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Thread: Contacting printing without an enlarger

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Contacting printing without an enlarger

    I know a number of people have successfully done contact printing in a darkroom without an enlarger. For example, that was the norm in the early days of photography. Some folks recommend using some kind of diffusion with the light source to reduce it's intensity. This does make sense because using a bare bulb may only allow extremely brief exposure times of perhaps a second or two. However, if you used multigrade filters in conjunction with a bare bulb (like a Grade 2 filter for example), would this allow decently long exposure times like 3 or 4 seconds?

    Regarding paper types, a number of people recommend using graded papers so that any light source can be used with them for contacting printing minus an enlarger. Supposedly, multigrade papers can only be used with very specific light sources. However, someone on another forum reported that he got good results contact printing with Ilford multigrade paper and Phillips 5 watt and 7.5 watt bulbs held about 4 feet above the paper.

    Edit: would a moderator be able to change the title of this thread to "Contact printing without an enlarger"? The current typo may possibly cause some confusion.
    Last edited by tribal-warrior; 19th August 2019 at 06:16.

  2. #2
    Senior Member JoelM's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    San Diego, CA USA
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    Re: Contacting printing without an enlarger

    When I was Pt/Pd printing, I used a UV light source which consisted of 8, I think, bare fluorescent bulbs. I've known people to use a mercury vapor bare bulb as well as the great big point light source in the sky. I don't think that diffusing the light source matters unless it isn't covering your contact frame. A diffused light source gives the advantage of time, thus allowing you to do some dodging/burning of your negative.



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