Strips or entire sheets for yor test print?

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by voodoocat, Feb 11, 2004.

  1. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    I've now gone through my first pack of 25 paper since setting up my darkroom. Of all the prints I have made, not a single one is what I would consider great. Either my prints are too dark or too light. I have an entire set of VC filters and haven't a clue when to use them properly. Up till now I have used test strips (1/4 of an 8x10). I was just reading an article on thinking in f-stops, which I haven't done, so that could be my biggest issue.

    I think I might be trying to rush the print so I can try out different negatives. This is mostly a problem when I print from medium format negatives. With 35mm I can scan the negatives and determine whether I like the negative or not.

    Share with me your darkroom wisdom to get better results.
     
  2. schussey

    schussey TPF Noob!

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    buy a projection print scale, ($6 or so?), and cut a piece of your paper into four even squares (i beleive it will be 5x4)....place projection print scale on top of 1 square for 60 seconds, and develop. This will tell you a good approximation of time.....
     
  3. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    well, i can get a print from the first exposure.

    i keep my records and i also split filter every neg. for example, i know that:


    fp4 shot at 80 developed in pmk at 8x10 enlargement will take 7 seconds with the 00 filter and 15 with the 5 filter on agfa mcc paper. that gives me a decent print. i tweak from there.


    i used to use single filters, but realized how much freedom and control i was missing by not split filtering.
     
  4. schussey

    schussey TPF Noob!

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    i havent tried split filtering yet, explain?
     
  5. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    check your email, my friend.
     
  6. schussey

    schussey TPF Noob!

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    hmm- can you resend? thanks though
     
  7. ksmattfish

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

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    Dude, I've just gone through my umpteenth 250 sheet box, and I have yet to print one that I would consider "great". I blew through a 50 sheet box of 11x14 FB on Sunday. This upcoming week is Valentine's Day and my anniversary; how is the wife gonna take the cheap flowers I get for her so I can buy more paper!?!

    It takes a while to get the hang of looking at and assessing prints. Just wait, once you start figuring out how to quickly recognize contrast issues, and you think that your prints are starting to pop, then you'll start noticing "dry down".

    Learning to use your MG contrast filters should be your next goal. Take a neg and try to make properly exposed prints from it using #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5 filters. That's going to show you right there how they work.

    I start out with no filter. If it seems to need more contrast I try #3. If it seems to need less contrast I try #2. From there I assess each print and move up or down the filter range. Even if I think that I've got the right one, I go ahead and print the next filter also to compare.

    Once you get the hang of using them one at a time definately check out split filtering. There are several different methods, all discussed at great length all over the internet. I don't think that every print needs it, but it can work wonders on some of them.
     
  8. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    I went ahead and decided to search for information on split filtering. It took a couple different ways of explaining, but I think I understand the concept pretty well.


    this seems like a pretty good guide for using the projection print scale and split filtering.
    http://www.northnet.org/jimbullard/SPLT_PNT.htm
     
  9. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    voo:

    i sent the split filtering guides to you a while ago. check your email...just sent them again.
     
  10. TheProf

    TheProf TPF Noob!

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    I think you are making this harder than it is. Here is the system that I learned and one that I teach my students about printing. It works about 95% of the time.

    First of all USE test strips unless you like throwing money away


    Second determine what the hightlight (or white areas) are in your print that you want full detail in.
    Start with a number 2 filter and at F 8 on your lense. Cut a test strip to cover that area, and do a time step test. You are looking for the time that gives you a good bright highlight but shows detail. If there is no detail (i.e a sky with no clouds, print for just under white)

    Once you determine this that is your time (regardless of what the rest of the print looks like)

    Now find your darkest shadow in which you want detail. If its blocked up drop your contrast if it is flat increase it. Do 2 or 3 test incresing or decreasing your contrast depending on your first results. (you are looking for a print that has a good black but also shows detail)

    Once you think you have it then do a full print if its still not right go back to testing.

    Good luck!
     

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