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Thread: Question about 4x5 negs

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Posts
    54

    Question about 4x5 negs

    I have recently received my 4x5 negs back from the lab, I used NPI in Houston. On the light box the negs look really sharp (which I'm surprised by considering I'm new at this). I asked the lab to "contact print", they did and put four neg s on one piece of paper. My concern is that the contact print looks soft and no t near as sharp by any means as the negs. I view my negs and prints with a chea p 10X loup. I am using tmax 100 on a horseman 450. Could the contact print soft ness be due to the way in which the lab made the contact prints, ie thickness of glass or from some other reason. I would like to take one of these negs at lea st to an 8X10 or 11x20 (or equivilant aspect ratio). Are my enlargements going to not be as sharp as the negs, I realize that at some point some loss of sharpn ess and detail will be an issue but from a 4x5 negative up to 11x20 should not b e problem if the negative is sharp, right.

    Any help is appreciated thank you in advance.

    Clark King

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Posts
    194

    Question about 4x5 negs

    I just wonder...if your contact prints was made with the negs in their plastic sleeves..they will look good..but soft...

  3. #3

    Question about 4x5 negs

    The thickness of glass used has no effect on the sharpness of a contact print, provided it's pressurised into close contact with the neg and paper. No glass, on the other hand, will give very soft results.How unsharp are the prints? There's always going to be a slight apparent drop in sharpness when contacting onto paper, because the surface texture of the paper itself tends to obscure some tiny detail. Contact prints should still look exquisitely sharp to the unaided eye.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    NE Missouri
    Posts
    328

    Question about 4x5 negs

    As one who has been through this, I can almost guarantee that they did the contacts through the plastic sleeves. This can have a large effect. My experience has been that (fairly) cheap contacts of negs are not given very good treatment by labs and are meant to be of some minor assistance only, not a quality print. I'd suggest that you tell the lab you aren't happy with the contacts, especially when you give them the print to illustrate what you want in the larger prints.Cheers, Richard

  5. #5

    Question about 4x5 negs

    I agree with the other answers......most labs will make the contact sheet with the negs in "Printfiles" and they will appear soft. You can request/make the labs shoot the contacts out of the printfiles using just the glass frame, but they will most likely charge you several $'s more per contact sheet. I also wonder that since most labs are now doing dry to dry processing, in other words NO wet developing and possibly some type of digital processing if this isn't the reason. I use BWC in Dallas and they got ride of all their wet darkrooms about 2 years ago. If you have a dust problem or a scratching problem, I suggest you have the lab process the negs and then contact yourself. Good Luck. FWB

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Posts
    54

    Question about 4x5 negs

    Thank you for all the responses. The lab did in fact contact print the negs while in the sleeves. I had not thought of that being an issue. Next time I will most certainly request that they be removed.

    Thanks again for all your help on this!

    ClarK

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Posts
    264

    Question about 4x5 negs

    Clark,

    Just fyi in case you do not already know this, you can make your own black and white contact prints at home with ease. All you need is a sort of dark room, a few plastic trays, a sheet of glass, and a minimum of chemicals. You can use the light in your bathroom to make the exposures. You may not want to hassle with it, but it will save you a little money and you will get to make your own prints. It's pathetically cheap and easy and the results will be exceptional. They'll probably never be particularly good from the lab.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Posts
    54

    Question about 4x5 negs

    Erik, is this known as an azo print? I've read posts about that type of print on the forum. Would you direct me to more information about making my own contact prints. I would be very interested in that. What are good chemicals to start with? Do I need special mounting or equipment besides trays, chemicals, glass?

    More info would be appreciated thank you!

    Clark

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Location
    Baraboo, Wisconsin
    Posts
    7,742

    Question about 4x5 negs

    Azo is the brand name of a graded paper made by Kodak for contact printing purposes. It makes beautiful contact rints. However, few labs are likely to use it to make a customer's proof sheets. It's not readily avaialble, it's single weight, therefore a little unweildy to use and, mostimportantly to a lab, it's more expensive than normal enlarging paper

    I was a little surprised at some of the answers to your question. I always make my contact sheets through the plastic and they always look plenty sharp though I don't compare them to the negative on a light table. Rather than the plastic being the problem, I would have guessed that the answer to your question was that the contact printing frame the lab used didn't provide sufficient pressure to hold the negatives firmly in contact with the paper.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  10. #10

    Question about 4x5 negs

    We always contact by using a small piece of Scotch tape on the edge of the negative (we do 120/220 on the ends) on two sides. The tape doesn't show and comes right off cleanly afterwards. Perfectly positioned also. See if your lab will do it this way. It is easy, fast and the contact are superb!

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