Newbie question about VC papers
Today I got some Agfa MCP paper (the last two packs available at a local shop) and finally gathered enough courage to try out the enlarger I inherited from my uncle. However, I need some filters to control the contrast. Sorry if this is a stupid question that has been answered before, but can I use colour printing filters instead of B&W variable contrast filters? It's just that I have colour printing filters but no VC filters, and I'm not too keen to spend even more (this is already getting expensive). From what I gather, VC filters are colour filters, just made in some specific colours. Can I get the same colours by combining the set of CP filters? If so, is there any reference how do I do it, that is, what filters do I have to combine? Thanks!
Yes, check the Ilford website, and a table of equivalents should be in the datasheet for Ilford MGIV papers.
An advantage of using Ilford VC filters is that they have neutral density built in, so you can change grades without changing exposure until you get to grade IV and V, which require one additional stop.
Yes, you can. depends a bit what brand of filters you have (Kodak standard or Durst)
Durst filters, in half grade increments starting with paper grade 0: 60Y, 45Y, 30Y, 10Y, no filer for frade 2 ,20M, 30M, 50M, 70M, 100M, 130M. For grade 4 and 5: double exposure time.
Kodak filters: 80Y, 55Y, 30Y, 15Y, no filter, 25M, 40M, 65M, 100M, 150M, 200M
Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.
Using Ilford's recommendations for colour heads you should be able to mimic the Ilford filters with your CP filters, which avoids the problem of changing exposure significantly from grade to grade (which would be the case using a single CP filter for each grade)
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
CP filters are I believe measured in Kodak units (somebody pls correct me if I'm wrong!) in which case the following table should work for you -
Grade 00 - 162Y
Grade 0 - 90Y
Grade 1 - 68Y + 10M
Grade 2 - 41Y + 32M
Grade 3 - 23Y + 56M
Grade 4 - 6Y + 102M
Grade 5 - 200M
Half grades and other filter system settings are here
That Agfa paper is lovely stuff, a real shame we can't get it any longer.
Another, and IMO simpler way to control contrast is to use only the strongest filters you have in magenta and yellow (or stack filters if needed, to get to the Grade 0 and Grade 5 or Grade 6 values), and make two exposures, one with each filter. You make a full-frame test print, with strips running one direction with one filter, and the other with the other filter, and after making a few you can usually get your two exposures (equivalent to selecting both exposure and contrast grade) from that one test print, and make the second sheet of paper count as a final or near-final work print.
This method, known as "split filtering" is claimed by some to have mystical properties that allow it to produce results you can't get from a single filter, but to my eye, it's just a means of controlling contrast as precisely as you'd control exposure -- rather than being limited to, at best, half grades, you have continuous control. It produces better results because it makes it easy to hit *exactly* the right contrast grade, not because of some mystical property of dual exposures. IMO, of course...
Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.
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Thanks for all the answers! I plan to make some prints this weekend or so. Should be fun.