I might be beating a dead horse here, but if I am, nobody told me why (so brace yourselves)
Back to the microwave technique-
Friday I printed a few shots on Afga Multicontrast 111, and used at least 2 test strips to determine exposure: one in increments, the other as what seemed like the best time. Both were correctly processed, even hypo-cleared, then microwaved for 40 seconds (or enought to dry completely).
2 days later, and the microwaved strips look exactly like the dried fiber prints (which were toned is Sistan, but that shouldn't matter).
So my question is this: Why isn't microwaving test strips regarded (at least by some) as a legitimate way around dry down?
At what setting did you have your microwave?
The microwave was on high (power 10/10). I've found that a minute on high, and the strips burn (gain a warm tone), 30 secs and they are still moist.
The microwave in college, though, took up to 2 minutes.
Not properly washing the strips also seems to alter the tone when dry.
How Do f/stop timers work?
How Does the f/stop timer function Differ from that of the Second tick-tocking timer?
(excuse the non-tech. verbage)
Also, I'm not quite understanding how one calculates drydown percentages. Clearly, I know it's about 10%, by looking at my own work... but how do I KNOW for sure. Do I need to know? I find I want to know everything.
Andre, First. I don't think that any thread should be closed as long as people are interested enough to take the time to propel it with contributions. This is traditional photography, it isn't as if topics become obsolete in a week (or a decade).
I don't have a microwave handy to my darkroom but I do have a hairdryer. I would assume that aside from minor differences in shrinkage between fast drying and slow drying it should work just fine. You already mentioned that there can problems with heat drying prints that are not fully fixed or washed. I take your successful experience as the best proof that it works.
Ka, I use a poor man's f-stop timer. A regular timer with a printed f-stop chart on the wall. I find it a very convenient way to think in terms of stops while printing at an affordable cost ($zip). I found the chart on the 'net, if you have any interest, I can give you the URL.
That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
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Using the microwave to dry test strips is OK and provides you with accurate information regarding the amount of drydown involved but what it will also do is change the colour of the print especially when using warm tone papers like Ilford Warmtone or or some of the Forte range. Apprantly, when the paper is deried quickly it becomes warmer in print colour. I was told this many years ago and have checked it out and it is a fact although of course it may not be relevant in the production of the final print for if it is to be toned it will change colour anyway.
If anyone is interested I do have a drydown chart in my computer which will help you calculate the drydown time once you have assessed the wet test strip. I'd be happy to email it to anyone who wants it but I'm not going to try to post it to the forum after all the problems I had with the Barnbaum piece. email me at email@example.com if you have my book it is reproduced on page 88 in the section where I cover how to calculate the drydown factor of your papers.
Ka, fstop printing is a confusing description of that method of timing print exposure for it implies that the lens fstops are moved, they are not. I describe an fstop in printing terms as a measure of exposure and that is in seconds. I use the Stop Clock Pro made by RH Designs it allows me to select from 1/2 stop to 1/24th stop increments, I tend to use 1/6th stop and 1/24th for very fine tuning. Very briefly it works as follows, you select a starting time, say 10 seconds, and set the timer accordingly. When activated the timer will give the paper the 10 second exposure and calculate the correct time for the increment you are working in and will continue doing this until you reach the end of your test strip. If you choose 1/6 thstop as I do after 7 exposures you have given the paper 2 stops, 10 seconds for the first followed by 6 further increments of 1/6th of a stop. It may sounf a little complicated but once you have tried it you will very quickly understand it a nver go back to the old linear timing method.If you need some more info send me a PM and I'll try to help.
having read the above regarding fstop printing techniques (and not understanding it very well), i googled the matter and found:
http://www.ephotozine.com/techniques...e.cfm?recid=71. i think i've got it now.
the timer les refers to seems quite expensive and needs to be imported from the uk. i'll give it a go using the new lpl digital timer i just got. after i win the lottery i'll get the dedicated timer.
Just making sure-
Originally Posted by Les McLean
The final prints are dried naturally (on screens), only the test strips are microwaved. I belive that the minor shift in warmth that does occur in the agfa paper is insignificant since I know what the paper looks like air dried. I do not work with warmtones, so that might be a nuisance fo those who do.
By the way, Ka, if it helps you any, try thinking of paper times in terms of percentages instead of f-stops if those get confusing. It's what I do.
1 stop more is twice the amount of light, so 100% more time
1 stop less is half the amount of light, so 50% of the time
I've found out that a 20% difference in time (1/5 of a stop) can make or brake a print... (not to imply that I'm a great printer)
Here's an f-stop printing chart. The one that I use is much easier to read but I don't remember where I found it. Mucho cheaper than a Stopclock.
That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
Thanks for all the info.. ephotozine has some other interesting articles as well.