Heiland Splitgrade: Problems with lack of density

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Jeffrey A. Steinberg, Feb 13, 2005.

  1. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

    Messages:
    296
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Location:
    Scarsdale, N
    Not sure what I am doing wrong. I have an LPL 4550 XLG with the Heiland Splitgrade and every time I measure a reasoanble looking negative it comes back with "Check contrast" and a measure of .5 or less. So, it can't determine what to do.

    Some other "factors"

    --Using Polycontrast RC
    --Using a Thomas Duplex safelight (its quite brite and doesn't fog the paper but is this something that could contribute?


    If anyone can help with the specialized equipment, please e-mail directly or ask questions in this forum.




    Thanks very much.
     
  2. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

    Messages:
    957
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Jeffrey,

    I would turn off your safelight and try it. Even my Zone VI safelight will effect the readings.

    Jim
     
  3. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

    Messages:
    296
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Location:
    Scarsdale, N
    Thanks Jim. I tried that and got the same results. Did it with no safelights on.
     
  4. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Restricted Access

    Messages:
    1,336
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2004
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Please check all your cable connections, specially that of the sensor.

    Your darkroom light should be switched off by the Heiland console (socket safelight) during the measurement. Because in continuous mode there is a dynamic measurement of the light and the gradation, you should measure by the working aperture.

    If the error is "Check contrast" the measured contrast is out of the print range of the selected paper. If you proceed, you will loose details in highlights and the result will be a grey print, because the paper grade could not be fitted to your negative.

    Prevent measurement on very small spots like lamps or so.

    Best regards,

    Robert

    www.FotohuisRoVo.nl
     
  5. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

    Messages:
    957
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Large Format

    Hmmmm...

    I guess my next step would be to measure the first 10 or so steps of a projected step wedge. This should result in a proper reading.

    If not there is definitely something wrong somewhere.

    Did you do a quick calibration of the unit when you got it?

    Have you looked at the offsets in the setup menu?

    Jim
     
  6. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

    Messages:
    296
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Location:
    Scarsdale, N
    Thanks Jim,

    Can you elaborate on the quick calibration method? I didn't see it in the manual. I am going to look again. Also, regarding the offsets, what were you referring to? I thought the unit doesn't have a built-in offset by default (at least that I can tell but the manual is difficult in parts).

    Thanks all.
     
  7. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Restricted Access

    Messages:
    1,336
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2004
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The Heiland is pre calibrated with all kind of different papers, developers and some different type of films with the necessary sensiometric data.

    Offsets are corrections made on the default values in 1/10 of f-stops and 1/10 of grade. They will not influence the measurement with the probe.

    Put on the focus light, darkroom light is automatically switched off, enlarger lens aperture full open, focus the negative, close the aperture 2-3 f stops, when you have chosen continuous mode on the Heiland move the probe slowly from the most light part through the negative to the darkest parts. Focus off, calculation logD has been made and converted with some sensiometric data from the chosen paper to the best fitted grade. Measurement should be possible in a wide range of light and grade.

    Is your basic installment LPL4550 or so, when switching on the unit?

    Robert
     
  8. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

    Messages:
    296
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Location:
    Scarsdale, N
    Robert,

    Thanks. When it starts up it says LPL 4x5 (I think that was your question). I tried some other silver halide negatives (the ones I was using before was T400CN). Still not pleased with the results. I have no offsets and thanks for confirming my understanding of the calibration.

    I guess I will keep on plugging away until I get it.

    Thanks for the suggestions. I am going to give it another shot tonight.
     
  9. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Restricted Access

    Messages:
    1,336
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2004
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Jeffrey,

    In that case I have found your problem (T400CN). This is a chromogene B&W film which needs another pre calibration. You can find it in the menu under films and due to the (density) orange mask and so the (iso) speed you have used it (low 50-200, medium 200-400, high 400-800) Split Grade will adapt the densiometric curve of the film.
    V2.2 and V2.3 I am sure it is in.

    If you select this in your menu, split grade will print 95% OK with these films. Small adaptations you can make in the offset menu.

    Happy printing!

    Best regards,

    Robert

    (Fotohuis is the Dutch dealer of Heiland)
     
  10. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

    Messages:
    296
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Location:
    Scarsdale, N
    Robert,

    Thanks. Now I know why you know so much about this machine. I did indeed change it to the T400CN (or the equivalent) in the menu. I never get a density above .40 so it has a problem. The negatives appear to be ok although I must state this is my first time printing with T400CN.

    I get much better results with my Tri-X film and had some good prints with it.

    I guess I wasn't expecting to use the compensation features a lot but I have to try.

    Thanks for all of your help; Its been great.
     
  11. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Restricted Access

    Messages:
    1,336
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2004
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    T400CN is not the first choice when printing on classical B&W paper. This film is designed for the minilab for printing (neutral B&W prints) on RA-4 color paper.
    If you want to use chromogene B&W film and print on classical B&W paper, use the Ilford XP2 super, best on iso 250 and normally C41 development.
    Use the right Split Grade settings on the Heiland and your results will be fine.

    Nevertheless a classical B&W film is in my opinion better than these mentioned options. Correct B&W development is more difficult than the standard C41. In fact you need to optimize your development. Even Split Grade from Heiland can not fix a lousy negative which needs grade 0,5 or 4,5.

    I wish you the best results in your darkroom.

    Best regards,

    Robert

    www.FotohuisRoVo.nl
     
  12. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

    Messages:
    296
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Location:
    Scarsdale, N
    Robert,

    Thanks.....I have been printing T400CN for about 2 years without the Splitgrade and it's worked well on Polycontrast paper although manipulation of contrast is definately needed. You have explained something to me that makes a lot of sense and this has been a real eye-opener for me. No one else has told me this and I think it explains a lot.

    Separately, I have been thinking of going back to Tri-X because I like the "look better." This is another reason to do it--ease of printing.

    Thanks again.
     
  13. baronfoxx

    baronfoxx Member

    Messages:
    97
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    persevere with the Heiland it is a great bit of gear, do get the upgrade from Heiland, you can download them from thier website or they will send them to you ona disc.

    I find that I have to use the density compensation settings for various developer/ paper combinations but you can store the changes for future use