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.
Agfa Isolette III: Amazingly simple, yet it produces outstanding negatives.
+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.
well, how i found my exposure. i did all test strip stuff'n'all, but as a beginner i had problems evaluating dry down and how picture will look in "regular" light. some pics that i loved after printing were too dark, some too light in "real life". but after some time i found out that when i place exposed paper in developer and picture starts to appear 17(+- sec) latter, i get result that i like next day. and it's constant, not depending of enlargement size.
so i guess (actually i don't) it's just trial and error. find your way.
//btw using only one developer (for now) -> Ilford Multigrade developer
When making test strips, you may care to place a bit of photographic paper on the darkest, lightest and midtone of your negative projection.
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
Allen Friday gives good advice. Be absolutely, fanatically consistent in making contact sheets. Before long, just a glance at the contact-sheet image will probably get you close to a good print exposure. In addition, write printing data on the back of your contact sheets; using that information for subsequent printing will, again, be very helpful. Obviously, a test strip is a good follow-up.
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Same as with your camera:
Originally Posted by CHHAHH
4 sec @ f16
8 sec @ f22
16 sec @ f32
f32 is kinda small, so you might look into changing the bulb in your enlarger to a smaller wattage bulb. That is what I had to do with my enlarger. It came with a 150w bulb, but the exposures were too short, so I went down to a 75w bulb. I only stopped at 75w because they don't have a smaller wattage bulb.
PS, I like using the projection print scale (PPS) better than a test strip. Because I can put the PPS just where I want it, the test strip covers a much large area of the image. But as was mentioned, that just gets you close. Once you make a print and evaluate it, then you have to "fine tune" the exposure to what you want it to look like.
That's wonderful! Great advice here but also have fun!!
Originally Posted by CHHAHH