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  1. #11
    jmcd's Avatar
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    I think your time is too fast for f/16, and you are surely experiencing diffraction. If you want to make a smaller print your times will shorten more.

    I like an enlarging time between 12 and 30 seconds to allow control and dodging and burning.

    I had a similar problem with the smallest bulb in my enlarger, and so placed some Rosco gels between my light and condenser, and this brought my times in range with good results. A neutral density filter would also work above or below the lens.

    Modify the set-up to get the times and working aperture you want.

  2. #12

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    As I understand it most MG papers produce a grade 2 without any filtration so unless you can be sure of producing all your negs to print at grade two in terms of correct contrast then getting a set of filters might be a good idea. It would be a high priority for me if i were in the same situation as you.

    pentaxuser

  3. #13
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Alternatively to the MG Filters - you could fit a ND Filter to your enlarging lens - just as you would to camera

    I very much doubt you would see any difference in print quality between a print done at f16 and one done at f8 in a 10X8 print - but you should try it for yourself

    10 to 20s is a good target range to expose a print for - it gives you a long enough time to dodge different areas (if required) without it being way to long and very tedious

    Martin

  4. #14

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    Yours is a common problem. Many enlargers were designed at a time when papers were a lot slower than they are now. Those designed with filter drawers or dichro heads also took into account the fact that variable contrast and color correction filters eat up a substantial amount of light. So here you are, working with fast modern papers with nothing to attenuate the light save the adjustable aperture of your lens. You mentioned using Kodak BW400CN. It is a chromogenic B&W film, but unlike Ilford's XP2 has the orange mask making it more suitable for printing onto RA4, rather than standard B&W papers. The orange mask adds quite a bit of density, so you can dismiss any notion that a standard B&W negative will require a longer exposure time. Yeah, you'll have short exposure times, and they'll get shorter when you switch over to a proper B&W film. It will be a challenge to get any sort of consistency without a very precise timer, and you'll have no time for the dodging and burning manipulations so critical for making a fine print.

    I have a medium sized Omega B600 enlarger sitting on the bench in my darkroom that gave me the same grief. Even with a 75 watt lamp and with the lens stopped down all the way, I was getting sub 10 second exposure times making 8x10 prints from 35mm negatives. Things became ridiculously unmanageable when making smaller prints, which was the whole reason for me getting this machine in the first place. So how do you get around this? Easy. First things first, get yourself a set of variable contrast filter and use them. Even if you need a grade 2 and the paper's default is grade 2 without filters, use the filter. That alone will cut down the light by about 1 stop more or less. If that's not enough, and it wasn't for me, get some neutral density lighting gel from Rosco. It's not expensive, in fact it's dirt cheap. A 20x24 inch sheet costs about $6US. Cut some down to size to fit your enlarger. A layer or two in the filter drawer along with your variable contrast filters will do the trick nicely. In my case, I stacked two layers on top of the condenser, and occassionally will use an extra layer in the filter drawer.

    These gels come in various densities. I'd recommend the Rosco ND .3 Cinegel # 3402. This is a 1 stop neutral density material that will not affect the color balance of the lamp. It will not affect contrast control, only exposure. See this page, and scroll down to find the description: http://www.rosco.com/us/filters/cinegel.asp.
    Frank Schifano

  5. #15

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    Agree with Frank and jmcd. On Frank's advice in another thread I got Rosco ND filter gels for my enlarger (Beseler 23cII). I got a sheet of 1 stop (0.3) and 1/2 stop (0.15) for next to nothing at B&H and now I can move my times up and down to suit my comfort level, size of print (as someone else said, if you start doing 5x7's your times will be even shorter) and paper.

    Lower wattage bulb is also good.

    Thanks Frank and all. I do dig this site.

    Jeff Glass

  6. #16
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    I had similar problems with my Omega B8 -- a 5x5 test print from a 6x6 is a rather small enlargement and it's difficult to make small adjustments in a five second exposure, let alone dodge or burn. When I discovered all three of my lenses take the same filter size, I bought a 2-stop ND filter; problem solved.

    DaveT

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