Paper Suggestions?

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by Nikon Fan, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. Nikon Fan

    Nikon Fan TPF Noob!

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    Yes I've actually wondered into this mysterious darkroom section of the forum...kind of creepy in here, but I may have to get used to it...

    I'm heading back to the darkroom in college next week and the only thing we've ever used in there is TMax film and Kodak Polymax paper...I think there are some places to get the paper still even though they quite making it, but what other papers would you suggest trying? And does it matter on the type of devoper that we use and will the timings be different?

    We've got a new college teach this year and it stinks b/c he hasnt' been in a darkroom in 20yrs, so it's like we're teaching ourselves....so now you folks get to help me :lol:

    Anyway we are still using Tmax film b/c that's the developer they still have for film and that's what we know...

    Any other tips would be helpful to :) I'm also going to be using color darkroom as well which is entirely new territory and I hear a lot of things are broken in there so you all may be flooded w/questions for that as well...just warning you :)
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Paper and developer choice is a lot like film and developer choice. Each combination will be a little different, but once you get to know the combo you've chosen almost any "look" is achievable.

    I would suggest Arista brand paper from Freestyle. It's good, it's cheap, and I think if you go to Freestyle through TPF they give back a donation or something. It's not as exciting as some fancy smancy art paper, but it's pretty typical gelatin silver paper. I like pearl/semi-matte RC or glossy FB.

    Whatever brand you choose, buy the biggest box (quantity); You'll save approx 25% compared to buying the same amount in smaller packages. Between test prints and fine tuning a print you can easily go through a dozen sheets of paper or more. Then once you get the print figured out you're going to want a few copies. A 25 sheet pack of paper is good for about 2 different photographs. I find it really easy to blow through 50+ sheets of paper in a printing session. If you are worried about buying too much for the class, go in on it with another classmate. Also, BW paper keeps; I had some in an un-airconditioned closet for 4 or 5 years, and it was fine when I started using it again.
     
  3. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    I agree on the Arista stuff, great paper! I'm being cheap and using the Arista.Edu paper, its actually pretty good, and when I develop in Arista Ultra-Cold tone developer the results are very nice. Just last night I finished off a 100 sheet box, probably used about 25 sheets making making about 10 prints, I wasn't being as selective on results though. Try buying a small amount of paper first, like 25 sheets to see if you like it, and then go big.

    I like some Ilford RC warmtone stuff I've got. Its good for a lot of printing, but it seems to have a slightly less dark, and more of a brown feel to it, which works great in a lot of old rustic farm pics. I would stay away from Ilford RC Multigrade IV, I have some 11x14 of it and it sucks, all the pictures come out very flat and boring, whites and blacks are never well defined.
     
  4. Nikon Fan

    Nikon Fan TPF Noob!

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  5. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, Dektol is pretty common stuff, it should work just fine with the Arista paper, or most papers actually. The price is great! I just bought some 5x7, 8x10, and 11x14 yesterday but all matte, I should've got some glossy, but oh well.

    Have fun in the darkroom :thumbup:
     
  6. Nikon Fan

    Nikon Fan TPF Noob!

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    Thanks darin :) I appreciate all your help!
     
  7. Nikon Fan

    Nikon Fan TPF Noob!

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    Well I ordered the Arista.edu RC VC paper, tried it out, but am a bit disappointed w/the results thus far....I think it may be the filters and I'm just not use to using them much, but I'm not sure...the prints so far just haven't had the contrast I've gotten with Kodak Polymax E paper, and they are pretty grainy even though the negs are 100 and 400 ISO...I tried different timings and filters and all sorts of stuff that I knew to do...I finally wound up using a 1 and 1/2 filter, with around 4 secs @4 and it was giving me better results...

    Anyway, any suggestions on how to get more contrast, and why it may be so grainy? I think after I get used to it I'll like the paper, but I'd appreciate any help and advice :)
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    It's not the paper. I've used Arista.EDU RC with great results.

    Without seeing examples I'd say that the graininess is more likely an issue with the negs than the paper.

    A #1.5 contrast filter is at the low contrast end. Just go with higher numbered filters until you get what you like.

    What enlarger lens are you using? I would close down the lens at least 2 stops to get into the "sweet spot" area of the lens.

    4 sec is a really fast exposure time. 10 sec is about as short of a time as I like to use.
     
  9. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    A #2 filter is consiered to be close to neutral, under 2 you are actually losing contast. The only time I've used a 1.5 filter was to flatten out some negs pushed to iso 3200. I do most of my printing with about a #3 filter.

    Like kmattfish said, 4 seconds is a little short. The longer you go the more time you have for dodging and burning. If you turn the enlarger off a second too late at 4 sec. that's a problem. If its 1 sec over 32 seconds its no big deal.

    What kind of film are the negs from? I've had grain problems with really dense negatives. With the arista.edu film I had to underdevelop about 1.5-2 minutes to make them less dense and easier to enlarge.
     
  10. Nikon Fan

    Nikon Fan TPF Noob!

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    I'm using TMax, one roll was 100 the other 400...on my contact sheet the 100 roll seems a bit grainy, but the 400 is really clear, which is odd b/c doesn't 400 typically show more grain?

    I tried using different filters, 3 and 4, but both were completely blown at 4 secs @4...my teach knows nothing about the darkroom so I've been trying to figure it out myself by trial and error process...I'll keep working at it :) I appreciate your help and suggestions...I'll try some different settings and other filters and see what works :)
     
  11. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    Ok, try starting with a #1 filter. Put down a sheet of 5x7 and set the enlarger to f/11. Next, have a developed sheet of 5x7 available. Turn on the enlarger, wait 10 seconds and use developed sheet to cover 1 inch of paper being exposed. Wait 10 more seconds and move the paper an inch more, etc... until the entire sheet is covered. Turn off the enlarger and develop the print. Then do the same thing with a #2 filter and a #3 filter. This will help you work out the times and show the effects of different contrast filters.
    Have any samples that we could see? that would help a lot.
     
  12. Nikon Fan

    Nikon Fan TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Darin :) I'll give that a shot Wed. when I get a chance to use the darkroom...

    I don't have any samples to show b/c I don't have a scanner...am working on getting one though so hopefully sometime soon...although I hope I have this figured out by then :lol: Thanks again for your help!!!
     

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