I'll see how I get along with black and white on a color head I guess. I have a Beseler 45S coming tomorrow and plan on hooking it up to my StopClock Vario, can't decide if I will use the spare sensor in it or not.
I also got two brand new boxes of Ilford MG filters in 3.5x3.5 for my mural enlarger and students, nice to fall back on if I hate the Dichroic head I guess...also bought Ralph's book, look forward to learning a lot.
Thanks again everyone. I'm still not convinced. I won't argue that my negatives aren't thin and/or underexposed. But the print I got of the boy (#1) has much more contrast than the prints I'm producing today (from similarly thin/underexposed negatives).
I bought my Ilford multigrade developer (PQ) 13 months ago, but it has always been kept full in an airtight bottle. I wouldn't expect it to be bad, but I might pick up a fresh supply anyway.
I once had a Leitz V35 with speed matched contrast steps. Later I got a LPL color head and found myself using under the lens filters or dialing in only megenta. If your negatives normally print within a one contrast grade spread, (2.5 to 3.5) just using magenta is easy.
I print test strips when changing contrast and the magenta only technique does not slow me down. I have learned instinctively when to add a second or two when increasing contrast. Megenta only allows you to avoid printing though higher density and avoid exposure times over 30s.
If you do complex manupulation or print balancing this will not be as convenient as dialing in speed matched contrast changes. Good negatives with simple techniques produce good results with less frustration. Its all in a properly exposed negative.
Thanks again everyone. I finally got a print of the crowd that I'm happy with. I took Richard's suggestion and cranked up the magenta. (As an aside, I noticed there's a second set of numbers that comes with the Ilford insert that represents dichroic equivalents of the graded filters; it shows grade 5 as 199M. I need to read more about this.)
At first I noticed my blacks in this print weren't as black as in some of my other prints. Then I realized that when I bought new paper, I picked up Satin instead of Pearl. The Satin black isn't as deep as the Pearl black; it also seems to be warmer (more brown).
bvy - for more from Ilford I'll suggest this again...
this is an extremely good article about the true behavior of mg papers.excellent. thanks