The Xerox laser printer I bought has now produced about a hundred contact prints and I am quite happy with it. Colour and black and white images are rendered well and are as good as anything I produced in the darkroom.
But why is it so hard to make contact prints digitally. My version of Photoshop no longer produces them, so the alternatives on the MAC are Lightroom or Picasa. And, I have to say, that in each case the process is unnecessarily complicated, lacking in features and sooo slow. While it appears to be impossible in Ubuntu without using something akin to black magic (I have both MAC and PC).
After a great deal of trial and error I settled on Lightroom, making a horizontal format 20-up template with the images 52mm x 35mm (rather bigger than a 35mm frame). Forty photographs will fit on the A4 sheet but at 32mm x 22m, they’re a bit squinchy for my eyes.
This means using twice the number of sheets of paper and a fair bit more toner, but it seems a fair trade off-for my needs. The main problem is that I haven’t figured out how to put a page title onto the sheet in Lightroom; I have to write it in untidily by hand, and that rather offends me.