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Thread: Seeing negatives as positives without making a Print

  1. #1

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    Seeing negatives as positives without making a Print

    Hi, what is a quick way to see my B&W negatives as positives without doing any chemistry, scanning, or making a print?

    I just want a quick and instant way of seeing how my picture looks like, as a positive. I do send some of my pics to be developed as a positive slide film, and they tell me how my pictures actually look like. But positives are too expensive to develop, so I'm wondering if I can just develop my pictures as negatives (which is cheap and fast to develop) and view them as positives.

    I repeat that I don't want to have to make a print. I want to see how much picture looks like using the original negative film.

  2. #2

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    Re: Seeing negatives as positives without making a Print

    I guess another solution is to develop my own positives, but the chemicals for that seem very expensive compared to developing negatives (Rodinal is dirt cheap!). If anyone knows of a cheap way to develop positives, then that would be an alternative solution for me.

  3. #3
    Gary Beasley's Avatar
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    Re: Seeing negatives as positives without making a Print

    Some video cameras can be set to invert to a negative image, if you have one try it. Otherwise you should simply scan the negative and look at it in Photoshop. This may or may not be a very fast process

  4. #4
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Seeing negatives as positives without making a Print

    If you look at the emulsion side of a B&W neg against a black background, you can see it as a positive, but it's not a terribly good indicator of how a print would look.

    The normal way of previewing negs before printing is to make contact prints, which aren't too expensive to make yourself. You don't need an enlarger.

  5. #5
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Seeing negatives as positives without making a Print

    I have looked at negatives for so long my brain turns them into positives -- it is not something I consciencously do. Other than gaining that experience, try laying them on a mirror or on a white piece of paper -- at the proper angle they can appear as a positive.

    Vaughn

  6. #6

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    Re: Seeing negatives as positives without making a Print

    Put it in a cheap flatbed scanner and invert the image in Photoshop.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  7. #7

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    Re: Seeing negatives as positives without making a Print

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Beasley View Post
    Some video cameras can be set to invert to a negative image, if you have one try it. Otherwise you should simply scan the negative and look at it in Photoshop. This may or may not be a very fast process
    Thanks for your response. I do scan my negatives, but the problem is that I have to adjust the contrast and curves so I don't have any reference as to know it is supposed to look like. It is also slow, as my scanner sucks. If I can see the film as a positive, not only would I be able to preview but I would also have a reference for contrast balance and such things.

    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    If you look at the emulsion side of a B&W neg against a black background, you can see it as a positive, but it's not a terribly good indicator of how a print would look.
    Really? Doesn't seem to be working for me. Maybe it's because of the film I'm using? It has an anti-halation layer.

    The normal way of previewing negs before printing is to make contact prints, which aren't too expensive to make yourself. You don't need an enlarger.
    I don't have a permanent darkroom though, so it would be hard. I develop my film in a dark public restroom (in a bag). I think it would be difficult to fit all that contact print equipment in my backpack.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    Other than gaining that experience, try laying them on a mirror or on a white piece of paper -- at the proper angle they can appear as a positive.

    Vaughn
    Thanks for your response, Vaughn, but unfortunately it doesn't work for the film that I am using. If I look at the film at an extreme angle, it simply becomes really shiny. It remains a negative.

    Any other suggestions? I appreciate all the responses so far. Keep them coming. There must be some special trick somebody might know.

  8. #8
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Seeing negatives as positives without making a Print

    I think you are asking for the impossible. There is no quick and easy way to see the positive in traditional B&W printing. Thats why they invented Polaroid and Digital for all those impatient people

    Seriously though, printing out paper will give you your positive image by just exposure to UV light, though you would need to 'process' it if you required permanence.

  9. #9
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Seeing negatives as positives without making a Print

    The "proper" angle may not be an extreme one...but a combination of the angle of the light and one's eye. I have my own curiousity up now...I'll have to play around with that next week.

    Vaughn

  10. #10

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    Re: Seeing negatives as positives without making a Print

    I was thinking about this and some thought came into my head. What about glow-in-the-dark paper? Like this one:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Glow-in-the-dark...QQcmdZViewItem

    Anybody ever tried it?

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