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

Discussion in 'Film Forum' started by Equis25, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. 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?

  2. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    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.
  3. GoGo


    Apr 20, 2006
    New York

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

    Condenser light source enlarger, think spot light, hard light
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2007
  4. 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...
  5. GoGo


    Apr 20, 2006
    New York
  6. Thank you - very useful info! Obviously when one is using Ilford paper that would be the first place to go... <I did not> In the end, it's a matter of printing enough to gain experience.
  7. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Yep! Then you get a firsthand feel for how the filtration acts. Much better than trying to interpret someone's instructions.
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