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how to choose the times for split filter printing
Old 4 Days Ago   #1
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how to choose the times for split filter printing

Hi guys,

I have been trying split printing following the instructions by Konrad Eek. So I print two test strips, one with 00 and another with 5th grade at 5 sec intervals.

I am not able to choose the best time for each as it seems highly subjective and my times are a bit guess and often not the best. I try to find the time where real white appears under 00 and real black appears under grade 5 but I often get overexposure as it is difficult to imagine the combination of 00 and 5 grades. So I end of lowering them down equally. Sometimes adjusting up or down individually. However I feel like I dont get the idea of this so I ask here to see if there is an ideal way. I might post my test strips here to discuss more clearly. Maybe my time increments should be at 2 sec.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaFoReVer View Post
Hi guys,

I have been trying split printing following the instructions by Konrad Eek. So I print two test strips, one with 00 and another with 5th grade at 5 sec intervals.

I am not able to choose the best time for each as it seems highly subjective and my times are a bit guess and often not the best. I try to find the time where real white appears under 00 and real black appears under grade 5 but I often get overexposure as it is difficult to imagine the combination of 00 and 5 grades. So I end of lowering them down equally. Sometimes adjusting up or down individually. However I feel like I dont get the idea of this so I ask here to see if there is an ideal way. I might post my test strips here to discuss more clearly. Maybe my time increments should be at 2 sec.
Split grade printing is at least to some extent a con. It might work for some, but it is no magic bullet and produces results demonstrably (by sensitometry) no different to finding the right contrast filter and making a print.

As Roger Hicks sagely put it, donít believe gurus:
http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...e%20gurus.html

Make the best print you can, dodge any shadows that need it during the main exposure, then turn the contrast down and burn any highlights that need it. Split printing, to me, makes printing harder because it increases the variables.

Marty
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Old 4 Days Ago   #3
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Hi Marty,

I found incredibly useful and easy to get a well balanced print (if your shot is well balanced). I got great prints as a beginner at my first attempt in split filtering. My previous attempt on fixed contrast paper was a hit or miss, and discouraging

I am only on the gray side on choosing the good combination of each exposure with each filter. I still make less attempts to get what I want compared to single filter or fixed contrast printing (mostly of course for difficult shots with difficult situations such as a lot of back lighthing etc). I think I will get there but I was wondering if there was a point I miss.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #4
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Sorry I have no split grade advice other than to keep at it and keep your experiments systematic, make sure you developer your test strips to completion, otherwise that could lead to what you're experiencing. What many don't seem to be aware of is that you don't need to fix the rougher test strips you don't intend to dry and keep, acid stop bath is enough, saves time. I too used to find the arguments in favour of split grade printing convincing, but in practice I never print negatives that would need the complex dodging and burning to really benefit. And I'm scared of introducing unsharpness by disturbing the enlarger head.
What I have found very useful in dealing with difficult highlights is flashing the paper. Often only that gives me the gentle highlight roll-off that people say film has over digital - it doesn't automatically... But contrary to what some internet guides say, the flashing needed varies, one needs to do test strips for that. I recommend trying it out anyway if you haven't yet. I have sometimes resorted to a very simple way to flash: let the enlarger head leak some light on purpose. I still have never worked with a bleach/reducer, that's next on my list. I think that, too, is in practice often easier than split grade.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #5
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In my limited experience of split grade printing, it is the exposure with the 00 filter that affects the greys - the longer, the muddier.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #6
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Split grade printing is the greatest gift of God in the darkroom, but it asks for a lot of discipline in the workflow. People who say that split grade printing produces the same print as single grade printing do not know what they are talking about.


First of all you'll need a very stable enlarger with a smooth filter drawer. I use a Focomat IIc with a very heavy wooden Leitz easel of 50x40cm.


You can use only paper with variable contrast, such as Ilford Multigrade or Adox MCC 110.


You'll only need two filters: 00 and 5. Of course, between and during the two exposures neither the negative nor the paper may move.


The 00 filter takes care of the high lights and the light grays. The 5 filter controls the deep blacks.


Usually, the exposure with the 00-filter takes much more time than the exposure with the 5-filter.


