Welcome to APUG,
I never know. I just make a test strip and if I don't see "too light" and "too dark" on that strip, I'll change something and try again.
Thanks for all the nice answers. I guess i will just do test strips...
If i won't change paper and enlarging size, the time should be stable at least for the contact prints, right?
For each larger print i will then do a dedicated test stip...
Btw: This community is huge! I spend hours reading stuff last night instead of sleeping
careful how much you read ... too much, and you could easily end up thinking photography and printing are impossibly complex activities requiring intensive research, sophisticated scientific knowledge and many pieces of expensive equipment ...
test strips are your friend if you want it done right. no piece of expensiveelec tronic circuitrycan replace a good old test strip. I usually start with a 16stest strip +/-1stop in 1/3 stop increments,pick the one withe best highlightand do another one in 1/6 stop incrementsaround that.lastly do it again in 1/12 stop increments.3 sheets of 5x7"paper and I have the exposure nailed.
Originally Posted by CHHAHH
That's the basic idea.
Originally Posted by Bill Burk
There are lots of refinements, gadgets and systems for determining print exposure, but you can, as I do, just take the low-tech and simple route. IMO it saves time and a lot of frustration.
1: stop your enlarging lens down 2-3 stops from wide open.
2: make a test strip. Start with a ten-second base exposure and then cover the strip in intervals. I like expanding intervals, so I use 2 seconds, 3 sec. 4 sec, 5 sec. etc. Your goal is to end up with a strip that has from approximately 10 to 30+ second strips on it.
3: develop your test strip fully. Evaluate it. If you don't have a strip that is too light and too dark, you need to make a new test strip. Choose a different time sequence or change your lens aperture appropriately and use the same sequence you used before.
4: repeat till you have a test strip with a too light and a too dark strip. Now, use the highlights as a guide to proper print exposure. Choose the highlight value you find correct and make a test print at that exposure.
5: evaluate the print. If the contrast is not correct, change paper grades. This will change the print exposure time, so you need to make a new test strip at the new contrast grade.
6: repeat the above till you get a print that has the approximate highlight and shadow values you want before beginning manipulations (dodging, burning etc.)
Keep notes. That and experience will tell you next time what exposures you need for a test strip from a particular paper at a particular contrast grade.
Best and good luck,
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Here's what I did when I started out.
10 seconds at whatever aperture and whatever size. Printed it, developed it, and looked at it. Too dark? Expose less. Too light? Expose more. It's actually that simple.
In little while, you'll be able to guess a little better.
If this is your very first time, I wouldn't worry about making good prints with least waste. You'll waste plenty no matter what you do....
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
I just did it! My first selfmade print last night! Was fun and i am feeling kind of addicted now. Yay!
One thing puzzled me, and i think i am just not getting my head around the corner here: the test strip showed me, that a 4sec
exposure time gave me rich blacks, nice highlights. I think it was f16.
If i want to get a longer exposure time...let's say to do dodging and burning...i need to open the aperture more?
Because at a camera you would close the aperture to get a longer exposure time. But with paper it works the opposite..
"Too dark? Expose less. Too light? Expose more"
No, you need to stop down same as a camera. If you are already at f16, your negatives are thin, you need more exposure to the film, or more developing time, depending on results. Overall thin image but strong printing on film rebate means underexposed film. Weak image and weak printing on rebate caused by under development of film.
What is a master but a master student? And if that's true, then there's a responsibility on you to keep getting better and to explore avenues of your profession.
Actually you have made one thing very clear by printing, that is how important is to make good negatives or how important is to give a proper exposure for the negative.
Keep printing, you will end up fine tuning the entire system.
OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
Rolleicord Va: Humble.
Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.
+1 Ralph's book 'Way Beyond Monochrome' will answer the question in great detail and give you everything that you need to get well exposed prints - but may be overkill when you are first starting out.
Originally Posted by Tom1956
What may be easiest is to set your aperture to something in the middle of the range of what your lens does (probably f8 or so), and then do a test strip where you double the amount of time for each section of the strip - cover 4/5 of your paper, expose for 30 seconds, then move the cover over so that only 3/5 of the paper is covered, and expose again for 16 seconds, move so that 2/5 is covered, expose for 8 seconds, move so that 1/5 is covered, and expose for 4 seconds, then expose the entire sheet for an additional 2 seconds. Now develop and you will have 5 sections with times of 2, 6, 14, 30, and 60 seconds. Hopefully one of those exposures looks close to being right and you can start fine tuning from there. If the exposure that looks right is at one end or the other of the strip, adjust the aperture on the lens - if the 60 second exposure is the one that looks best, open up by a stop or two, if the 2 second exposure looks good, close down. I usually like having exposure times which are on the order of 15-30 seconds, since this gives me time to burn and dodge, and is not overly long.