Is Graded Paper a Bit Multigrade?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Rafal Lukawiecki, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    I've been using Ilford MGIV FB (and previous variants) for a long time. Today I decided to try a few of my prints on a slightly expired pack of Galerie, grade 3. As I use an Ilford 500H dichroic head I did a test to see if I would get longer exposure times using just the "soft" green or the "hard" blue setting.

    To my surprise the green exposure produced a very muddy soft print with no deep blacks and no clear highlights. The blue exposure produced very deep blacks and nice highlights (as I expected) from this grade. In effect, it seems to me, like the graded Galerie emulsion responded in a somewhat multigrade fashion.

    Since I have never tried this comparison before I am wondering if it is common or a result of a mistake on my part, environment, or perhaps some longevity issues of the paper. If it is a common response of Galerie, I wonder if this is a potentially useful control.

    I'd be happy to scan a couple of test strips if needed.

    Thanks,
    Rafal
     
  2. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I think MG paper has many emulsions sensitive to green or blue, but graded paper lacks the multiple emulsions. I think graded paper is sensitive to blue.
     
  3. JMcLaug351

    JMcLaug351 Member

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    I've had a similar experience and I've often wondered that myself. I'm interested to see what responses you get from this thread.
    JOHN
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Thats kind of how the whole principle of multigrade paper was discovered.

    Films and papers from the major manufacturers are made up of blended emulsions, and spectral sensitivities do vary. So it's not a big shock that it can happen in practice :D

    Ian


     
  5. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Wow that's cool. Rafal conducted a science experiment. I hope he keeps up the curiousity :smile:
     
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    To have this happen, the contrast of the emulsion must vary with wavelength of the light used for exposure. The way to test this out is to repeat the experiment but using a step wedge for subject matter and then plot out the H&D curves to see what they look like.

    This has a secondary value of being able to relate contrast grade to the exact color of light used for exposure.

    PE
     
  7. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Yeah -- the current Oriental is a 2-emulsion paper masquerading as fixed grade. It is made of two high contrast emulsions with slightly different sensitivities. Changing the filtration doesn't change the contrast, though. I think one of the east-bloc papers was also a 2 emulsion 'fixed VC' paper, but I can't remember which one it was.

    I didn't know that Ilford was using color-sensitized emulsions, in different proportions for each grade, for its graded paper. That's really insipid.

    Finding crypto-VC papers is rather easy (well, easy for some). If you take the derivative of the HD curve and end up with
    [​IMG]
    then you have one. The 'teat' in the middle is where the two emulsions overlap. It is also possible to get a dip in the middle.
     
  8. tlitody

    tlitody Member

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    you can try dialling in some cyan on VC paper and you'll find the contrast changes contrary to what you often read. People forget these things called filters are actually filters and can filter out the wavelengths that the paper responds to in varying amounts depending on the cut off of the filter wave lengths and also the cut off of the paper spectral sensitivity.
     
  9. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    I have an Aristo VCL4500 which is a two-tube variable contrast cold light head. The two tubes are blue-violet and green. In the instructions, it says about graded papers:

    "Graded papers primarily like the blue energy spectrum. You can now select maximum blue, blue with adjustable intensity or blue and green combined. In the blue adjustable position you can set the intensity level to control printing speeds or adjust for dry down time. You can also print with blue and green combined and may find it possible on some papers to achieve plus or minus a half grade by adjusting the blue green ratio"

    I have wondered about this. I haven't tried it. I will soon.
     
  10. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    That was my impression: you could get fairly smooth control over a -1 grade by using the green light component with Ilford Galerie Graded 3 as compared to a blue exposure judging by eye only. I wonder if as long my results are consistently repeatable this might be a more convenient way to fine-tune contrast with graded papers than by using softer working developers, water baths, etc. I will be getting a fresh box of Galerie G3 to retry my tests.

    Thanks everyone for your comments and encouragement.

    Rafal
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2010
  11. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    Controlling Contrast of Graded Papers with Multigrade Filtration

    Following from my previous postings, I attach a scan of two test strips. The scan is levels-corrected to look as close to the original as I could make it (so both are a bit overexposed). Both strips were scanned at the same time with the same settings. They are both on the same sheet of Ilford Galerie grade 3, exposed for the same time, processed identically in Dektol 1+2 at about 2.5m, then stopped and fixed normally. The one on the left was exposed using the blue (hard) filtration and the one on the right got green (soft) filtration, using my Ilford 500H dichroic head. Each filtration does include a small amount of the other one, perhaps 3% by time, due to the way my timer works.

    The difference in contrast is so explicit that as long as my results are repeatable it could be a useful way to further control contrast of a print, perhaps easier than some other techniques typically used with graded papers.

