Contact sheet without enlarger

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by usayit, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Man.. I'm having lots of fun.. Photography is a life long hobby but it is only now that I have the opportunity to do my own darkroom work. In that sense... I'm a newbe... got a few questions and this will be my first...

    Open lab time at my community college ( i'm taking photography courses ) falls on hours that I have to work. I'm trying my best to do as much at home as possible in order to get my assignments done. It would be extremely helpful if I can print up contact sheets of my negatives at home. Unfortunately, I don't have an enlarger. Does anyone have advice on printing my own B&W contact sheets without the use of an enlarger? I need "good enough" results that one would feel comfortable submitting them along with assignments.

    Thanks!!!

    oh yeh... Just in case it matters... 35mm negatives, TMAX 400 generally, using TMAX developer.
     
  2. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You need a really dark room and a safelight. You also need a sheet of ordinary window glass about 8x10 inches in size. You need 8x10 paper, either contact or enlarging. And you need trays to hold the developer [Dektol is fine], short stop and fixer. I've used kitty litter trays for years now. Finally, you need a really dim light, such as that from a night light [4 watts or so] to make the exposure.

    Basically, you'll place the paper on a flat surface, emulsion side up. Then you'll place the negatives on the paper, emulsion side down. The safelight is needed so you can see what you're doing. Then place the glass over the negatives. Use a heavy book on each end if needed to flatten the negatives against the paper. Position the light a foot or two above the glass/negative/paper sandwich and expose for the right amount of time.

    The right amount of time is determined beforehand by making a test strip using the same glass, paper and light set-up. Contact paper is much less sensitive to light than enlarging paper and so is easier to work with when using an improvised rig.
     
  3. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The above assumes that you do not have an enlarger. With an enlarger, you would use enlarging paper, not contact paper. You would use the enlarger as the light source with the lens set at about f8 and the head positioned high enough to fully light the paper, and then some. You would also use normal contrast paper or no filter if using variable contrast paper.
     
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for the advice!

    I'm currently trying to work out a deal for a digital timer cheap. Using your instructions, the timer, and a low watt bulb, I was going to experiment with very short exposures on regular enlarging paper. If it doesn't work out too well, I'll just have to wait for the contact paper I ordered to arrive.

    Thanks again...
     
  5. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    You could also try putting a night-light or other really low watt lightbulb a couple feet about the contact strip you want to make.
     

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