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  1. #1

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    Paterson 35mm Contact Proof Printer

    I bought the above secondhand on e-bay a number of years ago and usually do a contact sheet prior to printing. I hadn't done any contact sheets for a while until last night when I decided to re-read the instructions. These say that " the bottom strip is narrower than the others so that the film name which is generally printed on the top edge of the film overprints with the numbers of the previous strip this providing automatic identification of the make of film."

    I looked carefully at the strips. They all looked to be the same width. I measured them and they were all the same width. On this basis the top edge of the film would never have been exposed so the film name shouldn't have appeared on the contact sheet. I checked all my sheets and sure enough the film name never appears. No problem of course with the frame numbers or any of the rest of the sheet.

    It could be that I have been simply fitting the strips of 6 exposures wrongly but I seem to be doing it according to the instructions and the contact sheets are fine except for the missing film name.

    The other explanation is that I have a Paterson contact printer on which the masking strips template was made wrongly i.e. it doesn't have a narrower strip at the bottom. This seems highly unlikely as these must have been made in their thousands and the machine turning out the templates would not suddenly change the template.

    So to all those who have such printers: Are you all able to print the film name on the top of the second last strip as the instructions suggest?

    If so, I presume your bottom strip is narrower and I have a faulty printer OR is it me who is simply misunderstanding the instructions?

    OK I can write the film name and speed on the technical data section so it's hardly the end of the world but if the instructions suggest that I should be able to contact print such informations, I am puzzled why Paterson should say this unless it can be done.

    Any help will be gratefully appreciated

    Thanks

    pentaxuser

  2. #2

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    Good Evening, Pentaxuser,

    I have the same piece of equipment, bought over thirty years ago and used a few times. I'd solve the problem by putting the contact printer on a shelf at the back of a cabinet and forgetting it. The time and effort involved in putting the strips of film in the printer just aren't worth the bother. Just get an 11 x 14 piece of plain glass (1/4 inch is much better than 1/8 inch) with the edges ground smooth. It will be heavy enough to hold the negatives tight against the paper and will be lots faster to use than the Patterson.

    Konical

  3. #3

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    Well, I recently bought Paterson's 35mm and 120 contact printers. For me it is important to get good frames, and eventually frame numbers. I write all other informations on back side of contact sheet, so I am not worried if name of film will be exposed on contact sheet. I just write it on backside of sheet. My problem was stiff "holders" of film strips. But, I first put old film in holders to loose it and after few usings, it is OK now, no problems to put film strips into contact printer. As in instrustions tells when printer is not in use, do not close it completely, if you do that, film strips holders will get stiff again.

    I think me too don't get name of film on contact sheet... And if you don't put paper properly, you wouldn't even get place exposed "Technical data, date" on sheet too...

    But, as 120 contact printer was not enough for 6x7 negatives, I ordered Paterson's contact printer for 11x14 paper. It will serve for other things too, so that is why I order it (for example contact copies of photographs made with 13x18 or other film sizes pinhole camera)... Yes, there is allways option to put 2 frames strip of 6x7 negatives and to use one 8x10 sheet for first 8 frames (4 strips) and tear another piece of paper for remaining strip. And that is another thing I will try...

    You can use ordinary glass, put paper on enlargers base, put film strips on paper glass over negatives, and it works. I worked that way for years. But, if you need to repeat same contact sheet several time, and I often have need to do it, then contact printers which have film strips firmly in place is good option, and that is my main reason for buying them...

    So, in short, I wouldn't think too much about it. If frames images are good using printer, and you get atleast frame numbers, it is OK. Everything else can be written on backside of sheet. No matter what Paterson tells or not. For example Paterson catalogue tells 120 printer is good for 6x7 negatives, but there is no way to make contact sheet of 10 6x7 frames on 8x10 paper using paterson printer (even if there is way to do that using clear glass only). I wouldn't trust any manufacturer 100 percent...
    Bosnia... You don't have to be crazy to live here, but it helps...
    No things in life should be left unfinis

  4. #4

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    Thanks for answers so far.

    Konical. Yes I used to use a glass plate on my college course but could never get the strips in a straight line so I bought the printer. It does take a few minutes to load but as a hobbyist, time is not that important.

