Does increased contrast mean increased grain?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by hoffy, Jun 27, 2009.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Howdy,

    I have been developing some piccies tonight and trying a few things.

    For one shot, I have done two test strips, on at about grade 4 and the other at about grade 5 (I say about, I am going by the settings on the colour head, as opposed to using filters).

    I have noticed that the one that was on the higher contrast is substantially more grainy. Is that normal?

    BTW, this is HP5+, developed in LC29 and shot through a Red Filter. The paper is Ilford Multigrade RC and the paper developer is Ilford Multi Purpose.

    Cheers
     
  2. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    The grain is always there but the higher contrast print paper accentuates the grain and makes it more visible. No way around that.
     
  3. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    OK, makes sense
     
  4. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    If using grades 4 and 5 was simply to see the effect then ignore the rest of this reply but if the prints needed either of these grades to look right then you might want to examine your film developing process. With a colour head the print contrast should come out at about grade 3 for normal negs. Unless high contrast was the aim in the print as an effect then normal negs at these grades will print as black and white literally with few shades of greys and should look overly "stark" and lack detail.

    pentaxuser
     
  5. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    OK, and this is where its going to get fun for me. I am not 100% sure whether it really is the grades. I am just going by the settings and the fact sheet from ilford.

    Now, sorry about the bad scan (& all the marks....this turned out to be a rather dirty neg). This was done at what I can gather is Grade 3 and was shot with a red filter:
    [​IMG]
    To my eye, it was relatively accurate and very grainy

    Again, another scratched neg (I must learn to look after them a bit better), but this was done at what should have been grade 5 (this was shot with no filter)
    [​IMG]

    What do I need to alter to change the contrast when developing the film?
     
  6. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    From the looks of the racecar shot you are underexposed. No detail in the dark areas. The beach scene looks a bit under too but the bright highlights prevent printing any lighter. At a guess you seem to be underexposing and overdeveloping a bit.
     
  7. GJA

    GJA Member

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    Yes, this is normal. Grain is simply difference in tone, and increasing the contrast is to increase difference in tone. For this reason, I try to increase contrast in ways that do not affect the grain of the film, like filters.
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Under exposure accentuates the grain. Many of us down-rate 400ISO films to get better tonality & shadow details. Try shooting at 200 EI and cut the dev time by 15%

    You can do practical tests to determine the correct film speed & dev times, there's plenty of articles about it in the internet.

    You may also have under-exposed because of the filter, it's best to meter with-out and then adjust using the factor on the filter.

    Ian
     
  9. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    Deleted
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2009
  10. vdoak

    vdoak Member

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    Generally , yes, (ditto to "glbeas")
     
  11. Jayd

    Jayd Member

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    How to get to grade 2

    Fred Picker in his Zone VI work shop book goes through test to find your equipmets proper setting : meter and camera if meter is seperate,and then film processing so that you print on Grade 2 to avoid the problems your having. Basically the test are to take exposures of a blank flat surface with the film you like to use starting with the meter's recomended exposure then
    -1, -2, -3, + 1,+2, +3 stops. 1 stop = 1 shutter speed if your camera is working corretly. Record which frame is what! After the film manfacturers recomended development have a lab do a densiometer test and see which exposure is really zone VI or what the manufacture has posted on their web site, The densiometer reading will be RGB you want the R (red) number.
    To test your camera's shutter speeds see Rick Olsen's shutter spped test using your computer monitor then simply Shoot the same sceen at diffrent shutter speeds F stop combonations keeping the metered exposure the same I.E. 1/500 F5.6 = 1/250 F8 ( lower shutter speed higher F number and vise versa) a few cameras like the old Retina IIc locks the rings together so shutter speed and F stops change together if all is working right the negative will all have the same density(density roughly equals over all brightness).
    If you need a chart of densities I'll post a link to one I found for most films.
    Jay
     
  12. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Good advise. Filters don't belong in front of a lightmeter.
     
  13. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Hoffy

    Take the above comment and Ian's advise seriously. Expose your film at half the box speed and underdevelop by 15%. If this is too slow for your type of photography get a faster film. It will do wonders to your photography!
     
  14. GJA

    GJA Member

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    IMHO, pulling film (over expose, under develop) is generally not as successful as using a slower speed. I would rather shoot an ISO50 film than pull an ISO100 film one stop. It certainly depends on what films you like and what kind of developers you use as well.
     
  15. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    In this case it is not pulling the film but finding a correction for the entire metering and exposure system being used in the photograph to get the true EI to use for best results.
     
  16. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    OK, thanks for the replies. Certainly a few things to try (As you can guess, I am still learning).

    Just in relation to the Under exposing. I bracketed the Beach scene above and developed one of the other shots, that was slightly longer exposed (No idea what. These were taken while on a beach walk with the wife, so noting that specifics was low on the mind!) and the grain is much better. I just didn't get the same dramatic look in the clouds as the shot above (It was a very dark background, with sun highlights down lower)

    The car, well, thats the fun of sports photography. I was trying not to blow the highlights in certain area's (white concrete on the otherside of the track), but then you have to deal with black cars. A balancing act I know!.

    Cheers
     
  17. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Hoffy

    You will get the dramatic look into the sky by burning the sky in with a higher grade filter. I'm sure you get get even more drama.

    As far as the car picture is concerned, if you worried about blown-out highlights, follow the old advise:

    If in doubt, overexpose and underdevelop! This will get detail into the shadows and keep the highlight from getting too dense on the negative.

    It is really hard to overexpose and not being able to recover the highlights. I have made successful prints from negatives, which got 6 stops too much light (actually people asked me what my secret for shadow detail was). But, even half a stop underexposure and the negative is lost. You can salvage it, but it will never make a perfect print.
     
  18. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Exactly right!
     
  19. WolfTales

    WolfTales Member

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    Contrast doesn't really have to have anything to do with grain.

    You can have a high contrast image with little grain by shooting on 8x10 sheet film for example.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2009