View Full Version : sharpness difference in papers?

brian steinberger
9-Mar-2005, 23:09
I just started printing tonight. And I'm making contact prints on Kodak Polymax II VC paper with lustre finish. It seems to me that the contact prints are slightly soft. I'm using a diffused enlarger. Then I tried some glossy paper, of the same type. Those contact prints appeared a little sharper. I know that my negatives are sharp because I looked at them under a loupe on the the lightbox. My question is, are certain papers sharper than others or certain finishes sharper than others? I'm looking for the sharpest prints i can possibly get.. and when my contact prints don't appear sharp, I wondering what an enlargement will look like. Could it be the glass I'm using, it's just plain glass that I actaully took out of a picture frame. I need help. Thanks!

Stephen Willard
10-Mar-2005, 00:38

Absolutely. I print on a color paper that is made from polyester. Its surface is like glass and the images look exceptionally sharp. Some people refer to the Fuji paper as Super Gloss, but its formal name is Fujiflex. The same images printed on RC papers in gloss look noticeable softer. The smother the surface the sharper the image.

It is also important that the emulsion side of the film is facing down in direct contact with the paper. If the emulsion is face up then the thickness of the film will soften the image. People like my self who make unsharpe mask do the latter to intentionally soften the mask. In your case it would soften the image on the paper.

Hope this helps.

Mark Sampson
10-Mar-2005, 06:12
The lustre finish is reducing your sharpness. For Kodak invented the "E" paper surface in the '70s to a) make fingerprints less visible on the face of the print and b) to hide the low resolution of some camera systems (their instant cameras specifically). Although the farther back you go, the more different paper surfaces there were, the idea was the same. Edward Weston famously went to glossy paper only in the mid-20's for the same reasons you prefer it.

Pat Kearns
10-Mar-2005, 11:19
Is the negative in a Printfile or similar negative holder? If it is take it out of the holder, they tend to add a little softness.

brian steinberger
10-Mar-2005, 21:45
so which paper would you say would be the sharpest paper you can get? Are RC less sharp than fiber based? I want the sharpest possible print. I was printing through the printfile holder and that majorly decreased sharpness. i took them out, and that helped, but they are still not sharp on lustre paper.