need to adjust exposure times to account for longer development. Longer development times are necessary to avoid the lines where uneven development occur when immersing paper in the chems. and to allow blacks to fully develope.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  4. #4

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    You didn't say if you are using fiber-based paper or RC. RC should develop fully in a minute if your developer is up to snuff. Fiber, as Rick and M Stat said, takes longer. Are you doing test strips?

  5. #5
    JLP
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    30 to 40 seconds as said is not long enough to develop any paper to completion.
    For consistency it is important always to develop your paper until there are no change in density and contrast.
    2 minutes is what most paper manufacturer recomend for full developement.

    If your prints still lack contrast you are either using to soft a paper grade or a filter to soft for your negatives.

    Also for consistency, make sure your developer is not exhausted either by age of by the number of prints you have developed.
    _______________
    Jan Pedersen
    http://janlpedersen.com

  6. #6

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    Like it has been said before, you are not developing for long enough. I was always taught that as we pay for the silver content of the paper then develop it for as long or even longer than the manufacturers states to get the best out of it.
    Resin coated is usually 1 minute I never give it less than 1 min 30 secs and fibre base never less than 3 mins. It slows my work down in the darkroom but the black tones I get are dense but still with detail.
    Last edited by BMbikerider; 09-03-2013 at 10:59 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7

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    This problem has been discussed many times. Papers should be developing to completion. You should watch the print and not the clock. Get a copy of a good book on printing such as Ansel Adams The Print and read it thoroughly.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  8. #8
    Hatchetman's Avatar
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    I'm just starting out myself....can you overdevelop the print like you can with the negative?

  9. #9

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    Yes you can overdevelop. Eventually the highlights will start to fog.

    Back to OPs problem, if it turns out the problem is insufficient development, it would also be a good idea to check the developer temperature. We don't know what paper and developer are being used, but typical RC papers will need 1min (or a little more) to develop at 20C.

  10. #10
    Rudeofus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    Yes you can overdevelop. Eventually the highlights will start to fog.
    Yes, you can, but it takes a long, long time. Leaving the paper in your developer tray for a couple of extra minutes is most certainly not going to cause issues.
    Trying to be the best of whatever I am, even if what I am is no good.

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