Switch to English Language Passer en langue française Omschakelen naar Nederlandse Taal Wechseln Sie zu deutschen Sprache Passa alla lingua italiana
Members: 71,492   Posts: 1,571,363   Online: 956
      
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Shooter
    35mm RF
    Posts
    17

    Beginner Contact Printing Questions

    Hello Folks

    I need some advice or some answers for some small doubts I have for contact printing (small camera format, 135). I did try to search, didn't get the results I want.

    1) Is it acceptable to lay around exposed papers around the darkroom for an hour or so before processing them? What if they're in a lightproof drawer?

    2) Can I fit 6 frames / 7 strips onto a 9.5x12 paper? Are the 9.5x12 papers readily available as their counterparts (8x10, 11x14)?

    3) Is it okay for you to split the contact prints into 2 papers if there is not enough room? (I can't fit 6 frames / 7 strips onto my 8x10 unless I crop the sides)

    4) Contact printing over plastic (Printfile) sleeves, generally okay? I can't really seem to tell (Schneider 4x loupe). Maybe I am blind, there isn't any difference, or I am just plain lucky.

    5) I need some help on a rapid processing procedure for my contact prints (I've got loads of films that needs to be proofed).

    6) Slightly out of topic: I've read somewhere that I shouldn't store my negatives by stacking (one over the other) in sleeves and I should somehow leave some space 'aerate' them. Any ideas how?

    7) Finally, any other useful online resource/guide specifically for small camera format contact printing to recommend... other than this forum of course

    Thanks
    Yoricko

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    1,656
    Images
    5
    Good Evening, Yoricko,

    1--Exposed paper doesn't need to be processed immediately; even a delay of several days or weeks will have little or no deleterious effect. Exposed paper must, however, be stored in light-tight conditions.
    2--I assume you're referring to 36 exposure 35mm film. The question I have is in regard to "6 frames/7strips." That would total 42 frames, more than in a standard 36 exposure casette. I don't know about 9.5 x 12 inch paper, but I contact on 8.5 x 11 Ilford MGIV RC paper. That works fine for a full casette of 35mm as well as for 6x6 and even, with a little manipulation and cheating, for 6x7. Paper size availability may depend somewhat on where you're located. Here in the US, the 8.5 x 11 paper won't be found in most photo stores, but is available by mail order.
    3--Your contact sheets are yours to arrange any way you please.
    4--I much prefer to place the negatives directly on the paper, but many darkroom workers contact print with the negatives in plastic sleeves. Your choice. In either case, use a heavy piece of glass to hold everything tight. A one-fourth inch thick, somewhat oversized piece of glass works well.
    5--Contact printing is a tedious, time-consuming process. Unless you have access to professional lab-type processing equipment, resign yourself to spending plenty of time. If you find a magic solution to reduce the time and effort significantly, please let me know.
    6--Various people have different methods; storing contact sheets and negatives in 3-ring binders stored vertically seems to cause no problems.
    7--There's probably as much information here via the Search feature as you'll ever need. Otherwise, any basic darkroom book should offer useful hints.

    Enjoy your work!

    Konical

  3. #3
    hpulley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Guelph, Ontario, Canada
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    2,214
    Images
    75
    Step back and ask yourself: Do you really need to contact print everything? I find after a while the negatives make sense to me and I am getting a better idea of how they'll look when enlarged so I can decide which to bother enlarging and which to think about for a moment about what I could do next time to make that shot printable rather than discardable. I put negatives in the enlarger with the easel and a focus sheet to check for sharpness, I focus using the focus aid and then look at the whole picture for sharpness to again, decide if I should bother to print it or not.
    Harry Pulley - Visit the BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE FORUM

    Happiness is...

  4. #4
    David William White's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Hamilton, Canada
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    1,182
    Blog Entries
    1
    Images
    32
    On point 5:

    Contacts should be done in a standard fashion, so you can judge & correct any exposure or development problems going forward. This also makes it fast!

