View Full Version : contact printing 11x14 negs

Robert Musgjerd
16-Jul-2004, 12:39
I have been told that an 11x14 neg is too big for contact printing frames,in that the frames are not able to apply enough pressure on negs that big I print in platinum and will be switching from 8x10 to 11x14 shortly I will be printing on 16x20 paper

Roger Hein
16-Jul-2004, 13:16
When I used a non-vacuum frame to contact print 11x14 negs I had a problem with areas of unsharpness in my prints. I think the cause may be from uneven pockets of moisture trapped within the paper fibres causing it to 'bubble' in those areas. The situation improved if I *thoroughly* dried the sensitized sheet before printing - something hard to do in the summer months when the humidity is 65% or higher. Ultimately I found a used vacuum frame which I now use and this had eliminated the problem.

Jan Nieuwenhuysen
16-Jul-2004, 13:18
Robert, a vacuum frame is probably ideal. I do know that Lotus View Camera from Austria (there may be others I do not know of) makes contact printing frames up to 20x24". You can look here http://www.lotusviewcamera.at/accessories/contactprintingframes_e.html Please notice I have not worked with frames that size, but I do know Lotus makes very good products. I would be very surprised to learn they sell something that is not suited for the job they claim it is build for. Maybe someone else here has experience with these frames and can add some user info? Regarding vacuum frames: the Nu-Arc frames have a very good reputation. They are expensive though , try to get one second hand if you decide that is what you need.

mark blackman
16-Jul-2004, 13:20
Robert, you don't need to use a frame to contact print, a piece of clean glass over the neg and paper will suffice. If the image is in focus there is no need to worry about marginal differences in the thickness of film, paper etc.

David Vickery
16-Jul-2004, 14:29
Hello Robert, Yes, you need a vacuum frame. I have never worked with platinum but I have been printing azo with 8x10, 11x14, and 12x20 negatives for the past couple of years. I don't know if the different types of paper will make any difference at all, but I can tell you that I have been using a thick piece of plate glass to print my negatives and the 8x10 prints are fine. I bought the thick glass thinking that it would work for all of my negatives but for some reason it does not work very well with the larger 11x14 and 12x20 negatives. I have not figured out why, but the larger the negative the more unsharp areas you will have. I finally got a big vacuum frame to use for the bigger negatives but have not been able to put into use yet.

I would strongly suggest that you go ahead and invest in a vacuum frame for the largest size negative that you can imagine wanting to use. Look on ebay or call some of your local graphics arts companies. You may be able to find someone who wants to get rid of one.

Christian Nze
16-Jul-2004, 15:58

vacuum frame is a good choice for larger than 11x14 platinum print. When I've started to print one of my 11x14 flower series in 2002, I first make oe print with an 1/3 inch glass plate , even with the weight of the plate If I want a good print I had to let the paper dry for a night so the moisture was the same every where in it.

I quickly switch for a Vacuum frame as at large size making a bad platinum print start to cost a lot. I have this problem even with fthin paper or heavy one. It will avoid you to loose money in unsharp zone print.

jerry brodkey
16-Jul-2004, 16:46
I use an 16X20 frame for 11X14 Pt/Pd prints that I got from Bostick and Sullivan. It works very well and I have no complaints. The springs are very strong and there are in fact three of them. I would be very surprised if a vacuum frame would make any difference in my prints. I find it convenient to have a larger frame than the print I am going to make. That way I don't have to coat right out to the edge and masking the borders is a lot easier....


Brian Ellis
16-Jul-2004, 17:40
A guy named Doug Kennedy makes, or used to make, expensive but excellent contact printing frames that should work well for 11x14 contact prints. I have his contact printing frame in about 14x18 size. While 8x10 is the largest contact print I've made with it I'd be very surprised if it wouldn't work fine with 11x14. It's extremely well built, the steel clamps on the back are very strong and fit tightly. Another place is Great Basin Something or Other. I've only heard about their frames, never used them. Sorry I don't have web site information but Google should produce something if either is still in business.

Robert Musgjerd
16-Jul-2004, 18:07
thanks for the help I will try one of the B&S frames I have one of their 11x14 frames they are quite helpfull and have good stuff

16-Jul-2004, 18:33
I initially used a 16x20 contact frame for larger sized alt stuff but experienced area of unsharpness on my prints. I got a large used vacuum frame (nuarc) and have'nt had the problem since. Second-hand, even a large vacuum frame can go for next to nothing thesedays, cheaper than a high quality contact frame. I found mine by doing some searchs on google for 'vaccum frames for sale' and ended up on some industrial print site that sold 2nd-hand printing industry stuff. They are very heavy tho, so u will want to find one locally if you go that route.

David A. Goldfarb
16-Jul-2004, 19:03
I have a very nice heavy old Kodak frame for 11x14" that works well. The springs are heavy and it has registration pins (and I do have the punch to match). I suspect it was made in the 1960s for dye transfer.

David Flockhart
18-Jul-2004, 16:16
The suggestion about Lotus contact printing frames is a good one. I use the same Lotus frame for 11x14 and 8x290. It always works.

Francis Abad
18-Jul-2004, 18:41
Great Basin Photographic. It seems like they are no more, or at least their site does not work. I got their 12x16 frame and it is functionally perfect and aesthetically beautifully. I think they stopped making the frames.

Francesco (www.cicoli.com)

18-Jul-2004, 21:27
Holy cow 8x290!!!!!!!!!!

Now that is a contact frame.

Where would one buy the springs to replace one on the back of an old contact frame I have been given. It only hase one of the springs.