    Haris. It sounds as if it may not be possible to get the film name printed as well but you'd think that before saying it was possible, Paterson would have checked it out to make sure. The people who write the instructions normally have to actually try them out with the equipment to be sure they do what they say. If they don't bother to do this, then let's hope they never manufacture brain surgery equipment!

    I have thought carefully about what the instructions say again and I don't think they make sense. If the last strip was thinner in order to push up the film name so it is incorporated into the frame numbers of the previous strip then you'd lose part of the frame.

    As I see it, it might make sense if the last strip was in fact wider not thinner then the last set of frames would print with frame numbers at the bottom and the film name would show at the top as well.

    pentaxuser

  5. #5

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    Pentaxuser,

    I will check 35mm, but 120 printer has one strip wider, one near paper holder oposite to clamp, so on first film strip there are printed name numbers at top, frames, and name of film at bottom. Oter strips have only numbers and frmaes printed, no name of film. I will check 35mm printer to see... And as I still have printer manuals I will check that too. As mine printers are new, bought about month ago, I don't know if there are design changes. I hope tomorrow I will have more to tell...

    Regards
    Bosnia... You don't have to be crazy to live here, but it helps...
    No things in life should be left unfinis

  6. #6
    Mark Pope's Avatar
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    I have one of these. When I bought my LF camera, I decided to buy a new proof printer with just plain glass. As I use transparent negative sleeves, I just lie the page of negs on the paper, close the contact printer and hey presto! job done. They're all nicely lined up. So there may be another 35mm contact printer going for auction...
    Mark Pope
    Swindon, Wilts
    UK

    http://www.monomagic.co.uk

  7. #7
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    I also simply expose through the clear negative sleeves as suggested by Mark. I use a sheet of glass rather than a frame however. It does not give as sharp an image as contacts without the sleeves but if you want to check negative sharpness then you should be looking at the negative in any case.

    I also have a Paterson 35mm contact frame gathering dust (and a 120 one). I got mine as part of a job-lot of darkroom odds and sods, tried them for a while and decided they were too fiddly.

    Cheers, Bob.

  8. #8

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    Pentaxuser,

    I checked my Paterson 35mm contact printer. There is no way to get both the name of film and numbers if properly use printer. All spaces are same, so you can either get images with numbers or if you turn film strips 180 degrees you can get name of film with images, but not name of film and numbers. And manual for my contact printer does not mention that option too. But, I have 120 priter too, and it does allowe on one strip to get name of film and numbers. That strip is on place where paper holder is, that strip is wider than other 3. But it is for 120 film, printer for 35mm film doesn't have that option.

    So, you probably have manual for one printer and actually get printer with different design from printer for which you have manual.

    Saying that you can do next, and I tried to do that and it works: do not push film strips all the way. that way you will get numbers of one film strip and next film strip will overlap so you will get name of film from that second strip between numbers of first film strip. That does work, I accidentaly discovered this when didn't push film strips all the way. When finished cprocessing ontact sheet I saw I got somethink like : 1 name of film 2 name of film 3 name of film 4, etc... All contact images were exposed correctly. This is not mentioned in manual, so this is "wrongly" using of printer. But, if you want to have numbers and name of film printed on contact sheet, this is probably one way...

    Regards
    Bosnia... You don't have to be crazy to live here, but it helps...
    No things in life should be left unfinis

  9. #9

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    hi i got one not long back and its so hard to get everything right so i peeled the plastic frame template markings off the glass so its just plain cleaned with meths ,pop the paper in and negs ontop no problems now hope this helps ,wayne

  10. #10

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    Thanks all and especially to Haris who took the trouble to check things out with his printer and then suggest a way round the problem. By the way, it was the instructions for the 35mm printer that I have so it wasn't simply a mix up with me getting the wrong instructions.

    Wayne and others.Clear neg holding sheets and either plain glass or the Paterson glass with the template removed is probably the best solution but I'll probably stick to writing the film speed and name in the technical section.

    I must look on the bright side. I was beginning to wonder if I had lost any ability to follow instructions. Now I know I haven't but I have lost faith in Paterson's description of at least one of its products and it doesn't sound from your collective opinion as if these printers ever made it to " Product, I'd save if my darkroom was burning down."

    pentaxuser

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