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  1. #1

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    Unable to get beyond grade 2 with my color head enlargers

    Hi all,

    i'm setting up my new darkroom, and did some first tests today. As i had nothing better to do today i thought i might as well calibrate my color heads for my two papers (Fomatone FB and Adox MCP).

    So i contact printed a Stouffer 21 step wedge on both papers, starting with full magenta on both enlargers. When the sheets were developed, i was counting 7 to 8 clearly distinguishable steps, which corresponds to grade 2 or slightly below according to this article:
    http://www.jbhphoto.com/articles/vcno2/eyeballcal.pdf

    Using no filtration at all results in Grade 0.5

    I can rule out:
    - Fogging. I used fresh paper and did a safe ligth/stray light test with pre-flashed paper
    - Paper issues. I get the same problem with both papers, and both are fresh (bought two weeks ago)
    - Enlarger issues. Both of my enlargers show the same results

    It seems to me that it's the developer, although it is fresh and was mixed just two weeks ago. I'm using Moersch Eco 4812.
    Unfortunately, i don't have another developer or multigrade filters for further investigation.


    Any ideas?

    Best regards,
    Matthias

  2. #2
    MDR
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    You can use film developers like Rodinal for paper development. The dilution is something like 1:2 so not very economic, if you get different results with the film developer it's developer going bad otherwise, take a look at the multigrade/color filters in your enlarger could be that they have faded.

    Good Luck

    Dominik

  3. #3

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    The filters look ok and not using any filtration results in Grade 0.5
    Thanks for the hint on film developers for paper! I will make another test with a higher concentration of the paper dev first, to see where this gets me.
    Matthias

    Once you get born you're never the same.

  4. #4
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I have seen a safelight cause this first hand, not enough to fog paper but enough to prevent higher contrasts being achieved, Paterson released a VC safelight to prevent this.

    Try a better safelight with a dedicated VC fliter and make sure the distance is more than the recommended minimum, use a dimmer switch if needed.

    Ian

  5. #5

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    The safe light must be ok, as i don't get different/better results when exposing and developing the paper with the safe light turned off.
    Matthias

    Once you get born you're never the same.

  6. #6

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    I just did another test with a freshly mixed solution (this time 1+10 instead of the normal 1+14) which didn't gave me better results.

    What suprises me is that - apart from the lack of contrast - the developer works just fine. The image on Adox MCP begins to show after 10 sec. and the blacks are as deep as they should be. I will pick up a bag of Dektol on monday to be sure it's not human error...
    Matthias

    Once you get born you're never the same.

  7. #7
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDR View Post
    You can use film developers like Rodinal for paper development.
    Rodinal was original intended for paper too.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  8. #8
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    D72/Dektol was originally a film developers as well.

    Ian

  9. #9

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    I guess any standard film-developer can also be used for paper and vice versa. One just needs to know or find the right dilution and time. In the end, they are all based on the same handful of developing substances, preservatives, restrainers etc.
    Matthias

    Once you get born you're never the same.

  10. #10
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    What combinations of filtration are you using? What enlarger do you have? Most colorheads are calibrated in density values (for example 0-100 giving 0.00 to 1.00 density equivalent for the three colors Yellow, Magenta, Cyan). And some don't even go up that high.

    Multigrade paper needs the magenta to go way over 1.00 - so to get into the higher values you may need supplemental filtration, probably only need a single (1.00 density magenta) filter in a filter drawer or under the lens - then use the dial to fine-tune the results.

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