Hello all,

I started shooting film last summer, first 35mm, quickly decided I needed/wanted 120. Got a Mamiya RB67 and C330. Love those big negatives and of course I got into developing it myself right off the bat. Start to get good results with all that and even doing well with scanning on a Epson V700.

Enjoying those nice 6x7 negs so much has made me think how awsome large format must be. So that is where I am heading now....but rather slowly since I lost my job after 11 years back in January. Before I get there I am intend to get a dark room going (I have the space set aside in my house) and start to print enlargments and such. Once again...a slow process these days.

For now I figure it would be good to start doing some contact printing since I have absolutely no experence with tray developing or with printing papers of any kind.

Thinking about it the only real thing I am lacking (equipment wise, supplies is a different matter) is a suitable, highly controlable, and very repeatable light source. Of course no money to buy such a thing.

So I got to thinking....I have two canon 580EX flashes and softboxes with baffles (can add more diffusion as needed). The 580EX is adjustable to 1/3rd of a stop down to 1/128 power. Of course I can do other things, such as change distance and add density gels to contol exposure to 1/10th of a stop. That is as close as my Sekonic 558r meter can get.

Seems to me I should be able to set the softbox over the table top and use the meter to get desired exposure and check for eveness of light over the area being printed. Place the neg and print paper under the softbox, expose,and develop.

It seemed so simple that I was afraid it must not be or I would see more folks who were doing the same.

Then I figured that one issue may be with the softbox its self. I thought it may make the print soft as you would normally use a harder direct light and not this soft light that more or less shallows every thing

Anyway, I KNOW its not the "right" way and it is not how I plan to do this in the long run. But I thought that if it worked well, I could use it even to start contact printing LF until I can get an enlarger and proper light source with timer.

Anyone have any input?

Thanks to all