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Contact printing 5x4

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I'm going to be contact printing 4x5's in a bathroom, just with a desk-lamp and a set of contrast filters (I don't want to get a LF enlarger where I am located at the moment).

 

Anyone have any tales to regale on similar set-ups?

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Apologies - Topic should read 4x5 in keeping with photographic convention...

 

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How I started. Flat/thick piece of plate glass, timer, and some Grade 3 paper. Easy/peasy.

Gary

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There is a guy on eBay from UK who sells refurbished "Paterson universal contact proof printer". It covers all format up to 8x10''. Highly recommended. Auction no 332476275736

 

Jakob

 

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I contact print 5x4's regularly.

 

The Paterson proof printer works well, much nicer then using a sheet of glass and pegs! It provides even pressure and clamps down solidly enough to keep FB paper flat.

 

A LED lightbulb hanging from the ceiling works without filtration and you will end up at about grade 4, if you already have a enlarger for another format i'd recommend using that as a light source instead as it also makes it easier to filter your light.

 

A desk lamp straight above the negative would probably result in far to short exposure times and might not give as even light on the negative as you'd want.

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I contact print 5x4's regularly.

 

The Paterson proof printer works well, much nicer then using a sheet of glass and pegs! It provides even pressure and clamps down solidly enough to keep FB paper flat.

 

A LED lightbulb hanging from the ceiling works without filtration and you will end up at about grade 4, if you already have a enlarger for another format i'd recommend using that as a light source instead as it also makes it easier to filter your light.

 

A desk lamp straight above the negative would probably result in far to short exposure times and might not give as even light on the negative as you'd want.

What exactly kind of LED lightbulb would you recommend?

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I contact print 5x4's regularly.

 

The Paterson proof printer works well, much nicer then using a sheet of glass and pegs! It provides even pressure and clamps down solidly enough to keep FB paper flat.

 

A LED lightbulb hanging from the ceiling works without filtration and you will end up at about grade 4, if you already have a enlarger for another format i'd recommend using that as a light source instead as it also makes it easier to filter your light.

 

A desk lamp straight above the negative would probably result in far to short exposure times and might not give as even light on the negative as you'd want.

Thanks. I was planning on using some translucent acrylic sheets below the lamp to make it a bit more even, inside a box channel to keep it directional. LED's may be better.

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What exactly kind of LED lightbulb would you recommend?

 

You can buy some variable colour temperature small led panels which might work well - like the NanGuang Luxpad 22. I use these as small copy lights but have wondered if they might fit into a 5x4 enlarger? They might also work (may need a diffuser) as a contact printer light source.

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You can buy some variable colour temperature small led panels which might work well - like the NanGuang Luxpad 22. I use these as small copy lights but have wondered if they might fit into a 5x4 enlarger? They might also work (may need a diffuser) as a contact printer light source.

That's exactly what is done here, with control over contrast and timing provided by an Arduino board...

 

https://apenasimagens.com/en/enlarger-head-using-leds/

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Ideas in this old discussion....

 

https://www.photrio.com/forum/threads/contact-printing-without-an-enlarger.20231/

 

Can't get more luscious prints than Edward Weston contacts with bare bulb.

 

So true and simple. I added an inexpensive (under $3) reflector that sat on the base of the bulb to keep its light from my eyes.

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Ideas in this old discussion....

 

https://www.photrio.com/forum/threads/contact-printing-without-an-enlarger.20231/

 

Can't get more luscious prints than Edward Weston contacts with bare bulb.

 

Jeff

 

I think you will find Weston was printing 8x10 or larger negatives, and using all the usual darkroom techniques of dodging and burning to create the 'lusciousness'. And although they can be very attractive a diminutive 4x5 is strictly a contact print for reference purposes, and in which case they may as well be scanned.

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I think you will find Weston was printing 8x10 or larger negatives, and using all the usual darkroom techniques of dodging and burning to create the 'lusciousness'. And although they can be very attractive a diminutive 4x5 is strictly a contact print for reference purposes, and in which case they may as well be scanned.

I'm aware; I've owned some of Weston's vintage work and have studied and collected vintage b/w prints since the 70's, including private meetings to see museum and other archives not shown by exhibition. I've also seen his darkroom and spoken with experts. Of course Weston's Daybooks and other research make clear many of his practices. Yes, contacts were primarily 8x10, but not exclusively; the point was to address the illumination issue, not all the other history.

 

BTW, I've seen contact prints that are smaller than 2 inches, some early European work, that is fabulous.

 

Jeff

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I'm aware; I've owned some of Weston's vintage work and have studied and collected vintage b/w prints since the 70's, including private meetings to see museum and other archives not shown by exhibition. I've also seen his darkroom and spoken with experts. Of course Weston's Daybooks and other research make clear many of his practices. Yes, contacts were primarily 8x10, but not exclusively; the point was to address the illumination issue, not all the other history.

 

BTW, I've seen contact prints that are smaller than 2 inches, some early European work, that is fabulous.

 

Jeff

 

In defence of Weston I was simply pointing out that the 'lucious prints' made by Weston are not simply the result of a bare bulb but actual hand work with tools. Because of the size of a 4x5 it is impractical to use dodging and burning tools. There is a vast difference between a contact print that looks nice (even if smaller than two inches) and a worked on print from an 8x10 negative. To suggest otherwise by comparing the two is to demote Weston's efforts to those of a lab technician who just sticks the printing frame under a bulb and bingo! a fine print is born.

Edited by 250swb

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Anyone who concluded from my comment that bare bulbs result in luscious prints have a lot more to learn than burning, dodging, etc,.... maybe some lessons on shooting, on lighting, on presesentation, etc . And even then, the most important parts might still be missing: a great eye and superb judgment. The critical tools are between the ears.

 

As it always was. If gear caused great photos or great prints, our work would look alike. Thankfully not.

 

Jeff

Edited by Jeff S

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What exactly kind of LED lightbulb would you recommend?

 

I just use a bare 2700k LED household lightbulb, i forgot its power rating but it was the lowest one i could buy in my local store. No box or diffuser around it.

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