printing smaller than 5x7

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ericdan

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I enjoy making small prints a lot. I print 99% 5x7 and once in a while I make 11x14 prints. For the 5x7s I use an 85mm or 90mm lens. I would like to go even smaller than that now. Maybe half of the size of 5x7, but 5x7 seems to be the smallest cut available for most fiber papers.
Do any of you regularly print smaller than 5x7?
My Saunders/LPL easel barely goes to half of a 5x7 size. Should I get a separate easel?
Should I cut the paper or just expose half of it and then turn it around and expose the other half with another frame before developing?
I am not setup to cut paper in the dark.

Thanks,
Eric
 

Ian Grant

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You should be able to find a smaller printing easel quite easily and for next to nothing. Cut the paper it's safer.

I like making small prints occasionally, usually I print on 16"x12" paper bu small prints are great for hand made books etc, often I'm reducing from 5x4 negatives to around 4"x3".

Ian
 

MattKing

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A small rotary paper cutter is an excellent addition to any photographer's toolkit. You can use it in the darkroom, and you can use it outside as well. I would recommend one with a 12" maximum cut, as being a good compromise.
I make lots of 4"x6" prints - for the postcard exchange here, and as great gifts when placed in an 8"x10" mat.
 

pentaxuser

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In Ilford RC paper there are 3 pre-cut sizes below 5x7: a 3.5 x5, a 3.5 x 5.5 and a 4x6. In FB it seems as if the smallest size is 5x7. I have never seen any individual "speed easels" for anything under 5x7 but there are easels that will give you a combo of small sizes from a bigger sheet. You can then cut the borders to suit. There are also small 2 bladed easels which you can alter to suit. The only problem is that many 2 bladed easels have arms that are not completely parallel but over short distances of less than 5x7 the discrepancy is probably small enough not to notice. The truly parallel 2 bladed easels tend to be the better easels such as the Beard and the better 4 bladed ones.

pentaxuser
 

pmargolis

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I enjoy making small prints a lot. I print 99% 5x7 and once in a while I make 11x14 prints. For the 5x7s I use an 85mm or 90mm lens. I would like to go even smaller than that now. Maybe half of the size of 5x7, but 5x7 seems to be the smallest cut available for most fiber papers.
Do any of you regularly print smaller than 5x7?
My Saunders/LPL easel barely goes to half of a 5x7 size. Should I get a separate easel?
Should I cut the paper or just expose half of it and then turn it around and expose the other half with another frame before developing?
I am not setup to cut paper in the dark.

Thanks,
Eric

Hello,
I've been doing a project on Ilford's 4x6-in. MG post card paper. I use an 80mm Nikon enlarging lens, instead of a 50mm, so I can get a reasonable distance between the lens and paper. I also use a Beseler 8x10 borderless easel that I close down to fit the small-sized paper. Hopefully that's useful.
Paul
 

mshchem

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All the pre-cut sizes of the old days are gone. I use Saunders easels. I have one for 4 4x5 on 8x10. I also have a MP 810 easel, these cost big money new. With different masks you can print 8 wallets, 4 4x5s, 2 5x7s, even test strips on a single sheet of 8x10.
There was a jumbo version that used 16 x 20 paper, i.e. 32 wallets, 16 4x5s.........
These were popular for processing color prints for portrait and wedding photographers.
Last I looked 500 sheet boxes of (RC) 4x5 were still available, and as previously mentioned Ilford makes a lovely heavy weight 4x6 (RC) postcard stock in 100 sheet boxes.
 
