View Full Version : Multigrade Filters Over The Lens

06-17-2012, 12:05 PM
Hello. I've been creating paper negatives in a homemade camera. (It's a box fitted with a simple optic; it's not a pinhole camera.) The negatives are very contrasty. I use Ilford multigrade paper. I'm wondering, do you think if I place an 00 filter (or similar) in front of the lens, that I'll get less contrast? Will I have to expose the paper longer? I'm willing to do some strip tests, but I'm almost out of paper, so I'm trying do as much research as I can up front. Thanks.

06-17-2012, 01:44 PM
the box with the filters should have information regarding exposure comp when using filters

06-17-2012, 01:47 PM
Check out the Paper Negative group here... lots of info there on controlling contrasty pn's. Start with fogged paper..... use dilute developer....

Joe VanCleave
06-18-2012, 12:46 PM
Since you have to buy more paper soon, do yourself a favor and get some grade 2 RC coated paper, from a dealer like Freestyle Photo, for instance. You can then shoot with no filter, get a faster speed ( I rate the Arista brand grade 2 paper at ISO 12), and with a diluted developer for a longer development time, you can have controlled results.


Terry Christian
06-18-2012, 01:47 PM
Also to control contrast you can preflash the paper, just as you might do when enlarging to bring down the highlight range.

06-19-2012, 02:49 PM
I've had good results with VC RC paper and a yellow #8 filter over the lens. The negatives are not high in contrast. I usually need grade 3 or 3-1/2 contrast filters when making contact prints of these negatives. Exposure will depend on the brand of paper you use. I used Freestyle's Arista EDU Ultra VC RC paper and exposed for 4 seconds at f32 under sunny 16 conditions with the yellow filter. I forgot to preflash the paper negatives the last time I went for a shoot, but the negatives still printed OK.

06-19-2012, 03:31 PM
Just realize these kinds of filter are not optical quality, in other words, not intended for image-forming applications, but for use in a filter drawer above the negative in an enlarger. I don't know if
this matters in your case, if you aren't after a sharp image to begin with - so you can obviously
experiment with them. But if you want sharper results you would need to go with either Wratten
gel filters or conventional glass camera filters. You can lower contrast by using a deep green filter,
like a #58 or 61, since the low-contast layer to VC paper is green sensitive.

06-20-2012, 07:04 AM
Thanks for all the responses. I might be headed in the wrong direction with this idea. For my current project, I'm shooting indoors using strong window light. Even so, my exposures (f16 using Ilford MG paper) are in the 45 to 90 second range. I know from experience that using a green filter outdoors costs me four to five stops. This is perfect in bright outdoor conditions. Indoors, I could be exposing for quite a long time.

I've used grade 2 paper in the past and might have to restock.

I'm already preflashing. I get good enough shadow detail, but now the highlights seem to blow rather fast. I don't know if I can blame that on preflashing though.

I'm interested now in the idea of diluting my developer to control contrast. I use Ilford PQ at the recommended dilution and time (1+9, I think, for 60 seconds).

06-20-2012, 01:42 PM
Preflashing tends to be a disappointing alternative most of the time.

06-21-2012, 08:57 AM
Thanks Drew. I'm not putting all of my eggs in that basket anyway.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a starting dilution to experiment with (Ilford PQ, paper negatives on Ilford MG RC paper, 5x7 pearl)?

Simon R Galley
06-22-2012, 05:19 AM
Dear Bvy

I have used hand held Multigrade filters (00) over the lens when making Paper negs in a 10 x 8 sinar. No issues whatsover.

Simon. ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :