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  1. #1
    Thanasis's Avatar
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    Print Lacking Contrast

    Hi there,

    I was in a local photography centre darkroom making some prints yesterday and I struggled with the contrast of one particular print. I've posted a scan below.

    The whole thing looks a little grey for my liking and giving the paper (Ilford Multigrade RC) it more exposure under the enlarger shifts everything to be too dark. Would I be correct in assuming the problem is with the negative? I used Tri-X 400 (35mm) in ID-11 at the recommended time and temp and spot metered off the right cheek (from memory)

    I have never used enlarger contrast filters but I'm looking at going back and having another go at this print with these filters. Can anyone advise on how they work and the best way to use them to boost contrast in my print?

    My other strategy is to try burning and dodging certain areas. Perhaps
    try to darken the hair and lighten the face.

    Any suggestions and comments are more than welcome...

    Thanks and best regards,
    Thanasis.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails g.jpg  
    Last edited by Thanasis; 02-10-2008 at 06:44 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2
    nze
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    You already find the solution "filters" . In your case you may need a 3 or higher filter to give you the contrast you want. Exposure with tungsten light and without filter is equivalent to a grade 2 ( filter 2) . the bigger the number the contrsatier it is.
    Chris Nze
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  3. #3
    Sparky's Avatar
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    if i can fairly judge from your scan (you'd be surprised at how different a scan can be from a print!) - I'd say your contrast is already about as high as you want to go... assuming you're looking for something kind of 'natural' looking. I would hazard a guess that your neg is underexposed. I'd probably go lighter at the same contrast setting. Or dodge certain areas (you'll have to play with this yourself - I can't tell you what you want really).

  4. #4

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    It looks OK to me but I may be easily pleased. You don't say at what grade you printed but whatever it was, try a print at one grade below and one above to see what looks like. If this is your start at printing, it's worth doing a print at each grade including half grades. You'll get a feel for what each grade looks like and a feel for what suits you.

    pentaxuser

  5. #5
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    Maybe run it through some rapid selenium and see if that gives you what you're after, it might anchor the blacks a bit more for you.

    Apart from that, go ahead and get a filter set and investigate split grade printing. But it really doesn't look half bad to me, honestly. There are some spots that look like they could blow pretty easily, so maybe you just want more separation in the midtones.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    Apart from that, go ahead and get a filter set and investigate split grade printing.
    i'm not really sure if split-grade printing is quite what this guy's ready for at this point... it's a bit over the top maybe...! first things first maybe? but I'd encourage him to try using contrast filters to see what happens when he wants to try increasing or lowering the contrast.

  7. #7
    Kevin Caulfield's Avatar
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    It's a bit hard to tell looking at a scan of a print which you say is too low contrast, and not at the neg. Looking at the scan of the print though, there are three areas where there are specular highlights, or at least some burning out, on the subject's right cheek, nose and chin. Apart from those three areas, there is very little contrast in the print. I would definitely be tempted to try again with say a grade four filter, as I assume from your description that this is printed unfiltered, which I believe is usually around grade two.

  8. #8
    Thanasis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Caulfield View Post
    It's a bit hard to tell looking at a scan of a print which you say is too low contrast, and not at the neg. Looking at the scan of the print though, there are three areas where there are specular highlights, or at least some burning out, on the subject's right cheek, nose and chin. Apart from those three areas, there is very little contrast in the print. I would definitely be tempted to try again with say a grade four filter, as I assume from your description that this is printed unfiltered, which I believe is usually around grade two.
    The funny thing is that those areas which look like they're about to burn out on the scan actually look good on the print and show considerable detail too.
    It was printed unfiltered (therefore Grade 2 by default). Would I need to adjust exposure time with a grade four filter?

  9. #9

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    Going to a 4 filter seems a bit much, but to answer your question, yes, going from no filter to any filter will require an exposure increase, and going to a 4 filter, a little more. The details of how much more are in the data sheet, off hand, a stop or so, but a lot depends on your specfic equipment.

  10. #10
    Kevin Caulfield's Avatar
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    Regarding adjusting exposure time for different filter grades, I find I usually need to do a new exposure test for each filtration change.

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