Filters (recommendations)

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by macandal, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. macandal

    macandal Member

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    I'm taking a B&W class and my instructor said that it would be a good thing to invest in filters because the ones at school may not be the best. The way they maintain their sets is that, if one filter is lost from set A, they will try to get one from another incomplete set. Besides that, they're old and they've been used to death. Anyway, I wanted to know which kinds are the best and how much should I expect to pay. I hope they're not too expensive; I would like to get a set. Thanks.
     
  2. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Price of filters depends on brand, size, and type of coating.

    Multi-coated one from B&W at 77mm would cost you quite a bit where as non-coated one from Tiffen at 52mm can be had for ten bucks or sometimes even less.

    I took a middle ground and bought a set made by Hoya, multi-coated, and 77mm for about $50 each. I use adapter rings to mount this to smaller lenses.

    I also have a set from Cokin where there is a bracket and I can slide in various square resin filters. I found these to be a pain to use, so I don't use them anymore.

    If you have access to a set already, I'm not sure if I'd invest in my own. Unless they are in very bad shape, filter quality does not affect the image quality all that much, if any. You might want to play around with your school's filter for a while and get a feel for your own needs first.
     
  3. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    ..
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2012
  4. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    'Invest'? When used in this context 'invest' means you are going to spend money you don't have to. Save your money to buy film and paper - a far wiser investment in your education.

    I take it you are talking about contrast filters for B&W printing.

    Any old set will vary the contrast but the steps won't be even unless the filters match the paper. Ilford sets go with Ilford paper and Varycon sets go with Efke paper (and probably the other East European papers).

    If you are taking pictures with a Holga I don't think it matters much the condition of the printing filters.

    Perfectly good sets are available on ebay. Or you can 'invest' more money for a new set of Ilfords.
     
  5. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Good catch Nicholas - didn't see that this is in the enlarging forum. Yup, I would go with a used set from here on APUG or from eBay. If you can post a "want to buy" here in the classifieds, you could probably get a nice set for a very reasonable price.
     
  6. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Is he talking about MultiGrade filters for variable contrast paper??
     
  7. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Yup.
     
  8. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Wouldn't asking your instructor specifically what to buy be the most direct approach?
     
  9. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Contrast filters can fade with time. A very old, beat up set from a school may be problematic. A 2.5 can become a 2.2, or a 2.0, over time. In a set that has been pieced together, they may not change in even steps.
    Jeff's right. Place a WTB ad here.
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Unless OP is going to setup his own darkroom at home, I wouldn't "invest" in one....

    Most commonly used ones today are made by Ilford and they are not that expensive.
    http://www.adorama.com/searchsite/default.aspx?searchinfo=ilford+multi+grade&category=1184

    Depending on size and location, they range from 27 dollars to 70 dollars.

    Scratches here and there doesn't actually degrade images visibly. Unless you really want one of your own, I'd just use the one the school has....
     
  11. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Ilford changed their filters some time ago. The colors look different but the filters perform identically. Kodak's filters were transparent in the reds so more visible light got through for dodging and burning. Ilford's filters aren't as sophisticated, but they do let some red through (otherwise the filters would go from green to blue instead of yellow to magenta). It seems Ilford changed the amount of red light the filters let through and so the colors look different.

    This color change in Ilford filters seems to be the basis for the idea that the filters are subject to lots of fading with time. I have old and new Ilford sets and recent Kodak sets and sets dating to the 60's - although the visible color may be different the contrast is (near enough to) identical.

    Of course filters will fade, ones used in the lamp house of an always-on arc lamp enlarger, such as some monster of a Saltzman, are going to fade a lot. But the intermittent incandescent or fluorescent light from a common enlarger isn't going to cause fading.

    Unless you are metering the negative for contrast it really doesn't matter what contrast the filter produces. You take a guess, and if the print is too flat or contrasty you go up or down a grade. What number is on the filter is a real "so-what".
     
  12. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    All I can say is my experience is different. I had a set of Ilford filters I used for about 20 years, and the 2.5 did not perform the same as a (never, or slightly) used 2.5 from the same manufacturer. A side by side comparison showed that the old filter had lost about a quarter of a grade. The only enlarger light it ever saw was cold light.

    Unless you're trying to reproduce an old image using a print map, the change is probably moot. I likely would never have noticed had that not been the case. Following my notes didn't get me the same contrast as the original print, which is why I used the newer filters. I then did 2 new prints, one with the old 2.5, and one with the new, just to make sure it wasn't an issue with the paper. There was a definite difference.
     
  13. macandal

    macandal Member

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    Yes, B&W.

    So, Ilford filter go with Ilford paper. What goes with Adox and Arista?
     
  14. DF

    DF Member

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    Calumet has good quality, reasonably priced filters. You don't need "super multi-coated" just multi-coated is fine. Nor, do you need pricey German filters, such as B&W. Check their website for availability.