VC contrast filters

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by coriana6jp, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    Sorry to keep bothering everybody with the stupid questions, but I have another one. I finally managed to get a 4x5 enlarger, which is much bigger than I expected. Have to will have to assemble it before every use, but I can live with that.

    I was shopping at my local camera store and they had a couple of sets of VC contrast filters. One was Ilford, and the other was Gekko (ie Mitsubishi). The Ilford filters were about 70 dollars, the Gekko are on closeout for 30. My only concern are all the filters the same. If the Gekko filters are the same as the Ilford, its a no brainer choice. I looked around but could not find an answer. I honestly dont know, if there is any difference between the two, but I thought I should ask.

    Thanx again for the help.

    Gary
     
  2. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    There may be differences but basically all the filters do the same thing: vary the proportion between magenta and yellow light. One may read "2" while the other reads "3", but things remain consistent once you get familiar with your filter set. After all you'd have drift in contrast even by replacing the lamp bulb. I would go with the cheaper one.
     
  3. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I've heard the rumor that they are, but I'm not exactly sure about it since I've been in a similar situation as yours for the most part.

    My general understanding is they are close, if one is not the OEM of the other. Choosing Gekko would certainly be alright, but since it's been out of production, so you might want to grab more than one set.

    Fuji VC filters are also not that different from the Ilford, either, but the Fuji filters are much bigger than the other two.

    I believe Oriental makes a filter set, also, but I've never seen and/or heard anyone actually using it.

    My usual setup is the Ilford filters on the Nikkor lenses, which I'm familiar with. I use the Fuji filters on the Fujinon lenses to get slightly different results sometimes.
     
  4. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Even if the filters aren't 100% the same it's not a big issue. Between differences in light sources and even developer the exact grade you'll get will vary from the grade somebody else gets.

    Somebody put together a list of Rosco gel filters and the contrast grades they match up to. I think it was in a US magazine last year. You might want to consider that option to.
     
  5. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Gary -

    While there is a standard that defines contrast variations in graded papers, there is no corresponding standard to define contrast variations with VC filters. Therefore, it is likely that a filter set from manufacturer X will be different from a filter set from manufacturer Y (unless, of course, both filter sets are actually manufactured and private-labeled by manufacturer Z).

    Instead, what you do know is that the contrast that you get increases as the number on the filter becomes larger. There are a few instances (reported here in the APUG forum) of contrast reaching a plateau, or perhaps even decreasing as the filter number increases, but that's a characteristic of the VC paper and not of the filter itself.

    So the key is to find a filter set from one manufacturer hat provides the gradation you are looking for, in the format you need (size, filter drawer or under-the-lens, etc), and at a price that you consider reasonable. And then use it to learn how various papers respond. Printint with VC filters is a bit like cooking - there is no absolute formula, but rather you have to "season to taste" by experimenting with various filters to achieve the result you want.

    The one thing you don't want to do is intermix filters from different manufacturers.
     
  6. Harrigan

    Harrigan Member

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    Different manufactures filters may produce a little different contrast per filter but if your neg is ok you should be able to get a good print with anyones vc filters. You might try looking online for a set of clean filters for less than 10 bucks but 30 for new ones sounds ok. Ilford mg vc filters are way overpriced. If you look on the auction site you can find a set of good clean (not scrached) filters for pretty good price. Make sure they are not scrathed as they do scratch very easily and many used sets are pretty shot. Good sets can be found from students who only used them a few times.
     
  7. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I'll just add that the variability mentioned by others is compounded by variability between papers. In other words, if you get a good print with, say, a grade 3 filter with Brand X paper, and then try to reproduce that print with the same filter on Brand Y paper, you might find that the contrast is different than what you got with the first paper. (Exposure times also vary between papers, but let's just ignore that for the moment -- it's complex enough already!)
     
  8. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    If you are using them below the lens, get the best and clearest set you can find. If the filters are above the negative, it doesn't matter.
     
  9. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    Again I want to thank you all for the great advice. The enlarger has a filter drawer, but it takes 4x5 filters, And none of the filter that I have seen are they big, so I will mount them below the lens. I will probably go with the Ilford VC filters, mainly for the simple fact I want to help support the company.

