Q2; MAKING PHOTOGRAPHS FROM FILM IN THE DARKROOM
Why use Contrast Filters... Not all film comes out perfect, if you cannot get a full value scale with good contrast on one of the sections of your test strip, first try adjusting the Aperture. If this still proves difficult, you probably need to add a contrast filter.
Contrast filters are necessary for increasing or decreasing the amount of contrast in your print. If your test strips are coming out much too gray, then increasing the number of your filter will increase the contrast, making the whites whiter and the blacks blacker. Everyone has a different preference when it comes to deciding which contrast filter to start with, but I have always found for my purposes that a contrast filter of 3 suits me well when I’m working on a black and white enlarger.
Changing your contrast filter as you do test prints will also affect your exposure times, so don’t expect the same results in exposure when changing from a 3 to a 3 1/2 or a 4.
When making a print, Contrast control is accomplished in one of two ways. The method employed for most of the 20th century is to use printing papers with different contrast characteristics built-in, but you need paper for every degree of contrast you desire. The second method, which we use in class, is the one that has been available for the past thirty-plus years, employs variable contrast (VC) paper and controls contrast with different filters, using the same paper for all print.
Variable Contrast Enlarger Filters…The twelve MULTIGRADE filters are numbered 00–5 in 1/2 steps, with the lowest filter number 00 corresponding to the softest contrast, and 5 being the most contrast. 3-5 increses the contrast, 00-2.5 decreases the contrast.
Multigrade filters are very easy to use: no complicated calculations are needed when changing from one filter to another. The exposure time for filters 00–31/2 is the same; that for filters 4–5 is about double.
Always focus without the filter in place and make a test strip using the filter in place.