View Full Version : Problems with contact printing

21-Dec-2008, 08:52
I've recently been contact printing my 4x5 negs, but have had a few problems.

First, I seem to keep getting "reflections" on the prints. Here's a example. I've adjusted the levels to exaggerate the problem, but it is definitely noticeable.


Second problem: issues with skies. Sometimes I see this, sometimes I don't.


Any advice is appreciated.

Brian Ellis
21-Dec-2008, 08:59
The mottled sky in the second print looks like uneven development of the negative. The effect isn't limited to the sky, you can see the same effect in other areas of the print. How are you developing the negatives?

I don't know about the first one, I'm unclear what's a "reflection" and what's supposed to be there.

Gem Singer
21-Dec-2008, 09:10
The problem you are having does not appear to be with your prints. It looks like it is related to your negatives.

Look closely, and I'll bet that you can also see that shadowing and mottling in your negatives.

You may need to rethink the method you are using to develop your film.

21-Dec-2008, 14:35
You may want to look at agitation during development. Developer that stays too still, can tend to leave a mottled effect. There are zillions of threads on agitation.


22-Dec-2008, 09:03
These unusual areas are not on the negative? You could try a print with just the glass and no negative, see if the marks still show up.

Alex Hollmann
22-Dec-2008, 16:58
Agitation problems in neg. developing or paper developing could be the problem, but here's a thought. Are you by any chance making the contacts using your enlarger as a light source? I had problems of mottled and uneven skies though the negative didn't show this at all, and I found out that I had actually unwittingly focused the enlarger so that it was projecting an image of diffuser between lamp and negative stage (actually, it may even have been when using a condenser enlarger). The problem stopped when I adjusted the focus.

David Karp
22-Dec-2008, 17:18
Are you contacting with the negative in a protective sleeve?

23-Dec-2008, 10:53
Thanks all for suggestions. It turns out my problem was two-fold. I wasn't developing the print long enough and my light source was not diffuse enough. The latter problem was solved by using a bare 15W bulb. The new contacts look much better.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3207/3130621027_a6aa67e481_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonthomas/3130621027/)

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3078/3131451696_c26860e873_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonthomas/3131451696/)