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  1. #1

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    split grade printing

    Who of you uses this (I've also read it called 'multicontrast printing' or multigrade filtration') technique? Do you use it consistently, or do you find that you use it sometimes, other times getting better results with graded paper? I just started using split grade printing last year, and have been overwhelmingly satisfied with the results.
    I'd also like to know among those of you who use it, which is the more popular method: printing in the higher tones first, then exposing for the lower tones or printing for shadow detail first, then working on the higher tones. I have only used the first method, as it seems more effective to me.

  2. #2

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    omalley

    i've used split grade printing for a few years now. i dont' really think twice about it. i don't know if i use the same technique you are referring to , but what i do is find the mid-tone time, and burn in my contrast with a higher grade filter. in addition to filtration, i often use a 2 bath fixer - one stronger than the other and a water bath to control contrast &C. since i sometimes print negatives that are not from a camera, i have to figure out a way to print the "material" so i get a full tonal range, instead of contrast only ( the easy part ).

  3. #3
    david b's Avatar
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    When I use this method of printing, I start with the zero filter and then the five filter.

  4. #4
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    I only split print now unless I am using graded paper
    Depending on the negative and how I want the print to look I will decide on which way to approach the filtration.
    I am now a big fan of using a middle filter first and using the 0 and 5 to accent, rather than using a 0 and 5 only.

  5. #5
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    I've just started using this technique, and in a very subtle way has improved my printing. I find it works best with contrastier negs. If I have a flat neg, it just gets too grey. I use a color head enlarger, so I start with the yellow (highlight) filter at about 80Y, make the first exposure, then I dial sown the Y filter, and so a full magenta filter, pretty much turn the knob 'til it can't move any further. I have done it backwards, but I don't think it makes a difference to the final print. It's just easier with the way my enlarger is set up to do the yellow filter first.

    It is a great technique with the right negative.

  6. #6
    lee
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    Split grade printing will not work with graded papers. The vc papers have emultions that are sensitive to blue and green light. Blue controls the shadows and green controls the highlites. I have a MetroluxII timer and an Aristo head for my Omega. The Aristo has two tubes in it and it is very easy to split grade print. There is some good info here on APUG.ORG about this style of printing. I have been very successful with this technique for about 10 years

    lee\c

  7. #7
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    I've been using the 0 and 5 method for the past 12 or so years and have had very good results. As has already been said it does not work with low contrast negatives so for best results you will need to use quite high contrast negatives. I prefer to establish the highlight tonality by using the 0 filter first and then create the required contrast by applying the 5 filtration second.
    "Digital circuits are made from analogue parts"
    Fourtune Cookie-Brooklyn May 2006

    Website: www.lesmcleanphotography.com

  8. #8
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    I've only been in the darkroom for about a year and started using split-filtration when I bought Les' book a few months ago. I now use the method almost exclusively as I find I get to the final effect I want much quicker than estimating grades and then having to try harder and softer grades just to make sure my original grade guesstimate was correct (which it usually is not...).

    I do the max-yellow (soft) test on one test strip followed by max-magenta (hard) test on top of a second test strip already exposed for the soft exposure time obtained from the 1st strip. This works even for flat negs (which I get far too often for comfort!) but you need to watch the soft exposure in this case as it is easy to overdo it. Perhaps doing the hard followed by the soft is a better way to go in this case? The real beauty of this for me is that you can dodge during the hard or soft exposures to control local contrast to a degree not possible with a single exposure.

    Cheers, Bob.

  9. #9
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    Les
    I would disagree about low contrast negs not working with split. I have used the 5 filter for the majority of the print and then basically flashed in with the 0 filter to add slight tonality where needed.
    When I want a gritty print I use this technique all the time. It works well to bleach and tone after the split printing.
    I get a lot of call for this kind of print and the look is fantastic.

  10. #10
    Loose Gravel's Avatar
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    I have given up graded papers. Too hard to keep the range in stock and fresh. For this, VC is so much better. I don't use split filters, though, I use a filter of the grade I need. When I have two grades in one print, then I diddle with the different filters and have even added extra blue (with lighting gel) to get that nudge of high contrast or adjust between grades.
    Watch for Loose Gravel

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