LF excess contrast

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Bob AZ, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. Bob AZ

    Bob AZ Member

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I need some adivce on which way to go for B & W printing. Maybe this is a condenser vs diffusion question but I would like to hear from anyone who has worked through something similar
    I shoot 4x5 and square med format. I have a color head enlarger for up to 6x6 and a D2 for 4x5. I had everything dialed in for the color enlarger but since starting LF and using the D2 my LF stuff is often way too contrasty for even a 1 filter. Should I re-do all my exposure and min time max black ect testing and just go to the D2 for everything or just try to dial in the LF to the D2. I don't have a permanent set up right now so sessions are few and far between. I wonder if I should just wait on extensive testing until I am set up again permanently, simplifying as much as possible would seem to make better use of my time
    Maybe I'm not even asking the right questions, my experience is limited
     
  2. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,363
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Alaska
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would perform a film developing test with the sheet film and the D2. Do it now, as the results shouldn’t change with a permanent setup. Since your medium format film is working nicely with the color head, continue using that head for the roll film.
     
  3. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

    Messages:
    6,242
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The difference between your color (diffusion) enlarger and your D2 (condenser) enlarger could explain some of the excess contrast that you are experiencing...it may not be all of the difference.

    It appears that you have a choice of using one or two enlargers. The med format could be targeted to just the color enlarger and the 4X5 to the D2 and you will need to arrive at two different film developing times to optimize what the two enlargers are capable of providing. Or you could decide to use only the D2 and develop both formats for the same amount of time. What you decide will be your decision to make. I would opt for everything through the D2 ...but then I like to keep things as simple as possible.

    I do not use, nor do I advocate min time for max black. It is limited in arriving at a good darkroom work flow, in my opinion. Most experienced printers will print for the highlight values first and then adjust contrast to arriive at the desired low (shadow) values.

    Good luck to you.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    18,004
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    What films are you using and how are you processing them?

    If you had a film you liked in MF and then moved up to LF with the same film and developer, but processed MF in daylight tanks and LF in trays with constant agitation, your sheet film development time could be considerably shorter than your rollfilm development time.

    I suspect something along these lines is part of the issue, because the difference between a condenser enlarger and diffusion enlarger is not likely to be as great as the difference you are describing.
     
  5. juan

    juan Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
    Location:
    St. Simons I
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When I moved to large format, I found that I had to make adjustments to almost everything I had been doing. I think what you are experiencing is normal. I recently tested a paper with a step wedge using the same everything except head - a Zone VI cold light head had about 20% less contrast than a Beseler condenser head.

    Both what Don and David said are possible solutions. You have some work to do.
    juan
     
  6. Bob AZ

    Bob AZ Member

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for your quick responses and suggestions, I'm doing some re-test and calibration. I'll post my results and I my have more questions later.