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ericdan

ericdan

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I print on 4x6 with 50mm lens. Not a problem. I have nothing fancy, no status Vivitar enlarger.
4x6 is sold as regular darkroom paper.
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?ci=802&fct=fct_size_373|4x6in&N=4288586366

My essel has frames for 8x10, 5x7 and 4x6. Nothing fancy, either. Seems to be common one.
Those are RC base. I just prefer the look and feel of fiber based papers. I’ll get a rolling cutter and cut my 5x7s.
The 80mm lens should do. I just need to find an easel now. I’ve seen some Vivitar 4-in-1 easels. They do 3x2 4x6 5x7 and 8x10. Maybe that’ll do and they’re only about 30 USD.
 

koraks

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A roller cutter is easy to use under red light, I find. They also don't carry the risk of amputating fingers like guillotine cutters. Cutting larger paper seems like the most flexible way to solve your issue with paper availability. A guillotine cutter is quite quick; get one, you'll see that the lack of availability of very small paper sizes is not much of a problem if you can rapidly cut any size you want.

Most easels with movable blades allow masking down to pretty small formats like the ones you want to make. I personally use an Ahel (French brand) easel most because it allows for all four margins to be adjusted (within certain bounds), but also have a small Durst (I think?) that does the job. Like you, I quite like making small prints but usually don't go below 5x7.

My main gripe with most easels with movable blades is that they generally don't stay perfectly square at all times. I'm sure the more high-end models are much better in this respect. At very small sizes, the problem is usually a little less apparent.
 

ic-racer

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8x10prints.jpg


All my 4 blade easels allow small images on 8x10 paper (even the 20x24" shown). With 35mm film I usually use an 80mm Componon-s.
The Saunders and Beseler easels I use have adjustable blade alignment.
If the blades are straight, then equalizing the measurement of the two diagonals will ensure that the blades are at 90 degrees and parallel to the other blades.
 

voceumana

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Saunders made a series of single size easels which are very nicely made. The 5x7 of this series included an adjustable bar to allow for 3-1/2 x 5, 4x5, and 5x5 images, and two heavy black cards with double sided tape on two edges, for printing two 3-1/2 x 5 images on 5x7 paper (without cutting) by rotating the paper between exposures, or two 2-1/2 x 3-1/2 images on 3-1/2 x 5 paper by rotating the image between exposures. The come up for sale on ebay from time to time.

Most smaller two bladed adjustable easels will permit adjustment to a quite small image size.

Airequipt used to make (and others, too), a 4-in-1 easel with fixed boarders for 8x10, 5x7, 4x5 (or 3-1/2 x 5) and 2-1/2 x 3-1/2 prints. Paper needed to be cut to the two smaller sizes before exposure.
 
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The best thing to do is get a 4-in-one easel like voceumana suggests. I love 3.5x5 prints for proofs. I print them on rc paper and can make a huge number of them quickly.

Another option if you can find one is a Saunders 5x7 hinged easel. It has a removable bar so you could make a 5x5 square print or a 3.5x5 print depending on where you put the bar. I have one of them and they work well. make sure it still has the bar though. The Saunders has the advantage of being practically impossible to load wrong. No crooked prints.
 

darkroommike

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In Ilford RC paper there are 3 pre-cut sizes below 5x7: a 3.5 x5, a 3.5 x 5.5 and a 4x6. In FB it seems as if the smallest size is 5x7. I have never seen any individual "speed easels" for anything under 5x7 but there are easels that will give you a combo of small sizes from a bigger sheet. You can then cut the borders to suit. There are also small 2 bladed easels which you can alter to suit. The only problem is that many 2 bladed easels have arms that are not completely parallel but over short distances of less than 5x7 the discrepancy is probably small enough not to notice. The truly parallel 2 bladed easels tend to be the better easels such as the Beard and the better 4 bladed ones.

pentaxuser
  • You won't find them often but there were smaller "speed easels" including one for the special Kodak Postcard stock.
  • In the USA you can find small Bogen branded two blade easels that have pretty good "squareness" and they can be adjusted with a little careful bending.
  • If you find one of the older 4-in-1 easels they can also produce good results. I've also masked them to make even smaller prints. I like the older ones than had full channels to hold the paper, immense dslike for the new 4-in-1's than use wee tiny nubs to index the paper.
  • Every darkroom should have a paper cutter, I use a guillotine cutter CAREFULLY in the darkroom, I have also marked "presets" with old school Dymo tape for sizes I commonly cut, then I can even use it in total darkness.
 
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