Contact printing


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sweat100

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I have been trying to do contact printing without an enlarger. I have a problem with my light source. My light source is those LED torch light. After I shine 3s and put it into the developer for 15s, the contrast is very high, like photocopied paper like that. Then i tried shining for 2s, then develop for 15s, the colours are some sort muddled. How should I control the printing? Should i keep the light intensity constant and vary the developing time? Or should i vary the light intensity and keep developing time constant? Are there any differences? If so, what are they?
 

student

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sweat100 said:
I have been trying to do contact printing without an enlarger. I have a problem with my light source. My light source is those LED torch light. After I shine 3s and put it into the developer for 15s, the contrast is very high, like photocopied paper like that. Then i tried shining for 2s, then develop for 15s, the colours are some sort muddled. How should I control the printing? Should i keep the light intensity constant and vary the developing time? Or should i vary the light intensity and keep developing time constant? Are there any differences? If so, what are they?

I am assuming you are talking B&W. What colors are you talking about?

And further assuming that you are using a RC paper. The development of any print should be carried on to its proper time. In this case, at least a minute or thereabout. Developing for 15 seconds will give uneven development.

The contrast of a print is dependent on the type of light if you are using a variable contrast paper (or multi-contrast paper). Or dependent on the grade of the paper if you are using graded paper. Frankly I have absolutely no idea what effects a LED light will do.

My suggestion is to get some graded paper (at grade 2) and use this as your contact proofs. And develop them for the full minute.
 

sabahan

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This may also be the time you develope your Neg for too long or temp too high.
 

sweat100

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Sorry for giving unclear information. I am developing B&W contact prints. I am using a those cool white LED torch lights. And i am using the agfa multicontrst papers. It should be RC paper because it is glossy and dries pretty fast. I am using the Ilford multigrade developer. The instructions on the developer said that development is 1 min and also said the range is 3/4 to 3. Does it mean that the developing times can go from 3/4 of a min to 3 min?

What is the default grade of a multigrade paper if i use normal lights without filters? Grade 2? Would it be better if I had used those tungsten light bulbs torch lights? Can it simulate the same light as those used in enlargers?

So actually it is the exposure time that the varying factor while the developing time is the constant to achieve consistent results? I once tried putting the paper into the develop for 30s, and the paper come out totally dark already. So i guess my exposure is too long?

Are there any graphs i can refer to for developing other than 20 degress? My developer always goes to room temp to ard 24-26 degrees. How do i compensate the devloping times?
 

hondasleeper

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I think you should change your light source, probably a standard 60w frosted tungsten light bulb. Keep your development time constant. Th only thing you would want to vary is your exposure times. Stick with the same paper, if you start playing around with graded paper and start making all these changes without figuring out first what you did wrong, you'll never be able to figure out what you are doing.
 

student

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1 Multicontrast papers are made of layers of emulsions that respond differently to different color spectrum. I am not sure what the color spectrum the various light source you have - LED or tungsten. But the layers will respond to the correct color spectrum, theoretically speaking.

So if you use grade 2 paper, theorectically the paper will respond to the light spectrum it is sensitive to.

I do not agree wholeheartedly with hondasleeper, especially with the peculiar setup you have. The problem as you indicated is in making contact proofs with a light source which spectrum you do not know. Using a multicontrast paper will in fact confuse you more. Using a grade 2 paper will ensure that you have grade 2 images.

4 I do not know the default grade you can produce with a tungsten light. On my enlarger, using no filters it is grade 3. But I have absolutely what your tungsten light is like.

3 Stick to the guide of one minute for full development of the paer. If you want to go two minutes, it is OK. If the paper turned out completely black, you have grossly overexposed the paper.

4 The temperature of the chemicals for print development is not critical. Critical temperature control is only important for negatives.
 

hondasleeper

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If you know anything about the history of photography, the light bulb set up has been used by Weegee the Great. He made prints in his room without the luxury of a darkroom or an enlarger or even graded paper.

