Grading - VC vs graded paper

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by PVia, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. PVia

    PVia Member

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    Hi all...

    How much more contrast is there in a graded paper vs a VC paper used with appropriate filters (Ilford, dichroic, etc)?

    I have a few soft negs and was wondering if I could get more zing by trying a graded paper...
     
  2. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I would stick with VC paper which should give more contrast. I think it is difficult to find Grade 5 graded paper nowadays but you can approach that with VC paper.
     
  3. RobC

    RobC Member

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    If the negs are soft, then I would recommend using Ilford VC filters. A dichroic filter set is perfectly capable of delivering grade 5 and higher, but only for negatives which have been developed to a high enough contrast to allow the dichro filters to push it further.
    I think you may struggle to find G5 graded papers.
     
  4. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    also beware out of date 'hard' grades

    I have either bought up or been given the contents of a few darkrooms in the last 4 years.

    I test old papers with a step wedge to see what the real speed and contrast range is of them. If they are fogged, then there is no need to tie up freezer space with those, and save them for lith development experimentation. Count the number of discernable steps once dry and you look up an Ilford data sheet to see what the grade is if you normally work with Ilford VC filters.

    The graded non- developer incorporated papers usually are still free from fog for many years past thier expiry dates, but they end up printing as though they are about #2 or #3, even if when young they were rated as #5.

    Another thing to watch out for is faded dichroic filters. I know that I can get a harder print out with a fixed ilford MG #5 filter than I can with the magenta fully dialled in on my dochroic enlarger.
     
  5. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Have you tied Slavich #4? With a Debeers type develper you ought to get 4.5.
     
  6. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    Mike: funny you should bring that up. I've been testing forty odd old papers for the last couple of days. I'm amazed at how well so many of them have held up - I know they weren't refrigerated. Used the same method you describe. Only problem is I'm buried in 5x7 step tablet prints!!:D

    Bob
     
  7. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    One point to consider is that even if the grade as determined by a step tablet is identical, the graded paper may well seem to have higher contrast if the shape of the HD curve is different.

    At least I find that some negatives that need G3 filtration with VC give great prints on G1 graded, even if the total tonal range of G3 filtration is adapted to give the same tonal range as a G3 graded.

    Tonal range isn't always the determining factor: The tonal scale is also important.