ISO for Paper Negs in 4x5 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I'd like to play aound with some paper negatives in my 4x5 using Ilford Multigrade IV RC Deluxe (pearl) paper.

Anyone do this before and have some idea of an approximate speed to set on my meter?

-- Todd Frederick (, April 23, 2000


Todd.... When I first learned to use a view camera (about 30 years ago) we shot our first pictures using photo paper instead of film. I think it's a great way to practice the mechanics of using a view camera. It's not expensive, you get an image you can evaluate in a matter of minutes, and the results can be surprisingly good!

I don't quite remember for certain, but I think I used Kodak Medalist paper at either 6ASA or 60ASA.

If you want to use the resulting image as a paper negative, single weight paper works best! -Dave

-- Dave Richhart (, April 23, 2000.


I used this method about a year ago when doing some pinhole photography, but that was just a guess on speed. I want to do some more pinhole with a 5x7 and paper negs in the future. I could test for speed, but would probably waste too much paper.

The RC papers are quite transluscent and they worked well for the pinhole images. Single weight fiber or standard weight RC seems to work fine. I'm just not sure about the speed. The specification sheet with the paper gives a speed but I can't find a copy and I'm thinking that the speed indicated is the speed under lamp illumination.

My 4x5 and lens are of vintage background, and the paper negs seem to give an "old" look to the image, especially when contact printed and sepia toned...may as well take advantage of that "limitation."

-- Todd Frederick (, April 23, 2000.

Non developer incorporated VC papers are normally asa 6-12. James

-- james (, April 23, 2000.

James...Thank you. If I recall, last time I worked at about 10. So I think I will try an exposure at 5, 10, and 20, and see what I get. Most appreciated for a starting point.

-- Todd Frederick (, April 23, 2000.

I enjoyed shooting with paper too Todd, I know what you mean about the "old-timey" look. The soft focus effect can be interesting with the right subjects. Did you try enlarging any of your images too?

I don't think finding a workable paper speed would be that expensive. One sheet of 8x10 paper makes 4 negatives. Shoot the same subject at 4 different ISO settings.

Now I'm thinking about trying it again myself! With a handshake... -Dave

-- Dave Richhart (, April 23, 2000.

I don't know why I thought that a test would cost a lot of money...the paper's cheap...but it's nice to have a starting point.

I haven't tried enlarging any since I no longer have a 4x5 enlarger. My main interest is in contacts. I think these might look interesting printed on Luminos textured paper.

Tomorrow I will take a half dozen or so shots of the same object and get back on the speed I find to closest to "normal"...whatever that might be.

I'll try to post an image here if this site will take an html tag.

-- Todd Frederick (, April 23, 2000.

Let's see if this will work. If not, ho well!

Any way, I found that a speed of about 6 will work but 2 seems better. I will try to post an image of an agave I used as a subject this afternoon with the paper negative. I will work with some more photogenic subjects tomorrow. Moving water might be interesting.

-- Todd Frederick (, April 24, 2000.

Ho, ho, ho...well! It worked...perhaps I'm not so cyber-stupid after all! This might be fun. 2 ISO ain't so bad if you're patient!

-- Todd Frederick (, April 24, 2000.

Todd: Not bad! You can also project color slides onto paper and get a negative, which will let you enlarge the image. It is difficult to enlarge a 4x5 paper neg due to the density. Another method is to make an enlargement from a b&w or color neg, contact that enlargement onto another sheet to get a paper neg, and then contact that neg to get back to a positive. I can't remember, but you may have to flop the original neg in the enlarger to get everything to come up correct left to right. It has been a long time since I used the process, but it was quite interesting. You can do all kind of retouching with a pencil on the back of the paper neg. Put it on the light table and do the retouching on the back side.

-- Doug Paramore (, April 24, 2000.

Looks interesting Todd...I didnt know that you could post photos on this forum. I hope it doesn't lead to a lot of bad vacation snaps!

The worst part of long exposures is when you stumble into the tripod 2/3 of the way throuhh!!! -Dave

-- Dave Richhart (, April 25, 2000.

Just out of curiousity, what kind of reciprocity failure adjustments are you making? Any? None? The standard for conventional film? Or do you have so much light you don't need to?


-- Erik Ryberg (, April 27, 2000.

Todd I've used ILFORD Multigrade IV and AGFA Multicontrast RC papers as negative material in my 4x5 camera, and a rating of E.I.12 works pretty well. Process as normal for paper. The paper negatives contact print OK

-- Tony Russell (, August 18, 2001.

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