[quote="H. G. Hart"]
I have some knowledge of the various paper developers and combinations thereof that can be used to control contrast. How do those of you who use graded papers control contrast? Do you have the same control as is offered by using split filtration and variable contrast paper?
I have just embarked upon large format and will be using mostly 4"x5" negatives now. Do those of you who are using large format contol contrast of your negatives during development?
As others have stated there are a number of different methods at arriving at a fine print with graded paper. I have found for myself that it is less wasteful and more productive to begin to develop a workable system based upon a knowledge of the materials that I am using.
When I use graded paper today, I take the time to learn the characteristics of the materials that I use. In the case of a particular paper and grade I start with the paper and expose the paper to a 21 step calibrated Stouffer tablet. I then process the paper normally to determine what the exposure scale of the paper is. By determining the number of steps of the step tablet that have been exposed, I can then determine the density range that my camera negative must have in order to work with this paper. I follow the paper testing by the testing of my film to determine development times to arrive at that negative density range under normal, normal plus, and normal minus situations. When this is done the negative will print more easily with less of the various darkroom efforts to arrive at a suitable final result.
As Alex stated...not all papers are the same exposure scale at a given grade. I have found as much as .20 difference in exposure scale between two papers (of different manufacture but the same grade) that I recently tested.
If you have questions regarding this testing procedure there are several here who would be able to help you with it. Good luck.