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  1. #11
    Willie Jan's Avatar
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    Do a SAT test to see what you picture looks like.
    Place a blank negative(or piece of it) into the enlarger.
    light the paper so that it just turns black (longer lightning would not make it more black than it is). This is your sat time for this negative.
    now put the negative in the enlarger and light/develop just like you did with the piece on the sat time.

    What you did not is determine what time is needed for a blank neg to get black. So if there is a blank part in your negative, it should be black.
    Now you can see what happens to the image...

  2. #12
    RH Designs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrtoml View Post
    I think my main problem is that I have been scanning and printing digitally for a while, and obviously lots of adjustments can be made within the scanning workflow. Consequently I do not have the know-how to recognise a negative's suitability for traditional printing yet.
    But you do have a colour enlarger which means you can easily vary the contrast on Multigrade paper, and that can compensate for negative variations. Dial in 30 magenta which will give you approx grade 3 and try again - you'll need to increase the exposure by about a stop (i.e. double the time) to compensate for the filter factor. If the print still lacks contrast, dial in more magenta.

    If you don't mind longer exposure times, it's best to use dual filtration (Y+M) because exposure then doesn't vary so much from grade to grade. You can find these filter settings on the datsheet with any packet of Ilford paper or here. (Use the Kodak settings for your LPL.)

    At the basic level, print exposure controls the highlight density and paper grade controls the shadow density. Use a test strip to get your highlights right, then examine the shadows. If they're too dark, you need a softer grade, if they're too light, you need a harder grade. This is analagous to Pinholemaster's fundamentals of negative exposure and development.

    Hope that helps!
    Regards,
    Richard.

    RH Designs - My Photography

  3. #13

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    I should start with the things Ian said, try printing on grade 3, 31/2. Something else, do you have a set of ilford mg filters? If so, print 2 1/2 with your colorhead and 2 1/2 with an ilford filter, there may be quite some difference between the two. When a color enlarger head has been used a lot over the years, some filters tend to lose strength. Second, there is quite some difference between multigrade developers aswell, with some it's easier to get deep blacks and give a harder contrast. It take a lot of practise before you have a print that gives you satisfaction.

  4. #14
    mrtoml's Avatar
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    I think I have made some progress this afternoon.

    I followed several bits of advice and got to a good solution. I worked out times to get maximum black on each grade of paper (2, 3 and 4) at a set height of the enlarger at a set aperture with a blank piece of Acros negative developed in Prescysol (one of my usual combinations).

    I then printed the first picture again at each of these grades and times. The grade 3 picture was better, but still muddy, the grade 4 picture was fine.

    I then printed some other shots off the same and different rolls (but the same combination of film/dev) at the same settings and they were much better. I think I now have a much better place to start from for future attempts at printing.

  5. #15
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    If your having to print with grade 4 then think about increasing your film development times by about 20% in Prescysol. That should give you better negatives to start with.

    Ian

  6. #16
    mrtoml's Avatar
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    Thanks, Ian. That's just the sort of thing I need to start thinking about.

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