    A generally accepted method is to proof for maximum black through the film rebate at grade 2 on your printing paper. There are solid reasons for this; ask if it's not obvious. So you figure the height, aperture, and time just once for every film you are using, via test strips, then you are set. For example, to make contacts from Tri-X film, my enlarger head sits at 25", my 80mm lens is opened to f/8, and the time is 10 seconds at grade 2.

    Every roll of Tri-X gets cut, laid on Ilford MG RC, covered by sheet of glass, an given 10 seconds. Any frame that is too dark is underexposed and every frame that is too light is overexposed, and if contrast is lacking on the entire sheet, then development was a bit short. If I notice that every frame is underexposed, then I may have a shutter or meter problem. Having a good standard proof sheet is valuable when it comes time to actually print, as you can imagine.

    So standardizing your proofing means that there is only one print to make your contact sheet AND you can see how you are doing on exposure & development.

    More than a tool of organization, the contact sheet improves your negatives over time. Unfortunately, this means that you can't put off doing them. They sort of have to be done as you go along, but I think you can see that the side benefit of this methodology is it takes the 'do overs' out of the way.

    This regime is described rather nicely in Steve Anchell's 'The Darkroom Cookbook' as well as other places.
    Considerably AWOL at the present time...

    Archive/Blog: http://davidwilliamwhite.blogspot.com

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Shooter
    35mm RF
    Posts
    17
    Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and doubts all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Konical View Post
    Good Evening, Yoricko,

    2--I assume you're referring to 36 exposure 35mm film. The question I have is in regard to "6 frames/7strips."
    5--Contact printing is a tedious, time-consuming process. Unless you have access to professional lab-type processing equipment, resign yourself to spending plenty of time. If you find a magic solution to reduce the time and effort significantly, please let me know.

    Enjoy your work!

    Konical
    -

    Quote Originally Posted by hpulley View Post
    Step back and ask yourself: Do you really need to contact print everything? I find after a while the negatives make sense to me and I am getting a better idea of how they'll look when enlarged so I can decide which to bother enlarging and which to think about for a moment about what I could do next time to make that shot printable rather than discardable. I put negatives in the enlarger with the easel and a focus sheet to check for sharpness, I focus using the focus aid and then look at the whole picture for sharpness to again, decide if I should bother to print it or not.
    -

    Quote Originally Posted by David William White View Post
    On point 5:
    -----

    2) I bulk load the films myself and I prefer long rolls because I shoot... a lot. Usuually each roll will have 40 frames on average, once in a while I get 42

    5) Guess I need to find some magic genie lamp somewhere in the darkroom.

    -----

    Well, it seems like I'm not at that level yet.

    -----

    But I was told by a instructor to make test strips for everything. Did she really meant, everything, all the time, forever? Or only while I'm still a newbie?

    Won't different batches of film, paper, developer, and chemicals slightly alter the results every single time? Or are the differences negligible?

    Ah that book, I should get it soon. ACtually, I do have the 3rd book from the Ansel Adams series lying around in my bookshelf, waiting to be read.

    Thanks again

  6. #6
    Jerevan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Sweden
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    1,867
    Images
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by David William White View Post
    More than a tool of organization, the contact sheet improves your negatives over time. Unfortunately, this means that you can't put off doing them.
    When you have a standard procedure for making contact sheets, I can tell you from my own experience over the last year, that you'll quite easily see if the developing or the camera metering technique is not good. Many times I am able to see where things are going wrong, hopefully avoiding future mistakes.

    But all this depends for me, on the fact that I use a film I know (HP5+) and I am using one developer (Xtol 1+1). And my camera works correctly.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    1,656
    Images
    5
    Good Morning, Yoricko


    Double ditto to what David William White says about precision and consistency in making contact sheets.

    Re extra frames for 35mm: Over time, I think you'll find that it isn't worth the bother. Processing reels generally won't accept more than a couple of extra frames, and, as you note in the original question, the "extras" are just a nuisance when doing the contact sheets. 35 frames (seven strips of 5) will easily fit on 8 x 10 paper.

    Konical

  8. #8

    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Valley Stream, NY
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    3,216
    Quote Originally Posted by hpulley View Post
    Step back and ask yourself: Do you really need to contact print everything?

