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  1. #1

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    LF excess contrast

    I need some adivce on which way to go for B & W printing. Maybe this is a condenser vs diffusion question but I would like to hear from anyone who has worked through something similar
    I shoot 4x5 and square med format. I have a color head enlarger for up to 6x6 and a D2 for 4x5. I had everything dialed in for the color enlarger but since starting LF and using the D2 my LF stuff is often way too contrasty for even a 1 filter. Should I re-do all my exposure and min time max black ect testing and just go to the D2 for everything or just try to dial in the LF to the D2. I don't have a permanent set up right now so sessions are few and far between. I wonder if I should just wait on extensive testing until I am set up again permanently, simplifying as much as possible would seem to make better use of my time
    Maybe I'm not even asking the right questions, my experience is limited

  2. #2
    resummerfield's Avatar
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    I would perform a film developing test with the sheet film and the D2. Do it now, as the results shouldn’t change with a permanent setup. Since your medium format film is working nicely with the color head, continue using that head for the roll film.
    —Eric

  3. #3

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    The difference between your color (diffusion) enlarger and your D2 (condenser) enlarger could explain some of the excess contrast that you are experiencing...it may not be all of the difference.

    It appears that you have a choice of using one or two enlargers. The med format could be targeted to just the color enlarger and the 4X5 to the D2 and you will need to arrive at two different film developing times to optimize what the two enlargers are capable of providing. Or you could decide to use only the D2 and develop both formats for the same amount of time. What you decide will be your decision to make. I would opt for everything through the D2 ...but then I like to keep things as simple as possible.

    I do not use, nor do I advocate min time for max black. It is limited in arriving at a good darkroom work flow, in my opinion. Most experienced printers will print for the highlight values first and then adjust contrast to arriive at the desired low (shadow) values.

    Good luck to you.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  4. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    What films are you using and how are you processing them?

    If you had a film you liked in MF and then moved up to LF with the same film and developer, but processed MF in daylight tanks and LF in trays with constant agitation, your sheet film development time could be considerably shorter than your rollfilm development time.

    I suspect something along these lines is part of the issue, because the difference between a condenser enlarger and diffusion enlarger is not likely to be as great as the difference you are describing.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  5. #5
    juan's Avatar
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    When I moved to large format, I found that I had to make adjustments to almost everything I had been doing. I think what you are experiencing is normal. I recently tested a paper with a step wedge using the same everything except head - a Zone VI cold light head had about 20% less contrast than a Beseler condenser head.

    Both what Don and David said are possible solutions. You have some work to do.
    juan

  6. #6

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    Thanks for your quick responses and suggestions, I'm doing some re-test and calibration. I'll post my results and I my have more questions later.



 

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