contact printing frame opinions : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've been using a 'budget' version of a contact printing frame that I bought from Photographers' Formulary and find it very unsatisfactory. The metal clip/clamps are ineffective and have unseated themselves on a regular basis, causing more than acceptable waste through slipping and more than acceptable frustration which is, perhaps, more important. Printing involves carrying a screwdriver to re-fit slipped clips and the frame has shown itself to be a poor performer under medium (150 sheets in 3-4 months) usage. It was inexpensive ($35 for an 8x10) and I suppose I got what I paid for, although I think it should perform better than it does.

But my question is: what contact printing frames are others using that they could recommend? I do not require registration pins (at the moment) and don't care whether the source is American or not.

Cheers and thanks in advance,Richard

-- Richard Rankin (, May 06, 2002


I have an 11x14 Ziaframe from Bostick and Sullivan. It wasn't all that cheap, but it is of top-notch quality.

-- Chad Jarvis (, May 06, 2002.

My antique 8x10" Century frame is still going strong and probably didn't cost more than your new one as I recall. You can find them on eBay and places like and

-- David Goldfarb (, May 06, 2002.

Perhaps you can find a used Zone VI contact frame on ebay. These frames are sold new through Calumet ( for around $80 or so (8X10). On ebay they run used around $40 - $65 depending on when and how an auction ends.

A small hinge type glass frame with foam backing may work well too if you are on a budget.

Or, you can purchase a piece of 1" thick foam (11X14 f. inst>) and a piece of 1/4" plate glass - slightly smaller (make sure the edges are ground smooth for your own safety), and simply place the heavy plate glass on the neg./paper sandwich.

Personally I use a 20X24 vacuum frame that I picked up on ebay for a song (and a dance...)

-- Per Volquartz (, May 06, 2002.

For years I've used two pieces of 1/4" plate glass clamped together with stationery clamps. (bulldog clamps) It makes a dead-flat sandwich. Unless you're using a printing-out process and need to peek I find it much more convenient than the spring back type. Have the glass shop smooth the edges, and wrap the back/bottom piece in brown paper, that way, if you scratch the top piece, just switch, and you've got a new perfect piece as back-up. Tracy Storer

-- Tracy Storer (, May 06, 2002.

I second the recommendation for the Zone VI frame- it's a good one!

-- David Rose (, May 06, 2002.

Doug Kennedy in California makes very nice contact printing frames (I've used his 16x20 or so frame for about seven years and except for some pitting on one of the metal pieces it's as good as new). I also understand that Great Basin makes nice frames but I've never seen theirs. Neither is cheap. I don't have contact information for either of them but they should pop up with a Google search or perhaps someone else can post the information.

-- Brian Ellis (, May 06, 2002.


If possible, go to some local camera shows and see what turns up. I've seen them from time to time and recently picked up a nice Burke & James frame for a few dollars.

Regards, Pete

-- Pete Caluori (, May 06, 2002.

Richard, If you don't require a hinged back POP frame, I've sound that a small glass tabletop(heavy) like the import shops sell for end tables works well on a piece of solid rubber matting. Good Luck!

-- John Kasaian (, May 06, 2002.

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