In theory, you can print a negative with a density range of 1.4logD on a grade 0 and a negative with a density range of 0.4logD on a grade 5 and get the same results. However, theory and practice do not always coincide, especially when the theory is a simplification. There are several side effects to take into account:
· Paper grades below “2” have usually a lower Dmax.
· Grain is a more or less sharp light-dark-transition which leads to a discrete rendering on higher grades (i.e. grain becomes more apparent)
· Film is a continuous tone recorder only at a certain macroscopic level and within certain limits.
The latter two do not apply to contact printing. You may actually get the same results between grades 2 and 5 and may not detect any difference between a grade 2 and 3. Remember, that this applies only to the straight part of the density curve! Any development method that changes the effective shape of the curve (e.g. tanning developers) will also influence the look on different paper grades.