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Thread: Can you give me ideas on doing contact prints with limited space?

  1. #11

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    Re: Can you give me ideas on doing contact prints with limited space?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    That is just plain nutz. 'Most decent flashes' do not have adequate power for contact prints compared to a lowly 40W bulb in an inexpensive reflector.
    My stack of oriental fiber based contact prints would beg to differ. With my flash bouncing off a white ceiling, I was only at 1/4 power on a canon 550 ex. I've done roughly 60 prints this way and have no issues.

  2. #12

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    Re: Can you give me ideas on doing contact prints with limited space?

    Here are some examples done with a flash.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #13

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    Re: Can you give me ideas on doing contact prints with limited space?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Beasley View Post
    I think he was offering a way to contact onto the TXP 320, which would need way less exposure.
    No, contact printing onto fiber based paper. Oriental FB to be exact.

  4. #14

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    Re: Can you give me ideas on doing contact prints with limited space?

    A contact printer already mentioned is probably the simplest and most compact. You still see these occasionally wherever used gear is sold but prices can be anywhere on the map.
    Remember you'll still room for trays & drying.

    I've tried several methods and the one I settled on requires an enlarger, any format (I've been using an old Meopta for 127 format) cheap or free is good, with a clean lens.
    This gives you a light source, red filter, a place to plug in a timer, and a base board. Considering you can find an old 35mm enlarger pretty cheap this solves a lot of problems with a pretty small footprint. There used to be a Russian import that was self contained in a small suitcase you might be able to pick up cheap and store it under a bed when you aren't using it. I keep my Meopta under a plastic garbage bag on a shelf in a spare room.

    Next comes a Printfile Contact Proofer, very basic gizmo you can buy new or used. Once again not very expensive but to me it's worth it---I've used a sheet of heavy glass but fingerprints were a problem as well as the potential of dropping the glass in the dark while getting it out of the way or worse, trying to register the negative with the paper.
    A frame I used to have, designed for Printing Out Papers, was hard on my fingers (and I'm no wimp) because of the stiff springs which held the back on. If I ever get in to POP I think I'll look for a POP frame using pivoting brass springs.
    The Printfile Proofer sits on the enlarger's base board so there is often no increase in the size of the footprint.
    I like using a timer though some prefer using a metronome and I understand there are even apps for timing, but I got mine for next to nothing in a box of stuff so that's what I use. It doesn't take up much room, hardly any in fact.

    You'll need trays---no getting around this that I am aware of. You probably already have a set of these for souping your film.

    You'll also want a safe light. I've been using a short string of red led Christmas lights I bought at CVS when they were closing out their Christmas stock. There are of course other options. Freestyle has a nice 5x7 safe light and you may still find some NOS red screw in incandescent safe light bulbs you can screw into an already existing light fixture or desk lamp. I still have a GE Guide Lamp (plug in night light) that used to come on a card 2 for about a buck,

    For drying prints I built some drying screens using wood, screen beading and nylon window screen. I used amber shellac to protect the wood from moisture but you could certainly use more conventional aluminum frames and vinyl spline. I like wood frames because I find them easier to stack and keep some space for air to circulate.

    For flattening prints I have two slabs of polished granite, scraps from custom counter tops I found for free on Craig's list. I tried these on the recommendation of Mr Kirk Gittings and they do work nicely!

    Oh and I use a piece of cut cardboard to wedge into the window frame in the bathroom to keep in the darkness.

    I hope this helps.

    edit---I also use a Kodak exposure guide to determine the length of exposure, similar to a step tablet. No longer marketed by Kodak, Delta, IIRC, still makes a copy.
    Last edited by John Kasaian; 15-Sep-2018 at 22:24. Reason: I forgot something
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  5. #15

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    Re: Can you give me ideas on doing contact prints with limited space?

    You may use a RGB LED bulb like this one (some $10):

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Press red button to have a safe light, and to terminate exposure...

    Then you can do amazing split grade printing with regular Variable Contrast papers. Rather exposing with white light you make 2 consecutive exposures with green and blue, if you expose more with green or with blue then you vary the contrast, so you don't use filters.

    https://www.ilfordphoto.com/wp/wp-co...Multigrade.pdf

    Note that exposing with green it's the same than exposing with yellow, as yellow (from that bulb) is green plus red, and red does not expose the paper. The same with blue and magenta. Using Yellow and Magenta has an adantage over using Green and blue, as you see better the image on the paper if you want to burn/dodge something in the image.


    Another useful acquisition would be a ($10) 0.1Lux (min) Lux Meter like this one:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This allows to check illumination power. You may fade the LED bulb to have longuer or shorter exposures, and measuring lux will allow to guess how you should adjust exposure time. Also this is very useful to calibrate film, camera checking apertures of lenses, etc... and it's also $10...

