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  1. #1

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    Quick newbie question: 6x6 neg carriers...

    Hi All,

    I recently bought a Rolleiflex, developed my first rolls, and got a good enlarging lens. I use a Kaiser enlarger, and bought a pair of 6x6 negative carriers for it.

    I use the same type of plastic carriers in 35mm, and really like the effect I've got from filing the edges back. I was thinking of doing the same thing with the 6x6 carrier, to show the borders, but when I put my first frame into the carrier I realised this might be a problem. The film visibly bowed in a way that it doesn't seem to in 35mm.

    That might've come through in my first print: the superior resolution of 6x6 FP4 is obvious even on the 8x10 paper, but there are vertical bands down the image. Can anyone tell me if this was down to the bowing negative, and confirm my suspicion that the solution is a neg carrier with glass inserts? Or do I just need to stop down more?

    I don't know anyone who prints medium format personally and am learning to print in a vacuum, mostly from books, so would really appreciate some advice.

    If it's not possible to hold 6x6 flat enough to print without a glass sandwich, I wonder why glassless carriers even exist?

    Apologies if this has already been answered somewhere; I've tried a few searches, but couldn't come up with anything.

    Many thanks,

    Andrew

  2. #2
    paul_c5x4's Avatar
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    Andrew - The Ilford films I've used have (generally) laid fairly flat in the carriers I use. Only problem films have been one of the vintage emulsion films that looked like a curly-wurly once dried. A glass carrier and stopping the enlarger lens down to f16 fixed most of the problems.

    You don't say where you are (but I'm guessing somewhere in the UK). I'm sure if you ask, there is somebody locally that can show you the basics.

  3. #3
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    It's true. If you stop the enlarger lens down, you will most likely eliminate minor curling issues, I have used very curly 35mm film in a 4x5 camera to make a panoramic picture, and when I put it in a 4x5 carrier it was super curly. But stopping it down to f22 solved all focus issues.

    Some people may bring up the argument about stopping the lens down too far and starting to lose sharpness due to diffraction, but for a newbie just new to printing; don't worry about it. You can start worrying about all the more technical crap after you have gotten the hang of printing, but for your purposes, you really won't see that much of a difference.

    Don't forget, the DOF of your enlarger works the same way as the DOF in your camera. When you stop down, you will get more DOF, and thus solve your problems.

    As an aside, the few times I have tried printing 6x9 rollfilm I have never had a curling issue, but I only tried using Tri-X. If you are using a 6x6 carrier and modern film, you shouldn't have that much of an issue.
    www.EASmithV.com

    "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."— Dorothea Lange
    http://www.flickr.com/easmithv/
    RIP Kodachrome

  4. #4
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    Hi, can you describe in more detail what the bands down the print look like? Doesn't sound like a symptom of wavy negative.

    Sometimes, especially at the end of the strip the film is very curly and hard to get into focus. Sometimes you can tape down the edges with blue masking tape. Or get a piece of Anti-newton glass (like from a gepe glass slide mount, be sure to sand down the sharp edges) and place that on top of the neg. Personally, I always use the glass neg carrier to ensure flatness and even focus across the print.

    Jon
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

  5. #5

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    Hello Andrew,

    I second Jon's suggestion to use blue masking tape (the kind that sticks but can be easily removed - it is used for painting).

    If you use a piece of tape on either end of the negative strip, pull it just tight enough, and tape to the carrier, you can get a very flat negative without using glass and dealing with its consequences. It should at least give you a test to properly diagnose where your problem is coming from without getting glass for your carrier...

    Regards,

    George

  6. #6
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    As others pointed out, stopping down is the answer. The other thing to realize is that you want the depth of field to exactly straddle the curve of the negative. One simple way to do this is to focus with the enlarger head. Focus on the corner and note the location of the head (many enlargers have a scale on the column). Then focus on the center (again by moving the enlarger head only). Make note of the location of the head. The best focus will then be achieved by putting the enlarger head exactly between the two points and stopping down. Using this method most all curved negatives can be printed without a glass carrier.

  7. #7

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    Thanks for the replies, all. I'm going to try stopping down a bit more, and the suggestion of using masking tape. Time consuming, but straightforward, at least.

  8. #8
    RJS
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    The best solution (and it really isn't that much bother once you get used to it,) is a glass carrier. A single piece of AN glass with a thin cardboard (black) mask will give you perfectly flat negative, and after a bit of practice you will wonder why all the fuss and whining from tose who don't use glass. The advantages are too many to list.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fixitqwik View Post
    Thanks for the replies, all. I'm going to try stopping down a bit more, and the suggestion of using masking tape. Time consuming, but straightforward, at least.
    Since you have a Kaiser - you might as well get the universal glass carrier. Aside from cleaning it for dust, it'll make your darkroom/enlarger life easier.

    Contact KPT, they will see if Freestyle can get you the part (if you're in the US) - otherwise Kaiser can ship it directly.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  10. #10
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    The best focus will then be achieved by putting the enlarger head exactly between the two points and stopping down.
    Unless i'm mistaken, that's not true unless you are doing a 1:1 enlargement. Normally, the best focus will be closer to one of the two focus distances, and not right in the middle. But, shooting for the middle is a good approximation.
    f/22 and be there.



 

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