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Making 16x20 black and white prints the old way, with chamicals and etc
Posted by: chopper
Date: March 12, 2018 11:46AM
I have some medium format black and white negs I'd like to have printed on good 16x20 paper. I don't want an inkjet job.

It's been about 30 years since I developed black and white film and printed anything.

1. Basically what will I need for an enlarger set up in order to do this and have it look great?

2. Do I really want to start printing again? Does anyone have a good old world chemicals and darkness service they would recommend?
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Re: Making 16x20 black and white prints the old way, with chamicals and etc
Posted by: freeradical
Date: March 12, 2018 12:25PM
Check to see if there's a rental darkroom in your area. In my area, there's one just off campus from Sacramento State University. The art photography students go there to get more darkroom time.

[photosource.biz]

If you buy an enlarger, I'd make sure that you get one that can at least handle 6x7 negatives. Even if you don't print 6x7 negatives, these enlargers are generally going to be bigger and heavier than a 645 enlarger, which means greater stability.

I'd also consider getting a "variable contrast" enlarger.

Here's an example of one:

[www.bhphotovideo.com]

Edit: This model comes with a 50mm lens which is for 35mm negatives. You'd need a longer lens for medium format.


The advantage of these is that you don't have to monkey around with filters to change contrast. You just dial it in. Also, when you change contrast, the enlarger varies the bulb voltage so that you don't have get your exposure right again. Very cool.

You can of course also use a color enlarger for black and white if you find a used one in good condition, but I wouldn't buy a new color enlarger unless you actually plan on printing color.

Here's a technical document from Ilford (pdf) that shows initial single and dual filter settings when printing b&w with a color head:

Contrast Control for ILFORD MULTIGRADE papers



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/12/2018 12:31PM by freeradical.
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Re: Making 16x20 black and white prints the old way, with chamicals and etc
Posted by: DP
Date: March 12, 2018 12:54PM
No, don't! Why torture yourself? Just the cost alone; especially when you ruin a 16x20 sheet after sheet. You may have to project the image down to the floor!
I don't miss it at all. The chemicals, the best papers, the cleanup...
I would recommend getting prints done by the giclee process. I have seen excellent prints done by that method.





Disclaimer: This post is checked for correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Any attempts at humor are solely the responsibility of the author and bear no claim that any and all readers will approve or appreciate said attempt at humor.
My name is DP, and I approve this message.
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Re: Making 16x20 black and white prints the old way, with chamicals and etc
Posted by: freeradical
Date: March 12, 2018 01:15PM
They still teach the Zone System at Sac State!

Quote


PHOT 141. Intermediate Black and White Photography. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): PHOT 11 and PHOT 40; declared Photography majors only

Corequisite(s): PHOT 111 and PHOT 101


This course focuses on the development of the photographer's vision through the Zone System, black and white materials and the 4X5 view camera. The Zone System is used to control negative exposure and contrast, enhance print pre-visualization and to create quality gelatin-silver prints. Though this class concentrates on advancing student's technical proficiency a significant portion of the class is dedicated to aesthetic concerns in photography.

[catalog.csus.edu]
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Re: Making 16x20 black and white prints the old way, with chamicals and etc
Posted by: mattkime
Date: March 12, 2018 01:16PM
Its all depends what you want. You really need to be into printing technique and even then you'll probably want to use a rental darkroom.



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Re: Making 16x20 black and white prints the old way, with chamicals and etc
Posted by: jdc
Date: March 12, 2018 01:21PM
If you go to a true "fine art" printer with a $10000 inkjet, and choose the right paper, results are stunning.

Id say be prepared to pay $75=100 per print tho...



----


Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Making 16x20 black and white prints the old way, with chamicals and etc
Posted by: Kraniac
Date: March 12, 2018 01:45PM
Ugh..so much to consider here for 16x20..

enlarger, big trays, washing, drying, flattening, spotting, when you get into printing 16x20 on up you're entering a different world in some ways..

I mean, it sounds like you're gonna have to build and stock a darkroom and a post production area..

When you step to 16x20 you suddenly have to exercise extreme care with your paper throughout the entire process..larger paper will show buckle marks like crazy..getting it out of the box, into the easel, into the trays..1-2-3..washing..drying and handling..flattening properly..all of this handling..if done with the slightest lack of care will cumulatively cause little damages..it's something printers, new to these large sizes,, learn..it can be a bit alarming and unexpected and demands constant care and focus..stuff like this

If you want to keep doing this as a love and a hobby and whatever..go for it!!

If it's just for a round of prints and then poof..forget about it..