    I think so. It helps to find the negative you want when it comes time to print it. When you have as many negatives as I do (literally thousands), contact sheets and a database help immensely.
    Frank Schifano

  9. #9
    Jerevan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Sweden
    Shooter
    35mm
    Posts
    1,867
    Images
    9
    For the longest time, I tried that "look at the negative and you'll see it all how it's gonna look in technicolor" stuff. Eventually, not getting anywhere near the famed technicolor, I buckled down to making the dreaded contacts. And nothing really looked as I had thought it did. For better and sometimes for worse.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  10. #10
    Monophoto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    1,691
    Images
    44
    Your question deals with the specific subject of proof sheets - 'contact printing' is actually a much broader topic.

    The purpose for a proof sheet is to have a quick reference that shows what is on a set of negatives. It doesn't have to be rocket science, but it should be a standard process so that in addition to being able to get a quick idea of the content and framing in each negative, the contact can give you a rough (VERY rough) starting point on your printing exposure.

    1. There is nothing wrong with exposing a batch of sheets, setting them aside, and then processing them together in a single batch. Latent prints won't change much over the course of a couple of hours.

    2. For the past 30 years, I've bulk-loaded 35mm film so that I can have 35 exposure rolls as standard. 7 strips of 5 negatives = 35 negatives and fill an 8x10 sheet of paper. I've never used (or even seen) 9.5X12 paper, so I would be reluctant to establish what I expect to be a standardized process on a product with limited availability. But yes, I would think that you could get 7 strips of 6 frames (or 8 strips of 5 frames) on 9.5x12 paper, assuming you can find 9.5x12 paper.

    3. You can do anything you want - there are no 'darkroom police' to limit your options. The only thing that matters is what works for you.

    4. I've always used PrintFile sleeves. Again, the purpose is to make a quick reference print - no one expects it to be technically perfect. I will say that when I am contact printing 4x5 negatives (not proof sheets - true contact prints for display) on commercially-available silver-based paper, I don't put anything between the negative and the paper. In that instance, I want ultimate quality. On the other hand, when I am making Pt/Pd contact prints using paper that I have to sensitize myself, I always put a thin sheet of acetate between the negative and the paper to prevent any residual moisture in the recently-sensitized paper from migrating into the negative.

    5. I always use RC paper for proof sheets specifically because it can be processed more rapidly.

    6. I've never heard that, and I've always stored my negatives in PrintFile sleeves in archival boxes. Frankly, that keeps them flat. Never roll your negatives because over time, they will conform to that roll and you won't be able to flatten them for printing.

    7. Standardize everything! There is a mark on the column of my enlarger that shows the height of the head to make a contact proof sheet from negatives on 8X10 paper, and there is another mark on my enlarger timer to show the exposure time at f8 with my standard 50mm enlarging lens. All I have to do is put the head in the appropriate position, adjust the focus so that the light spread covers my home-made contact print (a sheet of plywood with felt glued to the top surface and with a sheet of glass fastened to one edge with duct tape to form a hinge). Development time on RC paper is one minute at room temperature.

    "But I was told by a instructor to make test strips for everything. Did she really meant, everything, all the time, forever? Or only while I'm still a newbie?"

    Test strips are NOT the same thing as proof sheets. A test strip is a way of assessing the contrast range in a negative in order to select the appropriate paper contrast filter. You should first determine the minimum exposure time required to achieve maximum black from an exposed film rebate, and using that exposure time, make a test strip that includes both the brightest highlight and darkest shadow where you want the final print to show detail. Select a contrast filter that will give you detail in both of these areas. Then, make another test strip, but this time use a card to adjust the exposure time on the strip over and above that 'maximum black' exposure time. The steps in the variation should be significant - say 25% of the maximum black time. Use that test strip to target an initial exposure time for the negative. Then, you can make your first work-print.
    Last edited by Monophoto; 11-25-2010 at 09:20 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Louie

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast


 

APUG PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Contact Us  |  Support Us!  |  Advertise  |  Site Terms  |  Archive  —   Search  |  Mobile Device Access  |  RSS  |  Facebook  |  Linkedin