Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by danac, Oct 23, 2021.
Trying to find the right 35mm negative carrier for my Beseler Printmaker 67.
Most 35 mm negative carriers crop a little bit of the image, similar to most SLR viewfinders. Full frame carriers allow the whole image to be projected with a little clear film edge so that you can print the entire image with a little black border if you are so inclined. I would go for the full frame version given a choice since you can always crop more, but filing out a negative carrier is a pain since you need to be very careful in finishing it so as not to scratch your negatives.
Okay. Got it.
I'll play devil's advocate and suggest that filed out and oversize neg carriers are to be avoided. The reason is they don't support the negative as well and make them more prone to pop and focus errors unless you're using a cold light source.
I'd say you're on the side of the Angels with that sound advice Conrad.
Only the devil would want to print a black border the lazy way, or worse still, show sprocket holes and frame-numbers!
Most camera viewfinders err on the side of a slightly cropped framing. So a cropped negative-carrier tends to give you exactly what you saw in the finder. Plus that clear area around the projected image does nothing to improve print contrast, nor negative flatness.
At the community college where I teach we have both kinds for our Saunders/LPL enlargers with diffusion color heads with quartz bulbs. I've never noticed any loss of sharpness from students' prints made with the full frame carriers, which doesn't surprise me since the sprocket holes and the negatives on either side of the one being printed are still fully supported. When I bought my Zone VI enlarger 20+ years ago the only 35 mm carrier available was full frame and I certainly didn't notice any loss of sharpness compared to the Omega D-2 the the Zone VI replaced while still using the same enlarging lenses. I am also not a fan of making black borders via printing the film edge, but if someone wants to do that I don't see how it will cause sharpness problems with normal printing.
I suspect those diffusion heads (no, not of fan of those either, for 35mm) don't get as hot as my much-loved condensers. Thus, you don't see problems.
I was a condensor fan until I tried a cold light head and never looked back. Less grain, a better tonal range and less print spotting--what's not to like?
It has been, for me, a rare frame that was "ruined" by using either type.
Seems like the late 70s or early 80s it was "Cool" to file the opening and be able to print sprocket holes.
That fad seemed to come and go in a hurry.
No doubt there are some who still find it desirable at times.
Apropos of not-a-lot: I think it was Meopta that produced a negative mask with an additional opening to show the frame number. There was a thin strip of metal left between the rectangular negative frame and the elongated oval that allowed the frame number to be seen. So support of the negative wasn't compromised.
Negative-carrier design has recently resurfaced on my radar in the form of the film-holder stage of my film digitising rig. All I can say is "the heavier the better". Nothing beats a good dose of gravity when it comes to holding negatives flat. For some reason a spring-loaded plastic mask just doesn't seem to cut it like a dense metal top-plate.
Also, it doesn't seem that hard to produce a negative mask of exactly 24 by 36mm. Why anyone would need a hole bigger than that isn't too clear.
I'm not sure about the 'less grain' bit.
I've worked with nearly all makes and types of enlarger and they've all delivered grain-sharp prints. Condenser, diffuser or cold-cathode head regardless.
The physics of it is, you need some separation between the image plane and any foreign body in order to increase the sharpness differential between the two by using a more diffuse light source. In plain language; the appearance of dust and other muck is reduced with a diffuse light source, but since the grain is the image, it remains sharply focused.
Here's a comparison between a diffuser head print - left, and the best image I could get of the grain direct from the film.
Personally I don't see the (diffuse) print grain as being notably softer than viewing the negative directly, given that the view of the print is now a 2nd generation copy. So it's difficult to imagine how a condenser head could actually make the grain more obvious.
I get nervous making any absolute statement about condenser and diffusion light sources. It's all a continuum. You could build a point source, but the results would be awful and you'd see every flaw. The aperture of your enlarging lens would also become mostly superfluous. Somewhere in the middle is the practical implementation of a condenser system, but what you get has a lot to do with the size of the source (bulb), condensers and format. IMO, a condenser system with a big bulb is a lot closer to a diffusion system than you might think. Talking a PH211 size. Then you could have a 4x5 system using a PH111, which is a lot smaller.
A bit off of my topic but here's a question. The instruction manual for my new Beseler Printmaker 67 highly recommends a heat absorbing glass. I am only ever going to make black and white prints with exposure times less than about fifteen seconds for sure. That part sells for $70. Your thoughts?
But the enlarger is ON when you focus and compose on the easel. So total time is much longer than 15 seconds.
I used as SMALL a bulb as I could. The speced 150 watt bulb gave me an exposure time of less than 5 seconds. That was way too short to do any dodge/burning. The 75w bulb, pushed it out to a more acceptable 10 seconds, and reduced the heat. If I could have found a 35 or 25w bulb, I would have used that, to get closer to 20 seconds.
I've never used a HA glass. It maybe useful, but I've gotten away without it, so unless you can get it cheaper, I would pass on it. Especially if you use a lower wattage bulb.
Here's some stuff I wrote many years ago- A Darkroom Measurement Compendium About halfway down I talk about heat absorbing glass in the 23CII I had.
BTW, if you know the dimensions of the HA glass, there are places that sell HA glass, cut to size.
I just finished printing several 6x4.5 images for the first time with the Printmaker 67. All images were sharp everywhere and there was obviously no negative popping. So the HA glass will likely not be needed.
I sure hope you guys are having as much fun at this as I am.
Charging 70 bucks is a bit cheeky, since most decent enlargers already incorporate some form of heat-absorption.
The condensers in a condenser head are usually thick enough to absorb a lot of the heat, while most diffusion heads use a dichroic-reflector bulb that cuts down forward heat emission, followed by a diffuser box that doesn't reflect IR. Plus any decently-designed negative holder should reduce the chances of negative 'pop'.
Whatever. Most of the commercial darkrooms I've worked in used glassless carriers to minimise dust and the associated faff of cleaning 4 dust-catching and potential Newton-ring-forming surfaces. I can't recall a single case of a print being ruined through negative pop - even with 5"x4" glassless carriers.
Definitely ruined a few with my Beseler. Recommended test procedure- use a grain focuser and focus. Turn off the lamp and let things cool. Turn on the lamp and watch through the grain focuser for about a minute. If anything moves, you'll see it.
Somehow, this is all reminding me of the other reasons (besides radiation fogging) that I switched to digital in 2004..
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