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  1. #1
    Rolleiflexible's Avatar
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    Graded papers and light sources.

    Please forgive what must seem an unbearably stupid question:

    The common wisdom is that, when enlarging, cold-light sources give softer results than condenser light sources, so that a negative that needs a #2 filter when printed with a condenser head onto VC paper will need a #3 filter with a cold-light diffusion head.

    Does this apply also to graded papers? I have negatives that I print with a cold light head that need a Grade 4 paper. If I print them with a condenser light source, can I get by with a Grade 3 paper? I'm assuming it doesn't work that way, but please, someone give it to me straight.

    Sanders.

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    I think - but I do not know - that it has nothing to do at all with the light colour but with the directionality of the light ... a condenser head is somehow "less fuzzy" than a diffusor.

    But don't call me on it; I may be wrong.

  3. #3
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    The basic principle of condenser-more / diffuser-less in terms of contrast apply regardless of the type of paper used. It's just a feature of the lightrays shining through the negative, not a question of light temperature.

    As for how much you need to change grade, I wouldn't go as far as a full grade. I've done my own side-by-side comparisons between cold light and condenser on grade #2 paper, and decided that the difference was not large enough for me to bother. YMMV, but make some tests using your usual paper, changing only the light source. That way you're controlling a single variable. You will be able to decide whether you need to adjust the final contrast.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  4. #4

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    Basicly your logic is correct, however, the exact grade of the filters with
    the diffrent lightsources could be less or more than the difference implied
    by the filters.
    The change in contrast also depends on the paper used. Some papers
    respond not linearly with the filters, ie the change in contrast could be
    more or less than one grade.

    You could/should make some tests of the paper(s) you use, printing
    stepwedges (projected) and from them judging the obtained contrast grade for
    the diffrent filters/lightsources/papers.

    If i recall it corectly Anchell elaborates on this subject in his "The variable contrast
    printing manual".

    An alternative to use softer grade with the condensor-head is to use a soft
    working developer while using same graded paper.

  5. #5
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Another way around this is to target your negative development time to the light source, if you know you'll be printing consistently with the same enlarger.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  6. #6

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    A subtle but useful change

    It is correct that condensor ligth prints with higher contrast than diffused light. But: The change is in the highlights - it's not an all-over change as when you change from filter #2 to filter #3. So for fine art printing it's a good idea to have both light sources at hand for the enlarger. The difference is subtle, but useful.

    j-fr

    www.j-fr.dk

  7. #7
    Rolleiflexible's Avatar
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    You all are giving me useful information, but (MHV's post excepted) it is not answering my question.

    My question: Does a graded paper change contrast depending on the light source? Will an Ilford Grade 3 paper give me higher contrast if I print it with a condenser light source, instead of my cold light diffusion head?

    That's the question. I assume the answer is "No." I assume that a graded paper's contrast is governed by the emulsion, and its interaction with the developer, and that the color or directionality of the light is irrelevant. Am I wrong?

    Sanders

  8. #8
    lee
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    Sanders,

    I think the contrast will go up using a condenser light source regardless of the paper. Whether graded or VC. Years ago when Graded papers ruled the earth you had to develop the film for the light source not the type of paper.

    lee\c

  9. #9
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanders McNew View Post

    My question: Does a graded paper change contrast depending on the light source?

    Yes, but not a lot.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  10. #10
    Helen B's Avatar
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    I agree with j-fr. The difference appears to be more pronounced in areas of greater density in the negative and less pronounced or insignificant in thin areas.

    Best,
    Helen

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