Printing B/W & use of C, M, Y filters.

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Jan 24, 2006
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Since the beginning of the year I have been attending a B/W course at our local art institute. The enlargers in the darkroom consist of mostly Durst Color enlargers with built in sets of filters. The Photography Prof. looks at a result and will say: "Herman, you have to use 30 <on a scale of 0- 170> more Magenta or crank down the Yellow by ten points and keep Cyan at 0." I have been trying to find any type of lit. that describes in detail the use of filters with various B/W papers but have had little success. Mostly, filters are mentioned in passing, as if the method to use them is something genetic, out of luck if you don't... I have been using a hell of a lot of paper with truly mediocre results! The negatives however scanned very well and the digital prints were good .

Does anybody have any reference to some useful material?

Thanks,
 
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You are using (probably dichroic) color filters to simulate the contrast filters for printing on multigrade paper. A yellow filter will make a negative print with lower contrast, while a magenta filter will raise the contrast.

There are filters for use with b&w enlargers that correspond to paper contrast grades, but you can get the same filtration with the magenta and yellow dials on a color enlarger. You will probably need to go a grade or so higher than normal to get the same contrast because most color enlargers are diffusion, as opposed to b&w enlargers, which are usually condenser type.
 
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diff

Diffusion light source enlarger, think light box (table) soft light

Condenser light source enlarger, think spot light, hard light
 
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Joined
Jan 24, 2006
Messages
1,239
Location
Utica, NY, USA
Thank you, Chris & Giorgio, for your answers.

The filter system on the Durst are indeed dichroic.

I realize that in order to print something well, it becomes a matter of experience with the specific paper and developer, temperature, as well as the choice of filters, aperture and exposure time. While I understand the basics of all of this, my aim is still to find a "white paper" that describes the use of filters in combination with e.g. Ilford Perl papers.

I remember from my early days <1960-1970s> playing in the darkroom that using the same materials all the time led to consistency and predictability. This "new fangled" stuff has me puzzled...
 

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