What kind of glass for contact printing

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Hi all,

What to use when contact print? What kind of glass?


-- Martin Kapostas (martin.kapostas@asdo.com), March 27, 2001


Response to contact print

Try to find a 1/4 inch thick piece of plate glass that is two inches larger (all the way around) than the prints you intend to make. If you buy from a glass company, you must insist they find you a piece with no imperfections. This may not be as easy as it sounds, as most people aren't aware how imperfect glass is. Sand the sharp edges so you can handle it easily, and store it where it won't get scratched.

-- Ed Buffaloe (edb@unblinkingeye.com), March 27, 2001.

Response to contact print

Martin: I went to a locally owned glass company and carefully explained what I wanted the glass for and asked for a piece of glass in pristine condition. They even let me check the glass before they cut it. I got a piece 1/4 inch thick 14 inches square. They ground off the sharp edges for me. I placed a piece of duct tape at one end to help me handle the glass easier. The piece of glass cost me about five bucks total. I take good care of it, looking after it like it is an important tool in the darkroom, which it is. A good cleaning every once in a while is all that is needed. In the event of a minor scratch, a touch of Edwal No Scratch buffed down good takes care of the problem.


-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alaweb.com), March 27, 2001.

Response to contact print


Are you taking any pictures yet? Did you get a camera? You've been asking questions all along, but I'd like to here how you're coming along.

-- John H. Henderson (jhende03@harris.com), March 27, 2001.

Response to contact print

Go to a good framing shop or framing supply house and get a sheet of Anti Reflection UV glazing cut to size. It will keep the newton rings at bay. It is also easier to find a perfect piece. Get the AR glass, not the 'non glare'. Museum glass in AR is easy to find.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), March 27, 2001.

Response to contact print

Is there anyone making contact printer? There was at least one company that made a few industrial models (forgot the name) which advertised in Focal Point website. I am not interested in industrial mondel but I would like to buy one for making black and white contact print/masks etc., even second hand.

Regards Hisun

-- Hisun Wong (hisun@mail.com), March 27, 2001.

Response to contact print

I bought one of those industrial contact printers thinking that the "contact" between film and paper would be at it's best. And it is, but the loss of control when dodging and burning was not worth the trade off. I went to a contact frame whichgives me the best of both worlds, perfect contact, and the freedom to dodge and burn as needed or desired.


-- William Levitt (Light-Zone@web.de), March 29, 2001.

Response to contact print

Hisun & William, I've got an old Burke & James Rexo contact printer with 9 bulbs, and have used an Arkay (when I was in school long ago) that had at least 20. I've used the Rexo a bit to contact 5x7 negs on Azo, and it works really nice for this. With the multiple bulbs, you get alot of control by switching some on/off to control density. You can lay tissue paper or opaque acetate masks on the diffusion glass, and build up areas where you want to hold places back. If you use VC paper, you can piece together contrast filters this way, or just use some Rosco gels to approximate the filters. Mostly I use the contact printer to make dupes of old nitrate/acetate base negs. I beefed up the thickness of the glass to give me better contact. I run it off a voltage stabilizer and it works nicely, since the speed of the dupe film is about the same as Azo, and it's ortho so the red safelight in the printer is a plus. Yeah, they're still made, but they are big, industrial units. The labs that cater to the furniture studios in our area, sometimes use them as long roll contact printers. The majority of these studios shoot 8x10, 11x14 and larger. I see the Rexos occasionally in surplus lots, and stuffed away in the backrooms of camera stores.

-- DK Thompson (kthompson@moh.dcr.state.nc.us), March 29, 2001.

DK: My contact printer is set up with 16 bulbs, but is an older model, without the feature of being able to selectivly turn the bulbs on and off. I suppose it would be acceptable for AZO, but I'm not using that paper. I bought a more modern ARKAY with, I believe 24 bulbs and 24 individual switches, but it's sitting at my brothers home in the States, (I live in Germany), and the sucker weighs over 50lbs. The thought of what it would cost to have shipped to me here sends shivers up and down my spine. I got it for a good price and figure, one day I'll either move back to America or then again, maybe not. But it was just too good a deal to pass up.

-- William Levitt (Light-Zone@web.de), March 30, 2001.

William, I wouldn't have passed up the Arkay either...I've been looking for one of those off & on for awhile now. That sounds like the one we had where I went to school. It had been donated to us along with a huge cache of Azo. I think those things have been waning in popularity for a long time. Even the Rexo is too bright for modern papers. The best paper I've ever used with it was not Azo, but the discontinued (now) Oriental Portrait. This was really slow under an enlarger, but faster than Azo (not a contact paper). I used it in both fiber and RC. It could be that if you still had your printer, you could just unscrew the bulbs you didn't want to use, but this would be a hassle probably. I don't know what the market's like over in Germany, but every once in a while I'll see a Rexo lying in a corner with dust all over it. They're kind of a specialty item I think, you know, it may be hard for a store to get rid of it...even with Azo/dupe film my exposures are like less than 5 seconds...

-- DK Thompson (kthompson@moh.dcr.state.nc.us), March 30, 2001.

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