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  1. #1
    Arcturus's Avatar
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    Do you always use a MG filter when printing with Ilford MG Paper?

    Is it a good idea to always have a filter in place when printing with MG paper? I've just been using the light straight from the lamp and it seems to be giving me perfect contrast every time. I don't know what grade it is or if it's even perfectly white light, but it seems to work well. It's not grade 2 since grade 2 graded paper always comes out too contrasty, but MG paper without a filter works great. Will this eventually lead to inconsistent results or is it ok to go without a filter?

  2. #2
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    I always use a filter , as I am always split printing and the difference of the white light and that of a filter in place is quite significant.

    It is ok to go without a filter by all means, if you are getting great results without the filter this means you are pretty consistent with your negatives
    and that is a good thing.

  3. #3
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    If it works for you then it's fine. It will be consistent at whatever grade it is without a filter.


    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.

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    I always use a filter myself.

    Jeff

  5. #5
    Arcturus's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies! It really nails the contrast w/o a filter, but I think I may start using them every time now seeing what everyone is saying. If I ever change enlarger heads I could get myself into trouble not really knowing what grade I'm printing to. I was just going on the "if it isn't broken, don't fix it", but I think I'll save myself some trouble in the future by starting to use the filters now.

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    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    I can explain a simple reason to use filter: If I use white light and then want a little more or less contrast... Then it's unclear which filter I will want.

    May not seem much inconvenience, but it bothered me enough one day to commit me to use fixed grade papers.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to endorse multigrade papers. Based on everything I've read they are excellent... I wanted to use fixed grade paper anyway, and was just looking for an excuse to set them aside except for emergencies.

  7. #7

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    I have always found Ilford MG Paper to be about G1 without a filter, it is always too soft for me. I use, out of preference, Kentmere and that is a G2 paper without a filter and a lot faster too. I have been in the darkroom this afternoon and made a 12x16 Fibre base print on Kentmere taken in dull(ish) weather and the print without the filter was just about OK so I did another with a 2.5 magenta filter and the difference, although very slight is better. I have tried to print this on Ilford resin coated before and not with a great deal off success and had to use a grade 3.5 to get anything close to what I have today.
    Last edited by BMbikerider; 10-12-2013 at 01:35 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcturus View Post
    Thanks for the replies! It really nails the contrast w/o a filter, but I think I may start using them every time now seeing what everyone is saying. If I ever change enlarger heads I could get myself into trouble not really knowing what grade I'm printing to. I was just going on the "if it isn't broken, don't fix it", but I think I'll save myself some trouble in the future by starting to use the filters now.
    You won't save yourself trouble. The grade numbers on the filters are arbitrary; the actual contrast you get in your prints is affected by a number of other factors as well, including light source, paper and developer. If you change your enlarger head you could well end up with different behavior, just as if you change paper or developer. It's possible to be more precise about this by making careful sensitometric measurements - get a copy of Phil Davis's "Beyond the Zone System" if you're interested in learning more. But you don't need to if everything is working fine for you.

    FWIW, I use an LPL 4500II with color head. I dial in yellow or magenta filtration as needed by the particular negative + paper combination I'm using. If the negative doesn't need any filtration, then I print without any filtration.

  9. #9
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    This makes a lot of sense

    I use a 11 x14 devere with colour head and my starting point is always 0 magenta and 0 yellow, I will go to a different filter when needed due to what Owen says.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    You won't save yourself trouble. The grade numbers on the filters are arbitrary; the actual contrast you get in your prints is affected by a number of other factors as well, including light source, paper and developer. If you change your enlarger head you could well end up with different behavior, just as if you change paper or developer. It's possible to be more precise about this by making careful sensitometric measurements - get a copy of Phil Davis's "Beyond the Zone System" if you're interested in learning more. But you don't need to if everything is working fine for you.

    FWIW, I use an LPL 4500II with color head. I dial in yellow or magenta filtration as needed by the particular negative + paper combination I'm using. If the negative doesn't need any filtration, then I print without any filtration.

  10. #10
    Rick A's Avatar
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    As stated previously, the numbers on the filters is arbitrary, however unfiltered Ilford MG is supposed to be the equivalent of grade 2. You can try a grade 2 filter and see how close to your results are to your original unfiltered prints, then adjust up or down accordingly. I like to use a filter to keep my exposure times longer to allow for any B&D that may be needed. In theory, you should have one contrast grade in mind and shoot for that, sometimes circumstances prohibit that so we have other contrast grades to choose from to adjust the image. You can either use graded paper as we all did in the old days, or use MG paper and change the filter.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

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