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Thread: Contact printing light source?

  1. #1
    Bertha DeCool
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    Nov 2019
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    Cape Cod, MA, US
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    Contact printing light source?

    I've lost access to, and room for, an enlarger to use as light source to contact print 5x7. More than willing to use Weston's 15w bare bulb but I figure there might be additional options after 70-80 years...

    Curious to learn what others are using or suggesting. I'll be situating the light source 3-4 ft above the table.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

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    Re: Contact printing light source?

    What paper do you intend to use; graded, or variable contrast?

  3. #3
    Bertha DeCool
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    Nov 2019
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    Re: Contact printing light source?

    Primarily VC (especially while getting back up to speed, it's been awhile), graded on occasion. Planning on using 6"x 6" multigrade filters under a boxed-in light source.

  4. #4
    Moderator
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    Re: Contact printing light source?

    Given that it's going to be used only as a light source and so doesn't have to have any relationship to the format you're going to contact print, have you considered one of the very compact 35-only enlargers that's easy to set up and break down? Something like a Durst F30, say.

  5. #5

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    Re: Contact printing light source?

    Bertha, a bare-bulb a la Weston will most likely be too bright & fast for modern VC papers. I use one with Azo & Lodima

  6. #6

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    Re: Contact printing light source?

    Despite what others have told me in the past (it won't work, it will be uneven, it will be too hard to control) I use a canon ex550 flash pointed at the ceiling on 1/32 power. Most negatives need 3 to 5 pops.

  7. #7

    Re: Contact printing light source?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    Given that it's going to be used only as a light source and so doesn't have to have any relationship to the format you're going to contact print, have you considered one of the very compact 35-only enlargers that's easy to set up and break down? Something like a Durst F30, say.
    Agree. Plus you have the ability to use a cheap lens as exposure control and can integrate the multi grade filters even below the lens since it is just a contact print and not an optical enlargement. For probably $20 or less at the local online venue you can pick up one of these compact units.

  8. #8

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    Re: Contact printing light source?

    Given that you want to use VC paper, you'll likely want a way to use contrast filters. That kind of rules out the bare bulb, etc. Here are a few ideas:

    Kodak bullet safelight w/ 15W or 7W bulb. Cut filters to fit. Use a piece of opal glass or plex if the light is too intense. Hang it from a ceiling hook and wire it to a footswitch. I did this in my small apartment in Vienna; worked like a charm.

    Small enlarger that will take filters that you can easily take down and store somewhere. Since you're only doing 5x7 or 8x10 prints, that should work fine.

    A small flash bounced off the ceiling as suggested above will work just fine as long as your ceiling is neutral (white, grey, even beige). You can hold or tape a filter over the flash. Keep in mind, though, that a flash is ~5500K, i.e., daylight, and that VC papers are designed to use tungsten light sources in the 2800-3400K range. Your contrast filtration might tend to the yellow...

    Hope this helps,

    Doremus

  9. #9

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    Re: Contact printing light source?

    A 6x6 Durst or Rollei enlarger with a color head can be found at auction or at a tag/garage sale (if your are lucky) for very few dollars. Just use it without a lensboard but with its 6x6 negative carrier. Works great with VC paper once you work out the filtration settings. Not sure if it would work with "Azo" type paper though but sounds like you are using enlarging paper.

  10. #10

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    Re: Contact printing light source?

    Years ago there was a Russian enlarger that came in a suitcase. You got room to store a suitcase?
    There was also an attachment for Speed Graphics that converted them into an enlarger. If you already have a Speeder....?

    I use an old Meopta enlarger that was rescued from being thrown out. It's small enough not to get in the way.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

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