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  1. #1
    Gary Holliday's Avatar
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    Split grade filters

    I remember reading a data sheet (Foma?) stating that it had four grades of contrast. I was wondering if any of the papers are not very sensitive to the extreme 00 and 5 Multigrade filters?

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    There was a review of B&W papers I read a year or two ago, I think in Photo Techniques, that tested the effective grade range of various papers. This review found what you suggest -- some papers couldn't achieve the ends of the 00-to-5 grade scale. If I recall correctly, Ilford papers produced the greatest contrast range, but I don't recall what other specific brands could get.

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    Steve Abchells variable contrast printing manual has a list of papers showing their response to filtration. It's not up todate now but it shows that every paper is very different with some having better separation in the mid to shadows, some with better separation in the mid to highlights, some with even separation, some with a full 5 grades and some with less.
    A transmission density step wedge is useful for determining this by printing it at different grades to see what you get. And then you can also compare one paper against another. Its useful to know because some negs will print better on one paper rather than another.

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    I think Gary isn't so much asking what the difference is between the various grades yielded by different papers, but rather how sensitive they are to the 2 extreme filters used in split grade printing and whether any reduced spectral sensitivity, if there were any, would affect their response to split grading.
    I don't have the definitive tech answer to this but in practical terms I would expect them to work OK. Certainly the Heiland split grade unit has many papers in its data base that work well (many now discontinued). Foma papers are not included though, but there are 'general' settings of high, medium and low sensitivity to use for other papers.
    The simple answer is to try it Gary. The technique, when used manually, is automatically adjusted to the paper as you pick the tones by eye. The HSGU only needs to be programmed for different papers for its automatic use.

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    Gary Holliday's Avatar
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    I was asumming that some papers may not respond very well to the two popular split grade filters and that these filters would maybe lead to unnecessary lengthy exposures.

    I have yet to test all the combinations of filters on my main papers to see the differences in tonal response. Perhaps Grade 1 and Grade 4 filters are better for those papers?

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    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    I'd stick with G00 and G5 filters. It may or may not result in slightly longer times than necessary with papers that can only make G1 to G4 (I've never tested to see if that is true) but consistency is always worth having in printing so I'd keep the same filters for all work. Using my colour head I use maximum yellow and maximum magenta on all papers when split-grade filtering.

    'Course, that's just me...

    Cheers, Bob.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob F. View Post
    I'd stick with G00 and G5 filters. It may or may not result in slightly longer times than necessary with papers that can only make G1 to G4 (I've never tested to see if that is true) but consistency is always worth having in printing so I'd keep the same filters for all work. Using my colour head I use maximum yellow and maximum magenta on all papers when split-grade filtering.

    'Course, that's just me...

    Cheers, Bob.
    I agree with Bob
    Tim

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    hal9000's Avatar
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    I don't think the contrast range of a paper correlates with its sensitivity to the 00 and 5 filters - a lower range paper just won't be able to reach the extreme ends of the contrast scale. I agree with Tim and Bob, the filters should work just fine with any VC paper.

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    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Holliday View Post
    Perhaps Grade 1 and Grade 4 filters are better for those papers?
    I'd want to hit that paper (one with a question of less contrast range) with as much blue as I can, rather than less blue. Since the name "Grade 4 Filter" only means anything to a particular manufacture's paper, you might only be getting ISO 90 (Grade 3 maximum) by using the "Grade 4 Filter." Testing is the only way to know for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Holliday View Post
    I have yet to test all the combinations of filters on my main papers to see the differences in tonal response. Perhaps Grade 1 and Grade 4 filters are better for those papers?
    The combinations are infinite. Not only can you do multiple combinations, giving one contrast 1 amount of time and the other contrast another amount of time will further change the results. Even combinations of 3 filters can change the results. Also, which order you use the filters in, flatter first or contrastier first, makes a difference. Personally I think the 00 or 00 and 5 doesn't let you finesse and fine tune the subtle differences and gradations you can get (provided you have it in the negative to begin with...if it ain't there, it ain't anywhere).

    But that's just me (and only 38 years of printing...32 professionally).

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