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  1. #1

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    Contrast difference in developing or enlarger filters!?!

    Hi all,

    I'm wondering to achieve more or less contrast, what is the difference between using more or less developing time on the negative, or making a normal developing time, but increase or decrease the filters grades on the enlarger...
    Isn´t all the same?:rolleyes:

    Thank you in advance

    Peace

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    You need to read up on the subject, a good starting place is Ansel Adams, The Negative.

    Ian

  3. #3

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    thank you for your reply, but i think that my question was not clear....

    I would like to known if for instance we would like to increase contrast, what is the difference between doing a n+1 or n+2 (if we want even more contrast) in development or doing a normal development (n) and use a paper with higher grade (3;4;5-accordingly if we want more contrast) ou using a multicontrast paper and using also higher grade filters.

    Is there any difference on both processes?

    Thanks again

  4. #4
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    OK essentially you want or rather need to get as much information at the negative stage as possible, this allows the print to be varied in any way you want. So in flat lighting N+2 or contrasty N-2 exposure & development are extremly useful.

    Yes you are right in assuming that small variations can be carried out at the printing stage by using a higher or lower garde of paper, so many photographers don't bother with N+1 or N-1 adjustments. If your negative is too contrasty or too flat printing becomes very much more difficult and you may not be able to achieve what you really envisaged.

    Ian

  5. #5
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    Actually, your question was quite clear. But Ian's point is that the complete answer to your question is book, not a quick paragraph in this forum.

    At the time Adams invented the Zone System, variable contrast papers didn't exist. And when they did emerge (in the late 1950's or early 1960's), the early products were seen more as commercial papers than art papers. I first became involved in photography in the late 1970's, and even then variable contrast papers were inferior to graded papers. So in that era, the ability to adjust contrast by manipulating exposure and development was an important tool.

    Also, early art photography was almost exclusively large format, and Zone System manipulations are most convenient when using sheet film. It's not practical to attempt compression or expansion on roll film since it's not possible to tailor development of individual frames.

    Today, variable contrast papers are very good. And art photography is done more commonly with roll film and 35mm. I dare say there are far more people who routinely manipulate contrast while printing than there are who use compression or expansion in exposure and film development.

    But there is more to the story than convenience. As a practical matter, compression and expansion is limited to about two steps, while printing manipulations offer a far wider range as well as intermediate steps and the ability to selectively burn areas with higher or lower contrast. And while variable contrast printing filters are extremely convenient and offer a wider range of compensation today than they did when DuPont first introduced VairGam, the fact is that variable contrast printing still doesn't offer the range of contrasts that were available in graded papers. Sadly, graded papers are harder to find today, and they are no longer available in the extreme ranges that we used to enjoy. (Agfa Brovira Grade 6 paper was something really special!)

    In my photography, I rely heavily on multicontrast papers and printing filters to fine tune prints in the darkroom. But I also use expansion, and more commonly compression, to produce negatives that are closer to where I need them to be.

    So - bottom line - variable contrast printing, and expansion/compression exposure and development are both tools to achieve an objective. Neither is necessarily "better" than the other, and you should use the one that produces the result you are looking for.
    Louie

  6. #6

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    Thank you very much (both) for the answers...

    regards

  7. #7
    richard ide's Avatar
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    One exercise that I found useful with VC papers is to take a representative ideal negative from your collection and make a series of prints from grade 0 to grade 5. This will give you 11 prints all with different contrasts. Ilford MG filters and MG paper mean you only have 2 exposure times to contend with. These prints serve as reference starting points and can even help plan split printing. If you want to print a negative with a different contrast; as you gain experience and make notes of what works, it reduces the guesswork.
    Richard

    Why are there no speaker jacks on a stereo camera?



 

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