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  1. #1
    PeterB's Avatar
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    Ilford MG filters faded - how to know ?

    Hi folks,

    I was printing today and when switching from an Ilford Multigrade (MG) filter number 3.5 to 4, the print suddenly went VERY flat and muddy rather than having more contrast.

    I'm attaching two shots of my 12 filters on a light box so you can see the problem with #4 (and probably #4.5). One thing that had me thinking they were OK, is that some ads (like this one from Adorama) show the #4 filter as being more orangey/yellow than magenta in colour (as mine is).

    I would like to check if my filters are past their used by date.
    How can I know when they have faded out of specification so this doesn't catch me by surprise again ?

    I can't believe I've had this problem for so long and not noticed it. Admittedly I don't use filter 4 much but even so....

    I've had the filters for about 10-15 years, and use them only a few times each year (I also left one in the enlarger while it was on and hot for a couple of hours though - my enlarger takes incandescent tungsten globes)

    rgds
    Peter
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_4923_Ilford_MG_filter_Set_2.5-5.jpg   IMG_4924_Ilford_MG_filter_Set_00-2.jpg  
    Last edited by PeterB; 12-29-2009 at 08:01 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: adding a sentence

  2. #2

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    My new #4 is quite transparent, "salmon" colour, as the one on the photograph you've attached. Your 00 looks much more yellowish than mine, though.

  3. #3
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    When or if they fade it tends to be uneven, as in your images.

    Back in the UK I have 4 or 5 sets of Ilford filters, one set from the 50's which are all still OK (the 50's set usest he reverse filtration - tyellow= contrast). But I have had a set fade badly stored in dampish conditions it's not just light that causes failure.

    Ilford recommend replacement roughly every 5 years, but my two below the lens sets are still fine after about 15 yeras of use, and give a full range of contrasts.

    Ian

  4. #4
    scinysnaps's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=PeterB;916744]Hi folks,

    I was printing today and when switching from an Ilford Multigrade (MG) filter number 3.5 to 4, the print suddenly went VERY flat and muddy rather than having more contrast.


    I had EXACTLY the same problem as you did when I switched from 3.5 to 4 expecting more contrast... instead it got even muddier...
    My filters are about 20 years old, and #4 is the same salmon color and not the magenta hue of 3.5

    I have no idea what the problem is...

  5. #5
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    I think a number 4 filter (and 4.5 and 5) is calibrated to require 1 stop more exposure than a 3.5 filter (and lower). So, if one didn't know that, it might be part of the problem.

    Jon
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

  6. #6
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    I did a number of tests on the Ilford filters and I believe the 4-5 filters are special 'narrow band' filters. If you measure them with a standard color densitometer or baseboard color meter the measurements don't make sense.

    So, if the filters are old and not doing what you expect, I'd just get some new ones, they are relatively inexpensive. A set of new filters won't cost much more than a step wedge (which is what you will need to test the filters).

  7. #7
    erikg's Avatar
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    They shouldn't be much older than your underwear. Both should be swapped out for new every so often even if you don't think they need to!

  8. #8
    PeterB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scinysnaps View Post
    I had EXACTLY the same problem as you did when I switched from 3.5 to 4 expecting more contrast... instead it got even muddier...
    My filters are about 20 years old, and #4 is the same salmon color and not the magenta hue of 3.5
    Scinysnaps, it is reassuring to know you have the same problem I do.

    I seems that #4 truly does begin life with less magenta than #3.5, evidenced by the Ilford site here and Adorama's here.

    Thanks also to Alkos, Jon, Ian, ic-racer and Erik for your replies

    I'll buy some more today and report back.

    regards
    Peter

  9. #9
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    On the testing front, a step wedge is a very useful thing.
    Contact print the thing, and visually count the number of steps between first non white and first non black and know how the filter is working with known good paper

    or, how old out of date paper reacts to given filtering,

    or figuring out dichroic filtering needs to be give equal contrast steps with new or out of date paper.

    I started with a 1/2" x5" one gifted to me , and found it so useful, that I bought a 6x6 one from Stouffer.
    my real name, imagine that.

  10. #10
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    I have had the same issue with fading Ilford Filters - see this thread - http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/6...room-bits.html

    I first noticed inconsistent results as I stepped up Filter Grades while printing.

    I used a Step Wedge to judge the range of tones from black to white each filter would give me.

    It took an afternoon of test work but it was worth while.

    I bought a new filter set and have never looked back

    Martin

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