I'm curious why people prefer printing onto larger size paper and masking off over the simple and clean method of trimming and dry mounting? You can drymount on whatever size board you like, and the archival benefits alone are enough to recommend it. I for instance mount my 5x7 contacts onto 13x15 board, with an appropriate overmat, and it really sets them off well.
I don't yet have the Chamonix 5x8 camera. I've masked my 8x10 ground glass for 5x8 and use that area for composition, and shoot it on 8x10 film. After development I trim the 8x10 neg down to slightly larger than 5x8.
Yes, it wastes some of the 8x10 neg; and I have to setup an 8x10. Just thought I'd mention the 5x8 format.
Another vote for 5x7 as a wonderful contact printing size. It also makes for a reasonably compact traveling camera. I took mine to Argentina with me and came back with some great stuff. You can also double and triple up to make diptychs and panoramics. Since I started shooting larger format negatives, I've gone over almost exclusively to platinum/palladium printing. Once you get your method down, doing pt/pd is not really that much more expensive, since you don't burn/dodge with it. Usually the first print is a good working print, and often is also the final print.
I agree about the 5x7 format. My Kodak No. 2 is becoming one of my favorite cameras to have on a trip alongside my 35s. I also agree with the fellow who stated that he likes the aspect ratio.
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Do you mask off the paper when you do this to keep everything outside the image area white? If so do you also mask the edges of the negative so the black line doesn't show?
i sometimes just have the paper go black and to get
the clean thin edge/line of the negative. i have also made
a "window" to print through to get a white edge and a black edge ...
i don't trim and drymount, ever ...
i cut a window and overmat and use those tiny archival clean negative
corners to hold the print down underneath.
i never print full bleed or almost no "buffer" around the print's edge and the edge
of the paper. even if i have the mat crop into the print a tiny bit, the last thing
i ever want is to have too little of an edge, and the corners i use to hold the print down
become visible in the window.
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I shoot 5x7" with a Press Graflex SLR, so my 5x7's tend to be more spontaneous than 8x10" and larger, and 5x7's look great with an 11x14" mat. I print to size, either on Azo/Lodima or albumen and mat over the film rebate.
Thank you all for the input is has been very enlightening. I am very encouraged and must say I have always like the tactile quality of a contact print.
I really can't justify another camera(8x10) to my wife. I have two Rollei TLR's, a nikon F3HP, a Linhof Tech III, and a cambo 4x5 monorail. Also I seem to have more difficulty composing in a more square format i.e. 4x5/8x10 just my lack of skill probably. Funny don't have the same trouble with 6x6? Most of my 4x5's end up enlarged but cropped to a more rectangular format like 6x9.
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Drymounting is NOT considered archival, because it permanently affixes the print to the backing board, and is not easily reversible. If something happens to the mounting board (damage, acidity, etc), it is an involved process to separate them which puts the print at risk.