Paper neg from a 2x3 Crown Graphic
Just curious if anyone has shot paper negs with their Speed/Crown Graphic 23?
I'm cleaning up my camera and will probably use the 120 rollfilm holder most of the time. But I do have some sheet film holders. These days there isn't much selection in 2x3 sheet film anyway. If I am experimenting and cutting material down for the 2x3 holders, I am thinking of trying paper negs.
Anyone have recommendations for this little adventure? From what I've read, sounds like Ilford MG IV rated at ISO 12 might be a good starting point?
My other camera is a Pentax
I've shot paper negs in my 4x5 Speed Graphic, but it's the same idea. I've learned a few things from working for years with paper negatives in pinhole cameras. A common problem with paper negatives is excess contrast, especially when using multigrade paper. The blue/UV sensitive part of MG emulsion is high contrast; daylight exposures will activate this, giving excess contrast. So, I use grade 2 RC paper (RC because it's easier to contact print, minus the paper curl.)
I've also learned to do a preflash on the paper, prior to loading into the film holders. This has the effect of further reducing excess contrast by improving shadow detail. The amount of preflash I've calibrated to give a slight gray to the otherwise unexposed paper. I originally tried my enlarger, with lens stopped down to F/32, but the exposure times were still too short (1-2 seconds) to give an accurately timed preflash. So I use a type "S-11" light bulb (120vac, 7.5 watts, frosted white, standard base) mounted in a metal soup can housing, with a ~1/4" hole in the bottom for the light to shine through. Mounted ~30" above my work surface, typical preflash times are 10 seconds.
I use Arista's grade 2 RC paper (from Freestyle), rating it at ISO 2, with a preflash.
In general, to reduce contrast (other than not using MG paper) you want to expose more and develop less -- this is true with film and paper. Rating Arista RC-2 at ISO 2, and preflashing, has the effect of increasing exposure. To reduce development I use a developer more dilute than normal, with a portion of old, exhausted developer added as a 'starter'. Instead of reducing development by using a normal strength developer and pulling it out short (which can cause uneven development marks) I dilute the developer more and extend the time longer, inspecting the negative and pulling it out when the shadow details are adequate without the highlights blocking up. BTW I use Agfa's Neutol WA liquid developer because it has outstanding keeping properties.
Contact prints from good paper negatives can look very nice. The tonal range of the image is '19th century' orthochromatic or actinic tonal range -- meaning warmtoned objects will be rendered darker in tone than with panchro film. Like skin tones. For portraits, you may want to direct more light on the subject's face, to increase exposure, or consider powder makeup.
For previsualizing the tonal effect of paper negatives consider using a dark blue filter as a viewing filter. Graded paper sees the world principally through the blue spectrum.
P.S.: Another advantage of paper negatives to consider: you can select your negative contrast by paper grade, rather than zone system gyrations; and you can handle them under safelights, so processing is more convenient.
Last edited by Joe VanCleave; 09-25-2008 at 06:39 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Writing is 90% editing
good advice from Joe
question Joe, when doing pre-flash of RC/VC paper using an enlarger, what filter should be used?
Don't forget the Arista or Efke sheet film, starting at $10 for 25 sheets, I really have to load up some from the box I have and see what it's like.
You'd probably want to buy the 5x7 paper if you were going to do this (2.5X3.5 is 1/4th of a 5x7 sheet you'd only lose about 1/8th of an inch off of each side of a negative (darn it now you have me wanting to try it.)
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I would suggest trying out Efke's Positive paper. It's supposed to rate at somewhere between ISO 1 and 6. I have friends who report great success when using it for paper negs.
i shoot paper negatives all the time.
use asa 6 as a good starting point,
shoot in overcast conditions or those
without a ton of contrast
( bright sun AND dark shadows ).
don't forget film holders aren't really what they say they are
but a little less all the way around. format sizes were the
measurements when they used dry plates, the little bit less accounts for the septums
photographers inserted in their plate holders to accomodate newfangled film.
spent developer works well to control contrast ... so does flashing the paper before exposure.
I use Ilford MGIV in a variety of sizes for my different cameras. I usually rate it at ISO 25, but I expect a contrast change as a function of color due to it being an MG paper. I guess a graded paper would be best, but I'm trying to compare it to my Ortho sensitized emulsions.