View Full Version : Paper for contact printing

26-Jan-2010, 13:17
I have got tired of digital and intend to have a go at large format, initially 5x4 and hopefully later 10x8, contact printing paper negatives from a pinhole camera.
Suggestions would be gratefully received about the best paper/developer combinations to use for negative and then for the print together with any tips which might help me along the way.
I realize that personal preference plays a large part in how we judge a print so an indication of the characteristics of any combination would also be helpful

I have read about Azo developed in Amidol however this seems to be a rather expensive option and probably too technically demanding for me at this stage.

Robert Hughes
26-Jan-2010, 13:40
Take a visit to the nice folks at f/295 (http://www.f295.org/site/), the pinhole camera enthusiast forum. They've got lots of great information and an active user forum, full of people with holes in their... I mean, who own homemade pinhole cameras. And know how to use them!

Mark Sawyer
26-Jan-2010, 18:36
Azo would be a terrible choice, as it's a very slow paper made for contact printing. BTW, Azo was discontinued, though an "equivalent", (sorry, Alfred), is being made in small quantities as Lodima, ("amidol" spelled backwards).

I'd recommend soemthing without a manufacturer's watermark on the back, (unless you'd like lots of subtle "Kodak"s all over your image. A variable contrast paper would allow contrast control for differeing subject/lighting combinations, since you don't have the same development/exposure control with paper that you do with film. Panchromatic paper (if you can find it) might be better for portraiture and skies.

27-Jan-2010, 01:02
Another option that really surprised me is found on Freestyle's site...they are selling a silver chloride contact paper made by Foma. I think it is 'model' 312. the downside, it is matte only in grade 2. I have ordered some but it hasnt arrived yet. there are plenty of papers to try, pick one and work with it, once you are consistent and feel ready to try more expensive papers giddy up!

There are other options as well, namely make your own emulsion and put it on watercolor paper, which a pinhole camera probably lends itself to. I would research cyanotype, vandyke (van dyke) brown, albumen, salted paper. Right now I am thrashing around with VDB and am getting cool results. Cool in the sense, I made the emulsion. Dont ask me about consistency, I just started! :-). It is alot of fun. Easiest to do will be either cyanotype or VDB and kits can be had at the photographer's formulary or even bostick & sullivan. You can make your own kits, just have to buy the chems. have fun!


27-Jan-2010, 01:10
Another option that really surprised me is found on Freestyle's site...they are selling a silver chloride contact paper made by Foma.

If you like RC paper…

Philippe Grunchec
27-Jan-2010, 02:04
Fotokemika Emaks / Adox Nuance: great paper(s) for contact printing!

Brook Martin
27-Jan-2010, 05:41
Another option is Arista ortho film from Freestyle, all the advantages of paper, can use paper developer, work under safelights, plus it has a clear base. and very cheap compared to film.

27-Jan-2010, 08:57
Thanks for the replies.
There are suggestions here which have given me something to think about and act on.
Really appreciate it

Glenn Thoreson
27-Jan-2010, 12:06
Just about any enlarging paper will work for the print. For the negative, you may have better results with graded paper, as opposed to variable contrast paper. I would use filters with VC paper for best results. I don't know if Freestyle still sells it, but they had a direct positive paper that would give the final print right out of the camera. There are several liquid emulsions on the market that can produce some really nice prints, also. Pinhole photography should be about experimentation and having fun. Good luck. :D