PMK - low contrast when printing on VC paper

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by sgpix, May 3, 2009.

  1. sgpix

    sgpix Member

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    Hello all. The other day, I tried using PMK for the first time (Efke 25 in 120 exposed at 12 EI, 7min @ 70F, with a post-fixer bath in the used developer for 2 minutes as recommended on the instructions that came with my box of PMK), and last night I tried printing one of the negatives in the darkroom on Adox MCP310 VC RC paper.

    No matter how much exposure I used, I found I couldn't get really deep shadows, even when I used a grade 5 filter. Areas of the negative that were just film base + fog would only print to a mid-gray. The only effect of adding more exposure was to depress the highlight values.

    I understand that the green-yellow stain on the PMK negative is meant to reduce contrast in the highlight values, but only when the stain is proportional to density. My negative had more of an overall stain, which I understand is due in part to the post-fixer bath in used developer.

    Does anyone else have this issue when using VC papers and PMK? And if so, is there any way to get around this? Thanks!
     
  2. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Like you noticed, if you want the stain to be portional, don't use the used developer as an afterbath.

    That concept has pretty much been discarded as a useful step. Go ahead and leave that step out.
     
  3. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    What kind of light source does your enlarger have? Mine is a V54 cold light, and PMK negs never did work for me. Not the same problem, but just asking.
     
  4. sgpix

    sgpix Member

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    I'm using a Durst CLS66 colour diffuser head. I think I'll skip the used developer step the next time I do a roll, and see how that goes.
     
  5. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Sounds like you need more contrast alright. I've not used Efke 25 in PMK, but I have no trouble getting contrast with Pan-F Plus.

    Perhaps try extending your development. You may also find increasing your EI to box speed of 25 might help.

    Definitely abandon the after-fix bath in used developer. I no longer do this (haven't for years) and find that I don't suffer for it. I do use an alkaline fix and a water stop. Some say this isn't necessary to get good stain, but I like the short wash times that an all-alkaline process engenders.
     
  6. rhodw

    rhodw Member

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    Low contrast probs on Adox VC Paper

    Hi, I have been having similar contrast problems with the Adox Vario Classic paper, and was hoping someone would have some suggestions as to which variable to try adjusting next as I am tearing my hair out here!

    Initial fogging was caused by an incorrect safelight, and having changed that now I can get clean highlights, but the shadow areas will not go past a mid grey... Increasing exposure times only seems to effect the highlight areas.

    I am using a DeVere 504 with a cathomag head and reasonably contrasty 5x4negs (Adox CHS 100 ART) developed in ID-11. And standard Ilford 'under the lens' MG filters. I have been developing in Ilfospeed Multigrade developer as that seemed like the best starting point.

    So any suggestions? Is it something to do with the head/filters? or the developer? or something else I haven't even thought of?

    I did try adding a very yellow filter (all I had to hand) under the lens as well as someone mentioned on here a light yellow filter may help with cold light heads and MG papers but that didn't seem to make much difference other than increasing exposure times. Incidentally, I don't seem to have the same issues with Ilford MGIV/FomaTone MG)

    Thanks in advance for your time,
    R
     
  7. sgpix

    sgpix Member

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    Just to follow up - I tried printing this negative again tonight, but on graded paper instead (Emaks Grade 3 FB). Contrast was slightly better, and selenium toning improved it a bit as well.

    I think I'll stick with PMK, even if it might take some experimentation to get things just right. The prints are indeed worth it :smile:
     
  8. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    All the VC papers I know of these days use magenta or blue to increase contrast.
     
  9. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    The green stain that is so associated with Pyro negates counters the magenta filtration. So you need to develop negs that will be contrasty enough to print well on the 00-3 or so filter sub-set. Flat, under developed PMK negs are difficut to print, because the green film base counters all the magenta.
     
  10. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Exactly so, but if the negative does not also have a yellow-green stain that is proportional to the silver density, something has gone wrong in the develping process. Take a "junk' negative that was developed in PMK and bleach away the silver image with Farmer's reducer. You should see the yellow-green (I say "yellow-green" because I do not see the green) image. That remaining image can be printed with a blue or magenta color separation filter, not with a yellow one, especially if you use graded paper.
     
  11. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    You and the OP may have paper from the same BAD batch.
    You both agree that MID GRAY is it. Your other papers,
    no complaint.

    BTW, if you need contrast try Slavich. I think their Grade
    4 may just make Grade 6. My tests show their Grade 2 starts
    out at a Grade 3, and that in a very low contrast developer.
    In a contrasty developer it will just make Grade 4. Dan