TwelveSmallSquares

The film photography & darkroom work of David Kirby

Three Negatives Making a Positive

Wonderful news! At last, after many months and years of waiting I have new negative carriers for my enlarger (an LPL C7700). When I first bought my enlarger it came with a 35mm carrier and something called a universal carrier. The universal carrier takes up to 6x7 negatives and has black strips of metal which you adjust to mask off the negative. In theory - ideal, in practice - not so much. I have found that the sliders are difficult to keep straight so when masking the negative the sides end up a bit wonky and, obviously, a wonky square isn't going to look good on a print. The universal carrier also uses ANR glass to hold the negative flat and little metal stubs to keep it straight and in place. The problem I have found with the glass is that whilst doing longer exposures under my enlarger e.g. when burning in for prolonged periods, I am ending up with denser edges to the image due to refraction of light around the glass which is no good at all. Also, there are only 2 metal stubs on the carrier to hold the negative in place and keep it straight, whereas most carriers have 4 which you can easily slide the negative between and know it is true. These stubs are placed so far apart that if you are printing the last frame on a negative strip there's no hope of getting it straight.

The universal carrier.

The universal carrier.

Not quite masked off square.

Not quite masked off square.

A few days ago whilst doing my daily Ebay check I spotted someone selling some 6x4.5, 6x6 and 6x7 carriers for this enlarger at a mere £10 buy it now. Needless to say I purchased right away! I haven't had chance to print using them yet but from a provisional look the negatives are masked off nicely and flat despite the lack of ANR glass. Hopefully these should stop the issues I have been having. I'll keep you posted of course!

The new 6x6 carrier with 4 well-placed pins to easily hold the negative straight and secure, even if printing the last frame on a strip.

The new 6x6 carrier with 4 well-placed pins to easily hold the negative straight and secure, even if printing the last frame on a strip.

A 6x6 negative nicely masked off in one of the new carriers (a little preview of one of my shots from Skye for you).

A 6x6 negative nicely masked off in one of the new carriers (a little preview of one of my shots from Skye for you).

My three new carriers. Simple yet essential.

My three new carriers. Simple yet essential.