I think for the sake of simplicity using a multigrade paper would be more than enough.

Student: I don't deny that a grade 2 paper works for you but you have an enlarger to work with. Sweat 100 doesn't.

KISS-Keep It Simple Stupid!!! Find a simple setup that works for you. I have had absolutely no problems printing with multigrade papers. Some people 'prefer' printing with graded papers but unless you know exactly what you are doing I would stay away from them. Plus you already have some paper, finish that up what you have before deciding on making a paper change. BTW you're only making contact prints. they don't have to be perfect.

Just my 2 cents.
 

student

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hondasleeper said:
Student: I don't deny that a grade 2 paper works for you but you have an enlarger to work with. Sweat 100 doesn't.

Find a simple setup that works for you. I have had absolutely no problems printing with multigrade papers.
It seem to me that you do not understand sweat100's problem.

It is precisely because sweat100 does not have an enlarger that I suggested he use a grade 2 paper. In his first post, he indicated that using the multicontrast paper with the LED light resulted in a very high contrast image, which means that the LED source may have a high magenta-like effect. The other possibility (which I think is the more likely one) is that the paper was overexposed, and at 15 seconds the blacks came out, but the lighter part have not. He pulled the paper out from the developer too soon.

In any case, unless one have a stable source that one is very familiar with, using a graded paper will only result in that grade.

Please do not confuse sweat100's problem. He was not talking about making a print. From the way he writes, I do not think that he knows how to make a negative that is just right for grade 2 paper. He was talking about contact print, which is normally made on grade 2. Do not talk about making prints please. You are not addressing the issue. You are confusing the issue.

For your information, I use multigrade paper for contact prints.

And for your information, before Weegee the Great, there was Weston the Supreme who also used an ordinary light bulb for his prints. But these wonderful photographers arrived at their working methods from years of hard work, mistakes and experience. They are familiar with their working methods. sweat100 is not.

I think sweat100 is barely starting. Know the difference. It will take him years to arrive anywhere remotely close to Weegee or Weston.
 

hondasleeper

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If you are saying that the light source is the problem. Why not solve the problem rather than asking him to try a graded 2 paper.

I know he's not trying to make a print, I only mentioned Weegee the Great and Edward Weston because that was what they had to work with and they made it work, that's all. Heck! Even Ansel Adams used a similar method when he was first starting out, using a frosted bulb on a wooden rod.

The poor guy is trying to make a contact print with an LED flashlight. Why not set up a light bulb so that he can a least have a consistant light source that doesn't make the contact print too contrasty.

You mentioned something about the light source, and this is what I found out, that a multigrade paper is made up fo "2 different emulsions, on low in contrast and one higher, each sensitized to a different color of light; usually the high-contrast emulsion is sensitive to blue light and the lower-contrast emulsion is green-sensitive."

You yourself mentioned that you use multigrade paper for your contact prints. My question is how will using a graded 2 paper make his contact prints less contrasty. Using a grade 2 paper would actually make the contact print more contrasty if he is still using the LED light source. So wouldn't using a grade 1 paper be better?

Student, I am not trying to pick a fight with you but all just want the poor fella to get the right information without forking out too much money in the process, if he is just starting out. I am not trying to confuse the issue, I am trying to clarify and simplify the solutions to this guys problems.
 

sweat100

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I just found out from the Agfa that the multi contrast paper is Grade 2 without any filters. So my guess is that i need to get those darkroom enlarger type lamps. Think they are those warm spot lights. Remember dismantling the sch's enlarger to see before. So i get a light bulb similar to that kind of light to get the grade 2 effect. Maybe those torchlight light bulbs? LED might be the cause of the high contrast because it is cool white.

I need to lower the intensity of the bulb inoder the prints dont turn out too dark when i develop. This is my varying factor.

I will keep the development time fixed at 1 min so to ensure even development.