A good, digital clock with a double memory (there are two exposures every time) is really a must. I use a Hauck MSA II, perfect for the job.


Use a timer too for developing. I develop every print for 3 minutes in diluted Eukobrom.


Make enough test strips. Make the print only when you are for 100% sure of your exposure times.


Do not make more than one print at a time.



So:


Remember that there are always TWO exposures, one through the 00-filter and the other through the 5-filter.



1. carefully clean your negative and put it in the enlarger and project it on the easel


2. determine roughly both exposure times and make a test print (use f/8)


3. develop for 3 minutes; when fixed, observe the test


4. when the blacks are too light, increase the exposure with the 5-filter or decrease when the blacks are too dark


5. do the same with the whites and the light-grays with the 00-filter


6. make a print only when you are for 100% sure of your exposure times


Good luck!


Erik.

split grade print:

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Old 4 Days Ago   #7
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Exceptionally helpful Erik, and that print has everything!
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Old 4 Days Ago   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
[...] People who say that split grade printing produces the same print as single grade printing do not know what they are talking about. [...]
For straight prints? Bold claim, can you explain why? VC paper is made up of two or more layers that have different contrast and are sensitive to blue and green to different degrees. Contrast is varied by using these layers in different ratios, through the ratio of green and blue light. I don't see how it possibly could make a difference whether you give the paper the same proportions of green and blue light one after the other or at the same time.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post

4. when the blacks are too light, increase the exposure with the 5-filter or decrease when the blacks are too dark.
Have you found that increasing the 5-filter time, greys from the 00-filter become darker? I am wondering if this is normal or there is something wrong with my filters. Not by much but I can notice it on the final print.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p.giannakis View Post
Have you found that increasing the 5-filter time, greys from the 00-filter become darker? I am wondering if this is normal or there is something wrong with my filters. Not by much but I can notice it on the final print.
I have seen this, but I've thought that this was caused by the 00-filter.

However, when you expose long enough with any filter, the whole paper will be black, because the paper is sensible for all the light that comes through them.

The effect of the filters is based on the sensibility-curves in the paper. That is how I understand it.

In splitgrade printing it has no use testing the effect of one filter, you'll always use two filters.

I've noticed that in time, ten years or so, the color of the filters changes. Then it is time to buy a new set. Colors often fade in light. That is why color printing is totally useless.

Erik.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
I have seen this, but I've thought that this was caused by the 00-filter.

However, when you expose long enough with any filter, the whole paper will be black, because the paper is sensible for all the light that comes through them.

The effect of the filters is based on the sensibility-curves in the paper. That is how I understand it.

In splitgrade printing it has no use testing the effect of one filter, you'll always use two filters.

I've noticed that in time, ten years or so, the color of the filters changes. Then it is time to buy a new set. Colors often fade in light. That is why color printing is totally useless.

Erik.
This is the reason of question actually. Trying to guess time of each filter separately sounds fine (frome separate test strips) but when combined sometimes the whole image gets dark (overexposed) as both affects partly each other. So I decrease time equally. I wonder if there is a way to prevent this.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
I have seen this, but I've thought that this was caused by the 00-filter.

However, when you expose long enough with any filter, the whole paper will be black, because the paper is sensible for all the light that comes through them.

The effect of the filters is based on the sensibility-curves in the paper. That is how I understand it.

In splitgrade printing it has no use testing the effect of one filter, you'll always use two filters.

I've noticed that in time, ten years or so, the color of the filters changes. Then it is time to buy a new set. Colors often fade in light. That is why color printing is totally useless.

Erik.
This is the reason of my question actually. Trying to guess time of each filter separately sounds fine (frome separate test strips) but when combined sometimes the whole image gets dark (overexposed) as both affects partly each other. So I decrease time equally. I wonder if there is a way to prevent this.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #13
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
For straight prints? Bold claim, can you explain why? VC paper is made up of two or more layers that have different contrast and are sensitive to blue and green to different degrees. Contrast is varied by using these layers in different ratios, through the ratio of green and blue light. I don't see how it possibly could make a difference whether you give the paper the same proportions of green and blue light one after the other or at the same time.
That is very simple to see. As you say, in the paper are two layers, a hard one and a soft one. The hard one responds maximally to filter 5 and the soft one maximally to filter 00. That is why only these filters are used. There are two different exposures: one with filter 5 and the other with filter 00. So both layers can be manipulated independent to one another. If the length of the exposure with filter 5 changes, this will have an effect on the hard layer and if the exposure with filter 00 changes, this will have an effect on the soft layer.

