View Full Version : Paper negatives - contrast control?

Scott --
6-Jul-2010, 18:55
Hi, all -

Until my 8x10 film arrives (:mad:), I'm toying around with paper negatives, using Arista.EDU Ultra RC papers. With some experimentation, I've arrived at an ISO of about 3. Best negative I've come up with to date is

Now, that's way too much contrast for anything I want to shoot. Any way to control that? I'm using HC-110 dil A as a paper developer, which is reported to be a bit slower in action than typical paper developers. The above shot was processed 1:05 in a Uniroller drum.


Eric Rose
6-Jul-2010, 20:40
If you are using multi-grade paper experiment with using either a green or deep blue filter. I would imagine it would work opposite to what you would expect.

6-Jul-2010, 21:50
There are a couple of ways to lessen contrast. No reason you couldn't preflash the paper to get the highlights to show. There are a number of threads on flashing paper. That's maybe the first and easiest way.

Next and more complex would be SLIMT latent image bleaching. Never done it but I gather it will lose you some speed, but give some control of contrast range.

If you want to try filters to lower contrast with multicontrast paper used as a negative, you should go with green. Between the green and blue filters, a green filter will lower the paper neg's contrast. You will end up with a green only rendering and it will have lower contrast than with a blue filter.

Kimberly Anderson
6-Jul-2010, 21:52
Use softer light.

Scott --
8-Jul-2010, 10:56
Ok, shot this again, using older, somewhat fogged paper, softer light, and an ISO of 3.


Think I need to just wait for my film to get here. This is just plain annoying.

8-Jul-2010, 11:47
Selectol soft paper developer

Glenn Thoreson
8-Jul-2010, 12:13
Use VC filters if your paper is VC. Low contrast filter is yellow. More toward magenta as the contrast grade increases.
Unlike film, paper is made to be developed to completion. Under development doesn't help and over development just makes fog. Your first picture is good and would be less contrasty if you used a VC filter in front of the lens. Bear in mind, too, that film developers don't always get along with paper. The suggestion to get some Selectol Soft developer from your friendly Kodak dealer is a good one. You can also use the water bath method to tame contrast. Paper negatives can be really beautiful if you can get the process down pat. Paper is much cheaper, too. :D

Scott --
8-Jul-2010, 12:20
Well, I shot one more on the old, fogged Kodak paper. A little brighter sunlight, guessed exposure. Looks ok (drying). But, I think I'm going to file this mentally as something to play with more later. My film'll be here in a couple days. And 8 second exposures don't work well with the kids... :p

Thanks for the help, everyone.

Jay DeFehr
8-Jul-2010, 12:42
I don't know, Scott, they look pretty good to me!

Kimberly Anderson
12-Jul-2010, 23:58
I don't know, Scott, they look pretty good to me!


That last shot looks sweet. One thing I try to keep in mind with paper negatives is that it has limited usefullness. If your light is super contrasty you'd better be shooting film and doing a minus development. If you have a scene where you would need to do a heavy plus development, that's where you might want to try your paper negs. They respond really well to that super soft light.

Nice job with the fogged paper. I have my students shooting some old fogged Ilfobrome paper and they look very similar in tonal values to yours.