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Thread: Contact Printing Frames

  1. #1
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    Contact Printing Frames

    This is both an announcement of a new, upcoming product line, and a solicitation for input from potential customers.

    I am in the process of adding a line of high quality contact printing frames to my product offerings. The manufacturer currently makes them in the following sizes:

    24x30cm (9.4" x 11.8") - This seems like the perfect size for anything up to 8x10 negatives on paper up to 8.5" x 11". I expect this size will be my biggest seller.

    30x40cm (11.8" x 15.7") - Another size that seems very logical. Obviously works well for negatives up to 11x14. And, I also noticed that several types of paper stock favored by alt process printers (Arches Platine, watercolor papers, etc.) come in 11x15 sheets. This frame would work with this size of pre-cut paper.

    40x50cm (15.7" x 19.7) - I'm not sure if this is a good size. It would work fine for 14x17, but it a hair too small for 16x20. Also, I know that for sizes larger than 11x14, many printers prefer a vacumm frame over a conventional contact printing frame.

    So, I welcome comments on these sizes, and I'd like to hear input for additional sizes, either bigger or smaller.

    One thing I've noticed about the current market is a void of contact printing frames in the banquet sizes. Do you think there is a market for contact printing frames supporting 4x10, 5x12, 7x17, 8x20 and 12x20 film sizes? The frames would be slightly oversized (an inch or two bigger than the nominal format size in both directions). Also, maintaining good center pressure should be less of a problem in the banquet formats than the standard formats as you move up in sizes. The length of the back springs would remain reasonably short, and additional springs can be added as the length of the negative increases.

    All comments welcome.

    Kerry Thalmann
    Really Big Cameras

  2. #2

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    Re: Contact Printing Frames

    Dan Pelland makes really nice contact frames to any size desired. A friend has an 8x20. Also, AWB makes panoramic frames. I think the market is covered well.

  3. #3
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    Re: Contact Printing Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Wolfe View Post
    Dan Pelland makes really nice contact frames to any size desired. A friend has an 8x20. Also, AWB makes panoramic frames. I think the market is covered well.
    Jay,

    Thanks for the input.

    According to his site, Dan Pelland is no longer making contact printing frames. He does offer plans and spring kits for a 9" wide frame for those who wish to attempt making their own.

    Based on the AWB web site, it appears contact printing frames are custom order. There are no prices listed and no mention of any available for sale at the current time.

    So, while there are certainly alternatives, my plan would be to have the items in stock and ready to ship when a customer places an order. No waiting weeks or months for a custom made contact printing frame.

    That's why I'm trying to nail down what sizes to offer. I want to be able to have what people want in stock when they want it.

    Kerry Thalmann
    Really Big Cameras

  4. #4
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    Re: Contact Printing Frames

    It does appear there may be a market, no doubt a small one, but a market none-the-less, for contact printing frames in the banquet sizes. Or, at least a frame capable of handling 7x17 and 8x20 negatives.

    A NOS (new, old stock) AWB 10" x 22" contact printing frame sold on eBay this morning for $237.50. From, the photos that accompany the auction, one of the corners has come unglued and will need to be re-glued by the new owner. The frames I will be selling have reinforced (splined) corners to prevent this from happening.

    The frames I will be selling are made by the camera manufacturer Argentum. They are very well made from high quality materials. The wood is white ash (the same straight-grained hardwood use to make baseball bats). The actual imaging area is 1cm larger in both direction than the nominal frame size. So, the image area of the 24x30cm frame is actually 25x31cm (9.8" x 12.2"). So, a 24x55cm frame for 7x17 and 8x20 would have image area of 25x56cm (9.8" x 22").

    I'll try to get some pictures of the 24x30cm frame posted in the next day or two. In the mean time, here's a link to a pdf file of the contact printing frames page from the manufacturer's printed catalog.

    Kerry Thalmann
    Really Big Cameras

  5. #5
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Contact Printing Frames

    I own one old Century (or something like that) 7x17" frame and wouldn't mind having another one or two. I'd actually prefer an 8x20" frame for 7x17", so I don't know how much sense it would make to offer both sizes. In general, I prefer using a larger frame than the neg I'm printing, even when I'm printing exactly to the neg size as I usually do (big black borders on albumen prints eat up the gold toner).

