Enlarging Paper Negatives - Is it possible!
I'm very new at this so apologies if this is a stupid question. I've just made my first pinhole camera (pictured), I'm loading it with Kodak Polymax II RC paper. The paper negatives develop ok, but they are a little small, say 3" in diameter. Is there an alternative to contact printing to get a positive that is larger? (I'm trying to avoid just scanning them in!!
Many thanks for your advice
Tom in theory you could stick them in an enlarger, but the opacity would make exposures extremely long, also the textures in the paper itself would probably cause problems to.
You could make an inter-negative either by making a contact print and copying that with B&W film, or probably better to copy the negative using slide film, this gives you a film negative. B&W slides are quite straight forward and easy and you could make these on 35mm, 120 or 5x4 film.
Thanks for that Ian, Good advice!!
Or (and I'll probably be struck dead for saying this here), use a digital camera or scanner to make a high-res copy. Then use your Ink Jet printer to make the new negative. Bop over to hybridphoto.com and read up on digital and inkjet negatives...
But the method Ian outlined is quite sound and worked for eons!
In school we used to peel the emulsion off of color RC paper and print in a color enlarger. Don't know if you can peel your RC paper, but you could try.
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Tom, I shoot mainly paper negatives in pinhole cameras, and mainly contact print them, but have enlarged some of them (in a 4x5 condensor enlarger.) My best result was a 4"X5" enlarged to 11"x14". You will lose contrast and resolution in the enlargement, as compared to a contact print. There will also be additional optical artifacts from running the enlarging lens wide open, mainly off-axis, along the outer edges of the print.
As I recall, I ran the lens wide open on my Beseller 4x5, with a print exposure time of 45 seconds to 1 minute. The lower contrast can be somewhat compensated for by the correct choice of contrast filter, although if you're using multigrade paper for your paper negative it probably has too much contrast already, so this may print with okay contrast. You'll have to experiment.
Make sure you place the negative emulsion side down in the enlarger's negative carrier; the paper backing will act somewhat like a diffusion enlarger head. But you really need an enlarging lens that has a flat field wide open, almost like a process camera lens. Or a much brighter light source in the enlarger, and stop the lens down a bit.
EDIT: I've also experimented with APHS film as an inexpensive, ortho substitute for paper negatives for enlargements, but cannot yet tame the excess contrast like I can with grade 2 paper negatives. In my experience, contact prints from grade 2 paper are very nice, and little or no issues with dust, etc.
Last edited by Joe VanCleave; 10-31-2007 at 01:20 PM. Click to view previous post history.
There was an article in a fairly old issue of the British Amateur Photographer magazine about enlarging paper negatives. I had found it interesting enough to experiment shortly with that technique, but that was maybe 6-7 years ago. I cut RC paper to dimensions of 6x6cm and placed them in a Hasselblad back in the darkroom, then went out into the garden and exposed it. Then I headed back into the darkroom, developed the paper, dried it, and then used this as a negative in the enlarger. I don't remember pealing off the emulsion. All exposure times where very long and required a lot of trial and error. The interesting part of the technique is that you can mark the back of the paper negative with a pencil thereby creating some kind of dodging effect. Although my results were very uninspiring, I found that some images in the magazine were quite good.
if you use fiber paper, you might be able to oil/wax your paper
to make it a little more "see-through"
i have always had trouble peeling paper backing, and if it is enlarged
an uneven - peel will show up in your enlarged print
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Could you photograph the negative on slide copying film and enlarge the result?
Robert Asman from the Philadelphia area was working with paper negatives in the late 80's or early 90's. His methods were to make the negative print around 4x5 inches on RC paper. He would then peel part the paper negative. This would expose the paper texture in the center of the RC paper. Separating the "negative" to different thicknesses gave different densities in the print. The thinned down paper negative was then place in a 4x5 enlarger and prints were made through it. He might have been using a glass negative carrier but I don't remember. He was working with the figure and this gave them sort of a stone texture.