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  1. #1

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    I just don't get it.

    I am really frustrated right now, I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. I've had my darkroom equipment for several years now but it has yet to give me a decent print. I got fantastic results when I was in school using their darkroom, so I know its not my negatives or my technique, but when I try to do it at home they always turn out flat, lifeless. I'm using basically the same setup the school had, same 23c enlarger, same zeiss lens, same dektol developer. I just can't figure out what is so different about my setup compared to the school's.

  2. #2

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    Same developer as in the same bottle? Or a new bottle of the same type?

    If it's lifeless, go a higher grade, is my general way of working. Took a while to train myself out of the "must get moar shaddow deeetails!" that I picked up from digital forums and go for more contrast...
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.

  3. #3
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Have you done a safelight test?
    Last edited by MattKing; 07-09-2014 at 09:45 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  4. #4
    BradS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    Have you done a safelight test.

    +1


    That and maybe, water quality?

  5. #5
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    Have you done a safelight test.
    Definitely and for sure stop looking elsewhere until you try Matt's above suggestion. It might save you lots of time and tons of further frustration. Make certain you perform the proper (pre-flashed paper) version of the test.



    Ken
    "Hate is an adolescent term used to stop discussion with people you disagree with. You can do better than that."
    —'blanksy', December 13, 2013

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Croubie View Post
    Same developer as in the same bottle? Or a new bottle of the same type?

    If it's lifeless, go a higher grade, is my general way of working. Took a while to train myself out of the "must get moar shaddow deeetails!" that I picked up from digital forums and go for more contrast...
    a new bottle of the same type. the problem is I can't go higher, the highest filter I have is a grade 5 and they still come out flat. what really gets me is that in the school's lab a grade 3 is perfect. I have done a safelight test and as long as its not pointing diectly at the paper the strips come out white.

  7. #7
    dehk's Avatar
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    So, if you use a negative that was produced while you were in school, but you print it at home right now, you can't get the same result?

    I supposed your enlarging bulb could be a factor.

  8. #8

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    I'd take out as many variables as possible, find a neg and a print that you did back then that you liked, mix up fresh chemicals to the same dilution (I presume you know what dilution was used back then? If not, do as the bottle says), use the same type of paper (but fresh) to the same grade if possible, and post some samples.
    Then all that's left is the safelight, the enlarger bulb and lens, and the ravages of time on the memory.
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.

  9. #9
    NedL's Avatar
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    Maybe light leaks reflected from the enlarger, or in the darkroom? If the safelight fogs the paper when pointed directly at it, that is a little worrisome too. You are getting deep blacks but the highlights are not bright?

  10. #10

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    here are some flatbed scans of a negative I made for a depth of field assignment. the first is the one that was turned in printed in the schools darkroom. this was 7 seconds at f16 with a grade 2.5 filter and developed 1 min. the second was done a few hours ago in my home darkroom, 5 seconds at f11 with a grade 5 filter and developed 1 min. you can see there is a significant difference in contrast. I really hope the problem is with the bulb, I plan on replacing the lamp with a duel dichro once I get a bulb for it. the only other thing I can think of is that my developer is more diluted than what was provided at school. I don't know how it was done at school but I had mine at 1:1.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails old.jpg   new.jpg  
    Last edited by soysos; 07-09-2014 at 11:08 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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