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  1. #1

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    Contrast in Prints

    Hey Everybody,
    I have a few questions, don't know how simple they are?

    I am printing with Ilford Multigrade IV MGF. Developing in Sprint chemistry at the moment.

    It seems that I am using really too much contrast filters just to get a decent print. The negs have decent contrast to them.

    Does this paper have a dendency to need that boost with the contrast filters?
    Does the developer have any play in the contrast of the prints?
    Could there be something with the enlarger?

    Any help would be appreciated

    Thanks

  2. #2

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    As you enlarge and move the neg away from the paper your contrast will decrease. With 35mm you lose contrast pretty quick. basically your "normal grade" filter needs to increase to number three paper not number two.

    I went through the same thing as you. Compare your contact sheet to the neg and there will be tons of contrast. There is nothing wrong with the paper it is the nature of enlargement.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  3. #3
    geraldatwork's Avatar
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    I'm familiar with the Ilford paper (basically the only paper I use) but not the developer. One of the variables that can influence contrast is the enlarger. Diffusion enlargers tend to need between a half and whole grade more contrast than condenser enlargers. I have a color enlarger and my typical negative requires the amount of filtration equivalent to between 2 1/2-3 1/2 contrast. When you say not enough contrast are your whites Grey and/or are you not getting blacks?
    "When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers"
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  4. #4
    rogueish's Avatar
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    I print fiber based Ilford and have no problem myself. Some negs need more contrast than others.
    What type of enlarger are you using? Condenser or cold diffuser? I'm told there is a difference but can't say from experience. Certain developers can be low contrast or "soft" as well. Sorry, again I've never used Sprint myself.
    What is the scene? What filter are you using? Have you tried printing it in just white light (no filter)? It is said that no filter is like a #2 but when you do both, there is a difference (to me anyway).

  5. #5
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    If your negs are contrasty check your enlarger lens is it dusty or dirty, sometimes they get condensation inside.

    Otherwise check your developer, it may have gone off, be to cold or just be the wrong type or wrong dilution.

    The size of enlargement will make no differance, unless you are running into excessively long exposures and getting reciprocity failure in the prints, this is quite unusual.

  6. #6
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=mark]As you enlarge and move the neg away from the paper your contrast will decrease. With 35mm you lose contrast pretty quick. basically your "normal grade" filter needs to increase to number three paper not number two.
    QUOTE]

    As I read this I believe it to be an absolutely incorrect statement. Regardless of the distance/elevation of the negative, a contrast filter will produce exactly the same contrast. It is the time that must be compensated not the filtration.

    You might refer the the inverse square law to determine time increase over distance.

    Bruce Osgood
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  7. #7
    geraldatwork's Avatar
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    I've also found when going to a larger size print that my contrast stays basically the same. Maybe slightly more contrast but not enough to talk about.
    "When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers"
    African proverb

    IRAQNAM is Bush's legacy

  8. #8

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    I'm using at the moment a 23CII w/ nikkor 2.8 lens. Lens looks good. I must say that this is happening in a college darkroom. The developer is new, because I make the instructor change it. I will have my darkroom up and running in a few weeks, it might not be a problem then, but I want to head it off if it is.

    Quote:
    When you say not enough contrast are your whites Grey and/or are you not getting blacks?

    Probably Blacks not being black enough.

    I am usually going with a 5 or 6 on the contrast.

  9. #9
    gainer's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Bruce (Camclicker)]
    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    As you enlarge and move the neg away from the paper your contrast will decrease. With 35mm you lose contrast pretty quick. basically your "normal grade" filter needs to increase to number three paper not number two.
    QUOTE]

    As I read this I believe it to be an absolutely incorrect statement. Regardless of the distance/elevation of the negative, a contrast filter will produce exactly the same contrast. It is the time that must be compensated not the filtration.

    You might refer the the inverse square law to determine time increase over distance.

    The loss of contrast with enlargement size can occur if there is light leakage from the enlarger or another source. It tends to stay more constant than image light as size increases, thus reducing contrast. Many enlargers do leak around the negative carrier and/or out the air vent.
    Gadget Gainer

  10. #10

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    You may have something there on the light leak. The enlarger I use doesn't hold down on the neg carrier as tight as I would like.

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