Best Paper For Negatives?
I'm trying to find some single-weight rc (8x10). Is there such an animal?
Last edited by vrpd91; 12-13-2008 at 07:38 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I don't know, butin my experience, the thinner the paper, the more you'll get the fibers in the paper shown, and hence a more "unsharp" result..
I always use normal RC paper (if you use multigrade, you can put a soft filter on the back of the lens and then get negatives with nice soft tones...
Single weight RC, I've never seen any.
For pinhole cameras that are going to be using paper as the negatives, I typically use either Arista Edu.Ultra (made by Foma) VC or grade 2. In both cases, a good baseline for the ISO is about 8. Pre-flashing the paper gives is a bit of a boost. And I've fiddled a bit with using some old contrast printing filters, #0 and #00 with the VC papaer but I wasn't taking good notes, just screwing around. However I've found that just about any RC VC paper works but some tend to have higher contrast than others.
Joe VanCleave posts here and over at www.f295.org and he might know of a single weight RC paper.
Are you planning to use the paper in an enlarger or simply contact print? RC paper does work in an enlarger but I found the printing times to be a bit on the long side.
One final note, fiber papers are also great for negatives because you can use a pencil on the back side to do a little dodging, you can get single weights (but brandname escapes me at the moment) and you can wax or oil them to help increase the transparency. RC paper doesn't respond to waxing or oiling. I've read of people soaking RC long enough to start peeling away layers on the back but I've never found it necessary.
Slavich was making some single weight...check out Freestyle.
Edit -- never mind....missed the RC
Last edited by Mark Fisher; 12-13-2008 at 11:03 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Foma used to make single-weight RC, but not any more.
I made extensive enquiries about a year ago and the only single-weight paper of any type I could find is Slavich Unibrom FB. Only place I found selling it is Freestyle.
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I have not used the single weight papers for negatives; I don't see the need to, at least with printing onto silver gelatin paper. Perhaps if you're trying to do alternative process, you're better off trying APHS graphic arts film. Earl Johnson, over on F295.com, has some remarkable results with using APHS and a home-mixed developer that yields continuous tone negatives of normal contrast.
With the standard Arista grade 2 paper negatives that I use (for printing onto silver gelatin paper), contact prints don't show any paper texture, and they're translucent enough to contact print through. Keep in mind that the contact printing process is emulsion-to-emulsion, so the paper backing of the negative acts as a diffusion light source; perhaps it softens the local contrast a bit as compared to sheet film.
As I find myself using my condenser enlarger as a light source for contact printing, I seem to get adequate sharpness in image transfer from the negative to the print. And I've used this same setup for paper negatives from glass-lensed cameras, with good results; plenty of sharpness, so I don't think I'm losing much in the printing stage, other than a bit of local contrast from the diffusion effect of the backing paper.
I do wonder if using a condenser light source helps keep the image transfer a bit sharper than merely using a bare light bulb, since the rays are collimated from the condenser and hence more parallel, they may perhaps diffuse less through the paper negative's backing? Just a thought.
Has anyone been successful in getting the emulsion off the rc paper like you used to be able to do with release film? I know some people were able to get the emulsion to float off kodachrome. Don't know how, but I seem to remember something about hot water.
Not RC, but if you leave Kentmere's Kentona FB paper in hot water for extended periods the emulsion will sometimes come off the paper.
Originally Posted by bowzart
Joe...I think Im going to be pestering you in the future re paper negs...I'm on my last few boxes of Type 55 and have been thinking of diving into paper negs...primarily for the look I'm after but also because of the process involved...I am long done with processing 4x5 sheet film. I have seen fabulous work from both lensed and pinhole 4x5 papernegs...some scanned and output on fine art WC paper with carbon pigment inks and also traditional silver prints printed from paper negs. I am really excited about getting in to this. I work almost exclusively with pinhole for my personal work so i guess were looking at some serious exposure times with a paper neg.
Hope your still hangin around when I'm stumped...thanks for all your info so far...
Fire away, I'm welcome for a continual dialog on paper negatives. I've currently been involved with a project to recreate (somewhat) the type of street portrait photography still being done in 2nd and 3rd world countries, using paper negatives and processing on location using a portable processing box, then making a copy print on site as well. I have a lengthy thread documenting this project on F295, here. I find this to be an interesting off-shoot of the paper negative.
There are some aspects I haven't worked with, such as fiber based papers, where you can use charcoal pencil or other markings on the reverse side of the negative to make permanent selective dodging for the finished contact print. I've chosen to use RC for negatives, to reduce rinse time and ensure negative flatness, which helps in registry while setting up for the contact print.
I also have not tried delaminating the emulsion from paper; I don't see the need for this, as a properly exposed and processed paper negative yields a nice contact print. Delaminating only risks destroying the negative. I have the same opinion about oiling or waxing the reverse side of the paper negative, in an attempt to make it more translucent, as some have mentioned.
I do have some paper negatives, Ilford MG RC III from the mid-1990s, where there's a discoloration, internal to the paper, that can only be seen when the negative is backlit. So these negatives scan fine, but when contact printing this discoloration, which is on the edges and fades into the body of the paper, makes the resulting print unusable. I don't know if this was processing error on my part (inadequate rinse aid or rinsing), or if it was a problem with this batch of paper. This problem with these old paper negatives only started showing up several years ago. They've been stored in protective sleeves in notebook binders at room temperature, so I doubt if it's a problem with the storage conditions.
Nonetheless, I continue to enjoy using paper negatives, and hope to see some of your images.