Well, ok - not prints, but test strips. Does anyone do this? A search turned up the heartening fact that Ansel Adams did, so I am looking for any tips - how much power, how long etc. Is the effect different than normal drying? Crucially, is the drydown factor exactly the same?
I am thinking of doing this especially with fiber paper test strips.
Lay some paper towel under the print ( squeegee the print first )
Set on high, let it rip. It'll not be dry when it comes out, but will evaporate the remaining moisture quickly.
SOME papers have a deeper black heat dried than air dried. Some papers' highlights dry differently. A quick test will let you know.
Always know where the cat is when using a microwave....
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
Every mircrowave is a little different with its power settings so some experimentation is required. Since I only understand and use, like, two buttons on my machine, I zap the test prints in a couple 10-15 seconds bursts on high between which I'll take the strip out and wave it around a bit to cool off. If it gets too hot, the emulsion will bubble off. As it is, the heated drying affects the surface of the paper, making it shinier than normal air drying. That can, as has been mentioned, affect the Dmax and/or color of the test print.
My experience is that it works with with fiber paper test strips. It will not work with RC paper. I use 1 minute and 80% full power. A rinse of about 1 minute before microwaving is necessary. Otherwise, the color will be different.
Originally Posted by Anupam Basu
Also taking Ansel's advice, I bought an old microwave at a garage sale for $20 and found a place for it just outside my darkroom. My test strips and work prints are dry enough to judge drydown after 1:00. Sure takes the guesswork out of that. Note that if you dry too long the paper begins to scorch (not a good thing), and yes, RC paper will melt (also not good!)
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
I do just enough to "bump" the paper, not anywhere near a full minute for test strips, but 20 seconds or less at a time for fiber. For RC papers, I use bursts of no longer than 8 seconds. At 12 seconds things are difficult to see. When the plastic coating shrinks enough to melt, the print quality changes. I just figure dry-down to be similar to an air dried print, but don't ever "toast" all at one time for a completely dry strip. tim
I use the microwave when we are calibrating fibre control strips for the Lambda exposing unit.
It is a bit tricky , I have destroyed a few. seems high power for short bursts and move the paper around works for us.
I use mine for test strips after a short water rinse. Usually 1 minute at 40% power. I've found that higher power tends to dry it too quickly resulting in very bad paper curl, making it harder to view the entire print 'evenly'.
I do this but only with pre-production prints - those I judge to be the final product before making a dozen or so inventory prints.
At the test strip stage, I am making fairly large corrections - both exposure and contrast. There are so many adjustments to be made to the print at that stage of printing refinement - drydown is just not something I am looking at. Having said this, if your drydown factor is large, I recommend reducing it by adjusted the illumination over your wet-print viewing area. By doing this, you can pretty much eliminate drydown.
By the time I get to the pre-prod print, I am intimately familiar with the image and have made decisions on what are the important elements I am looking for in the final print. These elements guide my fine adjustments.
The microwave is intended to be a time saver - speeding the drying time before final production. Using it too early will actually add process time and the information it yields at that stage is really not that useful.
Just to be sure this topic is not misunderstood, microwave drying is not recommended for production prints.
Remember that silver is a metal.
Put some aluminum foil into a microwave and watch the fireworks (no don't).
The environment around the silver filaments in the print is changed on a micro scale during microwaving. This has a subtle effect on the tone as noted above. IDK how bad or good it is, but I know it takes place. Overdoing it can change the image and create micro defects or other harmful effects as well.
It is certainly a no-no for film.