Quote Originally Posted by travelingman View Post
haha yeah sleeve on some photo paper and a piece of glass on it. It seriously doensn't need to be perfect or not in a sleeve because it's dirty. It can be out of focus and look like crap, it's just a reference point so you don't have to pull out a light table and loupe. Just flick the lights on see the picture you like or clarify which neg is better and then you go back to printing...
Unfortunately it's pretty common for shots at contact size to look in focus and/or sharp when they aren't. Only a loupe confirms if it's proper - and if the contacts weren't done direct to paper then everything has a general light softness to it. This is pretty much why I go through the trouble of glass on naked negs the first time. I expect and want the contact sheets to last a long time.

Aside from individual negatives, the contact sheets can be a chronicle of one's photographic approach, progress, and experiences. Sometimes it isn't even necessary to look at prints - you can look at contact sheet after contact sheet and feel a story or connected theme.