Quote Originally Posted by Tom1956 View Post
Yes they are, MR74. Though I've still never quite pinned down "normal" contrast. Enlarger lights are different, film base color is different, etc. Finding #2 and nailing it down from escaping is about hopeless.
You don't have to pin down some kind of universal "normal". In your own workflow you have a personal end-to-end "system" which includes everything from your film choice to developer choice to development method to enlarger. All you need to care about is calibrating to that setup. "Normal" can often be anywhere between grade 1-3 depending on who you ask. Who cares? Choose a paper, put in the #2 filter and print. If you find it is too contrasty for your negatives, standardize on a lower filter, or adjust the exposure/development of your negatives to print better around grade 2. It doesn't mean all your negatives need to print straight on grade 2. That's what VC is all about. Most of the great printers I know, even with highly controlled negatives, always have to tweak filtration when they start printing a picture. Sometimes it looks better at grade 1, sometimes 3 1/2, whatever.