Negs are focused, paper is not.

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by dave chamberlain, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. dave chamberlain

    dave chamberlain TPF Noob!

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    I'm new to developing my own film, but I seem to have hit a conundrum.

    I shoot HP5+ ISO 400 and Delta Pro 100.

    While the (very real?) possibility exists that both my negatives and/or enlarger focusing could be slightly out of focus (I do use a focus finder), my prints are very bad. They aren't even close, in terms of focus, to the negatives.

    The neg-holder has glass, so the negatives should be flat. Exposure isn't that long, that heat from the bulb might be warping the negatives (they're still sharp after multiple attempts.)

    Does anyone have any tips or suggestions?

    My thoughts right now are that either 1) there is some sort of vibration (the cooling fan in the colour head?) which is blurring the image, or 2) somehow my chemicals (Ilford Multigrade & RapidFixer) are interacting with the emulsion on my paper (Ilford RC Multigrade) and causing distortion of the grain? Or, am I missing a fundamental issue when developing B&W with a Durst CLS500, ie wrong density value dialed in? Currently set at M10, and zeroed on everything else.

    Sorry for the essay, but I'm clutching at straws trying to sort this out, so ANY advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    P.S. Can't scan negatives, so unable to give a side-by-side comparison of negative vs paper.


     
  2. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hmm, is your focus finder out of wack ... you should be able to see the projected image on the paper to see if it really not in focus.
     
  3. dave chamberlain

    dave chamberlain TPF Noob!

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    It's a possibility, but I do focus with the eye before using the finder.
    The only other possibility, which I failed to mention, is that I wear contact lenses. I've had an additional check-up just to make sure my prescription is correct. Everything seems to be in order....up until I actually start the print.
     
  4. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Can we get some history about this enlarger and lens ... is this the first time using this setup ?
     
  5. dave chamberlain

    dave chamberlain TPF Noob!

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    It's a Durst L900. Would have to check the exact details of the 80mm. Can't for the life recall whether it's a Componon or Rodagon.
    Have been using it for about 3 weeks now, on and off, so a newbie, but don't understand why the projected image goes from in-focus to out-of-focus, once I start developing
     
  6. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hmm, I am not familiar with that Durst ... from what I am reading it appears it is autofocus ?
     
  7. dave chamberlain

    dave chamberlain TPF Noob!

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    Yes...from what I understand, focus is set with head raised to the top of the column. It then transfers across, no matter the height thereafter. However, the photos still come out blurred.
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    If the in the larger is an auto focus model perhaps it has the wrong Cam installed for the lens in use?

    My money is on the focus finder being out of whack. Since you have a glass carrier, I don't think the negative is popping due to heat warping, which happens very often with glass less carriers. After 30 seconds or so a negative will almost invariably pop to a different focus than when the negative is cold, when held in a glass-less carrier..
     
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  9. dave chamberlain

    dave chamberlain TPF Noob!

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    Hi Derrel,

    I'll have to go check it all thoroughly tomorrow, but it should be fine. It was a working enlarger in an artists darkroom, which was sold for a LF replacement, so in theory, all the bits and pieces are correct.

    I failed to mention that I wear contact lenses, but I've even gone back for a re-test of my prescription just to make sure.

    I'll scratch around for another focus finder and see whether that solves the problem. Thanks
     
  10. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Is the paper laying flat in the easel?
     
  11. dave chamberlain

    dave chamberlain TPF Noob!

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    Hi there,

    Yes, I believe so. I've taken to weighing down all 4 sides, in an attempt to ensure that there is no lifting along the two "open-side" edges.
     
  12. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    When you use the focus finder, are you using it at the center of the image? And are you focusing on the film grain itself?

    Another possibility is something is moving the enlarger when you're exposing the paper. Machines like washers, dryers, furnaces etc. can vibrate them ever so slightly. Or something (or someone) walking around on a framed floor.
     

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