Is there a way to go beyond grade 5 on multi-grade paper?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by tkamiya, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I have a nice but thin neg that I'm trying to print.

    Since it was severely under exposed, the dynamic range in the image simply isn't there. Using grade 5 and some dodging, I got close to what I want but I would like a bit more contrast. Other than selenium toning to bring little more density in shadow area, is there anything I can else I can do to get more contrast out of this image? I'd rather not intensify the neg... so I'm looking for a method I can employ on printing side.
     
  2. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Yes, process the multigrade paper in high-contrast (Lithography) developer.
     
  3. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Find a higher contrast developer. You can also work with clever dodging and burning in order to increase black levels in 'smart' areas, as well as finding brighter whites by dodging.
    Finally, you could try lith printing, which is able to give you much higher contrast levels.
     
  4. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Maybe try contact printing it twice, using paper, emulsion to emulsion. You will probably start to loose quite a bit of detail in shadows.

    You could also copy the image using a high contrast film/ developer combo, and print that. Enlarge onto high contrast litho film, and print that too.
     
  5. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I didn't think of using a different developer. I currently have Dektol only. I understand increase in hydroquinone adds to contrast. I wonder if this is possible? I don't know enough photo chemistry but I know Dektol had hydroquinone as a component already. I happen to have a small jar of it thinking I'd start mixing my own.
     
  6. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    You can bleach the print in select areas with a swab to brighten it up.

    Jon
     
  7. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Adjusting your developer to get more out of your print is common, and something printers would do to find 'half grades' with graded paper.
    I use LPD, for example, and the difference between 1+1 and replenished is big.

    Jon's suggestion on selective bleaching is also good, to extract more range from the tones in the negative.

    If you normally print using diffusion enlarger, you can also try a condenser head enlarger. That will give a bit more contrast.

    Finally, check which paper yields the maximum contrast at G5 filtration or max magenta.
     
  8. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    If you think that selenium toner will not produce enough intensification you can try using a chromium intensifier on the negative. I would suggest that you read up on this process before you try it. If the negative has been improperly fixed or washed there could be problems.
     
  9. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    For printing I have found the paper with the most contrast is Ilford MGIV. You may try a 47b filter with the paper you are already using which, depending on the paper, could give you just a little more ooomph. You could also try to find some old graded paper. Agfa made papers up to grade 6, but they probably will have lost some contrast by now. You don't say what paper you are using, but Kentmere for example will never reach grade 5 which could be your problem.

    Overall the best thing to do I think is to overprint it a little and gently bleach back the highlights. This will more closely resemble a normal print than using a high contrast or lith developer since the bleach won't affect the shadows much. A high contrast developer will tend to completely dump the shadows. Bleaching may shift the tones a little toward the warm side in the highlights.

    If this doesn't work for you, you may try intensifying the neg (even though you state you don't want to). There are many methods for this but the easiest ones are Selenium toning, Sepia toning, or bleaching and redeveloping in a staining developer like PMK or Pyrocat. If you are almost there with a straight print this could put you over the top. I have saved more than a few images doing this.


    Hope that helps.
     
  10. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    You can come to considerably more contrasty prints when you
    - use high concentrated paper developer. Try 1+4.
    - longer development time, try 3 minutes
    - max. magenta filtering PLUS a grade 5 sheet filter
    - selenium toning.
    All that may be combined.
     
  11. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    Remember that selenium toning affects the silver that is present in the neg. Where you have empty shadows (ie. clear film-base) there is no silver and therefore no increase in density from the selenium. The overall contrast is increased, as the difference between "no silver" and "silver plus selenium" is larger, but nothing is going to magically recover detail that you didn't place on the negative.

    You could always try making a copy negative and reversing it, or make a copy of the copy. The quickest thing to try would indeed be using a harder developer, as many have pointed out.

    Edit: I have just recalled that, during a 25 sheet try out, I seemed to get a slightly higher contrast result from the Adox MCC remake of the Agfa papers, than from Ilford. Perhaps that would be an option?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2012
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    what dilution do you use your dektol ?
    if you are using it 1:2 or 1:3 you might increase it to 1:1
    or even a higher concentration of developer ...

    you might also look into split filtration printing if you aren't already doing that
    it might also help you get the contrast you want ...
    there is an article on les mclean's website
    right ... here: http://www.lesmcleanphotography.com/articles.php?page=full&article=21


    good luck !
    john
     
  13. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    A better and safer way to boost the negative contrast is to tone in selenium diluted 1+4 from stock. About 5 minutes should do it.
    Also bleaching and then redeveloping, particularly in any pyrogallol developer, works very well.
     
  14. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I don't plan to read all the foregoing bits of advice, so forgive me if I repeat something already mentioned. Some VC papers will not reach DMax given only high-contrast exposure using magenta or
    blue light. You might need to supplement this with at least a token amount of white light, but keep it
    brief unless you add an ND filter. You can only develop so long - maybe four minutes of so in a silver
    rich paper, until it hits the max; after that you only increase fog. And it does help to use premium
    papers. But even that can be boosted by a combination of selenium and gold toning (rinse between
    these steps, though the order is unimportant). Some papers are way better in this respect than others, and image tone differences are an inevitable and possibly desirable by-product. There are more advanced ways to do it to: contrast-increase masking, neg intensification or duplication, etc.
     
  15. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    i think, you are best of with the bleaching suggestion.
     
  16. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I'm really bad at bleaching..... So far, every time I tried, I ended up basically destroying my print.
     
  17. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I was using matte surface paper which tends to look lower in contrast. I'm going to use glossy and use more concentrated dilution of Dektol to start. I'll report back when I have some results. Thanks everybody.
     
  18. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Subscriber

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    All the above plus you could give a try with Dokumol. Very strong dev.
     
  19. Dennis McNutt

    Dennis McNutt Member

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    A contrast increase mask is very powerful.
     
  20. litody

    litody Member

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    some enlargers using dichroic filters won't go all the way to a real grade 5. Others will. If using dichroic filters I'd suggest trying and Ilford G5 filter. It may well give higher contrast.
    Also use new paper and definitely not old stock.
    Also get some benzotriazole and mix up a 1% solution. Add 5ml of 1% solution to one litre of working strength developer. This will give contrast a bit of a kick. Add more if necessary.
    Also warming up developer will give a little boost to print contrast.
    Also under exposing and over developing can sometimes give a boost in contrast, especially on graded papers.
    do all the above and you should get a decent rise in contrast.
     
  21. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    I would also second using Dokumol (try it at 1 + 6 at first and then increase concentration from there) and developing for a minimum of three minutes.

    Selenium toning the negative is also a good idea and you will not ruin your negative by doing this.

    Also, check if your safelights are really safe as they can contribute to a softening of the image.

    If all of this still does not get you what you want, you can (but be very careful) also add some Caustic Soda to the developer.

    Best of luck,

    David
    www.dsallen.de