How to get more contrast?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ezwriter, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. ezwriter

    ezwriter Member

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    My negs seem to be too gray. I like dark blacks and white whites. Using Tmax 100 film, dev in
    Tmax 1:1 with times on sheet. Dektol dev for 1 min with the paper. ideas?
     
  2. newtorf

    newtorf Member

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    over-development, or under-expose and push development.
     
  3. heterolysis

    heterolysis Member

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    A stronger filter?
     
  4. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    An orange or red filter will ad more contrast.
     
  5. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Member

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    You could try a harder grade of paper (or suitable filtration if using MG paper) with the negs you already have.

    I shoot Delta 100 which I expect is similar to TMax 100 and it has a very straight characteristic curve, which gives good tonal separation in the highlights and shadows but not the high contrast look you are after. If I wanted very high contrast negs, I would probably go to a conventional emulsion with a more S-shaped curve, such as FP4+. Not sure that Kodak has an equivalent though, since Plus-X has been discontinued.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2012
  6. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    If your negatives are too "gray" as you say, I guess that you mean you think there is not enough contrast between shadow and highlight areas of the negative. I suggest doing a minimum time for maximum black test of a negative that was exposed on a subject with normal contrast range, using your usual paper, developer, development time. The MTMB print will tell you whether you are giving the right negative exposure and development, and any changes to either or both needed to produce a print with a good range of tones.

    You said you develop paper for 1 minute. I assume that is RC paper? If it is FB paper then 1 minute sounds too short and will result in weak blacks.
     
  7. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    Is it the negatives or the printing? Have you tried Dektol al 2mins?
     
  8. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Before you dismiss the grey negatives....

    If you can just read a newspaper through the dark areas.. thats good
    If you can see detail in the clear areas... thats good

    If your black areas are completely black ... thats bad
    If your clear areas contain no detail.. thats bad.


    If you cannot get decent contrast in your print with 1 , 2 , or 3 filter ... thats bad


    don't mix up the two issues,, neg quality vs print quality
     
  9. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Absolutely!

    I wrote the following for a different thread a few weeks ago.

     
  10. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Most common cause is under exposure of the film. What do your negatives look like?
     
  11. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    You don't give a temperature or dilution but Kodak recommends 1 to 2 minutes. You may be pulling your prints too soon. Underdevelopment will cause poor contrast and the possibility of uneven development. Print development is carried to completeion. Try developing for 2 minutes.
     
  12. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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    I agree, I'd try shooting at a lower ISO before increasing developing time. Blacks in a print depend upon the a negative of sufficient density to expose the paper long enough to get black in the first place. Then the contrast can be tweaked in the printing.
     
  13. ezwriter

    ezwriter Member

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    Thanks for all that info. I'm using RC Ilford paper, dev for 1 min so as u suggest I'll try two mins.
    And the test print idea. thanks again.
     
  14. timagal

    timagal Member

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    If the source of your problem has been underexposure of the film, I think increasing the exposure at the enlarger will make it worse: you will get very dark prints. If I were you, I would try exposing the paper for a shorter period of time and cook the paper longer in freshly prepared and strong developer.