...Although it's miniscule, the slight variation in the height is enough to throw the focus off...
Are you sure? With a well-aligned enlarger and apertures of f/5.6 or smaller, you have at least 20 mm of depth of field at the base board with an 8x10 print, more with larger prints. An 11x14 print from MF at f/8 has 30 mm DoF. Use a sticky tape for optimal sharpness, but I doubt you really need it.
Paper is not flat in regular easles either. The neg not being flat is most likely the problem. Use a grain focuser center and edge and if you have a good flat field lens and the negative is flat, the grain will be sharp corner to corner. Align the enlarger as required.
Negatives are only flat with a glass carrier. a top glass will get you 90% of the way. Double is 100%.
I align the my enlargers with a Peak grain focuser, long mirror, that goes into the very corners. I am sure lasers and mirrors are better, but if I can get sharp grain corner to corner with a wide open lens, I call it good enough. The short mirror Peak will not get into the corners
My D2 is alligned with a 50 mm lens on a flat plate. 135 or 150 lenses on the proper cones are shimmed to be be perfect. Allignment is never perfect across the different lens cones and lenses. Strange but true.
My leica enlargers are perfect and never need alligning. The 4x5 Omega D2 and D6 reguire a lot of work but make perfect prints once they are set up. The Phillips models are fair. I use it for the tilting head and neg stage for perspective correction.
Paper is only flat with a vacuum easel. I never needed one because I do the first steps correctly. But if you want absolute perfection, that is the way to go. Do all the first steps first or you wasting yout time with a vacuum easel.
Last edited by Ronald Moravec; 11-21-2009 at 08:35 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Use a vacumn easel.
there must be some on ebay or craigs list
If you are handy , and I mean handy you can make one yourself.
Keep the motar/pump off your enlarging table and away from the enlarger .
These were necessary tools in the Photo Comp Days before Photoshop, I have used wall mural vacumns for giant murals right down to 8x10 inch V - easels.
If you get one then black magnets strips will allow you to make an edge for aligning the paper into place and away you go.
Originally Posted by AlexG
Whenever I try to make a border-less print without an easel, the paper has a tendency to buckle in the middle. Although it's miniscule, the slight variation in the height is enough to throw the focus off.
Any tips on how to get a good flat image without having to get a sans-border easel?
A friend of mine licks the back of his paper (obviously the smaller stuff - up to 8x10) and that moistens it enough to lie flat for the exposure, but not so much as to interfere with the paper's base. Admittedly I've tried this for my 3.5x5 postcards and it works rather well. :o
I still have a set of the Paterson magnetic corner grips for making borderless prints. I mostly use them for postcards. If I want an 8x10 borderless I use a 4-blade easel and 11x14 paper, then trim. But I usually mat my prints so the large border is beneficial.