Hi Rafal Lukawiecki,
Looking forward to your test results and how you interpret them. I'd recommend picking up a box of a single grade of paper.
Use multigrade paper when you have to and use the fixed grade when you a negative is good for it.
At first, the box of fixed grade paper will sit mostly unused. Soon enough, you will start going through the box of single grade paper faster.
Thank you, Bill, for the explanation regarding a reflectance target, and for the kind wishes of ever needing just a one, single grade of paper. I hope I can get to that point at some stage, again. Again, because that's how I used to print 30 years ago, not by choice, except I like my current results much more. :)
At the moment, I enjoy the look of Ilford Multigrade Warmtone glossy fibre, processed in PF130 and Se toned, very much, so I am unlikely to change away from it. Also, while weaning myself off split-grade approach, I don't mind having the option of a very occasional burn-in with a different-grade.
Rafal - not sure why you are against using different grades of paper, split filtering etc. These are tools, not crutches. You mentioned John Sexton - who knows a thing or two about making good negatives. Yet, it is not uncommon for a single print to require all of the following:
-Extensive burning/dodging and/or multiple grades
Making good negatives is important, but I disagree with the notion the goal of testing should be to use a single paper grade. Particularly when high contrast lighting is involved, targeting specific paper grades can cost you.
Michael, I am not against any of these. They are wonderful tools, indeed, and I have greatly benfitted from them. I am trying to simplify everything I do as much as possible. I suppose it is a kind of a minimalistic quest in terms of the photographic process. For that reason, I wish to remove split-grade printing from it. It is a great technique, as I mentioned, I have to thank it for a successful exhibition, but I do not want to default on it at the moment, as I did for a few years. Also, as I mentioned in my reply to Bill, I am unlikely to move to single graded papers, but I would like to have enough control over my negative so that I could target a grade when I photograph a scene, rather than arrive at the grade only when printing. Perhaps it is an unnecessary goal in your and other's opinions, yet I would like to improve my craft to be able to do that.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
Ok. Do post your results as Bill suggest above. I'm always curious. I must admit as much as technique is a means to an artistic end, I'm still a sucker for densitometry, a bit of a test data junkie I suppose... :)
Yes, I agree you don't need to carry the paper aim too far. I like doing it and can talk about it endlessly... But in a recent sidebar with CPorter, I see that Alan Ross develops his N+2 longer than I would, and he thus would need a flatter paper... but his highlights remain clean and separated, instead of shouldering off because of insufficient processing.
Originally Posted by Rafal Lukawiecki
You really should consider eliminating as many variables as possible. The idea is to obtain good data and then incorporate all the variables, determined individually, when interpreting the data. If you are testing for the film's characteristics, you need to separate it from the optical system, and that means contacting.
very true, but i find contacting difficult to do. that said i once made my self an adaptor to fit an lftaking lensto my enlarger,which alloed me to use it's shutterand expose filmcontacts from 1/250s to 1s .it worked wellwhen i used it to make msks for unsharpening.
Originally Posted by Stephen Benskin
i have made myself a 4x5 slide holder now, but before my contraption , i just taped the step tablet tightly to a window and photographed it. as long as you taped it down nice and flat reflectionsare no issue. flare is almost eliminated by a black card board mask taped over it.
I'm also considering stuff like shutter efficiency, for example. Slower shutter speeds and small apertures are more efficient than faster shutter speeds and larger apertures. It's a simple question of the percentage of the exposure time the shutter covers the aperture. Here's a graph of it from Photographic Materials and Processes.
Tests that use only a single exposure aren't as effected as doing a Zone System type test which consists of multiple exposures using different combinations of shutter speeds.
Also, any optical system produces flare. Even if everything is masked off, flare will still be coming from the thinner steps on the tablet. Not only is there veiling flare, but local flare, where one step on the step tablet will influence the one next to it. Veiling flare will not only reduce what the results of the contrast testing, it will also increase apparent film speed. And since flare is hard (next to impossible) to measure, you can never adjust for it. It's always best to do a flare free test and factor in flare later. This is how the ISO standard for black and white film speed determination does it.
This isn't all make of break kind of stuff. It's just something to consider when testing. Each variable has the potential to influence the test and the influence from multiple variables could be cumulative.