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  1. #21
    Kevin Caulfield's Avatar
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    What about condensation on the enlarger lens from breathing? That could reduce contrast. I've noticed a drop in contrast before, and it took me ages to realise that I was breathing on the lens which was just above mouth level. I know it sounds stupid, but it can happen.

  2. #22
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Hi Bruce

    Yes a filter is as you say, I just think that as you enlarge there is more chances for bounce light , even off your body , walls ect. that can cause flare that could be responsible for the visual loss of contrast that Donald was referring too. When making 30x40 prints off 2.25 negatives I am always kicking up a grade in contrast for final print at the larger size.
    This loss is not always a concern depending upon imagery printing. If the scene is already high in range maybe this softening that I am referrring to is a good thing.

  3. #23

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    I will try the safe light test when I get back in there. That really coud be it. If thats it then when my darkroom is going, it shouldn't be a problem.

    Man, I can't wait to get everything going!

    Thanks for all of the info. Got alot of stuff to check on.

  4. #24

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    I don't know whether developers effect contrast, but development certainly does. It is vital to let the print develop fully, not just wait until it looks right by safelight in the tray. A full minute is the norm, but I find that waiting longer (up to two minutes) does add a bit of extra zest.

    David.

  5. #25
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim appleyard
    Kevin, try a safelight test. Take a small piece of photo paper (size of a wallet photo will do) and put a coin on it for 15 min. Process that piece of paper and if there is the ouline of the coin, the safelight is no good. A bad safelight will give you a bad case of the grays.
    I'd definately suggest doing these tests, but the problem may not show.

    Ilford Multigrade gave me problems a few years ago obtaining good grades. I was using a Photax Orange/Red safelight at the time and Photax brought out a new Brown VE filter specifically for variable contrast papers to overcome these problems.

    Changing the filter instantly solved my problems, not all manufacturers safelights are identical so you have to get the filter that best suits your needs.

  6. #26
    geraldatwork's Avatar
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    When I asked him earlier on (page 1) if the problem was grayish whites or not dark enough blacks he said the blacks weren't dark enough. So I don't think the problem is light leaks from the enlarger or the safe lights. This specific problem could be a from a number of problems. He said the negatives look contrasty but maybe they are over exposed. Possibly the filters are faded. Maybe it is just his technique. Sometimes instead of going to a higher contrast grade I, so not to lose detail in the lighter areas I will instead burn in the darker areas to black.
    "When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers"
    African proverb

    IRAQNAM is Bush's legacy

  7. #27
    NikoSperi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant
    Otherwise check your developer, it may have gone off, be to cold or just be the wrong type or wrong dilution.
    Ian, thank you! My mother decided it was a waste of money to heat the darkroom, so it's down at 13C. I couldn't understand what was wrong with my printing; to get anything in the blacks I had to push up to grade 4 and higher, and then all my whites looked like mud. Nearly put up a for sale sign for the enlarger...
    Until I read your little line here...

    Eureka! Development doesn't just slow down at colder temps, it goes completely out of whack! Back up to 20C and I've got my contrasts back!

    Duh, you must be saying. Me too. :rolleyes:
    If you tone it down alot, it almost becomes bearable.

    - Walker Evans on using color

  8. #28
    geraldatwork's Avatar
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    It is good you figured out the problem. Sometimes the things that are right in front of our eyes are the things we notice last. My darkroom is in my garage and goes down to 50 degrees f. in the winter. With a space heater I use I sometimes have trouble getting it much over 60. Someone recommended one of those heating pads for bad backs. Mine has 3 settings. I place it under the developer and on the low or med setting keeps the developer tray. at around 68 degrees. I took the blanket like cover off to expose the plastic cover. This I put in a plastic bag so it doesn't get wet.This way you can save your mother some money.
    "When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers"
    African proverb

    IRAQNAM is Bush's legacy

  9. #29
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Great at least we solved your problem, and maybe you'll be a little warmer when printing as well.

  10. #30
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    In Southern California the darkroom is NEVER below 70F - In the summer I have to ice my chemicals.
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

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