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  1. #1

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    Contacts vs. Enlargements

    Does printing via contact have a different tonal response curve with the same film/paper/developer than enlarging? I have great results with Fomapan 100 and Rodinal with roll film. However, when I contact print my 8x10's the dark shadows look really muddy. The overall contrast seem to be ok, but the local contrast in the dark areas are murky. I am afraid if I soup it longer I will just blow the highlights.

    Would rating the film at a lower speed solve this? The 100 speed I rate the film is perfect for the roll film. The sheet film version of Fomapan 100 (Arista EDU Ultra) behaves like a totally different film so far. I am thinking at EI100 most of the shadows are falling in the toe. Maybe rate it at EI50 or even EI25?

    I have over exposed this film by forgetting to stop down (by 5 stops) and pull N-1 and they scan much better. I have not tried to print these as the overall contrast seems to be too low. I think I will try tonight as I might be surprised by the result. Maybe I will have to print at a higher grade, but the local contrast might be more tame.

    Thanks,
    Chris Maness

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Foma films are extremely responsive to slight changes. It's important to do film speed/dev time tests to find the optimum combination for you and your working methods. Do that and they are excellent films.

    My experience is halve the box speed and cut the dev times compared to normal films as well by 65%-75% and I get negatives that print easily.

    Ian

  3. #3
    vpwphoto's Avatar
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    I dunno your set-up and printing frequency and experience. I WILL offer this WARNING... I was driving myself NUTS with contrast filters and all only to find that the paper I have on hand was older and the chemistry was older than I thought giving me muddy prints.
    I threw out the old paper and bought some new and mixed fresh stuff and all was well.
    It's hard going from once-a-week in the darkroom to a couple times a year.

  4. #4

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    Thanks Ian. The box time for Rodinal 1:25 says three minutes. That is WAY off for me. I am using R09 in trays and pulling sheets 1/minute (to reduce the chance of scratching). I get even development and decent DMAX at 8 minutes. I will try IE50.

    Thanks,
    Chris Maness

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by vpwphoto View Post
    I dunno your set-up and printing frequency and experience. I WILL offer this WARNING... I was driving myself NUTS with contrast filters and all only to find that the paper I have on hand was older and the chemistry was older than I thought giving me muddy prints.
    I threw out the old paper and bought some new and mixed fresh stuff and all was well.
    It's hard going from once-a-week in the darkroom to a couple times a year.
    Fresh chemistry and fresh paper. I am just going to have to play with my 5x7" or 4x5" sheets until I get it dialed in better.

    My original question: If I have good contact printing negs, will they enlarge just as well as contact printing, or should I have in mind what I want to do with the negs first?

    Thanks,
    Chris Maness

    Chris

  6. #6
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I too have found that Foma 100 is best used at EI 50, and using Rodinal you may wish to start using 1+50 dilution to make sure you get sufficiently long developing times. That would actually help your shadow detail as well, whether they are contact printed or projected.

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  7. #7
    vpwphoto's Avatar
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    Mine was similar situation... Nice contact prints of 120 negs that I could not make a good print of later.
    I find from my experience good negatives print well either way.
    Never went down the AZO path... but old day contact printers swear by it... and the prints in museums sure speak for it.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    I too have found that Foma 100 is best used at EI 50, and using Rodinal you may wish to start using 1+50 dilution to make sure you get sufficiently long developing times. That would actually help your shadow detail as well, whether they are contact printed or projected.

    - Thomas
    Thanks, Thom I have a daylight tank for 4x5" so 13' @ 1:50 is no big deal (I invert VERY gently with Rodinal). However, that is REALLY long for tray processing. I guess I will have to get some music going or I am going to be board in the dark :o)

    Thanks,
    Chris

  9. #9

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    hi chris

    how dense are your 4x5 sheets and other films ?
    i have found that when i contact print my sheet film ( even roll film exposures cut and contact printed )
    the density of the film really makes a difference in the final print.
    if the film is too thin, the optimal exposure will be short, you will need to boost contrast with
    filters, or different strength developers and water baths to bathe the print in ...
    and it really makes a more difficult task, not that it can't be done ...

    les mclean has a great article on split grade ( filter ) printing, and i use it often when printing film on the
    thin side ( thin meaning not as bullet proof as my contact printing film )
    http://www.lesmcleanphotography.com/...ull&article=21

    using a hard filter and a soft filter really makes muddy tones rich and crisp ..
    it takes a little bit of practice but in the end the prints speak for themselves

    good luck !
    john
    if my apug gallery looks empty you might check these places

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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by vpwphoto View Post
    Mine was similar situation... Nice contact prints of 120 negs that I could not make a good print of later.
    I find from my experience good negatives print well either way.
    Never went down the AZO path... but old day contact printers swear by it... and the prints in museums sure speak for it.
    vpwphoto,
    do you have one of those contact printers with the series of light bulbs so you can
    burn and dodge, or do you mean a contact printer / contact printing frame ?
    i have always wanted one of those multi bulb printers but unfortunately
    my printing space is cluttered and filled with other "stuff"
    i'm sure using a contact printer with paper negatives would work well too (wishful thinking)
    ... at this point, my only contact printer is 2 sheets of thick glass
    and a light bulb it works but it isn't very sophisticated !

    - john
    if my apug gallery looks empty you might check these places

    website
    blog
    sell-site

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