Problem with prints, help please
I'm novice when comes to printing in the darkroom. Can any of you please help me understand what is going on with the problem I'm having?
I'm using Ilford MC paper and Ilford MC developer (1+9), Ilford Ilfostop and Rapid fixer. I also use Ilford contrast filter #2. When I make test print I expose paper in 6 segments, 5 sec/each. I follow Ilford's instruction in development. Everything looks fine on a test sheet. I choose the exposure I want for final print with same f stop and exposure time as on the test print. Again same set-up as for test print. The problem is the print comes out grossly underdeveloped (very light). I tried to vary time of the exposure but it doesn't help. If I open 1 stop and reduce the time of exposure I get the overexposure (very dark). I honestly don't understand what is going on.
I would very much appreciate any help you can offer.
OK, assuming same contrast filter and same f stop on lens, the print should come out at the same density as the test strip, so something is wrong.
Q. Is it the way you are using the test strip? lets say you expose 1/6th of the paper for 5s, then a second strip for 5s making a total of 10s, then a third strip 15s, 4th 20s, 5th 25s, 6th 30s. Are you by any chance thinking "I'll take strip #2 which was the 10s strip", because of course this strip has been exposed for 25s, i.e. the whole exposure time less the first 5s.
Also, I presume you aren't changing the height of the enlarger between test strip and print?
Also, you are leaving the print in the dev for long enough. It does take a little while after the image first appears to develop properly
By the way, #2 is quite soft. You might like to try #2.5 or #3 as well.
Mr Rusty thanks for your response.
I expose full 8x10 sheet as a test strip. I set the aperture at f8 (two stops down from fully open). I expose in increments of 5 seconds. For example: the first segment 5sec, second 5 sec exposure: the first segment now becomes 10sec and the second segment is 5sec, the third 5sec exposure: the first segment now becomes 15sec, the second segment becomes 10sec and the third segment becomes 5sec. and so on. For final print I chose second last segment of 10sec exposure as it looks best in my opinion. I do not change any setup including enlarger hight. Ilford recommends development time of 1 minute. That what I was doing. I do agree that #2 is soft.
if youre choosing the second to last segment it wont be 10s. that would be the second segment. if youre exposing each strip for 5s then the second to last would be the total exposure time minus 5 seconds so if you did a test strip over 25 seconds the second to last would be 20s.
Try doing the test strip this way. expose the whole sheet for 5 seconds, then cover section 1 and expose for a further 5 seconds, again cove the next section and expose for a further 5 seconds, continue untill you have sections up to 30 seconds, that way you will clearly be able to see each section and be sure you are looking at 5,10,15, 20,25 and 30 seconds, and be genouroes with the wedges.
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Are you sure about this? If the last exposure is 5sec than the next to last is 10sec.
Last edited by SloboM; 05-20-2013 at 12:28 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Hi R. Gould,
This is exactly what I was doing, just the backwards.
ROL thanks for the reply. I'll study this very carefully.
Make sure that the material you use to cover your paper with when making the test strip is entirely opaque. Or some light will shine through and fog the paper underneath.
Also, instead of doing 5 second increments, I recommend using the values on the f/stop ring on your camera lens. 32s, 22s, 16s, 11s, 8s, 5.6s, and 4s. You go backwards like that, so that the first strip is 32 seconds, next is 22 seconds, etc. It gives you one full stop between strips and gives you a better idea of what different levels of exposure will do in your final print.
Good luck. Keep posting back here with your results.
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