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Thread: Paper negs

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    Blighty's Avatar
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    Paper negs

    For some time, I,ve idly toyed with the idea of making pinhole images. I did use one a long time ago, but then we used RC paper rather than film and then just contact printed the results (which were quite good). My question is: what does the forum think of paper (as opposed to film) for a recording medium? My question is mainly borne out of cost considerations; a 100 sheets of 10"x8" RC paper being considerably cheaper than its film equivalent. Many thanks, BLIGHTY

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    127
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    I've used paper negs in a pinhole, and in a home-build project.

    The results are pretty good, and as you can load and dev under safelight, are much easier to handle than film - particulary if you're tapping the neg to the back of a cerial carton. I'd suguest giving it a go, and move to film when you feel you need to.

    Grade 1 paper can produce better results than VC, as it controls the contrast better, without depending on the colour of the thing being shot.

    In my home-build I estimated the speed as being about 10, but with pinhole thats pretty irrelivant - I just set up the darkroom, then went outside, took a shot, dev'ed it, and then took the next shot based upon that experience.

    Ian

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    I have regularly used paper negatives. Works great for a temporary image, what do you think polaroid was using, a paper neg. Two suggestions, one is to use any glossy rather than satin or matte finish. Two is to try to use paper without embossing on the back. Usually it won't show through but, some of the stronger embossings might.

    By the way this works acceptably for color as well.

    Both might need a flash to create a base fog, BUT test first, sometimes just the thickness of the paper is enough when printing back.
    These paper negs will even enlarge up to about 200% with any problem on a strong light deck.

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    *without any problem when using a strong light deck

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    gma
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    There have been some previous threads that suggest that most enlarging paper has a speed of about 6 when used outdoors as a negative "film". Good starting point at least. The obvious advantage is that you can load in the darkroom using your regular safelight.

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    hi bilghty

    i have been shooting lf paper negatives for quite some time now. i shoot 4x5, 8x10 & 5x7 paper. iso 6 is a good place to start, but depending on the type of light and the kind of day it is, you might be right on, or way off with your light meter reading. if you have a blue filter, make your reading through that, and you will get more conistant metering results.

    i don't usually use rc for my negative, mainly since i want to make an archival print, i want to make an archival negative as well. i have used double weight paper as well as single weight, i like to work with single weight the best - its easier to handle in the developer and easier to print. don't forget to trim the edges a little bit, film isn't really 8x10 &C but about 1/32" less. one thing you can do is wax the paper to make it translucent, as jdef suggested. you can use parafin or beeswax - it does the same thing that a brown-bag does with fried food ... if you want to retouch portraits or lighten shadow areas, or even remove phone/electrical lines "the olde fashion way" you can do it with pencil on the back of your negative. it takes a little bit of practice and is not as critical as retouching on film. paper is forgiving and will block some of your pencil strokes. if you have ever retouched film with leads, you probably know how difficult it is to get the right "stroke" that blends and doesn't enlarge.

    the way i have been processing my paper negatives is kind of out-there. rather than just doing a paper developer with the correct dilutions for making prints, i adopted a technique using dilute partially exhausted developer to give a little more control and a water bath so when the tones start coming out, you can put the image in the water to slow down development & back in again to speed things up. i use ansco 130, but i am sure any paper developer will work fine -
    if you make a negative that is nice and contrasty, and looks exactly like you want the positive print to look, it will be washed out when you make your contact print. the ideal paper negative is neither thin or contrasty, but just in between

    good luck!

    - john
    Last edited by jnanian; 10-21-2004 at 02:48 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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    Thanks one-and-all, I might just go ahead, live dangerously and build a pinhole now! Just for curiosity, is there a practical limit to the size of paper one can use? Many thanks, BLIGHTY.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blighty
    Just for curiosity, is there a practical limit to the size of paper one can use? Many thanks, BLIGHTY.
    if you have wallpaper troughs or a large sink & sponges ...
    your imagination is the limit!

    have fun

    - john

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    I agree with John, what looks like a nice inverse print doesn't make a good neg. You need to contact print them to see and learn what happens. It's surprising what detail comes out! I've always used RC VC paper and I put a grade 0 (or 00) multigrade filter over the pinhole (actually in the box) and it reduces contrast a little. Slows the exposure down too. Pinholes are great fun.

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    Nige is right, one way to resolve this gain in contrast is to pre or post flash the paper to lay down a base fog similar to film. Also one can flash in developer so long and the tank is still and the media completely immersed. This helps preserve the (Help, do I refer to them "darks of the neg" or "print highlights") anyway, the partial development of the negative darks before flashing acts as an intelligent mask while flashing. Areas already darkening will resist further flashing, but the white areas do not resist the flash and it is self balancing this way through the midtones.

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