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IanBarber
11-Sep-2017, 09:20
I have a few questions regarding paper negatives.

What I shall use them for
My intension was to expose onto the paper rather than use film on my 5x4 camera.
I will then develop, scan them and post process in Photoshop

Why not just use film?
Paper seems cheaper
Paper may give me a different look

Why not contact print them
No real room for a dark room at the moment

Questions:

Paper to buy ?: I am looking at Ilford Multigrade IV Deluxe Glossy although not keen on glossy. Is RC paper better than FB paper ?

Developing: Can I develop the sheets in the SP-445 tank like I do my film ?

Ted R
11-Sep-2017, 10:52
Are you going to put the multigrade filter in front of the lens? MG IV exposed without a filter has approximately normal contrast and twice the speed of the paper with a #2 filter.

Enlarging paper will certainly give a different look, though whether it is appropriate depends on the subject. Enlarging paper has the opposite characteristic to film. Whereas film compresses the tonal range enlarging paper expands it. In normal use, with a normal contrast subject negative and paper, the two cancel each other out and the final print has the same tonal range as the subject. When enlarging paper is exposed directly in a camera the tonal range of the paper negative has greater contrast than the scene. This means that scenes with high contrast will of necessity have either blown highlights, or, empty shadows.

I have once used a paper negative, in the darkroom, to deliberately achieve a very high contrast print from a soft negative. The paper negative was made by contact printing from a paper positive. The paper negative was then sandwiched against a fresh sheet of paper in the same way that a contact print is made from a film negative. Enough light passes through MGIV paper to expose the paper underneath, some experimenting was required to get the exposure I wanted.

IanBarber
11-Sep-2017, 11:34
Thanks for the reply Ted

I was going to use a yellow filter in front of the lens to try and cut down some of the blue sky. As for the contrast, I have since read that exposing enlarging paper may yield high contrast images. I really wanted to go the other way and produce images which are softer

koraks
11-Sep-2017, 13:14
You can produce soft images alright. Just expose liberally and develop sparingly. However, I think you're making it unnecessarily difficult by limiting yourself to paper. Plus, the spectral response may not be suitable for all subjects (good luck trying to photograph a red rose or make the skin of that fair woman in her 40s glow radiantly).

But if you insist on going the paper negative route: I'd go with any rc glossy paper. Fb doesn't always like to lie very flat (ymmv) and anything except a glossy surface brings the risk of going very soft/lack detail.

Ted R
11-Sep-2017, 13:46
PS I agree with korak, enlarging paper is only sensitive to blue-green light, all the yellows oranges and reds in the scene will not be recorded.

John Olsen
11-Sep-2017, 19:41
Thanks for the reply Ted

I was going to use a yellow filter in front of the lens to try and cut down some of the blue sky. As for the contrast, I have since read that exposing enlarging paper may yield high contrast images. I really wanted to go the other way and produce images which are softer

If you want to shoot in normal outdoors light, try a #58 green filter with Ilford MG RC. It will knock the blue sky down from a pure white and brighten up foliage. If shooting at 0.6 ISO seems a little slow, painful in fact, then seek scenes with no sky in view. Also, go back thru various threads to find recipes for preflashing the paper. Joe V has posted some helpful advice. Otherwise, stick with film - considering the cost of your time and effort it's still cheaper than paper negatives.

LabRat
11-Sep-2017, 22:21
If you find a really old box of MGRC, the blue layer generally goes away, so the flatter green layer does all the work without a filter...

You will loose some brillance over a film neg, and the paper neg can be much flatter or more contrasty than you expect/like...

If you eventually go back to enlarging or contact printing, it can be difficult to match the look you like with film...

It's harder to capture a full scale range on paper...

Try using diluted film developer for the minimum time just before you hit the Dmax of the paper, or you start loosing the edge effects fast (gets mushy looking esp if you blow it up)...

Many RC papers have a watermark on the back that screws up projecting light through them (but not all)...

Expect EI 1-8 for exposure...

Worth trying, but good luck all the same!!!

Steve K

IanBarber
12-Sep-2017, 00:54
Many thanks for all the comments.

I am beginning to think if the extra time and cost in paper and paper developer is going to be worth the time and effort. Might put this on the back burner for a while

desertrat
12-Sep-2017, 10:06
I wouldn't give up on paper so soon, especially if you must scan because of lack of space for a darkroom.

I've had good results scanning paper negatives with an ordinary flatbed scanner and inverting the images in GIMP, and laterally flipping them.

Processing the negatives is easy and quick. Cheap variable contrast RC paper exposed through a yellow filter gives a tonality similar to film, except it's red blind or course.

I have posted some images in the paper negative thread.

Ray Heath
13-Sep-2017, 06:41
G'day Ian, I'm with desertrat, don't give up on paper negs. I've shot thousands in the last 10 years and love it. Yes it can be difficult, yes the results are unpredictable, often a shoot will produce no usable negs, shooting in bright sun is problematic and skies often come out featureless. But once you work out what techniques work for you it is great fun and very much easier and cheaper than shooting film. I'd also caution that some of the above advice reads like the postings of people who've not really put in the time and effort. And some is just wrong. Here in Australia the light is very harsh so I most often pre-flash and use a Y2 filter for MG paper. Old graded paper is best but great results can be obtained with MG RC and FB. My preference is to shoot FB and then contact print oiled negs, because I like the grain to show.

169722

169723

Oh, and I shoot handmade sliding box simple lens cameras.

