schmutz on a lens won't be in focus because the image is not in focus at that the lens point only at the contact of the paper and film. Clean working conditions from loading the film in the holder to drying the film and then contact printing the neg need to be worked out. I generally wash the glass on both sides with soap and water and then dry it. I use a pretty heavy piece of glass I got somewhere several years ago and I use a piece of foam rubber under the paper film and glass.
Making quality 8x10 contacts is not hard to do but you will have several process problems to work out. Dust is just one of them.
here is a sample of some of my contact prints http://photographs-johng.com/ROG2/index_2.htm mine are on the top row. click on the image to enlarge. These are for a cancer charity.
Last edited by lee; 10-23-2007 at 07:07 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: adding info
I was re-reading "The Print" today and Ansel's description of contact printing is brief. In fact I suspect there are many on this forum that could write a much better chapter. He has a picture of a similar setup in the book (ie thick glass over foam rubber). A big obstacle for me is the thought of the negative touching the rubber when doing little test strips. I use strips and Ansel seems to indicate he uses whole sheets which is probably the safest thing to do (in terms of getting anything on the negative). I know there are many types of foam rubber from browsing the McMaster Carr catalogue and I suspect some of them can leave a residue (on the negative, when doing skinny test strips that is...I'm not overly concerned about the back of the paper touching the rubber).
Originally Posted by lee
Ansel also indicates that he dusts the negative then places it with the paper under the glass. I just don't see how this is possible. I need a high intensity white light shining on the negative to see the dust. He doesn't explain.
Also, what do you do once the you take the paper out? Do you pull the paper out and let the negative touch the foam? Do you have something over the foam? If so what is it and how do you clean it? Or do you put the negative back in it's plastic sleeve or wherever inbetween exposures?
How or where do you store the glass? Do you wear the white gloves when assembling the sandwich under the safelight?
I think these details are important. I mean, this isn't some 6th grade photography course, these prints will represent the culmination of my 30 years of darkroom work.
Someone mentioned Newton's rings and I think most of the good solutions have been covered on prior posts, but I'm shure I will be there at some point. Personally, I cannot imagine projection printing without 'anti-Newton ring' glass on the flim base side. I guess this brings one hesitation toward the $125 B&S frame. Which is the possible need to replace the glass in it with some anti newton or anti-glare glass. And then there is the concern that the texture in that glass will show up with direct enlarger light (I'm sure someone out there has checked this)
It would be nice to have a good write up on contact printing for the expert that covers all the little details. For example I know that when I projection print there are a hundred little details extending through negative deveopment time, format, framing, borders, neg-carrier issues, lightbox issues, lens focal length, lens aperture, alignment, column steadyness, foot pedal vs button, counter steadyness, bla bla bla.
Ansel's description is brief, because it's not a complicated process, and doesn't require much more than a general knowledge of the principles of photography and a little common sense.
If you want to contact print onto a strip and don't want the neg to touch the foam (if you are using foam--I use a split-back print frame), then put a sheet of paper (any kind of paper) under the photographic paper for the purpose of the test strip.
I do wear white cotton gloves when setting up a contact print, since the neg, paper, and glass can all get fingerprints. Between exposures I just lay the top of the frame face down with the neg emulsion side up, and the back next to it. Re-sleeving between exposures would be excessive handling.
Test with your film before investing in A-N glass. Some sheet films have a retouching surface on the base, which is less likely to contribute to Newton's rings.
Newton's rings are an interference pattern caused by light reflecting between the film and the glass. Some A-N glass is textured, but some has an anti-reflective coating rather than a texture, which is more expensive. Yes, you can obtain A-N glass for any contact printing frame. There are various sources.
Oh man, please forgive me in advance if I'm wrong but kinda I think someone is pulling everybody's leg here. I ain't got no 30 years of darkroom work to culminate about but I did figure out how to dust a negative. I think we're all getting laughed at here.
Uh oh, I just thought...did you dust your negative holders all them years?
"If I only had a brain"-Some badly dressed guy made of straw in some movie I think I saw
Mateo may be right about this.
I have never worried about the neg touching the foam. I have never seen a problem with it. I dont wear white gloves either. I do wash my hands a lot.
Am I correct in assuming that in your 30 years of darkroom work you have never made a contact print?
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i never knew making a contact print / contact sheet
could be so difficult or confusing that it would take 4 pages
i thought it was just:
negative under glass, on top of paper
.. turn light on - any light
.. expose paper
maybe i am missing something ?
If dust is the problem learn how to spot your prints properly. I have never produced a contact silver gelatin print that did not require some spotting. This is a basic and necessary part of the hand made printing process.
I would also recommend against the cotton gloves as these have quite a bit of lint and collect dust particles that can drop onto your glass. If you use them make sure when you’re done to keep them sealed up and not simply laying around. I simply use a 10x12 sheet of glass for 8x10 contacts and don’t worry about fingerprints on the outer edges as this area is never used. I replace my glass if it has defects on it. I always make sure to clean the oils off my hands before handling negatives.
Keep your work area clean. I work in an old dusty house built in 1940. My darkroom is kept as clean as possible but there is no way I can keep all the dust off a contact print. Dust is part of printing, learn to deal with it.
Not on the LENS, on the negative carrier (if it had glass and was left in place) or on the bottom side of the condenser glass. And possibly on the contrast filter, depending on where you put it. I could put it above or below the condenser glass and I choose above to make sure it is too far away to matter.
Originally Posted by lee
Sorry, but this post is split, with the 'camera' part over in the LF website. The holders are only a few days old and are very clean. They have only gone through one round of films since I got them and I have not had a problem with dust. (http://www.largeformatphotography.in...7&postcount=88)
Originally Posted by Mateo
Maybe I am missing something here but to use a piece of glass (rather than a frame) would require dusting the negative under safelight conditions right?
Yes, light color influeces contranst of VC materials.
Originally Posted by jnanian