Tim, There is an increase in both overall and local contrast when using a condensor head. I don't find it to be anywhere near the one paper grade that has been reported by others. The noted increase is, from what I have been told, to the scattering of light in a diffusion head actually reducing contrast.
Originally Posted by noseoil
It is not that the condensor head creates more contrast. If you think about it contrast is already there on the negative thus it can not be created. It is just that the condensor head more accurately represents the contrast.
I have made a slight adjustment in my development times. Nothing earth shattering in nature.
I find myself printing at fairly high contrast settings on some of my condensor prints...for instance the Dock image that is presently posted in the gallery was printed at grade 3 1/2. The negative density range was 1.10 on that image. The other image (Wood Detail) that I have posted has a negative density range of 1.30 and was printed at grade 2 1/2 on my condensor enlarger. According to the Negative by Adams...those should be showing chalk and soot tonalities.
So in summation...The condensor enlarger does more accurately represent the information on the negative. It does not create contrast since contrast is already on the negative. Finally take the information that people report with a "grain of salt"...as Fred Picker used to say "Try it"...Good luck.