ND filters for enlarging?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by pdeeh, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    Like a recent poster, I have a little backlog of rather thin (underdeveloped &/or underexposed) negatives which scan OK, but are nigh-on impossible for someone of my limited darkroom skills to print. They require such short exposure times that it's hard to be accurate and consistent with them, even stopped down to f/22 (which I know is not best practice). I'm not worried about managing contrast, I can experiment with that.

    I'm presuming an ND filter will go some way to ameliorating this for me ?

    If so, will "any old" ND filter for a camera do ? (I mean of decent quality and no covered in scratches of course :smile:)

    and yes, I am learning to produce negatives of appropriate quality for enlarging now ...
     
  2. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Yes.
     
  3. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    I use a three stop filter on my enlarger to enable the use of reasonable apertures. Without it, my apertures tend to be at f/22 or higher.
     
  4. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Years ago, before buying a regulator for my Ariso head, I used ND filters, placed at the bottom of the head, above the white plexiglass piece.
    I went to a local theatrical supply house, and they had sheets about 20 x 24 or so, of various gray values, used for the same purpose in lighting.
    One sheet was less than $5, and I could stack them as I needed. I had to remove the bulb assembly, or I could place them above the neg. If above the neg, they have to be dust free, or a near wide open f/stop to reduce depth of field. Cheap option.
     
  5. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    With unusual luck, all three of my enlarging lenses take the same size filter, so I bought a regular 2-stop camera type filter. I work mostly with 6x6cm negatives and usually do some small test prints about 5x5 inches with the filter on. Then to do 10x10 or so, I crank up the head and take the filter off -- puts me right in the ballpark for exposure (not exact, but close).
     
  6. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    thanks for the contributions and confirmations from everyone.

    And for the detailed and helpful PM I received from another forum member
     
  7. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    What enlarger and bulb are you using?
    Maybe you can simply swap to a lower wattage bulb.
    That is what I did for my Durst M600, I swapped out the 150w bulb for a 75w bulb.
     
  8. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I also use ND filters on one enlarger with an Ilford head. On my Durst condenser I use a variac to reduce the voltage. Taking it from 110 to 70 volts lets me take off two stops. Each 10 volt drop seems to give about a half stop. Of corse you need an enlarger that uses a regular line voltage bulb for this to work. Also the color might shift a bit (and the contrast along with it).