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Thread: Contact Printer - How's this work?!

  1. #1
    Scott --'s Avatar
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    Contact Printer - How's this work?!

    Ok, complete newbie question, I'm sure, but how does this kind of contact printer work? Good option for a beginner in contact printing?

  2. #2

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    Re: Contact Printer - How's this work?!

    First you buy a time machine and go and buy contact paper.

    The bulb etc is designed for slow contact papers. Not for enlarging paper.

    Second issue is look at the size. I'm not sure from the pictures but I bet it's for 4x5 or smaller.

    I wouldn't buy it to use it. If you do and the size works for you you'll need to knock the light level down. ND filters? Smaller bulbs?

    It's easier to just get yourself a heavy piece of glass and a small light [7watt or so] that you can plug into a timer.

    Or you could look for a contact printing frame. Smaller ones show up on Ebay often listed as picture frames.

  3. #3

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    Re: Contact Printer - How's this work?!

    I guess you lay the neg and paper on the top, plug it in, the light turns on inside, self-contained unit. Might be fun?

    Hey, maybe I'll add it to my list of things to make/botch up

  4. #4

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    Re: Contact Printer - How's this work?!

    That "kind" of contact printer has a light bulb in the base, and a ground glass or opal glass plate where you put your negative emulsion side up, then you place a sheet of photo paper emulsion side down on top of the negative close the door and turn on the light, or the light may come on when the door is closed. You then count off the seconds of your exposure in your mind, take the paper out and process it. This example you link to is a very primitive piece, and only suitable for small negatives, and it may not even be big enough for 4x5. Hard to tell in the listing. You can get much better control of your contact prints by just using a contact printing frame, and your enlarger, or a dim light bulb hanging overhead as your light source. With this method I described, you can dodge and burn, giving you creative control, with the contact printer you linked to, there would be difficulty in doing localized exposure control over just part of the negative.

  5. #5
    Ansco John
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    Re: Contact Printer - How's this work?!

    Scott,
    I would say it is not a good option at first, although if the price is right, buy it.
    To me, contact printing has always been easier using an enlarger light. Papers are faster now and do not need the added oomph of many lamps close to the matrix.
    With our old contact printers, overall doging was done by selectively turning off bulbs under the neg as needed. Even then, for precise control, cut-to-form-pieces of tissue paper were placed as needed.
    You can do the same thing with tissue paper, or red crayon, or whatever, on the glass of a contact printing frame under an enlarger if using a dodging tool does not work.
    That piece does, however, look like it would make a nice what-is- it piece of furniture for the time being.
    Ansco John, Mount Vernon, Virginia, USA

  6. #6
    Scott --'s Avatar
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    Re: Contact Printer - How's this work?!

    Ah, t'was worth a shot. More in my never-ending quest for darkroom-free printing.

    Thanks, guys.
    Scott

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    Re: Contact Printer - How's this work?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott -- View Post
    Ah, t'was worth a shot. More in my never-ending quest for darkroom-free printing.

    Thanks, guys.
    Scott
    Scott, that printer, or any other contact printer, or contact printing frame is absolutely a "darkroom required" piece of equipment. If you want to make prints in daylight, you need a mini-lab such as a Fuji Frontier. The only other way to make prints in normal room light, is to scan the negs and make inkjet type prints. ha ha.

  8. #8
    Scott --'s Avatar
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    Re: Contact Printer - How's this work?!

    Well, here's what I'm (now) envisioning: I'll set up the back room in the basement so as to darken it fully. Get a safelight. Rig up some kind of 4 to 7 watt bulb. Get a contact printing frame or two. Expose the paper in the "dark" room. Load the paper in my Unicolor drum. Develop it in daylight.

    I just hate having to try to block out light in any room we have. Requires electrical tape over smoke detector lights, towels in front of doors...

  9. #9

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    Re: Contact Printer - How's this work?!

    Yes, you could do this as you describe, but as you see, you need darkness to expose the paper..thus a dark room is at least partially required for any home method of exposing b/w photo paper...except POP (printing out paper) which may or may not still be available.

  10. #10

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    Re: Contact Printer - How's this work?!

    For printing you'd be suprised how much light you can tolerate.

    Plus light doesn't go around corners so there are ways to minimize light leak problems.

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