Black prints : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I'm new to printing and the problem I'm having is that when I try to print a negative, the enlarging paper turns black. Doesn't matter if I use one second or 25, I can't get a test print. I'm using an old C700 Super Chromega 6x7 Dichroic enlarger. I expose the paper (Adorama pearl) and put it into the developer (Dektol 2:1) and within seconds it turns black. What am I doing wrong?

-- Richard Innamorato (, June 21, 2000


I don't know. I would try to put a piece of paper in the developer without any exposure and make sure that it is nice and white after it goes thru the stop and fix. If it is not bright white then it is the paper, chemicals or darkroom. If it is nice and white then it is light leaking from your enlarger, or too much exposure. Start there. Have fun!!

-- Jeff White (, June 21, 2000.

Just a thought, did you try stopping down your enlarging lens? Maybe you have it open too wide, thus over-exposing the paper.

-- S. Eidukas (, June 22, 2000.

Dektol 2:1? Did you mean 1:2 or did you really mix two parts stock solution to one part water? Normally it's the other way around (1 part Dektol, two parts water).

-- David Goldfarb (, June 22, 2000.

Taking every response in turn: 1) Yes, it was Dektol 1:2, sorry I wrote it wrong. 2) The lens was at f8. 3) Developed an unexposed sheet and it turned out bright white, but if I use ANY exposure, even a second or two, the paper turns black. 4) I tried turning off the safelight, sealing off any light leaks in the room, checking to see if the right side of the paper was up (that was an adventure: Printed on the backside of the paper, the image came through on the correct side overexposed). Will try to seal off any light leaking from around the bellows and/or negative carrier. When does the fun begin? Or is this the fun?

-- Rick (, June 22, 2000.

Hi Richard, I've been using the Adorama for quite a while, mostly for contact prints and for getting the various exposure and contrast filter selection correct. I've found the paper to be very fast and for contact sheets I've had to stop the lens way down. If you are using the dichroic head are you dialing in some degree of filtration? If not try adding some - it usually reduces the light enough to make useable prints. It may bee that your light source is very bright & you may have to figure out how to add some neutral density. Good luck. Eric Lohse

-- Eric Lohse (, June 22, 2000.

If everything is black, I would stop down to f16 and try that. Also, make sure you have the correct bulb in the head. Just another thought...

-- Scott Walton (, June 22, 2000.

Definitely stop down the lens. If that doesn't work the C760 dichroics have some (three, I believe) drop-in diffusers which will also help block some light for extremely fast papers.

Question: is your negative excessively thin? Have you tried to print more than just the one?

-- Chad Jarvis (, June 22, 2000.

Hi Richard,

Check the lens. Take it out and look through it while stopping down or up. It could be the lens get stuck in the between but showing full down. How high or how low your enlarger was raised?. Aprox. height for testing should be at eye level.

-- dan nguyen (, June 22, 2000.

What temperature is your developer? Make sure is is 68 to 70 F. To slow the process down, you could try even colder. Maybe 62 to 68. Hydroquinone looses it effectiveness as temperature goes down.

You could also try an even more dilute deveoper solution. Try 4 parts water to 1 part Dektol stock. Normally you would have to increase your development time to compensate.

-- Charlie Strack (, June 22, 2000.

Try the following procedures and see if you are able to get a print. First, in the dark without a negative turn on the enlarger, open & close your lens. There should be a definite lessening of the light as you stop down the lens and brightening as you open the lens. If the light stays the same the blades are stuck. Second, read the data sheet for the paper to see if there are recommended dichro filter settings and set them. Third, select a negative with good contrast features to make an 8 x 10 test print. That is, good black tones, varying gray tones, and some clear tones, if your negative is too thin or underexposed your print will be black. Focus your negative, (unless you are contact printing an 8 x 10) then stop the lens all the way down and back it up one stop. Turn the enlarger off, place a sheet of paper in the easel and cover all but 1/2 inch with cardboard. Set your timer for a 2 second exposure. Make the exposure, move the cardboard 1/2 inch make another 2 second exposure, continue to move the cardboard 1/2 inch and give a 2 second exposure until the entire sheet has been exposed. Fourth, all chemicals should be at 68 degrees. Develop in Dektol 1:2 dilution for 90 seconds, Stop Bath 30 seconds and Fixer for 4 minutes. The resulting print should show twenty 1/2 inch bands of exposure from 2 - 40 seconds. The lightest band will be 2 seconds and the darkest will be 40 seconds. Somewhere in the scale of the print should be a time that will give a good base time for your exposure. Once you get the hang of it test strips can be cut to 1 inch widths so you don't waste an entire sheet of paper as a test. If the print is still totally black after this test, stop the lens all the way down and try again. If it is still black after stopping the lens all the way down replace the enlarger bulb with a lower wattage bulb. Sorry if I was long winded but this is what I teach students in the continuing education classes at one of the local universities. Check your local university for non-credit darkroom classes. Happy printing.

-- Pat Kearns (, June 22, 2000.

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