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Thread: Making prints

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Making prints

    I have been shooting 4x5 for a few months and getting some good negatives recently. I have started trying to make some good enlargements and failing miserably. Can someone explain why a negative I scan into the computer looks good on the screen, but when I use the enlarger to make a print the colors are all crazy (the blacks are much more brown)? I shot a test strip before making the print and found the proper aperture and exposure. Do I need to use the filters (cyan, magenta, and yellow) on the enlarger? If so, how will they effect the final print?
    Thanks in advance for your help. I couldn't figure all this out on my own.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Re: Making prints

    Are you printing colour or b&w negatives?

    If you're printing black and white, are you using multigrade paper?

    If your enlarger head is a colour one, you can can set the Cyan, Magenta and Yellow dials to add the same filtration that multigrade 0 to 5 filters would give when slotted beneath the light of an ordinary enlarger.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Stevens Point, WI

    Re: Making prints

    If you have a scanner, could you post one of your prints? Is the print poor quality or do you simply not like the tone of black? The tone from brown to black is dictated mostly by the paper you are using, to some degree by the developer, and of course a toner if you use one.

    The filters you mention are for adjusting contrast which will not affect tone.

    You should include some details about your workflow such as film, paper, developer, +/- toner, enlarger light source/filtration, etc. to get the best feedback.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Re: Making prints

    Sorry, I am using arista vc glossy paper to enlarge b & w negatives (arista iso 100) on a color enlarger(I think. It has the three (c,y,m) filters so I assume that means color. ) to be honest, I don't know what kind of chemicals i am using other than the brand is arista (i saw a bottle under one of the counters) because I use a community dark room.
    the negative is good, but I don't like the tones in the enlargement(kind of muddy looking). I have attached an image of the scanned negative.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Re: Making prints

    Here are a few things, kind of off the top of my head!
    The image you posted looks nice, and you should be able to get a nice print off of it, unless you really had to crank up the contrast of scan.
    Make sure that your darkroom is dark enough, and the safelight is not fogging the paper. You can test for this by leaving a piece out for a couple of minutes and then processing it.
    Also, make sure that your dev. is good and fresh, you can fog a small piece of paper and put it in and make sure that it goes to a good black. Usually you have to mix fresh for each session.
    About 2-3 mins in the dev will give you a decent print, if everything else is right. Get it into the fix, before turning on the lights!
    Your prints sound like they might be too flat?? You could perhaps scan one and post it, that would help us to try to give you suggestions.
    With a colour head, with all filters at "0" this is usually about a grade 2, and increase the magenta to increase contrast, about 30 points is about a grade, but this will vary from enlarger to enlarger, sometimes by quite a bit.
    I hope that this helps you at least a bit!

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Re: Making prints

    Hi - here's a table with suggested settings for those filter settings, to give you the different grades with your VC (variable contrast) paper. Not sure if you've already learned this, but the different grades give different levels of contrast - if the print looks too flat with not enough contrast, try a higher grade.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2009

    Re: Making prints

    Also are you trying to use film developer on the paper? If your development times are longer than a couple of minutes you probably are. Really gives a yucky brown tone to prints.
    I'd get a good basic photography text book to explain developing and printing, Henry Hornstein's is the one my son's is using in his college course.


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