Are there any other points I need to take care while doing contact prints?
 

hondasleeper

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sweat100

Try getting a normal household tungsten bulb. Use a frosted bulb the lighting will be more even and it is alot cheaper than those enlarger bulbs. If need be, go to a 100w bulb. Find a way to raise or the bulb to help increase or decrease the intensity of the light.

It has nothing to do with the intensity of the bulb. Because of the LEDs, as you said are cool white, probably photographically it puts out very blue light. As with my last post, the high contrast emulsion is sensitive to blue light. So that is probably the causing the contact print to be very contrasty.
 

LucidaM

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sweat100 said:
So my guess is that i need to get those darkroom enlarger type lamps. Think they are those warm spot lights.
Don't need to guess, can't a fluorescent lamp in your room do just the same. Its much better because its low in wattage and evenly spread on your contact printer.
 

hondasleeper

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LucidaM said:
Don't need to guess, can't a fluorescent lamp in your room do just the same. Its much better because its low in wattage and evenly spread on your contact printer.
I think using flourescent would lower the contrast of the contact print, you wouldn't want the contact print to be too muddy. Good idea though.
 

pscion12

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for the stand, I think you can use the adjustable desk light like those sold in ikea.
 

sweat100

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I went to sim lim tower to buy those tungsten light bulbs (those we had when we were doing science experiments in pri, sec sch). Also bought together a switch and a rheostat to make my own variable intensity light bulb circuit. Then also went to buy a dark room lamp to see in the dark.

Now my contact prints turn out better. But need to expose the paper for around 1 min to get decent prints. Think the intensity of the bulb too low?

BTW, what is the suitable paper size for contact prints? I find that i cant fit all my negatives on the 8x10 inches paper. Also do you leave the negatives in the sleeves when doing the contact prints?
 

ellery

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sweat100 said:
I went to sim lim tower to buy those tungsten light bulbs (those we had when we were doing science experiments in pri, sec sch). Also bought together a switch and a rheostat to make my own variable intensity light bulb circuit. Then also went to buy a dark room lamp to see in the dark.

Now my contact prints turn out better. But need to expose the paper for around 1 min to get decent prints. Think the intensity of the bulb too low?

BTW, what is the suitable paper size for contact prints? I find that i cant fit all my negatives on the 8x10 inches paper. Also do you leave the negatives in the sleeves when doing the contact prints?
</p>Light intensity is a function of distance too the inverse sq law applies here. If you are running the bulb at max intensity - you could do 3 things to shorten the time if that is important to you. 1. half the distance but this come at a proviso only if at the new distance the light will cover the area of the contact print properly I mean that the contact print sits in the middle and does not have corners right on the edge rim of light circle. 2. change to a wattage of the bulb that is double what you are using ie 60 to 120 - there should be an approx halving of time. Or the closest.3. run 2 bulbs - this may not be so good since now you have 2 point sources it could have some effect on contact print ..... maybe. Probably 2 is the simplest. But 1 min is about right. AA or was that Weston ? used to do exposure of 1 hour with sunlight contact prints for 8x10 film in the really old days.
 

ellery

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Size use next larges 9x something some wastage but easier to work with than 8x10.
 

pscion12

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How about a halogen bulb? I don't think u need it to be frosted right? and it'll be much brighter and even. Though you might want to diffuse the light thru frosted glass..
although if you do have a spoilt camera with a 50mm lens you could shine the light thru it with the film over the opening - it'll act as a simple enlarger too I suppose.
 

hondasleeper

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You would definitely need a frosted bulb, because you want the light hitting the paper to be even. With a halogen or a non frosted bulb, the lightin will not be even yo might even get a hot spot in the middle of the paper.

sweat100

if you have the negative sleeves that hold 6 images across you will definitely not be able to fit it onto an 8x10, I think the size paper that suites better and that you can fit all 36 frames onto comfortably is the 8.5x11 paper, which I think is hard to find in Singapore.

I normally leave the negs in the sleeves when I make contact prints.

pscion12

Have you tried that set up before?
 

pscion12

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nope. use glass on top. flat and simple.
 

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