CRM's, SCIM's, HLM's, etc...
Who out there is masking? How's it going? Where abouts on the learning curve are you? What film are you using for the masks? Developer? Agitation? How did you win the battle to get things to register properly. What impact has the control had on your prints? Are your prints living up to what you thought would be possible when the realization of maskings potential first hit you?
I only mask when riding through the village, helping the oppressed and downtrodden. To avoid copyright issues, I swing my sword in a circular motion - the mark of Zerro.
In-camera masking has always fascinated me, but I've never taken the time to try my hand at it. The registration issues always seemed too daunting for my precision-impaired skillset. But, perhaps I was overthinking the matter.
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
Registration is not a problem for me.
I own a Condit punch and pin glasses so registration is not a problem. I would imagine that used Condit punches etc are pretty hard to find these days.
I got into masking with Radeka's masking kit and had no end of trouble at first with registration. Then I "borrowed" from him the idea of a negative carrier holder, and having the bottom piece of glass in the carrier slightly wedge shaped. (Being financialy impared, I made one myself instead of buying Radeka's new system). The negative carrier gets pushed into the holder against guides and a stop at the back. Because I use a Beseler 45MXT that actually drops the negative stage when it's opened to take out a negative, the negative carrier holder means I'll never have to drop the negative stage again...a huge help in keeping things registered!
Since I started, I've been using Arista APH developed in HC-110 because I don't use Dektol...anybody else go the HC-110 route?
I've only done CRMs and HLMs, using Arista in Dekrol because it is cheap. I've considered HC-110 and may try it someday.
The larger the neg the easier to register, or I should say the smaller the enlargement the less noticeable the mis-registration. So far I've only done 4x5, and use a Condit punch with pin registered glass. I have a 35mm neg which could use a dodge mask, but I'll probably do a paper plane mask with 8x10 lith film. I just can't imagine being able to properly register 35mm.
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For some years now, I've done unsharp masking frequently on my 4x5s (USMs). I use Arista 200 and Alistair Inglis' masking punch, easil registration system,
Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin
and enlarger negative carriers. For more information see : http://www.alistairinglis.com/unsharp_prices.
Then, get a 10 1/2" turtable/lazy susan, a Slosher and a pocket tape recorder.
For panchomatic film, make a tape calling out the time (but, important, bypass the batteries to get consistant results). Use this as a timer while you rotate the slosher through the water bath first, then the developer, etc. OR, use Orthocrhomatic Lith film also available from Freestyle Photo. This way you can use the usual ruby bulb so you can see your timer.
Place the turntable as far to edge of the enlarger illumination area so you can more uniformly expose and get more of an edge-effect.
I use a higly dilute HC110 solution (1.17% for first neg, then for a denser neg use 1.53% dil.). Develop mask in a Slosher for 2-min. and 30-sec, rocking gently. However, every 30-sec raise Slosher up from tray bottom and vibrate up and down like crazy. Then, stop, fix, etc.
Run a test to determine exposure. Typically I expose or 8-sec @ f/32. Image should be very light (faint such that this positive image only extends into the middle values) with almost no highlights in this positive. If you have a densitometer, I can provide density readings - but, really are not needed despite what Howard Bond says.
Most or many of my prints are printed using a USM because of the improvement of "local contrast" and require less burning/dodging. I alway do a "straight print" first before I decide if I need a USM.
Oh, by the way, there's a good article in APUG's "How To" section published by Sean.
Better yet, I remeber the best article on masking:
If anyone is interested, I'll soon be selling a Condit 8x10 precision negative carrier and punch. PM if interested.
I designed and had a machine shop build a dedicated pin registration system for my Saunders 4550 VCCE XLG enlarger. I use APH ortholith film and develop in Dektol (1-30 for USM and 1-10 for any of the sharp masks) My registration problems have been solved with this system as repeatability is + or - .003 of an inch. By that I mean that the negative holder indexes into the enlarger and the film masks will repeat at that level of precision. I have found a SECM will give much more desireable print qualities then flashing paper for instance. I have found that masking has allowed me to print negatives that would otherwise not have been printable...as an example those that have greater then 12 stops of negative density range.