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  1. #1
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Do I Have Faded MG Filters?

    I remember always hearing the enlarger filters, other than dichroic glass ones in color heads, could fade in time. I was last active doing darkroom work in the late 1990s. Fast forward 10+ years and my interest is rekindled, my darkroom set up in a different state, and I'm doing darkroom work again.

    But I'm wondering about my MG filters. My memory is of the higher contrast ones getting progressively more and more magenta. But that's not what I have now. The attached photo shows my six inch Ilford MG Filters from grade 3.5 (far left) through 5. They all look as I remember up through 3.5, and 5 might be right, but the 4 and 4.5 filters look faded. I checked my old 3.5" set, which I used in my old Bogen X-35 enlarger but which are useless for my current D2V, and they look exactly the same, but then again they are even older than the 6" set. Maybe the 4 and 4.5 and possibly 5 are just more fade prone - or maybe my memory is playing tricks on me.

    I haven't needed anything harder than a 3.5 so far, but eventually I will. Bottom line is that, if these are faded, I'll buy another set, simple enough. But at $51.99 (Freestyle price - haven't priced anywhere else yet) they are expensive enough that I'd rather not buy an extra set I don't need.

    Can someone else compare to their filters and let me know if I need new filters for grades 4-5 or not?

    The photo was shot with my Nikon Coolpix 995 digisnapper and cleaned up just a tad in Photoshop to look as much like what I saw as possible. It's close enough to show why they look faded to me.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails MG_Filters_LowRes.jpg  

  2. #2

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    Looking at mine which is less than a year old, there is a BIG color shift from 3 1/2 to 4.

    My 3 1/2 looks like yours.
    My 4 has a lot more orange in it
    My 4 1/2 has more orange/pink in it
    My 5 does not look as purplish as yours

    I am looking at your image with color-calibrated monitor but I have no idea how color-correct your image is. Anyway, that's what I see. Hopefully it's helpful.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  3. #3
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    They are supposed to look like that. I have never seen a spectrum analysis of the 4-5 filters, but an interrogation with a standard wide-band baseboard color meter does not give the full story. I suspect they (#4-5) are special narrow bandpass filters.

    This link is to one of the best collections of information about the various color schemes Ilford has used for MG materials. http://www.photomemorabilia.co.uk/Il...ultigrade.html
    Last edited by ic-racer; 01-01-2012 at 11:30 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #4
    PeterB's Avatar
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    Hi Roger,
    I've had a similar experience. Have read of the entire thread that I started here.
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/6...-how-know.html
    Rgds
    Peter.

  5. #5

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    A good thought is to try them out in the darkroom before jumping to any conclusions. That should be revealing.

    H

  6. #6
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    They do fade, Ilford recommend replacing them every few years, it's a bit dependant on the usage as well.

    Ian

  7. #7

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    Hello Roger;
    The two center filters look faded to me. Steven.

  8. #8

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    Dear Roger,

    As Ian said, we do advise they are changed every few years ( we would say that would'nt we ! ) but its true. Quite often poor handling degrades the filters ( they are a coated product after all ) and of course it depends on how much they are used. I would say in normal use they should be fine for 5-7 years, after that probably best to get a new set, In saying that as long as they are not 'optically' degraded as long as you do not need the top end 4.5 and 5 its more likely that they could remain usable for longer.

    Simon. ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :

  9. #9
    sandermarijn's Avatar
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    They also fade when you don't use them at all? That would seem a bit odd.

    I have a box of MGIV filters and an older box of MGIII filters. I compared them once and saw no difference (naked eye). But I only checked up to grade 3, because the higher grades never see any use. I will compare the higher grades when I'm near my darkroom.

  10. #10
    sandermarijn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandermarijn View Post
    I have a box of MGIV filters and an older box of MGIII filters.
    Correcting myself: I have two boxes of small MGIV (or perhaps MGIII, if those exist) filters and one box with larger MGII's.

    The MGII's must be quite old (1980's?). I got them around ten years ago with an enlarger (Durst M800). These are the filters I currently use, though never above grade 3 or perhaps 3 1/2.

    Compared to the newer smaller filters the higher grades (3 1/2 - 5) have discoloured quite a lot. Especially grade 4 has been affected- this one also looks a bit flaky if you look up close (not visible in this picture).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Grades 1 to 2 1/2 seem to have discoloured very little. Their colour is almost indiscernible from the best set. Fortunately I use these grades most; almost never the higher ones.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks for bringing this up Roger! I never realized until now that the higher grades degenerate.

    I won't rush out to buy new ones, but if I want to use the higher grades some day I probably should. Pity that a 100 euro filter set only lasts 5-7 years (quoting Simon) in the highest grades. That said, Simon's estimate is probably on the conservative side (?), and 100 euros spread out over say 10 years is not all that much.

    Is there any way to increase the filters' longevity, apart from storing them in a dry & dark place and handling with care? Freeze the filters you don't often use? Sounds a bit ridiculous but maybe it helps?

    Sander

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