See http://www.barry-thornton.co.uk/unzone.htm for a similar approach that works very well. One of his better points is that people don't see dark greys as well as light greys (which includes the observation that one stop darker than the first perceptible change from black is zone IX - not necessarily the same thing as the max black that the paper is capable of producing.) And, also that most negatives are under-exposed and over-developed.
Originally Posted by BWGirl
Check out everything on his site. It is time well spent.
"I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America." -- Alexis de Tocqueville
Hi Jeanette - Did you get a chance to try some straight prints at min-time-to-max-black settings? If so, any impressions?
Unfortunately, the yard was calling my name...I usually stuff cotton in my ears and race for the darkroom, but I was not quick enough this time. I plan to do it on Tuesday (Monday...alas...I must plant some grass...no; the legal kind!) haha
I will report back on what I discover!
making enlargements how long?
My exact question several years ago the test strip method was to me
so long winded and when a elderly b+w printer suggested the Kodak print scale then the answer must be 60 sec.
simply focus the lens wide open stop down a stop or two
lay scale on top of the paper ready to expose
or in my case 2 scales 1 on the main subject the other on sky
in portrait mode 1 on the facial area the other on the background
select the best tonal wedge and there is the starting exposure you can
then use a patterson 5 fingured test strip to get the very best out of the neg, to be honest very seldom do I need to use the patterson unit at all
simply using the in between time by eye.
I you use a processor like me then my chemicals last up to 2 weeks gradually
going off with this method using the print scale the processor takes 60-70 sec wet to dry and no allowance for drying comes in to consideration.
Just my opinion but any method will work but why complicate the process
and since using this method my competition prints have won the last 2 yearly
aggregate trophys in the club that I am a member of.
After reading this thread, I am concerned with the max black concept. Now I only print and am not a photographer, so I don't get a choice as to what to print. But here is the thing. Different negatives from the same roll will print differently (especially color negs), so I am a bit confused as to how using the blank at the end of the roll will get you anything but closer to the correct exposure.
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Jill, Those are my sentiments as well. I have heard this method propogated over the years and have not found it viable for my printing.
Originally Posted by inthedark
I,m with the last 2 posters regarding the max black concept I use a ilford 500 series head and started to use the probe for exposure times but still very hit or miss the times were quite different with a slight change in position in shadow detail so the print scale comes out for me.
After a great deal of consideration, I've decided to respond to this request: I'm still experimenting to find these answers after 52 years of trying! Even today some of my first attempts at printing a fairly well defined negatives fail miserably. I'll be continually reading the information here and elsewhere, and will plod on with quarter-torn sheets and tears.
Originally Posted by BWGirl
I love the smell of fixer in the morning. It smells like...creativity!
Truly, dr bob.
Speaking of stopping down the enlarger lens...
Keep in mind the classic issues of lens aperture that apply to cameras as well as enlargers. When you stop down, you increase the DOF of the lens, which can help with minor focusing issues (should your eyes be going bad or if you don't have a grain enlarger).
However, keep in mind as well that most enlarger lenses are sharpest at their middle range of apertures.
An instructor of mine explained the minimum printing test a bit differently to me. Just put the negative in the holder so that you can see clear area of the film between images. (Basically, just move it over a bit, so you get a big fat black strip alongside the image) Place a paper test strip on the easel, and do the three to five second exposures as you would for a test strip. When that clear area, (base plus fog) is black, and no longer getting blacker, that is the minimum print expsure. Then expose a whole sheet, and you can get an idea of the information in the negative. The minimum print exposure should be the same for the wole roll, but this way you don't have to change the negative out. It's also easier done with a filed negative carrier.