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  1. #11
    Tony Egan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baachitraka View Post
    - Split-grade printing is one method to achieve the full-tonal range with Variable Contrast papers.
    Hi,
    I would be careful about putting too much store in this statement. The best way is to try to create a negative with the full tonal range first. Split grade does not always produce the most pleasing results for some subjects. I usually only use split grade printing when I have a thin negative or in scenes with an extreme contrast range. There is no one right answer as you can well imagine. I would not try to master split grade printing before being able to be confident to make a good negative and make a great print with a grade 2 filter on multigrade paper. Choose one MG paper and use it for a while, limit the variables for starters and practice a lot! Good luck.
    http://www.tonyeganphotography.com/index.html
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." Groucho Marx

  2. #12
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Have to agree with Thomas and Tony, while split grade printing can be useful it's only one of many approaches and as Simon says getting the negatives right is the most important factor, do that and printing is easy.

    The Ilford Multigrade publication is an excellent starting point.

    Ian

  3. #13
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    Testing film is not terribly complicated and you can have someone else do it, if you wish. It would be the single best investment you can make when relation to printing. You pick a couple of emulsions, do it once, and you're done. Once you can shoot those rolls to comfortably fit on grade 2/3 paper, you can have plenty of fun in the darkroom instead of fighting with poor negatives. That leaves time (and money) to be creative and interpretative (via split grade, etc) instead of correcting mistakes.

  4. #14
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    To get started, keep it simple. Get some regular variable contrast paper and a set of filters. Use single grades of filters to get the look you want through experimentation. The book that Simon refers to is excellent, but so it Tim Rudmans Master Printing book and a bunch of others. Split printing certainly works, but so does using single grades for a given exposure. I think most advanced printers use some combination of both. Honestly, if you can pick a single correct contrast that works well for the entire image, you will 90% of the way there.

  5. #15

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    I'm an old coot and grew up using graded papers. You develope methods of burning n dodging to make up for a lousey negative to get that range of tones you are looking for... a real PIA if you have lousey negatives. You generally start with a G2 or G3 paper, cojnsidfered as normal papers. The G4 n G5 are very contrasty papers, below grades are soft les contrasty papers. When negatives are good, you still have to do some darkroom magic but it is very minimal to get waht you are looking for.

    With VC papers it is much easier to adjust for your lousey negatives n achieve the range you want using an assortment of split filtering techniques. AS a beginner, start with VC. You get a full box odf any grade you want by using the appropiate filter. You can experiment with your negatives n make developing / exposure adjustments as you learn the materials. Then as you get better negative that need very little corrections, venture out n try lots of different papers including graded for their unique properties so you can broaden your experiance as well as have a better time doing it without getting frustrated too soon.

    Most of all, have fun playing in the darkroom. It shold be a pleasant experiance for a life time of fun.

    BTW ask an old coot to invite you into his darkroom so you can see how it's done?.. or take a class? Learning this way can save you alot of experimenting in the begining.
    Anyone can make a Digital print, but only a photographer can make a photograph.

  6. #16
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baachitraka View Post
    I think, I will stick to Split-grade printing with VC papers.
    Learn how to print by classic means before you mess around with split grade. There isn't anything you can do with split grade that you can't do with regular old graded and timed printing. It isn't a magic bullet, it's a method, and without the basics it is a method that will be more of an impediment to your learning curve than anything else.

  7. #17
    guitstik's Avatar
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    I should have stated this when I posted earlier but I got excited when Simon offered the MG info, selfish of me I know. At this point I would just be rehashing what everyone else has already put forth but here goes anyway.

    I would start by sticking with one film, paper and chem for both. Learn how they produce prints until you start showing improvement and then start experimenting with different papers to improve your prints(assuming your negatives are good). Then try different films but do all of this in stages, one change at a time.

    It might be a good idea of some of the more experienced gives a concise explanation of what a good negative is so that the OP has a better understanding.
    Thy heart -- thy heart! -- I wake and sigh,
    And sleep to dream till day
    Of the truth that gold can never buy
    Of the bawbles that it may.

    www.silverhalidephotography.com

  8. #18
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    There are probably a few variations on the theme, but I found this page helpful to me, when trying to understand the variables of a negative: http://www.ephotozine.com/article/as...negatives-4682

    I have given up on looking at the negatives themselves, I do a contact print with a given time, f/stop and height of the enlarger instead.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  9. #19

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    If you have been developing your film correctly then the negatives should print easily on grade 2 or 3 paper (or filter if you are using VC paper). To minimise grain many protographers look for a thinner negative for 35mm which would require grade 3 while MF is fine with grade 2.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  10. #20
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    A good negative is one that you can't read a newspaper through.

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