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  1. #1

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    Are my multigrade filters faded? or what?

    I'm having problems obtaining enough contrast in my prints lately. Among a number of potential causes (film age, etc...) I'd like to eliminate the aging of Multigrade filters, thet I've had for 30+ years. I'm aware of mentions of filters fading, but like all things on the web, I prefer to check from actual witnesses.
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    This is a picture of filters 0-5, taken against a backlit piece of white paper, with custom white balance made on the background white.

    First question. Do the #4 and #5 filters look right, compared with those you have?

    Second question. Shouldn't the hardest filter be deep magenta, from green being blocked, blue transmitted for the corresponding layer, and red transmitted to allow the enlager's red filter to do its job?

    Third question. Turning suspicion to my D-72 mixed from base chemicals. I see an induction time of ~40s. This seems a bit long. I do have "real" Dektol powder at hand, but don't want to send 2 liters of developer down the drain without at least plausible motive.

    Thank you for your attention.

  2. #2

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    I don't know how the colours should look like, but sice you said they are 30+ years old, they are possibly not compatible with Multigrade IV paper which was released in 1994.

  3. #3
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bernard_L View Post
    Second question. Shouldn't the hardest filter be deep magenta, from green being blocked, blue transmitted for the corresponding layer, and red transmitted to allow the enlager's red filter to do its job? Thank you for your attention.
    May I ask what the enlargers red filter is? Do you mean the one beneath the lens? Are you using separate filters together with the enlarger filters?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  4. #4

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    The question of what "good filters" should look like has come up before. From what I remember the range of Ilford filters' colours do not change in the way you'd expect when going from 0-5.

    Given that filters for say grades 2-3, maybe 3.5 are used most often then the ones that give you grades 4-5 should have "worn" the least so you'd expect to get prints with grades 4&5 the easiest.

    Don't forget that grades 4&5 need double the exposure despite the filters not looking as deeply coloured as you'd expect.

    If your developer is fresh, your print paper isn't old and you are giving the print the dev time that the print developer maker recommends at the right temperature and you are still not getting the higher contrast grades maybe the filters are worn but this should have been a very gradual process. If it has happened relatively quickly then it doesn't sound as if the filters are the problem.

    Two final things to try: 1. Someone else's filters if you can borrow some
    2. Dialling in filtration if you have a colour head

    Either should reveal if your under-the-lens filters are worn.

    Let us know how you get on and what cured the issue

    Thanks

    pentaxuser

  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Pictures of the filters look Ok. Do you have a step wedge?

  6. #6
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Are my multigrade filters faded? or what?

    Given the age, replace them. I had the same issue with filters equally old (posted here about it too) and just bought a new set - problem solved. I am not at home now to compare to the look of my old and new ones but it's worth the price for peace of mind.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7

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    Your filters look similar to my Ilford set, but I am not convinced any problems would be visually evident.

    I wonder if you have a safelight issue? Here is a link to Kodak's procedure to test safelights: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/consu...Safelite.shtml

    Here is another idea. The number 2 filter should yield the same contrast as printing with no filter. Try printing a negative of normal contrast both ways and see how they compare. Maybe this would tell a story.

  8. #8

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    All: thank you for your comments.
    but sice you said they are 30+ years old, they are possibly not compatible with Multigrade IV paper which was released in 1994.
    The catalogue number 1762628 is identical to what is currently sold
    May I ask what the enlargers red filter is?
    The red filter below the lens, used, e.g., to position the paper/easel without fogging the paper. No color head, plain Beseler 67CS tungsten condenser head.
    Given that filters for say grades 2-3, maybe 3.5 are used most often then the ones that give you grades 4-5 should have "worn" the least
    Dyes in old Ektachrome slides fade out in total obscurity...
    Two final things to try: 1. Someone else's filters if you can borrow some 2. Dialling in filtration if you have a colour head
    No one with a wet darkroom that I know of. Endangered species.
    Pictures of the filters look Ok. Do you have a step wedge?
    I have the Kodak projection print scale, but indeed buying a Stouffers wedge is on my todo list.
    just bought a new set - problem solved... it's worth the price for peace of mind
    Should have done my homework. Indeed, these threads:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/archive/i.../t-100015.html
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/6...-how-know.html
    contain first-hand evidence (as opposed to hearsay) that new filters make a difference.
    So, another on my todo list: buy a new set of filters.

    Bottom line(s). 1. Thanks for the information. 2 Buy new filters and step wedge. 3. Nobody chimed in on the induction time??

  9. #9
    MattKing's Avatar
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    With respect to your "induction" time, I assume by that you mean the time before shadows start to become distinctly visible.

    I don't use D-72 and it has been a while since I used commercially packaged Dektol, but as I recall, 40 seconds is a long time.

    I would check the developer before blaming the filters entirely - although after 30 years, it is probably time for an upgrade.

    And by the way, magenta filters block green, without affecting the blue. Red doesn't really factor in, because the paper doesn't respond to it.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  10. #10

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    Matt,

    Thanks for the info on induction time; confirms my suspicion.

    And by the way, magenta filters block green, without affecting the blue.
    I'm aware of that. So, based on blue -> high contrast; green ->low contrast, I would expect the highest contrast filter to block green totally, but pass blue.

    Red doesn't really factor in, because the paper doesn't respond to it
    Even if the paper is not sensitive to red, the red band still matters: if the "high contrast" filter would pass blue only, it would be impossible to position the paper/easel using the flip-in red filter under the lens. Which is why (see my OP) I expect the hardest filter to be magenta.

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