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  1. #1
    morkolv's Avatar
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    No snap in 8x10 contact print ??

    After shooting, developing and scanning my first 8x10 negative with a great WOW!!

    The time had come to the real thing.. CONTACT PRINTING, and was I expecting massive details and pin sharp print?? YES!!!

    But no, the prints are great with respect to color (brown/black), tonality, general sharpness etc, but lack the distinct snap and "glow".. At least compared with my printed negative scan, so I know its in there... Where did I go wrong??

    - The papers I used are Ilford Multigrade IV RC (MGD44M) and Agfa Multicontrast Premium (MCP312RC),

    - The light source is a std dimmed down 25 w household bulb giving exposure around 10 sec.

    - The negative + paper in a real contact printing frame.

    I'm starting to ting that I need filters to set the contrast ??
    And would a 35mm enlarger (they are dirt cheap and very available :o ) with built in safelight and a filter pack do the job as light source for contact printing ?

    Best regards
    Morten :-)


    "Please ! Bring me into the company of those who seek the truth, and deliver me from those who have found it."

  2. #2
    Dave Wooten's Avatar
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    smooth

    sometimes grain gives the impression of enhanced sharpness...also enlargement brings out detail we would not normally see in real life....a contact print should show smooth tonalities and when compared to an enlarged print of same film, and be pretty much grainless. Are your whites white and your blacks black, and are you happy with the mid tones? A print with many good tones in the mid range (as in platinum etc) does not always have the "snap" or contrast, is not as graphic etc...........Just some thoughts...of course if the contact print is 'Muddy" or "Flat" that is another situation

    keep printing
    Dave

  3. #3
    Ole
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    Yes Morten, an enlarger is a great light source for contact prints. Especially with VC papers. But it's a lot more fun to do POP prints, Cyanotypes, van Dykes et cetera - you can sit in the sun and still be "working".
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  4. #4

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    I am guessing that you have a background doing enlargements? Much of that snap you see in an enlargement is the callier effect messing with the highlights. You wont get that in a contact print unless you push the highlights into the shoulder. You will need greater exposure(overall) and longer development.
    art is about managing compromise

  5. #5
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Yes, contrast control filters under the light source will help a good bit. As it is, you're printing willy-nilly at Grade 2 or 2.5, instead of taking advantage of the ability of your paper to run the gamut from Grade 0 (or even 00, with some brands) to Grade 5 (or 6). What you're not seeing probably just means you need to try a half grade or one grade "harder" print, so something like a Grade 3 filter.

    Also possible is that your scan was treated in some way (sharpening, unsharp masking, etc.) that covered a lack in the negative, but my experience has generally been that B&W negatives print better than they scan -- I spent a lot of time and effort learning to make scans that look like prints.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  6. #6
    jovo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Qualls
    Also possible is that your scan was treated in some way (sharpening, unsharp masking, etc.) that covered a lack in the negative, but my experience has generally been that B&W negatives print better than they scan
    My experience has been different. As soon as I start using levels or curves I have a vast degree of discrete control over highlights, midtones, and low values. Additionally, the transmitted light of the monitor brings out much more 'snap' than the print may have unless it's viewed in a particularly bright light. So...I have to work particularly hard to make my scans look like my prints, and I try to have a well illuminated print beside the monitor when making adjustments. As Donald also points out, various filters like unsharp mask can enhance sharpness that's harder to get in the print.

    As suggested above, learn to print addressing the special techniques of the contact process. However, scans and prints are such different things that you should try to avoid judging one against the unique properties of the other.
    John Voss

    My Blog

  7. #7
    morkolv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole
    ...... But it's a lot more fun to do POP prints, Cyanotypes, van Dykes et cetera - you can sit in the sun and still be "working".
    It's on the list of must-do this spring!!! But Your suggestions is very tempting.. I guess cold beers are mandatory??
    Morten :-)


    "Please ! Bring me into the company of those who seek the truth, and deliver me from those who have found it."

  8. #8
    Ole
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    Quote Originally Posted by morkolv
    I guess cold beers are mandatory??
    Only with very dense negatives - or when sunset is approaching. The exposure times tend to get longer and longer and longer...
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  9. #9
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    Morton, is this a film / developer combination you have used in the past for enlarging on the same type of paper? If it is, then it is most likely as others have said, a filter problem with the light source and paper. The contact paper I use is a graded paper, so filters aren't important in printing. You might get a small amount of grade 2 paper and try printing on it. This should rule out anything except the film's contrast. If it is still too flat and not the way you like it, a bit more development might work. tim

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by morkolv
    - The papers I used are Ilford Multigrade IV RC (MGD44M) and Agfa Multicontrast Premium (MCP312RC)
    Well, there is your problem! Why are you shooting 8x10 camera, and making prints on plastic RC paper?! Do you print on fiber paper?

    RC is good for possibly PROOFING your negatives, but even that...8x10 negatives deserve more. You cannot get a quality "fine print" on RC paper.

    If your going to all the work to shoot with an 8x10 camera, you cannot stop when you just get the negative! Your going to have to start printing on a better paper than RC! I suggest AZO, but any fiber paper would be better.

    That is like putting plastic rims on a Mercedes Benz! Its just not a good combo.

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