Ilford development times. I have used this equipment previously acquired some three years ago, I have produced near good results previously but by no means perfect. Then I investigated the light source bulb itself about a year ago and replaced it with the recommended one, the same as the one I removed. Safelight has always been fine, borders on all images are still currently white, although the bulb was replaced a week ago. for a pygmy (same bulb again).
That does not sound right. PQ is so similar to Dektol that you should be able to get to 2 minutes with MGIV. The temperature is a tad high though so that might compensate. In any event, the prints look overexposed and underdeveloped, or as I said originally, exposed with the wrong filter. The light from your enlarger should have a distinct Magenta or Reddish cast. There should be no Cyan filtration in use.
It might be that we cannot solve it at a distance and that you will need to do some tests.
PE & Pentaxuser
Thanks, for your help so far, there is enough there for me to work on later today, (after some sleep). I will update you with progress, but this is so frustrating, and I can't help but think that there is something blindingly obvious here that I'm missing.
Once again thanks for your help it is greatly appreciated.
A photograph of the negative on a light box, adjusted to look like it actually looks, would really be the first thing to examine in this case IMO. Don't start pulling your engine apart to check why it stalled, without first checking to see if you have fuel in the tank.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
Will do later today and post. It's ten to one in the morning here, so its a bit late at night to start that now.
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Any time change leaves it gray ...
I run into this whenever the paper developer is depleted.
A simple fix.
Could be something else, but that's my experience.
This probably won't help the OP (some kind of fogging?), but this step by step visual of Making a Fine Art Print may be helpful to you – if you start with a negative with sufficient contrast of say, 5 to 8 zones.
Originally Posted by Grainy
The lighting on b is better and more interesting than the lighting on a. So you will probably get a better print more easily from b.
If you can't develop for 2 minutes without getting gray borders, this sounds like a problem with safelight, unless your darkroom isn't really dark. You probably will get better results in pitch black, working at night. Of course by the time you read this it will be morning. It looks like the literature recommends 2 minutes developing time.
Originally Posted by andyaitken
Many people rave about f/stop times for test strips. Instead of 4, 8, 12, 16 seconds make your test strips in f/stop times. That means picking times that are like changing f/stops, times like 5, 10, 20, 40, 80 seconds.
A series I use is third-stops. 13, 16, 20, 25, 32, 40, 50 seconds. I stop down my enlarging lens to an aperture around f/11 that tends to give me 32 second exposure time.
I prefer test strips to determine exposure time. I just use the meter to hold my setup about where a 32 second exposure makes a good print. I set the meter on a shadow (clear spot). I turn the dial until the lights say OK. I leave the meter dial alone after that. The next negative I put in the enlarger, I change the aperture on my enlarger until the meter lights say OK again. Now this print is 32 seconds too.
Or at least my test strip series around 32 will find an exposure that is good.
I know of three ways to get unsatisfactory grey prints:
1. stale developer, especially if you buy liquid developer that may have gotten stale in the store instead of mixing it from powder;
2. developing for less than two minutes;
3. fogged paper, so that it's all too dark unless you underexpose (a little benzotriazole in the developer can fix this).
This morning I have been in the dark room again and based on the discussions here have seen an improvement. In terms of tonal range and contrast (I will post the results, just waiting for the prints to dry). First of all I used no filteration and ran test at 5 second steps, this indicated that 30 seconds again was the best appropriate exposure. Ran this and printed, the print had improved but was still of the desired out come (again, limited contrast range within a bracket). Therefore, I then ran a test strip with a grade 5 filter in this was better and indicated around 23 seconds, so then ran that. Again, improved but not completely satisfactory results. So then , I ran another print at 15 seconds, which so far is the best to date this was developed for 1 minute in a new mix of Pq Universal 1+9.
Whilst this is the best result so far it is still not great and could be improved further I think. When it is dry I'll post.
Last edited by andyaitken; 07-02-2011 at 04:34 AM. Click to view previous post history.