Quote Originally Posted by mhv
I've been rolling a few APX100 and FP4+ in my Yashica-D in the last few weeks, and I'd like to start assessing its features a little more closely. Although I've been shooting often, I haven't printed anything yet, so if my reasoning is flawed because of that, please stand up.

The final determiner of a negative's contrast is the print

Basically, I'm trying to understand what is my lens' (Yashikor, 3-elements) impact on contrasts, in order to see whether I should shoot with a yellow filter all the time. By looking at my contact sheets, I have the impression that contrast is not very accentuated in my pictures. Even with more/less exposure, I tend to get a slightly narrow range of values on my contact than I'd like.

Altering development is the way that one alters contrast...not altering exposure

My first deduction was: a contact sheet of roll film is a print that is not optimized for any specific pictures, therefore it's only there to give a positive image. However, when comparing on the same sheet pictures taken at different degrees of exposure with pictures taken with a yellow filter, the yellow filter ones win. I have a wider range of values, and that is what should be expected of a K2 filter.

If you have a measurable amount of yellow an blue colors in your scene then you are probably correct. However if your scene has a preponderance of green and red then the yellow K2 will not have as much effect on contrast

So how do you assess the contrast in your negatives, besides printing them?

Yes by printing

How can I get an idea of my lens' impact on contrast?

By trial and by printing...or by densitometric evaluation

And why are certain lens more contrasty than others in the first place?

Probably because of the coating more then any other factor

Is a contact sheet notoriously bad for assessing contrast?

Not necessarily...but a print is better
Donald Miller