Fotokemika multigrade filters

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by BetterSense, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,169
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/215061-Fotokemika-Varycon-Variable-Contrast-Filter-Set-of-6-filters-3.5-inch?cat_id=1602

    I don't have multigrade filters, and in the future when I start printing I will probably want some. The Ilford ones are pretty expensive though. These filters are pretty cheap. They only go in full contrast steps, though. What do you think?

    Also, my enlarger (Beseler Printmaker 35) seems like it can take either 3.5x3.5 filters inside the lamp housing, or it has a fitting below the lens too so that it could take filters there. Which option is better? The below-the-lens Ilford filters are much more expensive than the 3.5x3.5 inch ones.
     
  2. fschifano

    fschifano Member

    Messages:
    3,216
    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Valley Strea
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I prefer the filters that go in the drawer, not necessarily because they are less expensive. A slightly dirty or slightly damaged filter above the lens will probably work fine. Below the lens, it might not. That said, I have both types and I can see no image degradation when using below the lens filters. The inexpensive set of filters from Fotokemika is better than nothing. You give up a bit of flexibility for a very attractive price, but you can make it work.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,169
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yeah I always get paranoid about filters between the image and lens, such as common lens filters, but then I remind myself that they are usually placed at a distance that is radically out-of-focus, so any imperfections in the filter will almost surely not be noticed. This is how DVDs are able to work despite being scratched. It satisfies my brain but not my gut. It's something to think about anyway.
     
  4. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

    Messages:
    623
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Location:
    Wigan (oop N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In the days of graded papers you needed to manipulate your processing to produce half grades. These days Ilford and Kodak give you half grades in filters and both my VC heads on my enlargers give me quarter grades. Perhaps we have been spoilt by choice. I agree with Frank that above the lens filters are less problematic when it comes to blemishes. However if you are using more than one filter in succession when making your print you will have to give then enlarger time to settle after switching filters. There is also slightly more chance of knocking the negative out of register when chaning filters.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,169
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Under what conditions would you use two different filters on the same print? To further split the contrast grade?
     
  6. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

    Messages:
    623
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2004
    Location:
    Wigan (oop N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thats right. For example, you may make a print at grade 3 but may want to burn the sky in at grade 1. You would make your overall exposure with the grade 3 filter and then swap to grade 1 for the burning in.
     
  7. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

    Messages:
    396
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Yes, there is a lot of information on split-grade printing both here and on other places. I'm not telling you to start with split-grade printing, but there is something to learn if you read a bit about it.
    Most people do "ordinary" printing (instead of split-grade), but if you know some basics about split-grade, it's easier to do "tricks" like the one Adrian mentions.

    //Björn