Newbie contact print question

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by antielectrons, Apr 9, 2006.

  1. antielectrons

    antielectrons Inactive

    Messages:
    205
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hi,

    Finally got all the bits in place to start my own printing again and was going to start with a few contact prints.

    Newbie question: on Ilford multigrade paper should I use a grade 2 filter for the contact sheet or no filter at all?
     
  2. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

    Messages:
    2,894
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Good question and there is no correct answer in my humble opion. Try it both ways and see how it works. It really depends on in you negative but you have to start someplace. Others may have a more firm position on this than I do.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    18,000
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Just as with enlargements, it's convenient to use the #2 filter, so that if you want to change grade, you can do it without changing exposure until you get to grade 4 (at least with the current Ilford filters).
     
  4. DannL

    DannL Member

    Messages:
    587
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I am no expert, but I did a contact yesterday on Ilford MGIV RC Deluxe, No filtering, 5 seconds @ f:8 on a Beseler 23C II with a 75 watt lamp. Developed in Dektol 1:2 for 90 sec. Came out great. My negatives are very contrasty . . . T-max 400 film developed in Dektol 1:2 for 3 minutes, fixed twice for 3 min and then 4 min.

    Edit: Oooops SORRY! that was a proof sheet not a contact print. I'll leave this post intact anyway. I think I'll just go back to my private island and drink martinis all day.
     
  5. argus

    argus Member

    Messages:
    2,146
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You can use whatever filter grade you want to when useing multigrade paper for contactprinting.

    It's a good start to always use the same filtering for a first exposure, to standardise your workflow.
    A #2 will tell you enough about the detail in the negative.

    @DannL: a contact proof print is a contact print ;-)

    G
     
  6. Kino

    Kino Member

    Messages:
    1,730
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    :D Where the heck are you? Lake Texhoma? :D
     
  7. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

    Messages:
    878
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Personally, I like to do my proof prints at a softer grade than I think they will print. I develop my negs to print well on grade two paper. I do the proof prints on grade 1 so that I can see everything that is in the negative--detail that may get lost in the final print.

    When I move on to making work prints and fine prints, I will start with a contrast grade slightly below where I think it will finally print. For a grade 2 neg, I will start at grade 1 or 1 1/2 to get the exposure set (the highlights) and then begin to adjust contrast. Whether I start at 1 or 1 1/2 depends on the proof sheet image.

    My own experience is that it is easy to go up in contrast, but difficult to go down. So, if I start at grade 2, I end up with prints that are too contrasty. If I start softer, I tend to end up with the correct contrast.

    The other trick I use is to do a series of work prints "bracketing" what I think will be the final contrast. If in the darkroom, I settle on a grade 2, I will do a print at 1 3/4, 2 1/4 and 2 1/2. I look at these the next day, before starting on the fine print, outside of the darkroom and under varying lighting. Usually one will jump out. Ocassionally I am torn between two, and I will pick the lower contrast one. Then, by looking back at the low contrast print, I compare to see if any important detail was lost in the shadows, so I will know where to start dodging.