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  1. #1
    horacekenneth's Avatar
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    Graded vs MG for Paper Negative Use

    I was only able to find one person asking about putting printing filters over their lens. Is this necessary to control exposure when using MG papers for paper negatives?
    Also someone said graded papers were blue sensitive as if MG were not? My understanding was that all photo paper was orthochromatic.
    Would you use graded or mg as paper negatives and why?

    Thanks,
    Horace

  2. #2
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    That's a good question - you will get good answers. If you are familiar with multigrade papers in the darkroom, you use a yellow filter for low contrast (yellow is Red+Green) and magenta filters for high contrast (magenta is Red+Blue). The paper isn't sensitive to Red.

    So that's what you would do when taking pictures. You could consider the paper sensitive to Blue for high contrast, and Green for low contrast.

    That's a little different than film, where you use Blue to look like ortho (black lips) and Green to lighten plants. But it sounds like fun, good luck.

    Graded paper would be more ortho-like but you'd get more or less contrast depending on the grade (there filters wouldn't do much good).

  3. #3
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Fixed grade paper will only be blue sensitive. MG will be blue and green. I got some fair looking not-too-harsh contrast by shooting MGIV RC with a #8 filter, at EI 3 (not counting any filter factor - IOW I metered for EI 3 and just slapped the filter on and shot.) EI 6 was too think. 3 looks about right but something even a bit slower might be a touch better.

  4. #4
    horacekenneth's Avatar
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    So basically, paper is not orthochromatic (blue sensitive only) it's just not red-sensitive. Or graded paper is blue sensitive only and MG paper is blue and green.

    As far as contrast is concerned, graded paper will shoot at its grade, no filters required, MG paper negs will allow me some contrast control if I use my printing filters in front of the taking lens.
    If I don't put filters in front of the lens what will it shoot at? Like a 1.5 -2 ?

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    Jerevan's Avatar
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    The papers are also UV-sensitive, which means you get different speeds at different altitudes and with seasonal variations.

    Start out with one type of paper, experiment and make notes. I found MG papers easier to start out with, being a bit faster in my case (doing iso 12). I prefer RC paper, which is easy to process and a bit flatter and thinner (I need it to go into a 13x18 cm filmholder).
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  6. #6
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by horacekenneth View Post
    So basically, paper is not orthochromatic (blue sensitive only) it's just not red-sensitive. Or graded paper is blue sensitive only and MG paper is blue and green.

    As far as contrast is concerned, graded paper will shoot at its grade, no filters required, MG paper negs will allow me some contrast control if I use my printing filters in front of the taking lens.
    If I don't put filters in front of the lens what will it shoot at? Like a 1.5 -2 ?
    Nominally grade 2 without a filter, but that will probably look pretty contrasty when shot as a camera original.

    You don't necessarily have to use your MG filters. Yellow filters will reduce contrast; magenta filters will increase it. I don't know about you but I don't have any magenta filters in my camera bag but I DO have yellow. I used a #8. Not as precise as adapting your MG filters but it does work.

  7. #7
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    Yellow will allow a larger range of light levels to register in the paper negative before the thing blocks up to black in the highlight values.

    This presumes enough exposure is made to get shadows where texture is desired to register in the negative as values above pure white.

    Most paper is made with a far higher contrast slope than film. The Yellow/orange end filters ie 0 or 00 printing filters flattens it out the most.
    The ISO range numbers of the printing with filters are just Dr log values muliplied by 100. I think from memory 00 is given a range of ISO180 or something like that.

    Film has a lower slope to allow the wide range of light levels in the scene being imaged

    Say a scene being imaged has 7 stops of brightlness that you want to capture in the negative between all white and black.
    This can alternately be thought of as noted as range in log form of log 2.1, since each stop amounts to log 0.3.

    With the 00 filter, if it gives Dr of 180, the paper neg will not be able to fully map a brightness range of log 2.1.
    With no filter the paper is likely to have a range of about log 1.2, and will accurately map a real world scene even less, if it contains more than 4 stops of light from shadow to the brightest highlight you want detial in.

    Most traditional film negatives imaging a typical scene as we are talking here map the image to a density range, Dr, of log 1.2 or so as the negative, with appropriate developer, development time dilutution and agitation.
    That maps well to a #2 paper, which prints a full white to black range when exposed to a negative of Dr log1.2.

    I have not experimented with manipulating the development of a paper negative to try to change its contrast like I have with film, but it should work. The steeper contrast of the material will make it trickier to manipulate easily.

    I hope that the math of logs is not too big a turn off. It will help you analyze the situation, I hope.
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  8. #8
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    It would work to some extent to manipulate contrast in paper negatives. My experience in normal printing suggests it wouldn't have nearly the range of development changes with film, though.

    Usually we're wanting less contrast from paper negatives. Selectol Soft or equivalent maybe?

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    horacekenneth's Avatar
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    Mike, it's been a long time since I've used logs so I'm struggling to keep up. What I think I understand is - a true negative is able to compress real world levels of contrast into distinguishable brightnesses paper can handle. A paper negative cannot.

    Roger, when you say manipulating contrast are you talking about customizing exposure and development times (like using the zone system)?

  10. #10
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by horacekenneth View Post
    Mike, it's been a long time since I've used logs so I'm struggling to keep up. What I think I understand is - a true negative is able to compress real world levels of contrast into distinguishable brightnesses paper can handle. A paper negative cannot.

    Roger, when you say manipulating contrast are you talking about customizing exposure and development times (like using the zone system)?
    Yep. Essentially I'm saying to develop less for less contrast or longer for more. My experience with paper is that this will be very limited. Too little development will just yield muddy poorly detailed shadow areas (highlights in a negative - the dark areas) and blown out white areas. Too much will indeed raise contrast a little, but not that much compared to film. You can also increase contrast about 1/4 paper grade +/- depending on paper by selenium toning if you like, but again you generally want to reduce contrast for paper negatives. Thus I was thinking something like Selectol Soft might be useful.

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