SOS... return of the novice in darkroom... : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

Getting back to all who offered help and advice for my printing challenges. After exploring, experimenting and asking around, I discovered the main problem... incorrect mixing of the developer! I am using Nacco Printol 12 concentrated paper developer. At the suggested dilution for normal full scale prints (1:12) I could only get the washed out prints I referred to earlier. Yesterday, I mixed at the strongest dilution recommended (1:4) and viola... finally, some results that resemble half way decent prints. They are all somewhat on the dark side even with a short developing time (~1 minute). I am also still experimenting and getting comfortable with the filters on my color enlarger. For now, I am using 32Y/42M. I just wanted to thank everyone for their help. I have a zillion other questions but will read some before I post. I have learned so much from all of you by reading other questions and responses!

-- Patricia Arfsten (, September 17, 2000


There is no reason to use a mix of both yellow and magenta filtration. Use yellow for less contrast, magenta for more.

If you are getting dark prints with a 1 minute development, use less exposure. If your exposure is very short, you can dial in some of all three colors on your color head as a neutral density filter.

It sounds like at 1:12 you need a lot longer development.

-- Terry Carraway (, September 18, 2000.

Print density should be adjusted with exposure and contrast grade, never with development time. To find the correct development time, try developing test strips of fully exposed (exposed to room light) paper for different times at 15 second intervals from 1 to 3 minutes. Stop, fix, wash, and dry the test strips. Use the shortest time that produces maximum black. Or, skip the test and develop for 2 minutes. Most paper/developer combinations will be fully developed in 2 minutes.

-- Chris Ellinger (, September 19, 2000.

To add a bit to Terry's response--if you are looking for neutral density from a color head dial in 30y, 30m, and 30c. Nominally this is one stop of exposure compensation and make your normal adjustments from this, adding whatever your normal filtration is to the above. This is close, but may vary from enlarger to enlarger due to age of the dichroics and their movements.

-- fred (, September 19, 2000.

If you want a really complete description of how to calibrate a color head for constant exposure B&W printing, see The point of this, by the way, to allow you to adjust contrast without having to change printing time (avoiding the need to do a new test strip every time you change contrast).

-- Chris Patti (, September 20, 2000.

No need to do a new test strip as you change contrast, just use a table of filter factors. You can calculate the new exposure from the last one.

One problem with calibrating to maintain constant density is that you are limiting yourself to those "grades". WIthout it, you can add 5cc of yellow for a LITTLE less contrast to fine tune things.

-- Terry Carraway (, September 22, 2000.

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