    Again thank you very much. I have a long way to go to get all of this stuff working, but hopefully it should not be too difficult.

    Thanks Again!!

    Gary
     
  10. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    Ilford filters are available in 6x6 inches format too, to be resized to 4x5 with scissors. I'd personally avoid putting anything between the lens and the paper...
     
  11. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    Ilford filters have 2 diffrent dencities for all the filters, making it easy to get the correct exp
     
  12. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    I would second the advice to avoid under the lens filtration. You will get alright results, but its just a multitude of added hassles: one more surface for dust/dirt to attachitself to (I know, out of focus, but still), and you pay top dollar for a good enlarging lens - lets not give it a piece of plastic to have to work through.
    Right now I use Ilford, before I used Agfa. They all seem to differ a touch, but the main point is getting a set and getting consistent - the same effects will be possible with both, albeit at perhaps slightly different settings, exposure times, actual filter grades, etc. When I switched, I had to adjust a bit - it was a pain, but a minor one. The Ilford filters were thinner and easier to cut to fit my filter drawer - it was the only reason for the switch.
    The one place I would not advise cutting costs is not getting filters to fit your drawer properly and leaving them under the lens.

    Peter.
     
  13. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Kodak has also produced 6x6 Polycontrast filters that work well with Ilford paper. It's commendable to support your local photo shop, but if they don't have what you need, try the major online shops or ebay.
     
  14. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Good choice. The filter sets will be different but it matters little. The contrast extremes may be different and the contrast spread might vary too, but again, who cares. None of these sets will be given true ISO contrast at the given filter numbers anyway. Filter numbers and ISO contrast have little in common.

    I have used filters above and below the lens, and would only use below-the-lens filters again. Switching between filters within the print is much easier that way. As long as the filters are scratch-free and clean, there is no detectable difference.
     
  15. lee

    lee Member

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    I agree with Ralph. I have never seen filters degrade the image from being below the lens. Maybe years ago but not now.

    lee\c
     
  16. coriana6jp

    coriana6jp Member

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    Again a big thanks to all of your for the advice. It is greatly appreciated, looking forward to getting this setup to work.

    Thanx Again.

    Gary
     
  17. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    pedantic questions about VC filtration

    I've got notes that Rosco Green 58 and Blue 47B are what I used in the recent Les & Lee workshop. I've got a handful of VC filter questions, too.



    • Lee: I hunted around a bit and found this post about the source for the gel material you use. Aside from the price, should this still be good info? Anything particular about the glass you use for your sandwich, or should garden variety home improvement store glass do?
    • Since various film/developer combinations result in different color b&w negs (especially with staining developers like Pyrocat), wouldn't the effectiveness of the filter be different depending on whether it's placed above or below the negative? My enlarger has one drawer between the lens and the negative (just above the lensboard) and another one between the condenser and the negative. I would think the former would results more "purer" colored light hitting the desired emulsion layer in the VC paper?
    • What role does the color of the Pyro stain play with different printing materials? When printing with Pyro negs and the above-mentioned filters, is there any value in letting the color of the stain project through onto the paper?
    • Finally (and probably for most, thankfully finally), are the Green 58 and Blue 47B primarily good for Illford MG or should they work for other VC like Kentmere?
    Thanks,

    -KwM-
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2006
  18. lee

    lee Member

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    Kevin,

    That Omega enlarger with the Aristo head has the green and blue lights and it doesn't care what VC paper it exposes.

    You might go over to Dallas to Dallas Camera off Farington St and see the Rosco filters they have. That is where I went to get the filter material we used on the Durst enlarger. The glass was purchased at Brunswanger Glass down on White Settlement. Just glass. the price was about 5 dollars a sheet for the green and the blue filter materials.

    point #2. I would not worry about the "purer" light hitting the paper.
    All you are doing is coloring the light either green or blue and photons are photon and don't care where the color comes from.

    lee\c
     
  19. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Thanks, Lee. I'll give Dallas Camera a holler.

    -KwM-
     
  20. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Lee, I think that it is important to note that filters do not color any light. They work by removing all other colors...that is why they appear a certain color. Just wanted to correct what you may have meant to say.

    In other words, filters add nothing...they remove.