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Ok, I've done it: I've converted a shoebox to pinhole camera and have taken my very first shot. As a light sensitive material I've used a sheet of Ilford RC MG IV, the paper I use for ordinary print. The main problem with this paper is its very high contrast. Is there any other paper that is more advisable for this kind of usage? Does the finishing of the paper matters?

Grazie & Ciao,

Marcello
 

Nige

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you can tame the contrast a little by putting a Grade 00 filter behind the pinhole. Have you contact printed the neg to a positive or are you basing your assessment on the neg, which usually look to have more contrast than you'd think.
 

Ole

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If you can get hold of Varycon paper (Croatian, I believe), that has the longest shoulder of all papers I've ever used. In normal printing you will never approach Dmax at any filtration without turning the entire image dark grey to black - or black to deep black. Those are exactly the qualities that makes it a good paper-negative "film"...
 

inthedark

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marcello,

If you are unable to find a paper with low enough contrast, another alternative is to shorten the exposure time by about 1/3, then flash the paper with a "not so safe light" I use a 7wt with an amber filter for approximately 10% of your exposure time. For example, you determine that 30 seconds should be abour 1/3 less than your "usual" exposure, so you would want to lightly flash the paper for 2.5-3.5 seconds. This lays down a gray mask overall similar to film.

Another alternative, would be run you piece of paper through developer before applying it to the pinhole camera. Be sure to squeegee or sponge drips off of it. Then expose first for approx. 1/2 of exposure time, then let the paper sit unmoved in the dark for about 2 minutes, then re-expose for 2/3 the normal exposure time, then re-develop as normal. Apparently the pre-exposure lays down and intelligent mask for the remainder of the exposure which effectively lowers contrast.

I tend to use multi-grade papers, which also give you the option of simply adding a low contrast filter over the pinhole.

JL
 

lee

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Darkroom ChromaCrafts said:
marcello,
Another alternative, would be run you piece of paper through developer before applying it to the pinhole camera. Be sure to squeegee or sponge drips off of it. Then expose first for approx. 1/2 of exposure time, then let the paper sit unmoved in the dark for about 2 minutes, then re-expose for 2/3 the normal exposure time, then re-develop as normal. Apparently the pre-exposure lays down and intelligent mask for the remainder of the exposure which effectively lowers contrast.
I don't think I want my pinhole camera soaked in developer. next what if in that 2 minutes while you are waiting something moves? This might work for a graphic arts camera which is what DCC is using and everything is on a copy board but I don't think this is very practical for normal run of the mill pinhole work.

lee\c
 

inthedark

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lee said:
I don't think I want my pinhole camera soaked in developer. next what if in that 2 minutes while you are waiting something moves? This might work for a graphic arts camera which is what DCC is using and everything is on a copy board but I don't think this is very practical for normal run of the mill pinhole work.

lee\c

Uhm, okay, but if you squeegee, I don't think it would do much but leave a stain. But you are right, I was thinking about copy cameras, huh? Sorry.

Anyway the flash idea should work. And Aggie's styrofoam cup still sounds like a great choice.
 

inthedark

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Aggie said:
if you preflash the paper, it is easy to do with a styrofoam cup. Put the paper under your enlarger, make sure the lense is set for the lowest F stop, and then with the cup held over the lense, expose for any where from 12 to 25 seconds, depending on how much you need. It is the easiest trick I know to flash with short of using a raincoat.

Aggie, I think this is twice I've noticed you mention a "preflash", are you flashing the paper prior to exposure? And if so does this make substantial difference from flashing after? Or is this another one of those times wherein I just don't get the lingo?
 
OP
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Thanks to veryone for the suggestions. I think I'll try low contrast graded paper and preflashing. My guess is that graded paper could have a more normal tonal response (contrast should not change with colour). And, Aggie, it took me a while to understand the raincoat thing, english is not my mother tongue ;-D

Ciao,
Marcello
 

sirmy

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I`ve tried using printing paper in pinhole cameras but was unhappy with the washed out sky that results from the blue sensitivity of printing papers. I did try using multigrade filters in front of the pinhole but this made little differnce to the image. With the sun shining directly at the pinhloe I managed to record a superb image of defects on the surface of the filter but nothing else.

I did find that Kentmere papers required much shorter exposure times than Ilfords.

I eventually gave up on printing paper and bought a 5x4 developing tank and started using film instead with much better results.
 

Joe VanCleave

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Hi folks. I'm new to this forum, so here's my first reply.

I've been troubled with excess contrast using VC paper negatives for years. I've tried film developer instead of paper developer - doesn't help much, just makes the paper even slower.

Recently, a neighbor dug up an old box of Ilford Graded RC paper from his garage. Must be from the '80's. Thought I'd give it a try. Low and behold: this stuff works pretty good for negatives! I can actually get a full tonal range on the negative, with the blue sky showing up as a nice middle gray, rather than dark black, as VC papers would deliver. These negatives yield nice, full tonal range prints, too.

Problem is, I'm gonna run out of this stuff. The local stores only sell VC paper. Guess I'll have to find some graded stuff via mail order and see if it gives me the same results.

I'd like to stick with RC graded for negatives, because the flatness of the RC paper makes contact printing the negatives a bit easier. There's nothing as frustrating as trying to get two pieces of unruly, curling paper to be precisely aligned, with the curling sides facing each other.

One more note about exposing paper negatives: lately I've taken to giving my negs more exposure than my old tests indicated was proper. I find lots of my more recent images look better with more exposure. I think if you leave the shadow parts of the image near paper-white on the negative, you've effectively increased the contrast, due to under exposure. Over expose a bit, and you can tame the extreme contrast of paper negatives.
 

manbuck

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Hi Joe:
I'm new too, but i may have a solution for you: try using a small piece of gel or acetate 85a filter material behind the hole. It will act as a conversion filter for the paper neg.

I tested this out last year, in preparation for a pinhole project. Basically, I too was annoyed that I was getting unpredictable , highly contrasty results using Multigrade4 whreas 20 years before ( yes, it was a while back) my paper negs , with graded Ilfospeed, were just wonderful . My suspicion was that as the newer papers were redesigned for filtered tungsten illumination at 3200K- and were thus highly blue-sensitive, that raw exposure to daylight -5500K- would then shift the paper into high contrast overdrive...so I mounted a small square of 85 filter gel ( scrounged from a film shoot) behind the hole as an experiment. It worked. In effect, I was exposing the paper neg to the light it was designed for.

The results were encouraging:the contrast was lessened considerably and the paper negs became much more tonal in gradation.There was a noticeable increase in exposure required, but that worked out to the project's benefit.

The only thing that doesn't change is the paper's insensitivity to red or near-red, so you still have to take into account that the paper neg will print these colours as dark-grey to black.
 
OP
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Eventually I've switched to N. 1 graded RC paper with glossy finish, not so difficoult to find here in Rome (Italy). It works pretty good.

Ciao,
M.
 
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