Ilford filter set

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Thomas Bertilsson, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Hi,

    I'm just getting my hands wet, and am wondering a little about enlarging in general.
    I'm using a 35mm/6x6 combo unit, with a Schneider Componon 75mm lens, and a Voss 50mm (which I intend on replacing).
    I will upgrade eventually, but this is what I have at my disposal right now. My Omega enlarger has a filter drawer above the lens, and I'm using Ilford filter set with Grade 00 to Grade 5. I am however, using Agfa FB paper, which I like, but am wondering if the Ilford filters are compatible with Agfa papers.
    So far I've only been in the darkroom a few times, so please bear with me. Starting out I tried printing a negative that I thought had good contrast, and a nice representation of tones from dark to bright. I printed it without filters, and got a fair result for being a work print. Then I decided to try the filters, and from what I understand, a Grade 2 filter is pretty much normal contrast. Ilford states the filter factor for this filter is 1, meaning no exposure compensation necessary. After exposing the paper and developing it at the same times I did the nonfiltered print, it looked entirely different.

    Can someone help explain to me exactely how these filters work, and how to apply them properly to the printing.

    Thank you for your help,

    - Thomas
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The filters should work with Agfa paper.

    The filter factor of "1" is by comparison with other filters, not with no filter. The way the Ilford filters work is that they have neutral density built in, so you can go from 00-3.5 with the same exposure, and you add one stop with 4-5 (if I remember correctly--I haven't printed with VC paper recently).

    Most VC papers without filtration should produce something around grade 2, but if you are using filters for contrast control (and why wouldn't you if you use VC paper), then it's best to use a grade 2 filter instead of no filter when you want grade 2.
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    You might want to check the thread on using colour heads with VC paper. While the Ilford filters will work they might not give you the contrast the label claims. In other words a #2 Ilford filter with Agfa paper might give you higher or lower then a #2. If you can live with that then the filters will work fine. Just find the filter that's normal for you and your paper.
     
  4. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Thomas

    As David stated , you can use Ilford filters with Agfa Papers and vice-versa.
    If you are printing with VC paper, I would always have a filter in the drawer, otherwise as you noticed the print probably became lighter when you added the filter as opposed to no filter.
    The biggest jump in density is when you go to grade 4 or 5 from one of the lower contrast filters, I have never calculated what that difference is but as David said I believe it to be one stop more exposure in density,
    You can either open up a stop or add time to your timer.. Unlike your camera doubling your time does not equate to one stop when printing.

    10 seconds could be 25 seconds to equal a one stop change
    25 seconds could be 75 seconds to equal a one stop change
    the best way to find this out is to make some prints and then change the filters and find out how much time /apeture it takes to get matching densitys on the print. The more you print the easier these relationships will become.
     
  5. etriplett

    etriplett Member

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    If you want to know how these filters will work with Agfa papers I would suggest "The Variable Contrast Printing Manual" by Steve Anchell. It tells you how to perform tests with a cheap step wedge to determine how each filter will affect the tonal range of any paper. Basically, filter sets work with all papers, but between each filter grade there may not be a noticable amount of tonal change.

    The Ilford printing guide also suggests that grades 1-3 do not require an increase in exposure time, but the time should be doubled when moving to the #4 filter from the lower grades.
     
  6. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    Kodak paper=Kodak filters. All other papers=Ilford filters. Just my opinion but it works for me. My Saunders 4500 VCCE has two settings one for Kodak and one for all other papers. A given filter on one paper may not give the same contrast on another paper so just adjust the filter for the look you want. On one print I used two #5 Ilford filters even though I have never seen it in any books. Do what it takes remember this is art not some sort of plug and play tab A to slot B computer science.
     
  7. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Thank you all for your valuable advice.

    From now on I'll be using a filter in the drawer all the time, and use that as a starting point instead of no filter at all. In time I'm sure I'll be able to get a hands on feel for how they work, but it was very valuable to me to get this information to know where to start. Saves me lots of time and money.

    Thank you!

    - Thomas
     
  8. MSchuler

    MSchuler Subscriber

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    Ilford filters

    "The Variable Contrast Printing Manual" by Anchell talks about using a step wedge to figure out the actual contrast change for any filter/paper combination. I haven't tried this approach yet (no step wedge) but would love to do it when I get a chance.
     
  9. stinkjet

    stinkjet Member

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    Kodak VC filters have no neutral density built-in...they are just magenta and yellow. What could be more universal than that?? and btw...Ilford 150mm (6") are now selling for over $40US.

    stink
     
  10. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    The set or one filter? The 12" is $20 for one filter.
     
  11. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Thomas -

    Your central question was whether you could use Ilford filters with Agfa papers, and you got the right answer several times - yes.

    But a point that may not have been stated clearly is that the response of Agfa papers to Ilford filters will be slightly different than the result of those papers to Kodak filters, or DuPont filters (if you can find them). Those differences are not important as long as you don't intermix filters. In other words, if you stick with your Ilford filters, all you really need to know is that the grade 1 filter will result in a softer print than the grade 2 filter, while the grade 3 filter will give higher contrast results than #2, etc. And as you work with them over time, you will develop a sense of how the paper responds, and will be able to more quickly home in on the filter that gives you the result that you are seeking for a given negative. But if you try mixing Ilford and Kodak filters, you will find that the results you get will necessarily follow a consistent pattern, and that will be very frustrating.
     
  12. tomicjusz

    tomicjusz Member

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    I suppose that Ilford filter set should cooperate with Agfa or any other papers quite smooth.I use Agfa filter set in combination with both Ilford and Agfa papers and I'm satisfied with it.
    By the way,in Poland where I live Agfa set is much cheaper than Ilford set and that was the main reason why I have bought one - Agfa set costs around 24$ whereas Ilford set is priced 40$.
     
  13. tomicjusz

    tomicjusz Member

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    Listen to the above wise words Thomas.
    Cheers
     
  14. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

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    I believe using no filter with most VC papers results in a grade 2 contrast, but also a rather large change in the relative speed of the paper. The paper ISO of Ilford multigrade IV for example, is a paper ISO of 500, where using a 0 thru 3 filter gives you a speed of 200 (that is, if im reading the chart correctly) and a 5 comes in at 100.


    I would only not use any filter at all if I were making MANY prints that look fine at grade two, i.e. mass producing prints for an event where I could make use of the high speed of the paper with no filter.

    Nobody mentioned it, but while we're on the topic of VC filtration, I suggest you read up on 'split grade filtration' It is worth attempting! (I think I would have been better off had I known of it from the beginning, rather than only learning it recently)