Split Grade: Does order matter?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Worker 11811, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Let's say I have worked up a print the way I like it and I printed split grade with 0 and 5 filters.

    Now it's time to make my final prints. Say I want to make two more prints: 1 for toning and framing one to keep in my folder as reference.

    I print the first print with the 0 filter then the 5 filter. When I make the second print, the 5 is already in the enlarger. It just makes sense to print the 5 filter first then change to the 0 filter. There's a lot less fumbling around in the dark that way.

    Will printing the filters in a different order make a difference in how the final print comes out?
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Probably not. Unless there are issues about accuracy of timing, or reciprocity.

    By that I mean that if your exposure times are so short as to make it hard to maintain consistency, then you might see differences.

    Or, if the light levels are so low as to require very long exposures, there might be inconsistent results due to reciprocity failure.
     
  3. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    no difference , i predict.
     
  4. skahde

    skahde Member

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    If the times for both filters are identical and your filter for grade 2.5 is exactly in between 0 and 5 you will also produce an identical result only using a single filter. It has been shown more than once. E.g. In Davis, Beyond the Zone System, Fourth Edition, pp. 158, 159. Splitting is just another way to get to the right filtration (not considering dodging and burning).
     
  5. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    No difference at all; I've tried it. Just make sure you're consistent in your timing between exposure and development; you'll probably see a difference if you expose the two grades an hour apart and then immediately develop because the paper slowly loses its exposure.

    With a little math+experimentation and assuming you're printing uniformly (i.e. no dodges or burns that are different in each grade) then you can do it as a single exposure at an intermediate grade. Not much point though unless you need to produce a lot of copies.
     
  6. Alan W

    Alan W Subscriber

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  7. skahde

    skahde Member

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    Or your consistency may be higher. But I never said that... :whistling:
    But as it is not possible to proof any kind of effect to be nonexistant as you can not test each and every conceivable variation and scenario where it might show, the discussion will probably never end.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2012
  8. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I use a two channel timer so it does matter for me. I have each channel preset for a specific filter time, my timer switches automatically.
     
  9. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    One curious exception I discovered: unregulated coldlight. During the exposure the intensity decreases as it heats above the set pre-warm temp.
     
  10. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    To me there is a difference. Maybe I just look long enough and hard enough to see a difference but my thought is you can make the whites black but you can't make the blacks white once you have layered them in. My approach is to darken the highlights not brighten the shadows.
     
  11. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    My guess is that in the circumstance you described it will not make any difference. However, in my printing I have found that to get a print with the highlights and shadows where I want them, the soft exposure must be determined first. My rationale for this is that the soft exposure also affects the shadows more than the hard exposure also affects the highlights. So if I start with the hard exposure first and get the shadows where I want them, a subsequent soft exposure will overexpose the shadows. Conversely, if I set the highlights first (which also begins to expose the shadows), the subsequent shadow exposure darkens the highlights very little (if at all,) while "finishing" the shadow exposure.

    That's my story and I'm sticking with it.
     
  12. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    So, if I understand you correctly, order is important when working up the print but, once you have found the right exposures for each filter, the order in which they are laid down does not make a difference.

    Yes, I set the soft filter first then determined the hard filter. After I worked them up, I printed the two exposures in the opposite order and it didn't seem to be different.

    BTW: I also took the advice of others, here, and tried printing with only one filter. I determined that a #3 filter came up with a result that's nearly the same as what I got with a #0/#5 split. I think I'm going to try a #3-1/2 single contrast print and compare to what I got with the split filter.

    Overall, I think I have learned that I can do what I need with only one contrast filter unless I have the need to alter the contrast in just one area of the print. Even though it ended up taking more time to work up a split grade print only to end up doing a single contrast print, I think I have learned something that can be useful later on if I need it.
     
  13. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Nope. I reverse the order all the time from print to print of the same image without seeing any difference in the
    dry print. But if you are doing complex dodging/burning it might be helpful to be consistent just from a memorizing standpoint.
     
  14. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Well, what I know is that for me, the order is crucial while working up the print. What I guess is that it doesn't matter after that.

    The problem that I had with single-fliter printing is that I would find the correct exposure with the filter I guessed was right. Then if I needed to change the filter for more or less contrast, the exposure changed. It seemed like I was constantly chasing my tail to get both exposure and contrast right. Just the other day I read a post by someone here who described doing the very thing that frustrated me, yet he seemed to think it was just part of the business of making a print. Since I have learned to do split grade printing I get my base exposure and contrast with two test strips. No muss, no fuss.
     
  15. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    tha's why i prepare and store a print map for every negative