Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/10/28

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Subject: Re: [Leica] darkroom update...
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 1998 05:54:15 -0700

Francesco -
I suspected that once you developed your own film, contact printing would
quickly follow. Good for you.
Your safelight should be no less than 6 feet from the paper to avoid
fogging. A 100w bulb at 1 foot is a very strong light source. Try using a 25
or 40 w bulb and move the bulb 3 to 5 feet away. Also once you get an
acceptable image, develop the paper for 1.5 min and fix for 2 min.
You're close to success so keep trying. Now I'll make a prediction. Once you
achieve success, there's a darkroom in your future, within 1 month .. max.

Greg Achenbach
- -----Original Message-----
From: Francesco (Glossymedia) <>
To: <>
Date: Wednesday, October 28, 1998 2:28 AM
Subject: [Leica] darkroom update...

>Contact latest project.
>The facts:
>amber safelight......2 feet from printer
>100W soft tungsten bulb.......1 foot from printer
>Ilford MG Paper Developer at 20C for 60 seconds
>Kodak Indicator Stop Bath at 20C for 30 seconds
>Ilford Rapid Fixer at 20C for 60 seconds
>Ilford MG Glossy Paper RC
>Kodak Glossy Paper RC
>wash under running water for 2 minutes
>hang dry
>Well, I got the TMax 400 negs developed perfectly, but when
>I tried to folow Hedgecoe's instructions on contact prints, I
>messed up a few times.  In his book he explained how to run
>a test to determine proper exposure time for contact prints.
>Since I do not have an enlarger yet, I improvised.
>Under safelight,  I placed the neg strip over the paper, then
>placed the combo under the contact printer glass sheet.  I exposed
>with the tungsten desk lamp for 5 second increments, as Hedgecoe
>recommended.  I then ran through the chemicals and times
>stated above.  Jet black paper.  No images at all.  Hedgecoe said
>there would be a gradient strip on the paper from light grey to black
>and the proper exposure would be the one where the paper just turned
>black, but my entire strip was black!  After some more testing, I assumed
>the safelight was not really safe, or that the Ilford paper was not safe
>under that light, since the Ilford paper insert said the light had to be
>a special one.  I switched to Kodak paper, and tried again.  Under the
>safelight, I got black paper again, even at 5 seconds.
>Now I thought the safelight was certainly not safe, so I removed it.
>This time I tried the same thing in the dark.  This time I got the faintest
>of images to appear, but very very faint!  I deduced the light was on
>too long, so I knocked it down to 5 seconds.  Still too long.....I got
>images, but very faint and dark.  I then decided that the tungsten bulb
>was too strong, so I changed the setup and I exposed with the amber
>safelight at a 2 foot distance from the paper, and used no tungsten light.
>At 5 seconds, same thing....faint images.  At 3 seconds, I was getting
>tired and when better, but still faint, images appeared, I was relieved
>and figured I was on the right track.  But I quit for the night.
>I remain confused.
>I know all of you darkroom veterans are ROTFL right now, and that's OK,
>but what I am doing wrong here?  A million things are going through my head
>as to what the problem is:  light source too close, time is supposed to
>be very short (under 2 seconds), light source is too strong, etc.
>Am I on the right track?  Can someone tell me the proper timings for
>making standard contact prints?  Is it posible to do without an enlarger
>or am I wasting my time, paper, and chemicals?
>PS......what is the difference between a developer such as HC-110 and
>XTOL?  Is XTOL a paper developer?