    Please note that my paper is a bit outdated and I will redo the tests with a fresh batch, just in case this result somehow relates to a component of the emulsion ageing in a peculiar way.

    Rafal
     

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  12. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    This is all interesting to me. I've heard Ansel Adams didn't like multigrade paper and like graded paper only because of the grades can split and I've read articles where a BW printer can take advantage of the multiple grades in the paper by intentionally splitting the grades to have better contrast control. I'm a bit confused here. I've had very limited experienced with graded paper but multigrade papers look pretty good to me. Is there a reason to print on graded papers anymore?
     
  13. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I use MG filters when printing on graded papers quite a bit. St Ansel was correct in saying you can split grades. I also have a selection of developers which help fine tune contrast. There are many circumstances where I prefer graded paper to VC, of course, I do have far more experience with graded paper than VC. I think it all boils down to having one favorite paper and learning how to squeeze the most out of it.
     
  14. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    So true. I think folks that use graded paper exclusively have more discipline in building a neg for a certain grade of paper though.
     
  15. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Wow.

    I wouldn't know I would say it is a graded paper technique - the paper is obviously VC multigrade paper. So much so that I wonder if it was somehow swapped at birth.

    I have never seen a graded paper do that, but then I have never tried. Something to do next printing session while the prints are washing.
     
  16. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    If true graded papers were still available... yes.

    Graded papers varied their contrast over the entire HD curve: a higher contrast paper had higher contrast in the highlights, midtones and shadows.

    A VC paper changes its dark-midtone to shadow contrast in the 00 - 2 grades while the highlight to light-midtone contrast remains at grade 2. For the hard grades 2 1/2 - 5 the shadow to dark-midtone contrast remains at grade 2 while the highlight to light-midtone contrast increases. The very ends of the highlight and shadow contrast only change with 00 and 5 filtration. It is the reason that burning the highlights with a #5 filter is so often required - nothing else will budge the contrast, only increase the tone.

    On top of that rather horrid behavior is the way a VC paper can split-tone. Ideally the blue-sensitive and green-sensitive emulsions are identical and tone at the same rate. Forte Polywarmtone was notorious for split toning as the two emulsions were nowhere near the same. I have a toned step-tablet image of FPWT somewhere, I'll see if I can find it.
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Then maybe few true graded papers have been made in the last 100 years. This characteristic has been known about since 1912 :D

    Ian
     
  18. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Is that why Ansel Adams hated VC paper?
     
  19. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The VC papers in Adams day were not remotely similar to today's VC papers in terms of quality.


    The first modern 3rd generation Multigrade was launched by Ilford in 1978, only available then as an RC paper, so no use to Adams.

    Renwick who devised Multigrade had previously been working at Dupont, Ilford's film base supplier, and Ilford launched the first paper in 1940, however because od War time pressures Dupont's version was available commercially first, but was made under licensed from Ilford. Ilford dropped the paper, launching a new version in the 50's again unsuccessfully. The real take off of VC papers was after Multigrade's relaunch in 78, as a 3rd generation product, Kodak then followed behind.

    Ian
     
  20. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Hey thanks Ian! Very informative. I don't feel so bad about using VC paper now. I met Nick Vedros one time and he like to use the old Dupont Varagam paper. I don't have enough experience with graded paper to make the comparison, but again, I like VC papers for it's simplicity and versatility.
     
  21. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    Have you described your approach before, Rick? I would be interested in knowing the gist of it.

    This was a freshly opened pack of outdated paper, definitely says Ilford Galerie, grade 3, on the box. But there is always a chance it may be a faulty batch. In fact, I would be happier in a way that way. :smile: I will retest when the new pack arrives in a few days. In the meantime, please bear with me, as there is always a chance this was a dud batch. Still, if it were a "swapped batch" with MGIV I would expect the tonality of the strip on the right to be squeezed towards blocked values, rather than being in heavy midtones, perhaps.

    Rafal
     
  22. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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  23. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I started experimenting with VC filters and graded papers a few years ago. You just have to experiment with what you think will work, and keep notes on the results. Some times the filters merely act as a ND filter , extending print times, some times they can be stacked to change contrast by 1/2 to one full grade up or down. Developer selection helps as well, choosing between Dektol, Selectol, or Selectol soft, or even the dilutions of each can play an important role in shifting contrast grades and by how much. Of course, paper selection is a key factor, find one paper you really like, and learn everything there is to know of it. I have been using Kodabrome II in various grades. When my stock of that is gone, I think I'll be using Emaks, it has some wonderful qualities that I can learn to appreciate.
     
  24. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    Which is why the VC system is not as good as it might appear. One still has to get negatives near the optimum contrast where the paper behaves itself reasonably like graded paper.

    If one ignores the occasional usefulness of a very wide contrast range in some VC papers, which VC papers available today give the best quality (by "best" I mean "most like graded papers")?