Question about Ilford MG RC and Filters

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Max Power

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I have a fairly simple question for you all. I did go to the Ilford tech site, but found nothing which answers my question.

A couple of months ago, after many years out of the darkroom, I managed to set up my own and have been developing and printing and having a great deal of fun at it. I am no professional, so I use Ilford MG RC and filters; it just makes sense for me. Yesterday, I was looking at articles on darkroom work, and I came across one that stated that with Ilford MG papers, one 'ought' to always start with the number two filter and work up and down from there depending upon the result one desires. What struck me as odd is that I don't usually use filters at all! I have found that enlarging directly onto MG paper, without filters, gives me some very 'balanced' and pleasing results that seem to be quite faithful to the negatives used.

Is this 'normal'? To what grade of filter does unfiltered MG paper correspond?
 

David Ruby

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I've always started at grade 2 (with Kodak filters) as I thought this this was basically the filter for normal contrast. Then, I go up or down from there. Starting with 2 helps me determine if the neg is high or low contrast. I'm now printing with Ilford MG fiber, and still using the Kokak filters. So far I haven't noticed any major differences.
 

rogueish

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I have read in several books and been told by 3 differnt instructors tha tunfiltered multi-contrasr paper is equal to a #2 filter. From what I could see, this is not always true. A number 2 filter is middle of the road and repersents and good starting point.
One of the lessons for class was to do a test strip under a #2 filter to find the best (in your opinion) time for a said enlargement. Then using that time, print the enlargement once for each filter and once without. Make sure you write the filter no. on the back of each print, then compare them. I could see a definite difference between a #2 and non filtered. I also learned that I prefer higher contrast to middle of the road.
 

Lee Shively

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I think I read somewhere that unfiltered MGIV is the same as the 2 1/2 filter.

There is no "normal", really. If your negatives print well on unfiltered MG and you get the kind of print you want, that's all that counts. For about 25 of my 30 years in photography, I printed on graded paper only and my negatives almost always printed best on a grade 3 Agfa Portriga Rapid. Since I've been using VC papers, I've found using multiple filters is more flexible.
 
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Max Power

Max Power

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Thanks, everyone for your help...I really appreciate it.

Rogueish, last night I was thinking of doing the experiment you describe. Good idea. I can then keep them to the side for ready reference as need be.

Thanks again everyone,

Kent
 
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