View Full Version : Alternate Contact Printing Lights

31-Aug-2010, 05:54
I may try this this weekend for kicks but, until then, has anyone ever used other common household light sources for contact printing: Fluorescent Light, LED Light, etc.?

What kind of incremental impact did it have on your final print?



ret wisner
31-Aug-2010, 08:30
25 w bulb in a old safelight enclosure with large multicontrast filter that are removable over the front of the red light box

Brian Stein
2-Sep-2010, 16:18
I have built a light box to expose cyanotypes (havent tried any other processes) with UV leds available off eBay (emit around the 400 nm ). My exposure times with this setup appear similar to those on unlinkingeye with more usual light boxes. I do not know how much the blue or white leds spill into the near uv, (from this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-emitting_diode it looks like some will, but manufacturers may well filter out the 'bad' UV) but from my printing times with the UV leds I would guess that exposure times would be sufficiently long to be a nuisance. The energy saver compact fluorescent lights will give a little uv, but exposure times look like they would not be practicable.

3-Sep-2010, 12:20
When you use the word alternate, it brings up the possibility you are talking about alternative processes. But, then again, maybe not.

Are you referring to making ordinary contact sheets with silver based papers, or are you asking about illumination for non-silver alternate type processes like platinum, kalitype, cyanotype, etc ...?

What sort of process / paper are you using? Different processes demand different light for various results. If silver based, are you using enlarging speed paper, contact speed paper or home made printing out paper? Graded or variable contrast?

4-Sep-2010, 12:09
exactly what CG stated. I use a 15w bulb and a on/off switch for modern silver paper. A higher bulb is used for the silver chloride contact paper. Sunlight or UV lights for my salt, cyanotype, albumen, VDB and kallitype prints.

Going to need more info for better suggestions.


John Berry
5-Sep-2010, 10:07
Whatever you use be sure to check for even light across used work zone. Element placement is not concern to manufactures. I went through 6 bulbs to get one with even light across and ended up 4' away. Started with bulbs in Kodak beehive housings, bad reflections. Worked with reflector bulbs in housings to get rid of backside lighr and height to get even distribution. Ended up with 120 watt plant bulb, photons is the name of the game and the paper doesn't seem to know the difference and I'm not going to tell it.