print tonality... developer vs. filtration
After exploring the effects of negative contrast on the print's tonality, im curious what effects developers might have. Im interested in how using a soft working developer with contrastier filtration would differ from a contrasty developer with low contrast filtration (assuming a similar overall range of tones). Would this have any effect on micro contrast or the placement of tones in the print?
The way the shape of the paper's characteristic curve interacts with that of the film, I believe, has more to do with the resulting print tonal placement than developer type or method of use. The placement of the scene's brightness range on the negative at exposure determines how the inevitable curvatures in the curves of film and paper will interact. It is not so easy to control the shape of the paper curve by developer choice without running the risk of messing up the whole thing.
If you could place both exposures on the respective straight line parts of the curves, assuming that there are such parts, your development of the print would likely put one end or the other of the net curve where you really would not like the result. If you have not already, find a copy of "The Theory of the Photographic Process" and read the chapter on the theory of tone reproduction. This is Chapter 22 in my edition. In general, there are stronger forces than developer type and use at work here.
My take on this - degree of development determines tonal range of the negative and quality of tonal separation, not just highlight to shadow, but degree of separation between neighboring tones that are close together in the subject. The quality of the "information" that arrives at the paper emulsion during print exposure depends on what the film carries. A certain degree of development will yield a negative with as much range as it can contain, with corresponding separation quality, and detail at both ends. Anything less than this sends less image info to the paper.
I read a paper (I think by Bruce Birnbaum-sp?) advocating negs as full range as possible, to optimize the detail and separation. Makes sense to me.
Besides, if it's not articulated on the film, it won't get to the paper.
Like always, it doesn't mean that a full range neg is best for what you are doing, but I think it is worth keeping in the thought process. The final look is what you are after.
Although I use graded paper we both share a same
Originally Posted by H. G. Hart
interest. Local contrast is the subject. A good way to
test is to use a contrast control developer such as Beer's,
Adam's Ansco 130, or Edwal's variation. Marked differences
in contrast are displayed twixt use of Beer's 1 and 7. Beer's,
the only CCD I've made it to so far. Dan