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Old 4 Days Ago   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaFoReVer View Post
This is the reason of my question actually. Trying to guess time of each filter separately sounds fine (frome separate test strips) but when combined sometimes the whole image gets dark (overexposed) as both affects partly each other. So I decrease time equally. I wonder if there is a way to prevent this.

Unless you already do this: Do the hard test strip first, select an exposure time that, based on experience, is maybe a little shorter than what looks good (start thinking of this fudge factor as percentage rather than absolute time so you can transfer to different print sizes and neg densities). Then expose that on the test strip for the soft exposure, then make your soft test exposures on it. This way you have the cumulative exposure at least in the second test strip.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaFoReVer View Post
This is the reason of my question actually. Trying to guess time of each filter separately sounds fine (frome separate test strips) but when combined sometimes the whole image gets dark (overexposed) as both affects partly each other. So I decrease time equally. I wonder if there is a way to prevent this.
You have to make two different exposures: one with filter 00 and the other with filter 5. You must not combine them. Usually the exposure with filter 00 is long and the exposure with filter 5 is short.

Simply said: filter 5 works on the dark areas and filter 00 works on the light areas. Two exposures.

The other filters of the set you can throw away.

Erik
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Old 4 Days Ago   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
Unless you already do this: Do the hard test strip first, select an exposure time that, based on experience, is maybe a little shorter than what looks good (start thinking of this fudge factor as percentage rather than absolute time yo you can transfer to different print sizes and neg densities). Then expose that on the test strip for the soft exposure, then make your soft test exposures on it. This way you have the cumulative exposure at least in the second test strip.
NO, completely wrong. There is no cumulative exposure. There are only two different exposures, one with filter 00 and the other with filter 5. That is all. "SPLIT-grade"

But there is often a lot of testing before the optimal effect is found, that is true, but only to find the correct times of both exposures.

Erik.




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Old 4 Days Ago   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
That is very simple to see. As you say, in the paper are two layers, a hard one and a soft one. The hard one responds maximally to filter 5 and the soft one maximally to filter 00. That is why only these filters are used. There are two different exposures: one with filter 5 and the other with filter 00. So both layers can be manipulated independent to one another. If the length of the exposure with filter 5 changes, this will have an effect on the hard layer and if the exposure with filter 00 changes, this will have an effect on the soft layer.

Erik.

Sure, my point is however any filter between 00 and 5 passes a mixtures of the only (in terms of what the paper responds to, subtractive filters will also pass other, irrelevant wavelenghts) green or blue that 00 and 5 pass, respectively. Whether you get a certain mixture of green and blue onto the paper at the same time, as with the in-between filters, or one after another, as with the 00 and 5, shouldn't matter in theory unless I (and some others who have written about this) missed something. I haven't done a side by side test, but I might at some point although I haven't heard any argument to make me question the theory. I think it's likely that casual testing would be biased toward the method the tester is used to as they'd find it easier to dial the print in in that, that's why I take anecdotal evidence with a grain of salt.
Nothing of that is to dispute that split grade works.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #18
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Sorry this is a double post due to mobile.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
NO, completely wrong. There is no cumulative exposure. There are only two different exposures, one with filter 00 and the other with filter 5. That is all. "SPLIT-grade"


Erik.

By cumulative exposure I mean the combined (cumulative) effect of the 00 and the 5 exposures.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #20
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Lets talk about on this example.
I tested them separately not cumulative. Each are 5 sec interval. What would be your exposure for each?

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Rls...w?usp=drivesdk
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Old 4 Days Ago   #21
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My experience with split grade printing is still fairly limited, but here's my process.


Test strip with grade 00 filter. I do increasing intervals 2-4-8-16-32 seconds, but whatever works for you. Choose 00 exposure based on getting desired details in the highlights.


