Variable Contrast Paper question...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by rcoda, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. rcoda

    rcoda Member

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    Hi:

    I'm fairly new to VC papers having been a graded man for 25 years.

    Is it possible to first get a good exposure and then give it a short burst at Grade 5 to beef up the blacks? I can't quite seem to get the luscious blacks I was used to with my old favorites, Elite and Seagull. And if so, is there an order to do it in (burst first or burst last)?

    Thanks,

    Rich
     
  2. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    In short, yes. There are all sorts of methods for split-grading; even read here about folks who print strictly by splitting with 1 and 5. Never tried it myself.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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  4. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    Split filtration is not difficult to do with a little practice and familiarity with the materials. If all you need is a little more zip to the print, using a No. 5 filter for a portion of the full exposure will do nicely. I always start with the low contrast filter and follow with the higher contrast. I really don't think it matters much in which order they're done.
     
  5. matti

    matti Member

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    I suppose it would be the same as using a harder filter to begin with. I had difficulties getting good blacks with Ilford multigrade developer and when I changed to Dektol I got the blacks I wanted and the muddy feeling was gone.
    /matti
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    That's more about print tone/colour.

    Multigrade developer is a slightly warm-toned developer, while Dektol is far colder toned.

    Ian
     
  7. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    What VC paper, developer, and light source combination are you using?

    Murray
     
  8. rcoda

    rcoda Member

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    Oriental VC and Ilford Warmtone (for warmer images)... Ethol LPD developer (dilutions based on tone)... currently using my friend's enlargers until my darkroom is re-assembled. He has Durst Lab184 and a Saunders LPL. I have a Beseler 8x10 with Aristo VCL8100.
     
  9. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    I'm wondering if, in addition to split-grading, flashing VC paper will help you get the blacks you are looking for. Anyone try this approach? Maybe something I could try this weekend.
     
  10. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Hi Richard,

    I asked for the above information because it'll give APUG'ers more knowledgeable than I some idea of your process.

    When I switched to VC paper I went with Multigrade IVFB and it took a while to equal my old prints on Zone IV Brilliant graded paper. One developer I tried that ended up having too much snap-and-sizzle for my kind of moisture laden rain forest photographs was Ansco 130. You might want to give that a try as it should land you a nice rich black without having to add additional exposure.

    Murray
     
  11. rcoda

    rcoda Member

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    Thanks everyone for their help so far. I will try some of the suggestions in my next printing session next week.
    Rich
     
  12. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Rich -

    You certainly can give paper multiple exposures at differing contrasts. I often add a 5-10% additional exposure with the #5 filter to intensify the shadows. But there are also instances where a short exposure with a #0 filter is needed to enhance texture in highlights. Its not a scientific process, and you have to go by feel and see what results you get.
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    No, it won't the flashing exposure is supposed to be insufficient to fog paper, it only helps the highlights in the prints and has no appreciable effect on the shadows.

    Ian
     
  14. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    Thanks for the clarification... and for saving me some time today. I was going to try this but I'll save my paper for something else. :smile:
     
  15. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Ditto. And you're right, it doesn't matter at all in which order they're done. For me, split filter printing is the only way I've done it for the past 20 years. Once you work out your times for low and high contrast settings for each paper, it more or less stays the same forever after. I'm still working my way through my supply of Agfa Multicontrast Classic and my starting standard exposure time for an 8X10 print from a 6x7 neg is 10 sec full magenta (I use a color head) and 7 sec full yellow. I always get a good work print on the first try. I can then make decisions about harder or softer and tweak my times from there.

    Just remember when doing split filter printing, if you want to burn for more density without changing the contrast, then burn with both hard and soft filtration in the same proportion. If you burn with only hard or soft, you'll change the contrast as well as the density.

    Larry