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  1. #1
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Ilford filter set

    Hi,

    I'm just getting my hands wet, and am wondering a little about enlarging in general.
    I'm using a 35mm/6x6 combo unit, with a Schneider Componon 75mm lens, and a Voss 50mm (which I intend on replacing).
    I will upgrade eventually, but this is what I have at my disposal right now. My Omega enlarger has a filter drawer above the lens, and I'm using Ilford filter set with Grade 00 to Grade 5. I am however, using Agfa FB paper, which I like, but am wondering if the Ilford filters are compatible with Agfa papers.
    So far I've only been in the darkroom a few times, so please bear with me. Starting out I tried printing a negative that I thought had good contrast, and a nice representation of tones from dark to bright. I printed it without filters, and got a fair result for being a work print. Then I decided to try the filters, and from what I understand, a Grade 2 filter is pretty much normal contrast. Ilford states the filter factor for this filter is 1, meaning no exposure compensation necessary. After exposing the paper and developing it at the same times I did the nonfiltered print, it looked entirely different.

    Can someone help explain to me exactely how these filters work, and how to apply them properly to the printing.

    Thank you for your help,

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    The filters should work with Agfa paper.

    The filter factor of "1" is by comparison with other filters, not with no filter. The way the Ilford filters work is that they have neutral density built in, so you can go from 00-3.5 with the same exposure, and you add one stop with 4-5 (if I remember correctly--I haven't printed with VC paper recently).

    Most VC papers without filtration should produce something around grade 2, but if you are using filters for contrast control (and why wouldn't you if you use VC paper), then it's best to use a grade 2 filter instead of no filter when you want grade 2.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  3. #3

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    You might want to check the thread on using colour heads with VC paper. While the Ilford filters will work they might not give you the contrast the label claims. In other words a #2 Ilford filter with Agfa paper might give you higher or lower then a #2. If you can live with that then the filters will work fine. Just find the filter that's normal for you and your paper.

  4. #4
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Hi Thomas

    As David stated , you can use Ilford filters with Agfa Papers and vice-versa.
    If you are printing with VC paper, I would always have a filter in the drawer, otherwise as you noticed the print probably became lighter when you added the filter as opposed to no filter.
    The biggest jump in density is when you go to grade 4 or 5 from one of the lower contrast filters, I have never calculated what that difference is but as David said I believe it to be one stop more exposure in density,
    You can either open up a stop or add time to your timer.. Unlike your camera doubling your time does not equate to one stop when printing.

    10 seconds could be 25 seconds to equal a one stop change
    25 seconds could be 75 seconds to equal a one stop change
    the best way to find this out is to make some prints and then change the filters and find out how much time /apeture it takes to get matching densitys on the print. The more you print the easier these relationships will become.

  5. #5

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    If you want to know how these filters will work with Agfa papers I would suggest "The Variable Contrast Printing Manual" by Steve Anchell. It tells you how to perform tests with a cheap step wedge to determine how each filter will affect the tonal range of any paper. Basically, filter sets work with all papers, but between each filter grade there may not be a noticable amount of tonal change.

    The Ilford printing guide also suggests that grades 1-3 do not require an increase in exposure time, but the time should be doubled when moving to the #4 filter from the lower grades.

  6. #6
    raucousimages's Avatar
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    Kodak paper=Kodak filters. All other papers=Ilford filters. Just my opinion but it works for me. My Saunders 4500 VCCE has two settings one for Kodak and one for all other papers. A given filter on one paper may not give the same contrast on another paper so just adjust the filter for the look you want. On one print I used two #5 Ilford filters even though I have never seen it in any books. Do what it takes remember this is art not some sort of plug and play tab A to slot B computer science.
    DIGITAL IS FOR THOSE AFRAID OF THE DARK.

  7. #7
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your valuable advice.

    From now on I'll be using a filter in the drawer all the time, and use that as a starting point instead of no filter at all. In time I'm sure I'll be able to get a hands on feel for how they work, but it was very valuable to me to get this information to know where to start. Saves me lots of time and money.

    Thank you!

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  8. #8

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    Ilford filters

    "The Variable Contrast Printing Manual" by Anchell talks about using a step wedge to figure out the actual contrast change for any filter/paper combination. I haven't tried this approach yet (no step wedge) but would love to do it when I get a chance.

  9. #9

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    Kodak VC filters have no neutral density built-in...they are just magenta and yellow. What could be more universal than that?? and btw...Ilford 150mm (6") are now selling for over $40US.

    stink

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by stinkjet
    and btw...Ilford 150mm (6") are now selling for over $40US.

    stink
    The set or one filter? The 12" is $20 for one filter.

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