View Full Version : Preflash without an enlarger

21-Jan-2016, 22:13
I have some old (at least 15 years) Kodak RC paper that I need to use up. I've been cutting it down to 4x5 and running it through my Grafmatic in my Sinar. I also have some Arista Grade 2 paper I bought specifically for paper negative experimentation.

So far I've been frustrated by disappointing results for reasons that aren't clear to me. I've been getting very, very dark negatives with almost zero contrast. It's impossible to do anything with them because they're so dark.

I don't have an enlarger and my darkroom is very basic. I have a single 40W bulb in the ceiling and no other way to create a timed exposure in my darkroom. I wondered if I should preflash in-camera if that would help. I could set up the camera to do a preflash of everything in the Grafmatic but what exposure do I use? Just point at a white surface and meter +2 stops?

Doremus Scudder
22-Jan-2016, 02:19
You can certainly pre-flash (or post-flash) in camera by either using a diffuser or by simply shooting a de-focused gray card or the like.

However, that will likely not solve your problem. It sounds to me as if your paper is simply old and fogged; that's the reason you get dark, contrastless negatives. Toss a piece of unexposed paper in the developer (under safelight or in darkness, of course), develop, stop and fix as normal and see what you get. I'll bet you'll see a lot of fogging.

Flashing paper negatives is a method of reducing contrast...



22-Jan-2016, 11:59
As Doremus said, process unexposed sheet and then compare the emulsion side to the back side - should give you an idea. But I wonder, even if the paper is fogged due to age, if you could bleach it after exposure and processing to bring back some contrast...just thinking out loud.

22-Jan-2016, 12:49
Unless the age fog is extremely severe, adding a 0.1% solution of benzotriazole to the developer can work wonders.

About 5ml/litre is a starting point.

As already pointed out, flashing will just make things worse.

Old paper is a lottery. You rarely know how its been stored. I have some Ilfospeed that's utterly useless, and I have some extremely old Kodak bromide that still works well.
Papers with an incorporated developer don't seem to last well