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Thread: Buying or Making an 8x10 Contact Printer?

  1. #1
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Buying or Making an 8x10 Contact Printer?

    Is it better to buy a contact printer?
    Can I just buy an Ikea picture frame and be done with it?
    Advantages of either?
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

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    Re: Buying or Making an 8x10 Contact Printer?

    A genuine contact print frame is a must to produce sharp contact prints. An Ikea picture frame will not provide the even high pressure across the negative and paper required to produce a quality print. Good luck.

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    Re: Buying or Making an 8x10 Contact Printer?

    I have just started up with half plate/5x7 film and also wondered about contact printing. I never seem to see suitable contact printers for sale in the UK, but have seen write-ups about using two sheets of glass with the neg and paper in between them. Has anyone tried this and with what result?

    And historically how would, for example, Edward Weston have made his contact prints?
    Last edited by David Low; 12-Jun-2011 at 11:00. Reason: spelling

  4. #4

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    Re: Buying or Making an 8x10 Contact Printer?

    Ari,

    I bought my contact print frame used, and relatively inexpensively.

    With the number of individuals liquidating their wet darkrooms, it should not be too terribly hard to find one. Or you could run a WTB ad in your area...

    Not certain that even if I had the skills (which I do not), that I would bother consider making one.

    Or maybe our friends in your area would know where there might be one available...

    Good luck,

    Len

  5. #5

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    Re: Buying or Making an 8x10 Contact Printer?

    they are not hard to make !!

  6. #6
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
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    Re: Buying or Making an 8x10 Contact Printer?

    An IKEA clip frame is a good substitute. Cut the back plate in two, so you can loosen it for inspection.

    Old contact frames show up all the time in the strangest places. Most of mine look like they have seen about a century of heavy use!

  7. #7

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    Re: Buying or Making an 8x10 Contact Printer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Tjugen View Post
    An IKEA clip frame is a good substitute. Cut the back plate in two, so you can loosen it for inspection.

    Old contact frames show up all the time in the strangest places. Most of mine look like they have seen about a century of heavy use!
    The IKEA picture frame makes a mediocre contact frame based on the results I've seen.

    You are going to spend good money on materials so why not pop the extra Benjamin or so and get a good frame from Bostick & Sullivan. Antique frames are a crap shoot. Most aren't worth fooling with.

  8. #8
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Buying or Making an 8x10 Contact Printer?

    If it's for casual darkroom use only, I just set a heavier than average piece of glass over my negative/print sandwich. It will just sit on the enlarger baseboard and be fine.

    For alt process stuff, where I have to move the negative out of the darkroom, I have a real contact printing frame. Two actually. One has snaps that hold it nice and tight, but the snaps are a pain to deal with. The other has spring loaded metal bows that rotate out of the way to install/remove the back. This style is much nicer to use. You can take these contact printing frames outdoors or to your UV source and the sandwich inside doesn't move. You can even peek at the image forming by removing half the back and it doesn't move.

  9. #9
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Buying or Making an 8x10 Contact Printer?

    Good stuff here!
    Thanks

    I'll try to find an old contact printer in the $25 range; failing that, I'll make something.

  10. #10
    Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: Buying or Making an 8x10 Contact Printer?

    vacuum frame if you have the space, some are as small as 16x20(mine's a Nuarc 20x24 glass size), you'll be happy you did it.

    you'll want a permanent place for it though, transporting it(plus a pump) is a b!+ch though if you use a rental/temp darkroom space.

    but my contact prints(8x10) look great. I started with a contact frame, and my contacts looked great too. But the vac frame sure helps.

    -Dan

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