Short exposure or short development cycle?

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by DocFrankenstein, Jun 18, 2005.

  1. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    When you print your pictures, there are 2 ways you can do it.

    You can underexpose the paper and then overdevelop it.

    You can overexpose the paper and underdevelop it.

    So, how should I print my pictures? I can expose the paper briefly and then develop it for 1-2 mins

    Or I can blast it with light, and then hold it in developer for 10-20 seconds.

    Which way is better?
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Neither.
    The right way to do it is to give the correct exposure and the correct development.
    If you under-expose the paper the shadow areas may well not receive enough light to produce an exposure and no amount of development can develop what is not there.
    Under-development reduces the range of tones on the print and reduces the maximum density of the print - regardless of how much exposure you give the paper.
    You should always process paper for the time specified for your particular developer.
    Normally this is 1.5mins for RC and 2 mins for fibre at 20C.
    By sticking to this you can then assess whether your print is under or over exposed. Doing a test strip to start is the best way.

    If you give the correct exposure and development (in addition to selecting the correct paper Grade for your neg) you will produce a print with a full tonal range and good blacks.
     
  3. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    Are you doing a test strip with graduated times on it?

    Set your timer at say 3 sec. Put a strip of paper in and get a piece of cardboard. Put it over all but about an inch(sorry not metric here), hit the timer. Move cardboard a little and expose again. Keep doing this for the strip. Develop with a normal dev time say 1 min for RC. stop and then look at the strip. You should be able to get really close on an exposure time with a standard dev time. This only makes a proof print, from there you have to determine if dodging or burning is necessary or contrast.
     
  4. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    Yeah, I know... I did a test strip...

    But how do I know the standard time isn't 30 sec... 2 mins?
     
  5. ksmattfish

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

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    How bright is the bulb in your enlarger?

    What are the sharpest f/stops on your enlarging lens?

    What format film are you using?

    How large are you enlarging it?

    How much time do you need for dodging?

    Did you nail the exposure? Did you get the development right? Or is it a dense or thin neg?

    Is your enlarger secure from environmental vibrations (kids running through the house) ?

    What contrast filters, if any, are you using?

    All of these, and probably more, can affect what a good print exposure time would be for you. As you begin it may seem sort of random, but as you even out your exposure, development, etc... you may end up with sort of a "standard" exposure time. If I'm printing 10" x 10" from a HP5 6x6 neg with my Omega DII enlarger f/11 for 12 sec is almost always a good place for me to start.

    For my enlargers and lenses I like to start by stopping down about 2 stops and see if I'm going to get a time between 10 and 20 seconds. If I don't have to do much detailed dodging, then that's a good range for me. If the time isn't in the range I need, I adjust aperture to get it there.

    Like Hertz said, follow the manufacturers' recommendations for print development time, and try to keep your printing techniques the same: how you put the paper in the chems, when you start/stop the timer, how you agitate the paper/tray, etc...
     
  6. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    A real basic time recommendation for your standard print developer is 1 min for RC and 2 min for FB paper. The manufacturer should have recommended dev times on the directions.
     
  7. luis.martins

    luis.martins TPF Noob!

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