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  1. #1

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    Ilford multigrade filter colours

    If I remember correctly not all that long ago Ilford Multigrade filters ranged in colour along a fairly continuous progression from yellow (#00) to a fairly dark magenta (#5). This is similar to most VC heads and Ilford still refers to yellow and magenta filtration in the current tech pub discussing contrast control with MG papers.

    However the current generation of multigrade filters are not like this. They seem to be a perhaps more sophisticated set of colours. #00 looks orange. There is then the more or less expected progression to magenta through grade 3 1/2. Then a change in colour again at grade 4 onward, which seems (to the eye) to be less "magenta" than grade 3 1/2.

    The only reference I can find in Ilford's online resources is a statement that the previous incarnation of the filters was never able to deliver as low a minimum contrast as the current version. Ilford also indicates the dyes may be less stable in the previous version although it is not entirely clear whether that is intended to mean old filters should be replaced, or if it means the newer versions actually have more stable dyes.

    Did the current version coincide with the introduction of Multigrade IV? Does it have anything to do with three-emulsion paper vs older versions?

    Comments?

  2. #2

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    Life was better with graded papers. I just don't like this variable contrast business. Not trustworthy. Just throws another undependable variable into a process where nailing down variables is already tough enough.

  3. #3

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    Why not query Ilford? They've been very responsive whenever I done that.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom1956 View Post
    Life was better with graded papers. I just don't like this variable contrast business. Not trustworthy. Just throws another undependable variable into a process where nailing down variables is already tough enough.
    This certainly isn't my view. VC papers are wonderful.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom1956 View Post
    Life was better with graded papers. I just don't like this variable contrast business. Not trustworthy. Just throws another undependable variable into a process where nailing down variables is already tough enough.
    I disagree. Aside from the convenience of not having to stock multiple grades of paper the ability to use different grades in different areas of the same print has been an invaluable expressive tool for me over the last several years.

  6. #6

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    Yes they are, MR74. Though I've still never quite pinned down "normal" contrast. Enlarger lights are different, film base color is different, etc. Finding #2 and nailing it down from escaping is about hopeless.

  7. #7

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    Life was better with graded papers. I just don't like this variable contrast business
    I find that being able to print different parts of a print at different grades a great advantage, especially when burning in.

    Tony

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom1956 View Post
    Yes they are, MR74. Though I've still never quite pinned down "normal" contrast. Enlarger lights are different, film base color is different, etc. Finding #2 and nailing it down from escaping is about hopeless.
    You don't have to pin down some kind of universal "normal". In your own workflow you have a personal end-to-end "system" which includes everything from your film choice to developer choice to development method to enlarger. All you need to care about is calibrating to that setup. "Normal" can often be anywhere between grade 1-3 depending on who you ask. Who cares? Choose a paper, put in the #2 filter and print. If you find it is too contrasty for your negatives, standardize on a lower filter, or adjust the exposure/development of your negatives to print better around grade 2. It doesn't mean all your negatives need to print straight on grade 2. That's what VC is all about. Most of the great printers I know, even with highly controlled negatives, always have to tweak filtration when they start printing a picture. Sometimes it looks better at grade 1, sometimes 3 1/2, whatever.

  9. #9

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    I split print using hard blue and green filters. You can do every grade with just two filters that way. When I want something simultaneous, I just use a colorhead. But frankly, I don't give a damn what grade number it hypothetically is. Back when I did almost exclusively print graded papers, my "normal" was Grade 3. I miss some of those classic graded papers, but since then variable-contrast quality has risen dramatically, and for most purposes equals the final image quality we had before, and in the realm of convenience, exceeds it. Negatives which once gave
    me hell to print are now easy.

  10. #10

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    As for me, I'm of the school of the "straight print". No hocus pocus in the darkroom. Get the negative right and then make a straight print--it is what it is, and move on. Otherwise, if you are going to do all that manipulation, you might as well throw the negative away afterwards, because you're never going to be able to pull that negative from the file in a couple years and duplicate the first print. Make the negative your "masterpiece" and make straight prints. But that's me.

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