Iford Multigrade IV RC and filters

Cumberland Falls-6

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Cumberland Falls-6

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Untitled

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Untitled

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Black Bull (2010)

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Black Bull (2010)

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Liz-Lith.jpg

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Liz-Lith.jpg

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Stray (2014)

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Stray (2014)

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jimjm

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Your results may vary depending on your enlarger type and the negative, but grade 2 is generally considered a "neutral" contrast setting. I'll result in a print that looks similar to one with no filter, although the exposure time will be longer when using the filter. I have condenser and diffusion enlargers, and find that a 2.5 filter is a closer approximation when printing with the diffusion enlarger.
 

pentaxuser

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It's my understanding that any filter is fine and in that sense to produce the "best contrast" print, use whatever filter gives the best print but if you need more than say 3.5 or less than 2 then you need to look at your neg exposure and dev time i.e. some film testing might be required.

You may want a higher or lower contrast print for "artistic" reasons from a properly exposed and correctly developed neg but if your negs are well exposed and developed then prints should look OK at 2.5-3 as jimjim has said.

pentaxuser
 

MattKing

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The reason for using a No. 2 filter to start with is that it will give you "normal" contrast with normal negatives, and it is much easier to change the contrast to another "grade" with a change of filter than if you started without a filter, and then wanted to add a filter to the process.
The filters and paper are designed to allow changing contrast without having to make major changes in exposure.
 

kevs

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Generally speaking, G2 or G3 are a good baseline to start with. It depends on the contrast of your negative. If you've a 'normal' neg - one with a full tonal range of highlights, shadows and mid-tones - you'll want a 'normal' filter of G2 or G3. If your neg is thin, under-exposed or underdeveloped, you'll maybe want a bit more contrast than G2. The reverse applies with dense, overexposed or overdeveloped negs; you'll maybe want lower contrast.

As already mentioned, you'll find a diffusion enlarger generally produces less contrasty prints than a condenser type. This will affect your choice of filter.

It's worth experimenting with contrast grades, making prints on different grades from the same neg can be instructive; see how contrast changes the print and find what tonality you prefer.
 

BMbikerider

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I find that Ilford paper, as good as it is can be too soft grade for grade than my preferred paper which is Kentmere. Now both made by the same company but they are different - but are very subtle. Slightly cooler in tone, but the biggest difference is, it can be at least one stop faster. I chop and change with whatever I am printing.
 

tedr1

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Perhaps the use of the word "minimum" in your original post needs addressing. The filters are 00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, seven whole numbers and also possibly half numbers in between. Filter 2 is in the center with 3 filters either side of it. Although this is not quite 100% technically correct, the three lower numbers produce prints with lower contrast (softer) and the three higher numbers give higher contrast (harder). It is up to you to pick the filter that gives the result you prefer with a given negative, and it is also helpful to experiment by making a series of prints using different filters. As others have stated already, the filter 2 being in the middle of the range is a good starting point that often gives a good result with some negatives. However there is no single "correct" combination of negative and filter because different print appearances can be achieved by experimenting, which is half the fun of darkroom work :smile:
 
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