I just did my first sets of contact-prints last weekend, 4x5s on 5x7 paper, held down with just the betterscanning ANR glass from my scanner, I let the edges burn to a nice black.
So far just MGiv Pearl, cheap and cheerful in a box of 100, same as I use in 8x10s for enlargements (only the best ones make the grade to bother with the extra washing/flattening bother of FB Matt).
Firstly, wow, contact prints look so much better than the scans (they were some rather thin negs which don't scan well, APX100 shot at ei100 but then devved in Perceptol for ei50, oops. Grade 5 saved them and they look all dark and moody and cool).

So now I'm wondering whether I should start trying out other papers yet, there's a box of Warmtone that tempts me every time I go to my camera shop.

Speaking of contact-printing, I'm curious to know what everyone else does for edges?
In a way I like it that the edge of the negative shows on the contact print, but I wouldn't mind having a 'clean' black border. So I'm going to cut out an exact template of the image-area, and contact-dodge this to burn in the borders. But if I put it on the glass without moving the neg, it might take ages to burn through a dense border, and the glass might flare and burn the image too. If I lift the glass, the neg will move and I won't know where to dodge.
Would doing something like this work? Contact-print-image, dev, stop, dry, then contact-dodge the image with the rectangular-template under glass and then final dev, stop, fix?

Or does everyone just use a real holder and have white edges?

Quote Originally Posted by Tim Boehm View Post
I also use a K&M point light source which yields very sharp prints.
That was another question I've got, to focus or not? I've got a colour diffusion-enlarger (LPL6700), I was closing down to f/22 to get times to 10-30s (I prefer longer, more accurate with a metronome-timer). Is that (f/22 being closer to a point-source) going to lead to sharper prints than f/5.6? Should I break out the Condenser to get sharper still?