Absolutely! Thanks for clarifying.
Originally Posted by markbarendt
Basically, what I am saying is that compensation allows a greater subject brightness range to be squeezed in to the density range of the negative that will print well on a particular contrast-grade paper. I need to be more precise when I express such things so as not to add to the confusion.
To clarify it slightly, I'd prefer saying it allows a greater total subject brightness range to print straight on a particular contrast grade.
Interestingly, although a subject for a different thread, I think most people would be somewhat surprised with the amount of compensation (relatively little) that occurs with diluted general purpose solvent developers and current films.
The compression occurs in the highlights, so shadows and midtones will have normal gradation.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
Suppose you want the opposite. Suppose you want compression in the shadows, with normal gradation in midtones and highlights?
Underexpose, and/or use a film with a long toe.
That will also compress a wide image-scale to fit the paper.
It depends on where you want the compression.
There is more compression in the highlights, but there is compression everywhere. That's why compensating techniques usually require an increase in exposure (which doesn't help much), and true compensating/acutance developers tend to compress midtones as well. Compensating techniques with general purpose solvent developers don't do as much as people think they do.
Compensating techniques need to be used carefully or you can easily end up with negative that ends up being more difficult to print than if you had given a more mild contraction.
So I'll say it again: Compensation allows a greater total subject brightness range to print straight on a particular contrast grade. Local contrast throughout is another story.