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  1. #21

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Louisiana, USA
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    1,325
    First of all, it should be clear by now that everyone has their own way of doing it and each of those ways works pretty well for everyone.

    Like most things, it gets easier with experience. I don't make contact sheets at all. The main reason is that I can judge a negative better than a 35mm, 645 or 6x6 size print (which is often of less than optimum print quality). If I took the time to make a perfect contact sheet of every roll of film I shot, I wouldn't have enough time to make enlargements.

    I use a cheap Canon loupe (had a couple of expensive loupes--they don't bounce very well when they are dropped, believe me ). My negatives go into a Print File page after they are dry and I judge them through the plastic. I have a portable light box I bought so long ago the brand is worn off.

    What do I look for? Flaws, screw-ups and eyes that are closed, among other things. I try to find something wrong with every negative that interests me. When I find the least offensive negative, I use a Sanford Sharpie to mark it on the plastic page. I take the page to the darkroom and then I judge the negative projected on the easel. Many times, a negative that looks okay through the loupe simply looks like crap in the darkroom. A lot of times, what looked pretty good on the easel looks like crap when it comes up in the developer.

    It's not a perfect method. It's subjective and trial-and-error a lot of the time.

  2. #22

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Phoeinx Arizona
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    1,343
    I gang print the roll or a batch of 4X5 sheets on 5X7 RC to get a working print. I print 8 or 9 at at time then develop them all at once, fix in rapid fixer, wash so in just a 1/2 hour or so I have a better idea of what I want to work on. If the negative looks thin or dense I may use a print analyzer to get a working exposure.

  3. #23
    Maine-iac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Island Heights, NJ, but will retire back to Maine.
    Shooter
    Med. Format RF
    Posts
    464
    I agree with the "proper proof" contact sheet method that various have suggested.

    Years ago, when I still worked in 35mm, if I had a roll that I really wanted to look at bigger than the tiny contacts, I made "giant contacts." I put three strips of three negs in a 4X5 negative carrier and printed them on an 8X10 sheet of paper. This gave me nine negs per sheet, and of course, weren't strictly "contacts" at all. But they were proofs, in a size I could see. I have become a convert lately to printing my MF and LF contact sheets slightly under "normal" contrast to see the full information on the neg.

    Larry

    Larry

  4. #24
    fhovie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Port Hueneme, California - USA
    Shooter
    Large Format
    Posts
    1,247
    Images
    92
    When I have a batch of negs that I shot for myself - I go through and disqualify as many as I can - i only want to spend darkroom time with ones that will go in my portfolio.

    Sharpness - I use the loupe I used on the groundglass when I shot the neg and I have a small battery 4x5" lightbox that works great. If my main idea is at all soft - I ditch that one.

    Contrast - I look for contrast range that will sparkle on a print. An SBR of 1 will print well on grade 3, an SBR of 1.25 will print well on grade 2. If it is too far out of either of those ranges, I will not be able to put it on the paper I like. It is sad to have a great image that will only print on RC VC with a 5 or 0 filter when all I really wanted was a great fiber grade 2


    Boring - If it is not interesting after all - If it looks like someone else's work (unoriginal) or if it is not as good as something I have already done that is similar - I don't spend much time with it.

    Out of 30 sheets I came home with on my last outing - I spent most of my time with 2 of them - many of them I made one print just to evaluate it. - To me an evaluation print is an 8x10 on fiber paper. If it is really great- it gets burned and dodged and messed with and I will make prints up to 11x14 or 16x20 ---- and of course more 8x10 sheets. I use a lot of materials I guess - but the experience keeps improving my skills. By making my evaluation prints as 8x10, I can see if things are really sharp or if they are being overstated by a 5x7 rendition.
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

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