I too see a difference in sharpness - in particular in the bouquet of flowers on the bench.
Have you tried to do a 6 x 4 print, and compared the two?
Try focusing first without the focus aid, and then see if the results using the focus aid result in the image on the easel looking less sharp.
Are you focusing with the enlarger lens wide open, and then stopping down? For most lenses, that is the best method. For a very few lenses, however, you need to check that focus at the same aperture you are using for the exposure.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
This is a very good point as most labs scan to print these days.
Originally Posted by srs5694
Something that no one has mentioned is the cement, the near part of the bench, and the groom's right hand, they all appear sharper than the faces. the 4X6 scan looks a little sharper to me, but the crack in the cement and grass in the foreground in the 10X8 looks great, but they are not in the 4X6 so I can't really be sure. My guess is that you are the victim of depth of field issues, I can't be sure without a jewelers loop and the prints, I would bet that if you look with a magnifier you will be able to find the focus plane someplace just in front of the faces,
That would be the "victim" (self inflicted, really) of focusing issues, not depth of field issues. Hopefully one does not routinely focus on that which he/she does not want sharpest, and then count on depth of field to get that which he/she wants sharpest to be sharp.
Originally Posted by bblhed
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
I would guess you are not using a glass carrier and the neg is popping on you during exposure.
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Hi gents. Thanks for the info so far, and so to answer some of the questions raised to date :
Grain Finder : I bought it from secondhandarkroom.co.uk - I'm not overly sure how it adjusts to be honest. I made the assumption that they are fixed? I will look into this - how does one know when it it aligned correctly or incorrectly though? It is a Paterson one.
Shutter Speed - Cannot remember, but with shots like this I always try to make sure it's 1/50th sec+. It was also tripod mounted.
Position of Lee Filter : It was in a Lee Filter holder, in the first run as close to the lens as it could go.
Lens : It's a 50mm Rodesntock Apo-Rodagon which, I am assured, are one of the best such lenses available.
Enlarger : Durst 'chassis' with Ilfospeed Multigrade 400HS head
My negative carrier is far from ideal - I need to replace it really. The framing sliders wobble (one of them, at least) and the left hand lever is broke so it doesn't lift up and down without finger interference.
This whole 'self-printing' is shocking difficult. Before I embarked on this adventure a couple of years ago a few folk who used to do it said to me "Oh yeah, it's a piece of cake. Not rocket science" yet all I have discovered since are issues with scientifically accurate alignment of everything, dob on precise requirements in every way. It's totally difficult! I'm not surprised traditional printers can command the prices that they do. It's certainly a fine craft, once you know how to do it, which I'm still a long way off being!
There have been a few threads here lately on enlarger alignment you might want to read. But before I went that far, I would check the negative to see if it looks sharp. Also, I would check to see if the grain is sharp in the print. Remember you are checking for two different focusing operations; first the camera (negative) and then the print (positive). If the first is out, the second won't be better.
below the eyepiece of paterson grain finder there is a little screw lock sticking out. Loosen it and slide the whole eyepiece up and down whilst looking through it. There is a copper wire you can see which should be really sharp. Adjust and relock screw.
Alignment is something which should be checked but once its done its done. BUt I don't think its the cause of this problem if you are focussing on face.
I suspect the suggestion that neg is not sharp and lab used sharpening after scan for print, is the reason the lab print is sharper but checking alignment is a must even if to just put your mind at rest.
Printing is quite straight forward but there is a learning curve and once you are getting consistently good negatives then printing becomes easier. And the more often you print the more intuitive it becomes.
I can't see how it is enlarger alignment, there would need to be at least one are sharp if this is the issue, if you think about it.
I will go back to negative popping during exposure, or bellows drop at the lens stage, sometime these suckers are very loose and will drop from their focus position.
Eyeballing would be sharper than the image Ted shows.
Something is moving , between time of focus, puttting paper in easal and exposure time.
I just looked at the jpegs on the other thread, does your carrier have glass top and bottom when you put in the neg??