Test strip with chosen 00 exposure everywhere, then increasing intervals with the 5 filter. This second strip shows what the final print will look like in each interval. Chose 5 exposure based on overall appearance, but mostly looking at the shadows here.


I have a two channel timer which is a great feature for this printing technique. Mine is a gra-lab 645.



I tend to do an edge burn on my prints. I'll normally do that with 00 filter



Like I said, limited experience for me with this technique. One weekend worth of printing so far, but I have 20+ years of darkroom experience, so I can compare to what I've done before. My impression so far is that this technique without dodge and burn is probably exactly equivalent to some contrast grade, but I think this technique gets me to that grade a bit faster than using a single exposure at some single contrast.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaFoReVer View Post
Lets talk about on this example.
I tested them separately not cumulative. Each are 5 sec interval. What would be your exposure for each?

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Rls...w?usp=drivesdk

OK, I'll play.



I would pick the 15 sec for the low contrast exposure. No more than 10 for the high contrast. Maybe more like 7. You still might need to dodge the boy some. I would probably dodge him for about half the high contrast exposure.



I would do the high contrast test strip on top of the 15 sec low contrast exposre. See the combined result that way.



Was your second test strip developed unevenly? The 15 sec band looks like maybe.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #23
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Awesome explanation by Erik. I can't recall 00 and 5 before. Was trying all bunch of numbers and it drove me nuts.

I use cheap Vivitar enlarger and the only thing which moves is filter drawer. No problem even if is is not $$$ enlarger.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #24
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I've been using the splitgrade automated system for nearly 25 years. It may not hit the right contrast on the first print, but it's close enough so I can get it where I want it on the second print. I don't know if that system is still made, but if you print a lot, it pays for itself in a year or two.
I can think of two advantages of split grade printing. First, you can get a grade that's not available with a single filter - 2.3 for instance. Second, you can dodge just the grade 5.0 or just the grade 0.00, depending on what you want.
If you can find it, Jonathan Eastland had a very informative book about split grade printing. It deals well with the process of test strips and which grade to print first.
Once you have your own system in place, it will go quickly and give you results unavailable with the single filter process.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #25
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Erik van Straten's explanation is correct. A split grade enlargement can be easily achieved when using the Heiland Splitgrade Controller System. It's very easy to achieve prints with the right tonality - no more guessing and testing involved.
You adjust the enlarger aperture, make two measurements (lights and shadows), dial in your enlargement paper and are now ready to exposure your enlarging paper. Developing as usual and you're done. And it simply works.
Information @WWW.heilandelectronic.de

Just my 2 cents
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Old 4 Days Ago   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
Sure, my point is however any filter between 00 and 5 passes a mixtures of the only (in terms of what the paper responds to, subtractive filters will also pass other, irrelevant wavelenghts) green or blue that 00 and 5 pass, respectively.

Yes, but what makes this working, is the difference in time. The duration of the exposure through filter 00 is different than through filter 5. When the filters 00 and 5 are replaced by a single "mixed" filter, there is only one exposure time and not two separate ones that can be varied.


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Old 4 Days Ago   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
By cumulative exposure I mean the combined (cumulative) effect of the 00 and the 5 exposures.
When the filters 00 and 5 are replaced by a single "mixed" filter, there is only one exposure time and not two separate ones that can be varied. The two exposures are essential for split grade printing.


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Old 4 Days Ago   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Requin View Post
Erik van Straten's explanation is correct. A split grade enlargement can be easily achieved when using the Heiland Splitgrade Controller System. It's very easy to achieve prints with the right tonality - no more guessing and testing involved.
You adjust the enlarger aperture, make two measurements (lights and shadows), dial in your enlargement paper and are now ready to exposure your enlarging paper. Developing as usual and you're done. And it simply works.
Information @WWW.heilandelectronic.de

Just my 2 cents

Yes, I know the Heiland system, but it is absurdly expensive. A set filters from Ilford is much cheaper and works the same.


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Old 4 Days Ago   #29
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The split grade system is invented by Pictorial Service in Paris, in the 1950's. It was part of the success of Cartier-Bresson and others. The prints get a mixture of softness in the light parts and deep solid blacks. I think the first paper with variable contrast was Varigram from Dupont. Not 100% sure, however.


