View Full Version : how to contact print with 8x10 camera?

Kurtay Photography
9-Mar-2007, 17:38
New to 8x10 and making contact prints via using the camera? I have two lenses 300 f4.5 barel lens and 180 f3.5 compur shutter. I would appeciate any inputs.

Ralph Barker
9-Mar-2007, 17:49
The camera isn't involved in the contact printing part of the process. Just expose and develop the film in the usual fashion, developing by whatever method you've chosen (trays, tubes, large tanks, outside lab). Then make the contact print by placing the processed film on top of your enlarging paper and expose. To keep the film in tight contact with the paper, either a contact printing frame or a piece of heavy glass can be used. The same sort of print exposure determination (test strips, etc.) you use for enlargements can be employed to arrive at the optimal exposure and any dodging/burning requirements.

If you use an enlarger for smaller-format film, it can be used as the light source for your contact prints. That is handy for controlling exposure, as well as using variable contrast filters.

MIke Sherck
9-Mar-2007, 20:46
I suppose, although it isn't clear whether you are asking this or not, that one could put photographic paper (probably single-weight,) in a film holder in place of film and expose it in the camera, as some pin hole photographers do. It would be a negative, of course, but on paper not film. I haven't tried it and don't know how it would turn out.


9-Mar-2007, 22:42
Kurt -- just in case, have you printed photos / photographic paper before? If so, then no problem (contact printing is easier than enlarging). I had never developed a thing before getting into large format, so I had to learn to develop and contact print at the same time.

Basically, just put the negative on top of the photo paper, find a way to hold it flat (I use a glass plate, but you could use an enlarging easel), and turn on the enlarger lamp. Before I had an enlarger I used a dim room lamp. You can do a test exposure in 5 second or whatever increments, and you can use multigrade contrast filters. Then just develop the paper.

Jim Ewins
10-Mar-2007, 11:53
Then there is AZO for contact printing. See Michael Smith & Paula Chantry. MichaelandPaula.com ?

Kurtay Photography
10-Mar-2007, 19:27
Hi All,

Thank you for the responses.

Ralph hit the nail along with DrPablo and interesting view from Mike. Image on paper direct... Hmmm then what if we process it like black and white dia/slide way. Do we get a positive image. That would solve the film cost and developing, right!

Coming back to doing the odd contact sheet. I must admit i didn't think of this. Then again, new to dark room and the process. Started with film worked in digital and now going back to film again. But never did my dark room stuff. Anyway, my idea was to use the camera also to do some enlargements, not only contacts. I think I popped a question with missing bits. Has anyone tried to use the 8x10 camera as an enlarger to do prints? What about 4x5 camera and do enlargements? Can it be done? (might be a stupid question)! What about the lens in use? Would it work?


Brian C. Miller
10-Mar-2007, 21:53
Yes, you can use the camera to make enlargements. You'll need to make your own negative holder or adapt something, make your own light source, and a lens. You can use the Schneider G-Claron (http://www.schneideroptics.com/Ecommerce/CatalogItemDetail.aspx?CID=1112&IID=2069) lens, which is good for both enlarging and as a taking lens.

Graphlex made an enlarger accessory for their Graphic cameras. It replaced the GG back, and contained a cold head and negative carrier. I'm planning to do the same thing with my camera. I plan to build a horizontal enlarger adapter, locking down my camera in a fixed position and adjusting the baseboard for alignment.

Brian C. Miller
10-Mar-2007, 21:55
The camera isn't involved in the contact printing part of the process.
Yes it is! Haven't you ever made a camera angel? Like a snow angel, except its usually on dirt, and your lens won't have a filter or cap on. And it always happens in front of all your friends.

Ralph Barker
11-Mar-2007, 11:09
Brian - (LOL) I've only come close a couple of times to making that kind of contact. But, isn't that contact imprinting? (i.e. the shape of the easel [the ground] is imprinted on the front element of the lens) ;)

Kurtay Photography
19-Mar-2007, 07:42
Brian, were you refering to 8x10 contact printing with G-CLARON 240/9.0? According to the site link and tech info of the lens I believe it doesn't cover 8x10?

In terms of adapting the camera I have found a very ceap way of adapting the 8x10 camera to make enlargements. I bought two cheap frames that holds the back and the glass in place with four hinges in 12"x9.5" size. I have covered the rough back wood bit with a smooth paper to keep the dust and chips off the neg and the paper. The paper and the film sandwich in between this holding frame and back of the camera comes off and this sits in there (you can modify the frame to the 8x10 size film back so it fits the camera). Then a table lamp attachted with enlarging lamp. Dark cloth goes around the set up to avoid light leek just like you are shooting with the camera... Bob's your uncle as it is said in English.

It will be interesting to know any other modifications done! Haven't tried mine just yet but soon. I need a lens. Can it be a 300 f4.5 old lens? Or does it have to be an enlarging one?

Brian C. Miller
20-Mar-2007, 11:41
Contact printing is placing the negative directly on the paper, and then turning on the light source (about 1 second with my bathroom light). Enlarging is when you need a lens and light source, and project an image onto the paper.

The G-Claron wide angle covers 8x10 when stopped down (f22) but for enlarging with it (nearly wide-open at f9 or f11) the longer lenses should be employed.

The reason that we use special enlarger lenses is that they are designed to focus from negative to paper, while photographing lenses are made to focus from scenery to film. However, you can certaintly use a photographing lens for enlarging. Here's Ron Wisner's The Myth of the "Flat Field" Lens (http://www.wisner.com/myth.htm), which covers the G-Claron.

Sounds like you have the start of a good home-made enlarger there. There was a recent sale on eBay for two 5x7 cameras, with one used for enlarging and the other for photographing. The only things that you need to really do with an enlarger is make sure the light is even, and that the negative-lens-paper surfaces are parallel.