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  1. #1
    Pfiltz's Avatar
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    Split Filters for Dummies....

    I mean rookies... That would be me !

    Bare with me. I'm new to enlarging and printing. LOVE to print, but still cutting my teeth.

    I know when you shoot, you usually meter for the shadows, and then print for the highlights, or that's what I've been doing with my b/w film.

    I heard some folks mentioning split filters so today, I thought I would try it on a still life image I want to print.

    My base exposure is around 9 seconds. So my first exposure was with a 0 filter for 2 seconds, then I did another with a 3 1/2 grade filter. The paper I was using was Ilford MGIV FB.

    Does the 0 or lower numbers on the filter pack effect the highlights, and the larger numbers effect the shadows?

    Can you explain to me, why someone would want to split filter an image in a real, S i m p l e manner.

    Any info you can share as to why, how, or what ever on split filter printing would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,
    Gump in Tn.
    Go to the light......

    www.keepsakephotography.us

  2. #2
    eddie's Avatar
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    There's a difference of opinion about the effectiveness of split filter printing. A search will turn up a bunch of threads...

    I use it because I think it gives me more control over the final image, but many would argue I'm foolin' myself. The only way to know if it is for you is to try it. Start with a full sheet of paper, and do a test strip with the No.4 filter. Find the time which gives you the shadow value you want. Then, expose a full sheet with that time, and do a test strip with the No.0 on that sheet. Find the highlight value you want. Then, combine the 2. If your chosen shadow exposure is 10 seconds, and your chosen highlight exposure is 20 seconds, expose your print for 10 sec. with the 4, and 20 sec. with the 0.

  3. #3

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    Split filtering is nothing more than the use of more than one contrast grade filter to print an image on variable contrast paper. "Split grade" printing is simply a type of split filtering but one in which you typically use only the hardest (highest number) and softest filters (lowest number).

    Please note the following: Unless you are making different local exposure adjustments (ie burning and dodging) during each of the two exposures in a split filter print, there is no difference between using split filtering and using a single filter grade somewhere in between the two split grades. So in your example, if you are simply dividing the total print exposure into two exposures with the 0 and 3 1/2 filters, you could make the same print with one single exposure and a single filter somewhere in between 0 and 3 1/2.

    Before proceeding, based on your post I suggest getting some good preliminary info on variable contrast paper/filters and printing. See below from Ilford. If will help you better understand what the different filters do.

    http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/...8932591755.pdf

  4. #4
    Pfiltz's Avatar
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    Thanks Eddie and Micheal. I'll give that a shot tomorrow. The image I'm working on is for the postcard exchange on this site....
    Go to the light......

    www.keepsakephotography.us

  5. #5
    eddie's Avatar
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    Since you're new at this, make the best print you can, using your usual technique. Then try split grade, so you can compare your results.

    As Michael's post points out, there is a difference of opinion. If your high and low filter exposures are the same, he's right- you can get the same result with an intermediate filter. I split print, and never have the 2 use the same exposure time, which is why I think it's an effective printing regime.

  6. #6

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    Let me clarify a few things. First I'm not saying there is anything better or worse about split grade printing. And I very often use multiple filters in a single print, though not the max hard/soft split technique.

    Second, the high and low exposures do not have to be equal for the result to be the same as using an intermediate filter. The only requirement is that there be no separate burning and dodging adjustments during the hard and soft exposures. You could have a grade 0 exposure of 8 seconds and a grade 5 exposure of 3 seconds. There is an intermediate filter that will do this in one exposure (+/- maybe a 1/4 to 1/8 grade). And I wouldn't trust anyone who tells me they modulate contrast in 1/8 grade increments.

    Split-grade is just a different way of doing things.

  7. #7
    eddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    There is an intermediate filter that will do this in one exposure (+/- maybe a 1/4 to 1/8 grade). And I wouldn't trust anyone who tells me they modulate contrast in 1/8 grade increments.
    If it's +/-, it isn't the same... I'm using the Heiland SplitGrade, so it will do 1/10 increments (although I can't really see a difference with a 1/10 change. I can at 2/10).
    But, I do agree there are a number of ways to get where you want to go.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by eddie View Post
    If it's +/-, it isn't the same... I'm using the Heiland SplitGrade, so it will do 1/10 increments (although I can't really see a difference with a 1/10 change. I can at 2/10).
    But, I do agree there are a number of ways to get where you want to go.
    Yes it should be noted a colour or VC head is infinitely variable between grades so my 1/4-1/8 grade margin applies only to the use of external filters.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pfiltz View Post
    Does the 0 or lower numbers on the filter pack effect the highlights, and the larger numbers effect the shadows?
    Yes, more exposure with the # 00 filter will make the highlights darker, whereas more exposure with the #5 filter will make the shadows darker. (do you not have the #00 and #5?)

    Realize that in both cases above, the mid values will also get darker. So, it is up to you to determine if you can zero in on a good print better that way vs using the individual numbered filters alone.

  10. #10
    Pfiltz's Avatar
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    appreciate all the info on this matter guys. I may play around with split filter printing some more, just to try and get a handle on it.

    IC-racer: yeah, I have the whole Ilford Filter Package 00 through 5
    Go to the light......

    www.keepsakephotography.us

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