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Thread: Contact printing light source?

  1. #11
    Bertha DeCool
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Cape Cod, MA, US
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    18

    Re: Contact printing light source?

    Thanks, all. An old 35mm enlarger is a possibility but space is a consideration. I've been thinking more along the lines of boxing in a low wattage bulb or LED or (..?) with a slot for 6x6 VC filters.

    I suppose if I can't get dim enough I could always drop in a Wratten ND filter.

    Bouncing a few flash pops is a nice idea but I need to be able to burn/dodge so I'm looking for a wattage and distance that'll allow for 15-20 sec exposures at least. Any prior experience along these lines would be gratefully accepted.

    Oddly enough, a friend from school back in the early '80s sent me a picture of our old darkroom, enlargers all gathering cobwebs. Maybe I drive a few hours and liberate a few...

  2. #12
    Bertha DeCool
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Cape Cod, MA, US
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    18

    Re: Contact printing light source?

    Bullet safelight converted is an intriguing idea, thanks.

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Collinsville, CT USA
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    1,414

    Re: Contact printing light source?

    When I was a student at RIT in the 1970s my darkroom away from the school's labs was in a very, very small bathroom. Durst 35mm enlarger on the toilet seat's cover. Piece of plywood partially covering the very small bathtub with 3 trays on it and the tub filled with water for the wash. 100% for contact printing 8x10 B&W negatives. Still have some of those 8x10 prints mounted on 14x18 mat boards. It's amazing at just how little space one can be productive in.

  4. #14
    Bertha DeCool
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    Nov 2019
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    Cape Cod, MA, US
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    18

    Re: Contact printing light source?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    It's amazing at just how little space one can be productive in.
    Oh so true. I'm walling off a small corner of an oddly sized room in my house, 3 trays in a metal slop sink and wash them in the bathroom or kitchen.

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Collinsville, CT USA
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    1,414

    Re: Contact printing light source?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertha DeCool View Post
    Oh so true. I'm walling off a small corner of an oddly sized room in my house, 3 trays in a metal slop sink and wash them in the bathroom or kitchen.
    If it works , then just do it. GOOD LUCK Bertha

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Posts
    978

    Re: Contact printing light source?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertha DeCool View Post
    Bullet safelight converted is an intriguing idea, thanks.
    I like this idea too. Could be any sort of lamp fixture.


    An enlarger with a dichro head like a baby Omega or Beseler 67 would be awesome. Still it takes up space. Your idea of a box with a filter drawer sounds like you could rig something up. If you get LEDS where the transformer is separate that would reduce heating.

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    286

    Re: Contact printing light source?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    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.
    Meopta has such a suitcase enlarger. I use the base and column of one as a repro stand. The "suitcase" in hard cardboard fell apart from being stored in a garage too long. Look for a Meopta Opemus, several versions of it.
    Expert in non-working solutions.

  8. #18

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    SooooCal/LA USA
    Posts
    1,771

    Re: Contact printing light source?

    For contact printing, you have choices not unlike when enlarging where one might choose a point source, condenser, or cold light head... With a point source, there is a very sharp shadow from the light that is sharpest but can be brutal in revealing even the slightest defects and dust... With the condenser, there is a slight point spread effect which is still sharp, but a little less severe... A cold light effect is not as severe as the diffuser spreads that fine shadow, but tends not to hold that very sharp edge as well, but also tends to blend imperfections...

    There are basically the same choices for contact printing, due to the hardness of the light used... Like above, the film to paper contact is close but different light sort of "wraps" around image points differently due to the degree of diffusion and the angle the light wraps around those points... You you can choose the "bite" of the look due to the light diffusion applied to it...

    Point source was used to contact print neg to film to make sep negs, dupes etc... Many use an enlarger as a source for a slightly harder light, but has a harder contrast, but darker fine details can be hard to bring up... A full diffused source can be lacking in contrast punch, but very subtle details can be revealed... (Observatories discovered 120 years ago or so subtle stars on their plates couldn't show until they greatly diffused the light sources...)

    If you use an enlarger (a good compromise), the old trick was to put a neg or strip on the film plane and focus to the height of the printing frame, then remove and throw off the focus a little as fingerprints on the outer contact glass, dust etc would not leave a hard shadow white marks on print... Use a lens on enl to use the most even illumination area of the light system, raise enlarger to height IC about 1/3 larger for the most even IC, and use a timer that has 1/10 sec intervals, as modern papers are fast and 1/10 second exposure steps will be used to zero in on exposure... (And enlargers have filter drawers, color heads etc to hold MG filters easily or dial in contrast corrections easily...)

    Interesting process...

    Steve K

  9. #19

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Oregon now (formerly Austria)
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    2,468

    Re: Contact printing light source?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertha DeCool View Post
    Bullet safelight converted is an intriguing idea, thanks.
    Worked for me for years. And, you don't need a Wratten ND filter or anything expensive if it's too bright. A sheet of typing paper does the job admirably in a pinch. Plus you can get translucent white plexiglass easily. Heck, my local shop just pointed me to the scrap bin and told me to take what I wanted when I asked how much a 6-inch square of white plex would cost.

    I had a ceiling-lamp hook over the washing machine (my work surface...) in my European bathroom where I hung up the safelight (with a few knots in the cable for height adjustment) and had an old in-line footswitch that I scavenged from a set of Christmas-tree lights. My timer was a metronome. Everything went into a box stored on a closet shelf when not in use. The nice thing about the bullet safelight is that there's a built-in filter holder. Just cut filters to fit. If I didn't want to enlarge everything I shoot, I'd likely still be using something similar.

    Best,

    Doremus

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    130

    Re: Contact printing light source?

    Before I bought an enlarger I used a 4w or 7w night light bulb hanging from the ceiling for 4x5 contact prints.
    Reid

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rjbuzzclick/

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