I hope you come back soon and give us a feed back on what you think of all the good advise you've gotten so far from all of us who have been there before....
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
Angrykitty - In addition to the already good advice you have recieved, I'll give you 2 more bits -
#1 - never forget that one of the most valuable pieces of equipment in your darkroom is the trash can - you learn tremedously from your failures.
#2 - read this article from the Michael and Paula website -
I have been printing for over 35 years and his technique called "outflanking the print" has saved me more paper than I ever could have imagined. I no longer make test strips as this method is super efficient.
Try Dektol. Mix it 1:3 and if you don't do a lot of prints in a session, put it back on a bottle and it can last 2 or 3 short sessions
Originally Posted by angrykitty
Your negatives may be under exposed.
Of course, I'll get that right and all of a sudden the rest of the print looks wrong at that exposure... I have no idea how the hell he did that so well.
Use a loupe and just look at the negatives. You won't be able to tell if they are over exposed, but it will be 'clear' if they are underexposed (pun intended ).
-I really can't tell from the contact sheet if it's gonna be good or not. I need to look at it big to decide whether or not I like it. So I do a bunch of test prints of something, try it big, and then decide it's not worth it. There went an hour of time...
You should be developing to completion. Develop for some minimum time (2.5 minutes)
-I have a lot of trouble compensating for when my developer starts dying. I end up adding developing time by totally guessing 30 seconds more or a minute more or whatever. This causes really inconsistent prints, which really sucks, because I like to have 2 copies of the same thing (one for me, one for the band). So even if I get one right, I never get the second to be the same, because my developer started dying.
Get a set of Ilford or other brand multigrade printing filters. It will be much easier than using the color CC filters.
-condenser. enlargers. suck. and I have one. An omega c700. I hate the stupid filters. I hate how I need to mess with all these magentas and then if I wanna try adding yellow or cyan the whole thing gets mussed up and I have to start all over. They keep getting scratched up or dirty and messing up the prints, and they cost me SO MUCH time. of course I get that part right and my developer dies and I think my exposure was off, and there we go again...
Condensers, negative carrier and lens need to be centered.
2) light fall off on the bottom of all my 8x10s, requiring burning double time on the lower quarter of each sheet. I have to expose the lower quarter of each print double whatever the rest needs in order to compensate for this. It's worse near corners.
The Magenta/Yellow printing tables are in the box of Ilford paper or on their web site.
-with the dichro: the guy I worked with had 5 grades of contrast posted on his wall, so filtering was easy. grade 1 had this magenta, that yellow, that cyan, all in proportion. Grade 2 a little heavier on all...but still in proportion, etc... I was stupid enough not to copy them down. No idea how he figured them out. Yes they all had cyan for b&w. How do I create one of these handy little cheat sheets?
Darkroom work will be a lot simpler if you strive for consistency from film exposure to film development to print development.
First, meter accurately, nothing makes things more complicated than a mix of thin and dense negatives.
Second, don't try to reuse film developer and try to compensative for usage. In fact, dump the D-76, once used it doesn't remain consistent from day to day. Buy a bottle of HC-110 and use it as a one shot. Take a good look at the Covington website on using HC-110 for accurate development times. Try a dilution of 1:31 or even 1:49 if you want economy. Once you establish a correct development time for yourself do not deviate from it. For 35 mm your negatives should be somewhat thin but still have good shadow detail. This minimizes grain in the final print and keeps print exposure times short.
Third, 35 mm contact sheets are of little value since each image is so small. They are really only useful for identifying a particular image. Look at each negative to determine print exposure time and contrast. Things will become easier with practice.
Fourth, do some reading on printing; there is the Ansel Adams book "The Print" and you might also find a copy of Lootens. At the beginning of each print session start with fresh developer and do not exceed it's stated capacity. There are many good print developers available commercially, you are not limited to Dektol. A phenidone based one will have a longer useful life than a traditional one using Metol. If you are doing the first three things correctly most of your negatives should print on grade 2-1/2 to 3 paper and will have similar exposure times. Make either test strips when in doubt or invest in a print meter. Ilford makes one for a reasonable price.
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
I'm using omega filters that came with the used enlarger. The filters were unused, and blank with a sticker sheet of numbers you have to stick on yourself. So I layed them all out on a white sheet of paper and labeled from lowest number for the least opaque, and highest for the thickest ones. They're color, so magenta, yellow, and cyan. They are not labeled by grade, but by number. for example:
Originally Posted by tkamiya
Magenta ranges from 2.5M x1.2 - 50M x1.9 (2.5 being very light and 50 very dark). My print usage averages around just 20M or 10M with a
The enlarger is a 'color print maker' model, (c700 condenser which is wierd, I know) so the color filters thing makes sense. Heh but they didn't fit in the drawer so I had to trim them down.
I'm using mostly plain magenta, but with some I noticed adding yellow really made things pop. So even though it takes me like 10 extra test prints to use 2 filtration colors, it's worth the results. That and I learned on a dichro head and the guy who taught me went so far as to add cyan too to his rc b&w prints, and his stuff looks amazing. So I'm just treating this condenser as if it were a dichro but doing it manually.
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Welcome back! I was starting to wonder, if you got frustrated and left!! If you are being assisted and taught by an old darkroom guy, maybe newbie like me should not try to advise you.
It just seems to me you are doing a lot of work just to print B&W. I use Ilford multi-grade filters. I don't know if this is an option for you with your enlarger. If I want to increase or decrease contrast, I just put in different filter. #2 being the normal one, #3 higher contrast, #1 lower contrast, etc. They are calibrated so the development time does not change until I get to 3 1/2. Then it doubles. It's really an easy and reliable system.
What it really does is... highlight stays the same and shadow becomes lighter or darker, hence changing the overall contrast of the print.
Anyway, welcome back. I hope you got your chemical "thing" sorted out.... (and I hope you are not using D76 for paper)
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
If I were you, I'd get a set of contrast filters for B&W and not use the ones that you have been. It is possible to use those, but I think you're making it much more difficult than it needs to be (especially if any of them are mislabeled). Learn the basics then go back to those if you want, but the ones for B&W were designed to work with the multigrade paper and vice versa.
yep... oops! At first I was just developing negatives and scanning them and really it never occured to me that I should use something different for paper, I kinda figured developer was developer. HAHAHA well that solves that problem... I'm an idiot, what can I say? But hey, now I bet I'll be pretty damn good at working with an actual developer considering how I managed to get something out of nothing using that stuff...
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
Originally Posted by tkamiya
I meant light fall off on the enlarger, not the negative... the bottom left quarter of this print was burned double time (I burn them all now so I didn't have a clear example), but in this one you can see I missed the corner. But burned double time you couldn't tell the difference, so that's how bad it is!
Yea I do time them, but it seems that d-76 seems to be the primary issue here... ehh lesson learned! Hehe, I can't stop laughing at myself...
Originally Posted by winger