  6. #6
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    Re: Contact Printing Frames

    I printed all last night -- 8x10 platinum prints on 11x14 paper. The 12x15 frame worked very well. I have printed on quarter sheets (11x15) with the frame also.

    I think the 30cmx40cm might actually be a good seller, too, for those doing alt processes. It is nice having the frame be slightly larger than the paper.

    For 4x10 negs, I find the same one I use for 8x10 works just fine. I would think that even 5x12 and 5.5 x 14 would still work well in a frame sized for 11x14 negatives. Larger panoramic sizes would benefit from panoramic proportioned frames.

    Vaughn

  7. #7
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    Re: Contact Printing Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    I own one old Century (or something like that) 7x17" frame and wouldn't mind having another one or two. I'd actually prefer an 8x20" frame for 7x17", so I don't know how much sense it would make to offer both sizes. In general, I prefer using a larger frame than the neg I'm printing, even when I'm printing exactly to the neg size as I usually do (big black borders on albumen prints eat up the gold toner).
    Dave,

    I'm going to ask the manufacturer to make a contact printing frame for the 7x17 and 8x20 formats. The nominal size would be 24x55cm. The actual image area for these frames is bigger by 1cm in each direction than the nominal sizes. So, the 24x30cm frame actually has an image area of 25x31cm (9.8" x 12.2") and a 24x55cm frame would have an image area of 25x56cm (9.8" x 22") - which should be about perfect for 7x17 and 8x20 negatives.

    Kerry Thalmann
    Really Big Cameras

  8. #8
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    Re: Contact Printing Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    I printed all last night -- 8x10 platinum prints on 11x14 paper. The 12x15 frame worked very well. I have printed on quarter sheets (11x15) with the frame also.

    I think the 30cmx40cm might actually be a good seller, too, for those doing alt processes. It is nice having the frame be slightly larger than the paper.

    For 4x10 negs, I find the same one I use for 8x10 works just fine. I would think that even 5x12 and 5.5 x 14 would still work well in a frame sized for 11x14 negatives. Larger panoramic sizes would benefit from panoramic proportioned frames.

    Vaughn
    Vaughn,

    The image area of the 30x40cm frame is actually 31x41cm (12.2" x 16.1"). So, it should handle the quarter sheet (11x15) papers nicely.

    I also agree that there probably isn't a big need for a dedicated frame for the mini-banquet (4x10 and 5x12) sizes. The 24x30cm and 30x40cm frames can handle those sizes. As you move up to the larger banquet sizes (7x17, 8x20 and 12x20), the savings in frame cost, weight and bulk become more significant. The springs would be shorter (and less expensive) and the dedicated banquet frames would fit better on many darkroom counters and benches than a large frame of standard format proportions

    As I mentioned in my response to David, I'm going to ask the manufacturer to make a 24x55cm size for the 7x17 and 8x20 formats. I will also ask them about a frame for 12x20. And I may ask them to make their 40x50cm frame a little larger so it can support 14x17, 16x20 and 12x20 with a single frame.

    Kerry Thalmann
    Really Big Cameras

  9. #9
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Contact Printing Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by Really Big Cameras View Post
    a 24x55cm frame would have an image area of 25x56cm (9.8" x 22") - which should be about perfect for 7x17 and 8x20 negatives.

    Kerry Thalmann
    Really Big Cameras
    That sounds ideal, Kerry, particularly if the price is reasonable.

    For these oblong formats the back is usually made in three sections with three springs. The one I have is actually three separate panels overlapping with lap joints, but more modern ones I've seen have the outer panels hinged to the center panel. An added attraction of this design is that you can do two smaller prints in the same frame with the possibility of removing one print without disturbing the other one.

  10. #10

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    Re: Contact Printing Frames

    When are these going to be available?

    I have my lab do contacts for 35mm film, 120 film and 4x5, which I use to make decisions about what to discard and what to scan.

    I'm now spending a good part of the year in a place where there is no nearby lab, so I may take over the processing and contact sheet printing myself.

    If this is a solid product, which I imagine it is if you are involved, I'd rather buy from you than B+H or wherever.

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