(1) When contacts are made for use as a final product, they are
usually produced from 4 x 5inch negatives or larger. Because of their
large size, the image produced from these negatives can often be used
without enlargement. Aerial type negatives ranging from 5 to 9 inches wide
commonly require only a contact print as the final product.
(2) When contacts are made for the purpose of selecting which
negatives will be projection printed, they are usually made from 35 mm, 120,
or 4 x 5inch negatives. These contacts, commonly called "proof sheets",
are very convenient for viewing the contents of the negatives which are
available for printing from any particular job or event that was
photographed. Proof sheets are routinely produced in most Army photographic
b. There aren't any special processing requirements for contact
printing paper. You can use the standard processing procedure or the
2. Contact printing equipment. The basic requirement for photographic
contact printing is to hold the negative and the paper tightly together
during exposure to the printing light. For this reason contact printing
equipment is needed to maintain firm contact between the negative and paper.
Contact prints can be made with a printing frame or with a printer.
a. A printing frame is a simple device involving a wooden or plastic
frame, a clear glass face, and a padded spring clamp back. The negative and
the paper are held, emulsion to emulsion, between the glass and the back.
The negative is placed on top of the paper toward the glass side. For the
exposure, the frame is placed with the glass side facing toward the light
source, usually a projection printer. The printing frame, or variations of
it, are more commonly used in photographic facilities for contact printing
negatives 4 x 5 and smaller.
b. Some contact printers used by the Army are quite elaborate. Some
have a platen with a pneumatic (air filled) bag (such as the EN22A).
Others use a vacuum platen to assure contact between the negative and the
sensitized material. A handleoperated switch automatically turns on the
exposure lights when the platen is brought into position and locked.
c. The actual number of printing lamps in a single printer may be as
great as 176. Each lamp is connected to an individual switch, permitting
various numbers and combinations of lights to be turned on or off. In
addition to the exposing lights, contact printers are equipped with
safelights and white (viewing) lights. A typical Army contact printer is
shown in Figure 21.