Do you live in a biggish city, large market?

If so you can surely find a half decent traditional printer to do this for you..

Getting scans and large prints IS an option..though..a good BW digital print is a very subjective thing..i wouldn't let anyone near it for my own work because the interpretation of "this is a good BW print" varies far and wide these days..it really does...the variables are crazy in the digital world so you had better have a good idea of what you want out of these..etc etc etc etc etc etc



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/12/2018 01:53PM by Kraniac.
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Re: Making 16x20 black and white prints the old way, with chamicals and etc
Posted by: DinerDave
Date: March 12, 2018 03:04PM
Ah, yes, I remember "hiding" out in darkrooms for hours on end. Had lots of fun learning and experimenting

Dave



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Re: Making 16x20 black and white prints the old way, with chamicals and etc
Posted by: Racer X
Date: March 12, 2018 03:51PM
I was the photo editor of our HS newspaper. I did a LOT MORE than just hide out in the darkroom. Hubba Hubba! Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
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Re: Making 16x20 black and white prints the old way, with chamicals and etc
Posted by: DP
Date: March 12, 2018 04:23PM
Quote
jdc
If you go to a true "fine art" printer with a $10000 inkjet, and choose the right paper, results are stunning.

Id say be prepared to pay $75=100 per print tho...

That's basically what giclée printing is. The lab near me will scan your neg's on a drum scanner, then they're printed on photo paper that has no emulsion on the surface.

They will use your scans but to do it right they will use your negatives so that they can control the print process. These type of prints look really great.





Disclaimer: This post is checked for correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Any attempts at humor are solely the responsibility of the author and bear no claim that any and all readers will approve or appreciate said attempt at humor.
My name is DP, and I approve this message.
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Re: Making 16x20 black and white prints the old way, with chamicals and etc
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: March 12, 2018 04:46PM
From my memories nearly about 35 years ago, you want anenlarger that uses fluorescent rather than incandescent bulbs. The main point is for the light source to be diffuse-eliminates a ton of spotting.
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Re: Making 16x20 black and white prints the old way, with chamicals and etc
Posted by: chopper
Date: March 12, 2018 04:56PM
Saw some interesting set ups on CL:

here
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Re: Making 16x20 black and white prints the old way, with chamicals and etc
Posted by: DinerDave
Date: March 12, 2018 05:07PM
Quote
Racer X
I was the photo editor of our HS newspaper. I did a LOT MORE than just hide out in the darkroom. Hubba Hubba! Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

I was too shy and introverted to hide in the darkroom and see what developed.

Some things I wish I could re-do.
Was the saying goes, If I only knew then what I know now.

Dave



Welcome to Dave's BBQ!

Many have eaten here....

Few have died
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Re: Making 16x20 black and white prints the old way, with chamicals and etc
Posted by: lost in space
Date: March 12, 2018 09:27PM
Quote
anonymouse1
From my memories nearly about 35 years ago, you want anenlarger that uses fluorescent rather than incandescent bulbs. The main point is for the light source to be diffuse-eliminates a ton of spotting.

That was my experience when I switched. It greatly reduced the visibility of dust and small scratches on the negative. And the bigger I went, the more failures I had.

What I also remember about printing large is everything Kraniac said about handling the paper, plus needing a very good quality lens, 80mm at the very least for MF bigger for 6 x 7. Focus and enlarger alignment become a bigger issue at that size too.

But when they came out well, they looked oh so good.



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Re: Making 16x20 black and white prints the old way, with chamicals and etc
Posted by: Kraniac
Date: March 13, 2018 12:59PM
Quote
lost in space
Quote
anonymouse1
From my memories nearly about 35 years ago, you want anenlarger that uses fluorescent rather than incandescent bulbs. The main point is for the light source to be diffuse-eliminates a ton of spotting.

That was my experience when I switched. It greatly reduced the visibility of dust and small scratches on the negative. And the bigger I went, the more failures I had.

What I also remember about printing large is everything Kraniac said about handling the paper, plus needing a very good quality lens, 80mm at the very least for MF bigger for 6 x 7. Focus and enlarger alignment become a bigger issue at that size too.

But when they came out well, they looked oh so good.

Known as a cold light head..does a couple of things..doesn't heat up like a condenser arrangement so it keeps your negative from buckling as the (condenser arrangement with incandescent bulb would heat up) light heated the negative..it also, as said, greatly reduces the hard edge of dust spots and softens their appearance..spotting still required though...It also has very nice effect on the overall tonality and feel of a print...

I used a variable contrast cold light head for many years...true love
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