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Old 4 Days Ago   #30
retinax
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Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
When the filters 00 and 5 are replaced by a single "mixed" filter, there is only one exposure time and not two separate ones that can be varied. The two exposures are essential for split grade printing.


Erik.

Of course, I haven't written anything contrary to that. Doesn't matter, what I mean is the method Mike Rosenlof explained.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #31
jbielikowski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaFoReVer View Post
Lets talk about on this example.
I tested them separately not cumulative. Each are 5 sec interval. What would be your exposure for each?

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Rls...w?usp=drivesdk
you're doing it wrong. you need to make a grid, like this one:
https://flic.kr/p/byoLxV
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Old 4 Days Ago   #32
jawarden
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Originally Posted by Freakscene View Post
Split grade printing is at least to some extent a con. ....

Make the best print you can, dodge any shadows that need it during the main exposure, then turn the contrast down and burn any highlights that need it. Split printing, to me, makes printing harder because it increases the variables.

Marty
Not to be argumentative but isn't the bold part above a version of a split grade technique? I mean if you're dodging with one grade and burning with another grade you are split grade printing, right? It doesn't have to be 00 and 5, it could be 00 and 3 for instance.

That's the main benefit to split grade as far as I'm concerned, i.e. the ability to dodge shadows without blowing out light areas, and burning the hilights without ruining the shadows. That's hard to do if you're using only a grade 3 contrast filter for instance.

I haven't tried your approach but like "normal" split grade it makes sense to me as a way to achieve dodge and burn flexibility, if I've understood your approach correctly.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #33
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Originally Posted by jbielikowski View Post
you're doing it wrong. you need to make a grid, like this one:
https://flic.kr/p/byoLxV

That would be super useful if you had a print that had both highlights and shadows all over so you'd get both in each square...
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Old 4 Days Ago   #34
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The RH designs timer has a split grade function ie: 2 seperate timers. Once each exposure has been decided on it also possible to see what the overall contrast is.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #35
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megido View Post
The RH designs timer has a split grade function ie: 2 seperate timers. Once each exposure has been decided on it also possible to see what the overall contrast is.
Yes, also for color there are timers like that, but on my Hauck MSA II I can program up to 10 different exposures. Sometimes this is handy when there is a lot of burning to do.

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Old 4 Days Ago   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Yes, also for color there are timers like that, but on my Hauck MSA II I can program up to 10 different exposures. Sometimes this is handy when there is a lot of burning to do.

Erik.
This is also possible with the RH timer. One can program a sequence of exposures for each channel. Very handy!
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Old 3 Days Ago   #37
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Quote:
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That would be super useful if you had a print that had both highlights and shadows all over so you'd get both in each square...
just pick a representative part of the picture and make small squares.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #38
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Originally Posted by jbielikowski View Post
just pick a representative part of the picture and make small squares.

I find it hard enough to find areas with even highlights and shadows, respectively, for test strips. Wouldn't work for me and wouldn't have worked for the dude who posted your link if he hadn't found the right combination in a square with both highlight and maayyybe dark shadow accidentally, many other squares in his example would have been useless. But great if it works for you.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #39
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Quote:
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That would be super useful if you had a print that had both highlights and shadows all over so you'd get both in each square...
Yes very comprehensive way but doesn't work as each square might be in a highlight or shadows difficult to judge, I mean it is a bit of overkill to me.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike rosenlof View Post
OK, I'll play.



I would pick the 15 sec for the low contrast exposure. No more than 10 for the high contrast. Maybe more like 7. You still might need to dodge the boy some. I would probably dodge him for about half the high contrast exposure.



I would do the high contrast test strip on top of the 15 sec low contrast exposre. See the combined result that way.



Was your second test strip developed unevenly? The 15 sec band looks like maybe.
Yes that is what I did and it turned out great. I dont have a pro eye so the way my son looked didn't bother me so no dodging done. I will post the result after takin a better photo as mobile phone isn't ideal for this actually I need to scan it. Don't remember about the high contrast strip. It is possible.

I chose the exposure with a bit of luck. Could you please explain how you chose so maybe I can learn something.
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