Reinhold Schable
13-Sep-2017, 08:30
Howdy Ian,

I'll add to the chorus of folks who (re)discovered the charms of paper negatives.
As others have said, a Y2 or YG filter enhances tonality.
I also like to add some restrainer to diluted Ansco 130 developer for better control during developing.

Here's an example of how I use paper negatives to verify the performance of one of my Wollaston soft focus lenses...
https://www.photrio.com/forum/index.php?threads/8x20-paper-negs-to-test-a-lens.104925/

another example...
http://www.film-and-darkroom-user.org.uk/forum/album.php?albumid=598

Reinhold
www.re-invetedPhotoEquip.com

Peter Gomena
13-Sep-2017, 10:35
I've done some pinhole photography with Ilford Multigrade RC. During testing, I found that in direct sunlight I had to use a "00" Ilford polycontrast filter to tame the contrast enough to make a print. I can't show you any samples of the results - the negatives were made on 16x20" paper and won't fit my scanner very well! I held a workshop for large format pinhole photography, and all the students made their cameras with the "00" filters. Some of them produced stunning results. Pre-flashing certainly will help tame contrast, although I found that in contact printing the negatives, the usual printing filters and split-grade printing produced good results. In general, you'll have to choose whether to keep either shadow or highlight detail in a sunlit scene. I can't give you an exact EI for the paper, but my tests gave a 9-minute exposure in direct, over-the-shoulder sunlight at f/360 with the "00" filter in place.

jnanian
13-Sep-2017, 12:40
ian

once you get a system down i don't see why you can't develop your paper negatives in the sp445
but like everything ... you will have to devise a system ..
pay attention to the quality of light, bright+harsh vs flat/soft, open shade &c
once you get the hang of things it will be like you have been doing it for decades.
have fun!
john

IanBarber
13-Sep-2017, 12:42
Interesting Peter. I have a Noon 5x4 pinhole and never thought about using that with paper, certainly much cheaper option.

I have never tray developed before and I am currently trying to convert a small cupboard in the house to have a go, its only going to be small though and I will also be wanting to try contact printing but will have to resort to using a low wattage light bulb suspended from above

IanBarber
16-Sep-2017, 14:13
I ordered some RC paper to try which has now arrived.

When working with film, I use a spot meter and put the important shadows on Zone 3/4 at exposure time and work to putting the high values around Zone 7/8 with development.

How many stops roughly can RC paper hold when used for paper negatives and is it still ok to meter with a spot meter or would incident be more easier for this paper

desertrat
17-Sep-2017, 10:50
I ordered some RC paper to try which has now arrived.

When working with film, I use a spot meter and put the important shadows on Zone 3/4 at exposure time and work to putting the high values around Zone 7/8 with development.

How many stops roughly can RC paper hold when used for paper negatives and is it still ok to meter with a spot meter or would incident be more easier for this paper

Before the exposure question can be answered, it's important to know whether the RC paper is variable contrast or graded. VC paper with a yellow or green filter can probably hold more stops than when no filter is used. Graded paper is probably blue sensitive and will probably be contrasty.

I've had best results using VC paper with a yellow filter, and developing to completion with standard paper developer. I haven't tried to meter with paper. Several test exposures are made and each is developed to completion. The slightly darker negs seem to make the best contact prints, and the slightly lighter negs seem to scan better. There have been no problems with excessive contrast.

If you want high contrast and a 19th century wet plate look, graded paper or VC paper with no filter will probably give that.

IanBarber
17-Sep-2017, 11:35
Before the exposure question can be answered, it's important to know whether the RC paper is variable contrast or graded. VC paper with a yellow or green filter can probably hold more stops than when no filter is used. Graded paper is probably blue sensitive and will probably be contrasty.

I've had best results using VC paper with a yellow filter, and developing to completion with standard paper developer. I haven't tried to meter with paper. Several test exposures are made and each is developed to completion. The slightly darker negs seem to make the best contact prints, and the slightly lighter negs seem to scan better. There have been no problems with excessive contrast.

If you want high contrast and a 19th century wet plate look, graded paper or VC paper with no filter will probably give that.

The paper is Ilford MG IV RC Deluxe

I am also using Ilford Multigrade devloper. The bottle states 1+9 but I read elsewhere that it would be best used at 1+28 which would yield a longer dev time enabling you to pull it from the tray when the highlights look as dense as you want. Would you agree with that

JoeV
13-Nov-2017, 06:23
My paper negative medium of choice has been Arista EDU (Freestyle Photo, here in the US, made by Foma) grade 2 RC glossy paper. It has a low enough contrast, even in sunny conditions, to produce a decent negative without a yellow filter. Being fixed grade 2 contrast, it renders a more usable tonal range in high-contrast daylight than MG. And I've found its working Exposure Index in bright sun to be around 12, which is much faster than MG paper with a yellow filter. This is with using fresh Ilford MG or Universal paper developer diluted 1+15 and at 68f. It's important to keep the paper developer at or around 68f, or higher, else the effective speed of the paper drops off. This is an issue with us that have unheated and/or cold darkrooms in the winter months.

I pre-flash the paper so that, if developed without any further in-camera exposure, it will have a faint gray tone. This helps to raise the paper's sensitivity to shadow detail, further helping to control excess contrast in sunny landscape conditions.

I use dilute paper developer, but film developer also works well. I develop by inspection until the shadow density is showing but not until the highlights are blown. A good paper negative should not have highlights near the D-max of the paper. The idea is to fit the wide dynamic range of a scene into the narrow range offered by the paper.\

~Joe