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  1. #1
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    easier negative proofing

    My shooting ratio is horrible, especially for 35mm which also is the hardest to proof. I get tired of squinting at dozens of tiny negatives to find the one to print. I have a light box and a loupe, but the loupe is squinty and the lightbox is never comfortable to hunch over. It would be great if I had a thing I could feed a strip of 35mm into and view the images enlarged. And that device is not a scanner because scanning takes WAY too long just to decide if the roll needs tossed. An optical device like a projector or movie film editor might do the trick but I don't know where to come up with something like that. Any ideas are appreciated. There has to be a better way than hunching over a light box.
    f/22 and be there.

  2. #2
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    An enlarger with a Negatrans is really good for this.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  3. #3
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    I never thought about using my enlarger. Typically I don't proof in the darkroom. I was thinking of making something with a film gate, a macro lens, and a web cam, so I could look at the roll on a computer monitor.
    f/22 and be there.

  4. #4
    Barry S's Avatar
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    The device you're describing exists. I bought one from a National Geographic printer that bought a bunch of Nat Geo analog darkroom gear when they went digital. It was made by Macbeth and is designed for quickly proofing 35mm film by projecting the frame onto a screen shaded by a deep hood. I no longer shoot 35mm, so I'm open to selling it.

  5. #5
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Look for Tamron Fotovix, or Fujix Photo-Video Imager... These things have about what you describe, output is an inverted (negative to positive) video signal which can be viewed on any video device...

    But honestly these gadgets ONLY get in the way of what you should be doing, putting hopeful negatives in the enlarger and giving them a try because you are taking "time" away from the darkroom, and the impression of whether or not a particular negative will make a good print is fleeting.

  6. #6
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry S View Post
    The device you're describing exists. I bought one from a National Geographic printer that bought a bunch of Nat Geo analog darkroom gear when they went digital. It was made by Macbeth and is designed for quickly proofing 35mm film by projecting the frame onto a screen shaded by a deep hood. I no longer shoot 35mm, so I'm open to selling it.
    This sounds cool...

  7. #7
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    But honestly these gadgets ONLY get in the way of what you should be doing, putting hopeful negatives in the enlarger and giving them a try because you are taking "time" away from the darkroom, and the impression of whether or not a particular negative will make a good print is fleeting.
    I'm finding that the opposite is true. The more time I spend proofing the better off my output is. Wasting darkroom time on inferior negatives is a problem. Often I will have an entire roll of a single portrait session. Which of the similar expressions is the one worth spending an hour printing? It's not economical to answer that question by spending 36 hours printing. Although I am sure that pro photographers with large budgets and assistants did just that.
    f/22 and be there.

  8. #8

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    recall

    As I recall, somebody was always trying to invent the perfect solution for this problem. We had our own idea and would put as many 35mm negs as would fit into a 4x5 negative carrier and blow the whole bunch up to 8x10. (I believe it was nine negs.)I have watched many an editor at the Olympics or World Series or NBA championship games eschew proof sheets and just eyeball the negs with a loupe, notch the neg he wanted printed and got on to the next batch. Quick and dirty, as we say in the news business.

  9. #9
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    I wouldn't want you to "print" all the shots of a session for proofing. When I do print, I am pretty sure it's a good negative. I was thinking that picking negatives on a light box with a loupe is probably still the best.

    I'm not always happy with the time that I spent on electronic proofing. Especially the video proofer, the poor quality can't even reveal if a shot is sharp. At least with a loupe, you can tell the sharp shots. With scans, I get to spend time with the image before I commit to print, and this leads me to some weird emotions (feels like cheating) that I don't like. My shot of Ava getting her caricature is an example where I scanned first, loved the scan and then printed. Of course I KNEW it would make a good print, but I would rather have been surprised when I turned on the lights.

  10. #10
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapguy View Post
    As I recall, somebody was always trying to invent the perfect solution for this problem. We had our own idea and would put as many 35mm negs as would fit into a 4x5 negative carrier and blow the whole bunch up to 8x10. (I believe it was nine negs.)I have watched many an editor at the Olympics or World Series or NBA championship games eschew proof sheets and just eyeball the negs with a loupe, notch the neg he wanted printed and got on to the next batch. Quick and dirty, as we say in the news business.
    I believe Reinhold, who occasionally advertises here, makes a carrier that holds 9 35mm frames in a 4x5 opening.

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