Depends on the negative. If I was shooting portraits in a controlled repeatable way I could probably get it down to about 20-30 minutes for the first and 10 minutes thereafter. Typically a good thick neg I can print to my satisfaction the first time in 20-30 minutes, a tough one might take an hour or more. I found struggling with a bad neg to be counterproductive to great prints so I don't do that much anymore. I would echo the call to print on fiber. RC might be as good these days, but in this business perception is everything, and the perception is that fiber paper is better. In other words no one will fault you for using fiber, while some might for RC, deserved or not.
100% behind Nicholas on this.
I have not made a RC print in 35 years and plan never to make one.
I see absolutely no reason..
Oh wait a minute I lie,, contact sheets.
Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
RC makes perfect sense to me, and I use it, for contact sheets, mucking-about-proofs, is-it-worth-printing exercises, and uses where it really doesn't matter if the print is any good in 5 years or 50 years - which, to confess, is more of my output than I like to admit.
But if someone is paying for a photograph then I feel it is necessary to do as good a job as I can. The real labor in a photograph isn't in making the print but in taking the photograph - be it a portrait session or just the time spent making bad photographs just so one has the opportunity to make the occasional good one. If someone is willing to part with a few hundreds, or even tens, of dollars I feel I have an obligation to provide only what I know to the best of my knowledge will work.
* * *
On the subject of 'accelerating aging' -- oh dear, it's one of my many soapboxes.
I am very familiar with accelerated aging as it is stock in trade in electrical engineering. I spent much time on my first engineering job peering through the windows of Blue-M environmental testing chambers.
Accelerating aging testing has real limits. They have nothing to do with methodology but with the nature of proof. Aging tests are only proof when you have got it wrong. If a product fails the test then it means something. If, however, the product passes the test it is not proof that the product will last. You can't prove something won't fail. You can only try to prove it will fail and failing at the proof you assume the best.
The only test of time is time itself. We know now that Nadar's process was archival. We have some consolation that FB products are reasonably like those of 90 years ago that have shown themselves to last for 90 years and seem to be still going strong. There is no comparable history that RC paper will last 100 years. There is a 50 year history of repeated failed assurances that all is well with RC - something that no other photographic process can boast of.
And besides, RC looks like crap. De gustibus non est disputandum.
Last edited by Nicholas Lindan; 12-18-2010 at 12:50 PM. Click to view previous post history.
It takes me about an hour to get what I think is a GOOD print from any negative. After that, it's about ten minutes per print. Making the first print is all about finding the right paper grade, and working out any burning to be done (I don't dodge, only burn- but I might burn in all but a tiny spot). That part of it I normally do in RC paper.
Then I let the "good" print "age" for a week or two until I see what it needs to be a better print.
And then I dig out the graded paper and the contrast-control developers and toners, and work on it for another hour. At the end of that I can churn out prints in ten minutes each - batch exposing, batch processing in trays, batch toning and batch washing. And heat drying - all the processing is what takes time. Doing it in batches adds little to the total time for making ONE print, and you get many more prints.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
i agree with you
but wanted to at least suggest
the other side of the story,
that modern RC paper isn't nearly
as bad as the earlier versions of the paper.
ilford rc portfolio isn't that-bad (for an rc paper) .
it has the same weight and feel as a fiber paper ...
and if my client insisted that i use an RC paper
because the rest of his / her house was
filled with color prints, machine prints or ...
( if they made it ) the ilford porfolio is what i would use ... ( if i had-to )
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I am a big fan of modern RC paper.
But I wouldn't discourage anyone from using fibre based paper.
I would suggest, however, that if the OP is trying to determine a pricing structure, that fibre based requires more time and work, so a higher selling price is necessary.
Whether or not the clients are willing to pay the higher price is another question.
One question for Bob Carnie: Isn't Elevator printing on the Ilford digital B & W paper, and isn't that paper RC?
“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
Thanks for the responses everyone. Nicholas, I agree with what you say about RC. I should switch over to fiber and tone the prints also. I love the look of matte FB.
I've been charging $60 per 8x10 RC and $30 per subsequent one. What I need to do is print FB, toned, charge more, and get more experience printing so that one print doesn't take all day.
My enlarger is a cold light head, and I use blue and green filters to print splitgrade. I can't use the Ilford filters with a cold light head, can I? My only other enlarger is a color one, and the magenta isn't deep enough, and I would need to calibrate it.
What about drydown? My Zone VI timer has a dial thats labeled 'drydown'. How can I use that to help me?
You're asking the question from the wrong direction. Never mind how long it takes you to make the print; the question you should be asking is, How much cost will the market bear for this service? Do some market research to find out what others are charging for prints of similar quality to what you will offer, to a similar market area. If you find that the market will bear $50 for an 8x10 print, then determine whether you can recoup your costs and make a profit by selling at that price point. If the market will only bear $10 for an 8x10 print, you will find it hard to compete by selling handmade prints.
Elevator is printing on the Ilford digital paper, but it is fibre and not RC. We tried the rc version as a proofing material and I have five unopened boxes of the Rc from then, if anyone wants make me an offer. 30 inch x 100ft .. 5 years old As is condition
Originally Posted by MattKing
Sure you can use filters with a cold light head. Depending on the tube in the head the contrast produced by the filters may be a bit different -- but then so will the split-grade ratios. As the name of the game is to use what makes the best print it really doesn't make much matter what number is stamped on the filter. The best tube for VC paper is called an 'Aristo V54' - I think this is the standard tube installed in a ZVI enlarger.
Originally Posted by thedancefloor
Dry down compensation is an attempt to adjust printing exposure so the working print you evaluated as correct when it was floating in the fixer tray matches the final print (made with drydown compensation) that ends up hanging on the wall.
The amount of compensation you need depends on the difference in lighting over the fixer tray and the lighting in the final display place. It is possible to match the wet-print evaluation lighting to the display lighting so you don't need drydown compensation.
Prints do loose a bit of contrast when they dry - the drydown knob won't help any here and sometimes you need to ooch the contrast up a bit so the final print looks OK.
If your prints look too dark when they are hung then you may want to apply a bit of compensation by either twiddling the knob on the timer or just by reducing exposure about 10%-20% and seeing if that helps. The amount of compensation needed will change as you change printing contrast.
If the final prints look great then there is no need to play with drydown compensation.