Using a 35mm enlarger as a light source for 5x7 contact printing : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have been experimenting with bare bulb as a source for contact printing, I think I could get more control using an enlarger, but I don't have the funds for 5x7 or 8x10 enlarger. What about using a 35mm sized enlarger, hooked up to a timer for the light only? Has anyone tried this? Is the light source large enough to cover 5x7? I don't really care if it looks weird, just if it works. Open to suggestions if you've got one. Thanks, jules

-- Jules Hancock (, January 04, 2002


HIs is how I do all my contact printing, with a lens and everything. I just set it up for it covers the neg size, focus it by the edge of the carrier, then print. There's no film in the carrier of course, so no chance of dust of spots, but the increased control of both time and light (through the f-stops on the lens) leads to idea times for burning and dodging if any.

-- Eric Boutilier-Brown (, January 04, 2002.

Sure it will work. I used this very technique a few weeks ago with great success (Leitz 1C) until I get my new darkroom completed. Just raise the head until you get enough illumination coverage and have at it.

-- Michael Kadillak (, January 04, 2002.

It works, but if you use Azo, your exposure times might be somewhat long. Be sure you have an enlarging lens in place or some diffusion material in the negative carrier if you use a condenser enlarger. I tried removing it to get more light and kept getting these mysterious spots, which I eventually figured out were the image of the bulb or some part thereof being projected onto the paper.

-- David Goldfarb (, January 04, 2002.

Many moons ago I used an 8x10 contact printer that would be easy to build. It was a wooden box with many low wattage bulbs mounted on the floor. There were several slots so you could insert sheets of frosted glass, masks, filters, or whatever, between the bulbs and the top glass. The lid was backed with soft sponge rubber to hold the paper against the neg against the top glass. The trick was that each bulb had it's own switch, so you could get more or less light on different parts of the neg. I think there were also masking blades to create borders. These days I just use the enlarger and stay away from slow paper :-)

-- Conrad Hoffman (, January 04, 2002.

Jules... using the enlarger for contact printing also allows you to use the filtering system for variable contrast papers...

-- Dave Richhart (, January 05, 2002.

Jules: using a 35 mm enlarger with lens for 5x7 or 8x10 contact printing is really no different than making a contact proof sheet of 35mm negatives. Lewis

-- Lewis Lauring (, January 05, 2002.

Man sometimes I feel like an idiot!!!! So many obvious answers and then Lewis put the frosting on the cake! Well thanks for all your help everyone. jules

-- Jules Hancock (, January 05, 2002.

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