VC Papers in LF (4x5) printing (Question)greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread
1.- I have been using 4x5 with with graded papers with good results for two years, and now I am interested in using VC papers. I got an old set of VC filetrs from Kodak (PolyContrast) with 7 filters labeled from 1 to 4 with 1/2's. Should I expect good results with the Ilford VC IV Fibre Paper? 2.- Using VC papers, do these papers have the same speed for every filter used?. Should I make test prints with a filter change? Or should I get the Ilford Filter Set (00 -> 5)?
-- Enrique Haro (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 21, 1997
You will find that Kodak filters work with the Ilford papers, but the grade values won't match those provided by the Ilford filters. Using the Ilford papers with their filters gives very good contrast control, but the speeds tend to reduce as the contrast is increased. I use a diffused cold-light head so the speed difference may be do the different spectral output of the flourescent grid as opposed to that provided by a tungsten source (which is recommended by Ilford).
I always make a test print (or at least a test strip) when changing filters. Depending on where you place the filter (above or below the lens) you should also re-check the focus.
You might also want to consider using BOTH Dektol and Selectol-Soft developers together to obtain contrasts between grades. Dektol gives full contrast, Selectol-Soft gives about 1 to 1.5 grades less. Mixing them in various proportions can give you values in between.
I find that the graded papers tone better in Selenium, sometimes a split-tone effect occurs with the VC paper. But since I generally make my fine prints (which are always toned) on graded paper, I don't have that much experience toning the current batch of VC papers. The Ilford Fibre Paper looks really nice without toning!
-- Greg Fisch (email@example.com), September 30, 1997.
I work quite closely with Ilford Uk, whose office is down the road from mine. In my thourouly biast opinion they make the best vc paper avaliable, especially the new warm tone fb paper.
It is very important that you use new filters. The colours on the older sets fade, and you will lose lots of contrast. Also with the new generation of vc papers the colours of the filters have been "tweeked" in the last few years to give a broader contrast control.
As far as developers go allmost any will do, but I use ilford multigrade dev for plastic papers and the regular ilford vc/mg paper. For the warm tone I have tried the old Ilford Bromofen, which produces fantastic results, not disimilar to the old record rapid by Agfa.
If you want serious contrast and cold blacks try Tetnals Dokumol. This is super dev.
Reguarding your question vis a vis test prints with filter change, this is not strickly neccesary, but up to you. For absolute control it is not a bad idea, but with practice you should be able to previsualise a 1 step contrast change, but rember density will change to.... Practice, practice.
One technique which is good if you have a very dense neg is split filter technique, using my simple method.
In the dark fit the 0 ,or 00 filter if it is a super dense neg, then mark with an indelible pen 2" lines on a generous size test strip. Then make a test strip using these lines as a guide. What you are trying to do is find the threshold of the paper just as high light detail comes in, so keep exposure times short, and the lines are a guide to counting up to the right exposure, since there will be very little image on the strip.
Once you have done this use the exposure you are happy with as a sort of pre flash exposure. Then choose a high contrast filter, from 4-5 acording to how dense the image is, and make a 2nd test strip, having first exposed the paper with your chosen grade00 time.
With this method, and with a little experience, you can juggle grades and times very easily, and make the most overexposed negatives quite printable. When you start just do it in a methodical fashion and it will come quite easily.
Anyhow, I will leave it here, I can ramble for hours on b/w techniques. If you need any chemicals etc, the super darkroom inovations in arizona store do mail order, and are jolly nice people.
-- mike carsley (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 25, 1998.
Split printing is nothing new. However, it really has no theoretical advantage over printing with a single correct filter. Think about it. Also, the low contrast exposure mentioned above has absolutely nothing to do with the technique of pre-flashing. Pre-flashing is an overall non-image fogging technique used to bring the paper up to near threshold. It is sometimes useful with contrasty negs when it is very difficult to hold highlight tonalities and burning is not feasible because of the nature of the highlights that need to be lowered in value. Pre-flashing is generally a "last resort" technique, but when used properly it can really solve problems.
-- Tom Johnston (email@example.com), November 24, 1998.