contrast control with dichroic head

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by coops, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. coops

    coops Member

    Messages:
    25
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I plan on starting to print in my new darkroom soon on a Super Chromega D Dichroic II. Phew.
    Anyway, on Ilfords website it says something like using 25 yellow and 40 of magenta is equivalent to grade 2, using their variable contrast paper. The numbers I gave are probably wrong, but my question is for those of you who use this enlarger, do you begin making test strips with the filters on at all, or do you start with them in grade 2 position or what?
    This will be my first time printing so forgive me if the question is confusing.
    Also, what light source do you use toi make the print. White, high or low.

    Cheers
     
  2. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You should try to to evaluate the negative for contrast and choose a grade before you do test strips. If you aren't sure and have not printed before, than probably start with 2 or something close. If you do the test strips with no filtration and then you dial in a filter, you will need to do new strips, because your times are likely to be way off. Once you have a little more experience, you will start to recognize situations where your neg is flat and needs higher contrast and the opposite, but for now starting in the middle makes sense.

    Now, there are two different sets of filtration numbers on the Ilford info sheet. If you use the one with single color filtration, dialing in magenta for higher contrast and yellow for lower, you will totally change the amount of light reaching the paper when you adjust the filters. If you use the second set of values for your contrast, then you will be changing the light values very little when you change grades. Keep in mind, however, that you still will likely need to adjust your exposure some if you change contrast, but it will be much less if you use the second set of numbers.
     
  3. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

    Messages:
    1,897
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Let me add one more thing. It might be a good idea to print a couple with no filtration first. There are a lot of variables and if you have truly never printed, then I think removing one variable at first makes sense. When I taught a beginner class, our first prints were always with no contrast filters.
     
  4. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,727
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The key is to adapt your film exposure and film development so the majority of your negs print up the way you like them to look on what you select as your "target" paper grade. If that is no filtration or filtration for a certain grade of paper from MC paper, so be it: choose it and stick with it.

    For many years, I have chosen a Nr. Two target paper grade. If need be, I can then "tweak" the print by dialing in different contrast using the dichroic filters. Filter packs are color-head and paper-manufacturer specific.

    A dichroic color head can greatly simplify the print controls you have at your disposal for making a print which expresses your concept and your vision.
     
  5. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

    Messages:
    3,219
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Everybody does it differently. You're going to get as many answers as there are responders to this thread.

    When I enlarge I always split grade print. I start with 100 yellow and 0 magenta and expose until the highlights come in. Then I increase contrast on the second exposure until it matches the negative so that I get the overall contrast I want. Along the way I pick up the information I need about dodging and burning that will be required.

    Test strips are a waste of time. There is no general 'target contrast grade'. Each negative is different and requires a different level of contrast. The 'target' is what your negative requires.
     
  6. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,473
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  7. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,214
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you have truly never printed, start with the paper manufacturer's recommendation for grade 2 and dial-in yellow filtration to lower the image contrast and magenta for more contrast. Once you got familiar with that concept, consider the advise given below.
     
  8. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,560
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Location:
    Pacific Nort
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Did anyone mention split grade printing?
     
  9. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,214
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    For someone who prints for the first time???
     
  10. coops

    coops Member

    Messages:
    25
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format

    I was referring to split grade printing, forget to mention that in my post. Sorry. Is this something you don't recommend for newbies?
    Thanks to mall those who responded.
    BTW Ralph, checked out your website and wow, great images.
     
  11. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,214
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    coops

    Split-grade printing is a fantastic tool, and I highly recommend it to be in every printer's toolbox. However, I also believe in learning to walk before attempting to fly. Too steep of a learning curve is pickled with frustrating experiences, and I rather see people succeed.

    The best advise I ever got was:

    'Take one camera, one lens, one film, one developer, one paper, one of everything and photograph, develop and print the hell out of it until to REALLY understand your equipment, materials and processes. Then move on and add ONE of each.'
     
  12. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,203
    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Location:
    Daventry, No
    Shooter:
    35mm
    This site and the info provided there, free of charge, needs checking out by all who enter APUG. It's fantastically generous and generally fantastic.

    pentaxuser
     
  13. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,214
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks so much for the nice words. If what I present and post helps other, that's great. However, and to be totally honest, most of what I know, I've learned from others who were willing to share themselves (and much of it right here). In addition, sharing also means learning, because it often a bit of thought to get the message across. APUG is a win-win for all of us.
     
  14. SMG

    SMG Member

    Messages:
    26
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Wow I just checked out your site Ralph, and immediately bookmarked it. I will be making huge use of the Zone dial soon and most likely more of the tools you have there.

    Thank you so much for providing this information to all, I know it will help me immensely.

    Cheers,
    Sean
     
  15. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    The paper will have two tables for filtration. Use the table that combines yellow and magenta for each paper grade in an attempt to keep the exposure time constant when switching from one grade to another. When printing for the first time it is useful to get a rough sense of exposure times for a given set of variables.

    Try to take a series of negs in consistent lighting. Try to print just one negative reasonably well. Then try to print one after another at the same magnification making small adjustments for perceived differences in negative density, simple dodges/burns, some edge burning, etc. and get familiar with the process. Don't try to get it perfectly. Then go back and print the first negative again, this time trying to make the best print you can. I think that is a good way to start.

    I agree that split printing is too much to start with.
     
  16. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,727
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The best advise I ever got was:

    'Take one camera, one lens, one film, one developer, one paper, one of everything and photograph, develop and print the hell out of it until to REALLY understand your equipment, materials and processes. Then move on and add ONE of each.'[/QUOTE]
    *****
    amen, Brother Lambrecht