Questionaire: Who has problems printing PMK negs on VC?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by rayfc, May 6, 2003.

  1. Just curious folks...

    Many people seem to have problems printing PMK negs on VC paper. I have
    no complaints at all with this combination and as a matter of fact, have quite
    good success with it. My enlarger is a condenser type and I use kodak,
    below-the-lens PC filters. 90% of my printing is done with basic split-filter
    techniques. I use three different paper developers; Dektol 1:2, Dektol 1:3 and
    Dektol 1:4.

    For those of you who experience problems, would you mind describing your
    setup? ... Just a matter of curiosity on my part ...

  2. I have been using PMK for 3 years and have never looked back. It solved the problem of excessive contrast in many of my nature pictures. Printing is now a joy, and burning/dodging are usually done for asthetics, rather than to save a crappy negative.

    The only tomes I don't use PMK is when using Tmax100 (it's the only b/w in readyloads) or when I want speed or compensating development
  3. I have a Saunders 4550XLG, but have printed my PMK negs on other VC enlargers
    with the same issues - blocked up highlights. While the negatives look good, it takes
    a great deal of burning in the highlights to get what I'm after. I used graded papers
    for years with a Zone VI (Aristo) cold light head and these same negatives printed
    much better so I have a direct comparison of the same negatives on both graded and
    VC papers.

    Since graded & VC papers are sensitive to blue light, the most effective pyro dye mask
    color is yellow - the complement of blue rather than the greenish mask that PMK
    produces (this would block the most blue light from hitting the paper). This is why
    I've been messing around with WD2D+ as it produces a yellow-orange mask. My tests
    of developing the same negative in both PMK and WD2D+ have been favorable. THere
    is one posted elsewhere on this board at:

    Just my two cents. My PMK negs print great on graded, but I am having a hard time
    with many of them (particularly compositions with big skies) on my new VC head
  4. Ray,
    So far, no problems printing PMK on vc papers (contact prints using non-cold light enlarger head as light source). As I've posted before, the PMK/vc papers work well, as least for me, on night scenes. Neon signs print with great detail. I recently shot some daylight stuff (a white church in diffused sunlight)and contact printed them on vc paper, and they look good (at least to me, they do). The only thing I don't like about Pyro is having to wear gloves.
  5. I've been printing 4x5 PMK negs on VC paper, using an old (blue) Zone VI cold light, for eight or nine years, and have never had problems with highlights blocking up. And I've used a variety of papers too. Often I use filtration towards the lower end of the contrast range, but that's what seems to work. My approach followed the first printing of Hutchings' book, and found it quite accurate. People's reported problems mystify me, but then a lot of things do.

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