    If you don't have a contact printing frame, use a very flat base, and place a thick glass (say 8mm) on the film, just glue two handles in the glass for convenience

  6. #16
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: Can you give me ideas on doing contact prints with limited space?

    Pere, great suggestions.

    Simple and cheap.

    Found this low power bulb likes yours. https://www.amazon.com/5430net-Stand...75284510&psc=1

    Lux meter is optional, IMHO. https://www.amazon.com/Leaton-Digita.../dp/B018QLIVSC


    I use Amaxon as a search engine for many products. B

    But Amazon is often the highest price...
    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    You may use a RGB LED bulb like this one (some $10):

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	418KWPgG9pL.jpg 
Views:	6 
Size:	22.6 KB 
ID:	182518

    Press red button to have a safe light, and to terminate exposure...

    Then you can do amazing split grade printing with regular Variable Contrast papers. Rather exposing with white light you make 2 consecutive exposures with green and blue, if you expose more with green or with blue then you vary the contrast, so you don't use filters.

    https://www.ilfordphoto.com/wp/wp-co...Multigrade.pdf

    Note that exposing with green it's the same than exposing with yellow, as yellow (from that bulb) is green plus red, and red does not expose the paper. The same with blue and magenta. Using Yellow and Magenta has an adantage over using Green and blue, as you see better the image on the paper if you want to burn/dodge something in the image.


    Another useful acquisition would be a ($10) 0.1Lux (min) Lux Meter like this one:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	s-l1600.jpg 
Views:	4 
Size:	30.2 KB 
ID:	182519

    This allows to check illumination power. You may fade the LED bulb to have longuer or shorter exposures, and measuring lux will allow to guess how you should adjust exposure time. Also this is very useful to calibrate film, camera checking apertures of lenses, etc... and it's also $10...

    If you don't have a contact printing frame, use a very flat base, and place a thick glass (say 8mm) on the film, just glue two handles in the glass for convenience
    TIN CAN COLLEGE

  7. #17

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    Re: Can you give me ideas on doing contact prints with limited space?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Moe View Post
    Lux meter is optional, IMHO.
    Randy, I agree... I made a lot without the Lux Meter...

    But I found it's useful to investigate a close match between the ilford contrast filter grades and the split grade printing with our particular LED bulb... with Ilford filters we have same base exposure for some filters, and twice for the higher contrast filters, this is very convenient. Having a table that cross links to the ilford grades with Green/Blue exposures in Lux·Second is quite nice...

    Those bulbs are usually well calibrated, in the sense that when we fade down the illumination with the IR remote control then the light "hue" is mostly well mantained, but it's nice to check it.

    With an enlarger when we close the diafragm one stop then we know that we have to expose twice, but if we fade down the RGB bulb we have to adjust again exposure by wasting paper, if we have the lux meter we can nail the new exposure directly.

    It also can be done with a Lux Meter app in the phone... this is also a consistent way, but readings are more relative because the sensor in the phone is more or less directional so every phone is a bit different, I started using that, but I found that having the real values in Lux from an standard lumisphere was better. Well, given the cost...

  8. #18

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    Re: Can you give me ideas on doing contact prints with limited space?

    Quote Originally Posted by blue4130 View Post
    Most decent flashes have adjustable settings from full power to 1/125 power so you can adjust as needed to get the contact print looking how you want.
    Flashes with manually adjustable power output are usually towards the higher end of the price range (although some 3rd party units are more affordable). Also, they generally allow only to attenuate the output in steps of one stop, which may be sub-optimal for contact printing purposes (I'd find it pretty annoying in any case). Thirdly, for thinner negatives and faster papers, the minimum output of the flash may still be too high (particularly if it only goes down to 1/8 power) to get a decent print, leaving you to fiddle with a variety of cobbled-up ways to further reduce the light level. Fourth, many flash units have a green 'ready' indicator, which may fog the paper if it's too close to it. It'll have to be masked.

    While a flash in principle will work just fine (your examples prove it), it's not the way I would recommend. An enlarger with a filter head (color or multigrade) is of course convenient, but takes up some space. The old-school suggestion of a low-power bulb (incandescent or even white LED), a switch and a timer/metronome is fool-proof, dirt-cheap, takes up virtually no space and is very flexible. An LED bulb may even be fitted in a little box with one open side and a filter drawer so a piece of green or blue transparent plastic can be slid in, allowing for split-grade printing. When using an LED light source, buy one that has no 'cool-down' delay. Some cheaper white LED bulbs have a brief afterglow that may make short exposures difficult to manage. Most LED bulbs are virtually instant on/off.

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