View Full Version : Contrast control with paper or film development?

18-Aug-2014, 17:01
Do you feel there is a difference between adjusting for the scene contrast by exposure adjustment and film development or by using a set EI and multicontrast paper.

If you have tried either or both can you comment on resulting tonality etc. Do you find an unnatural compression or expansion of any section of the image when under or over exposing and then under or over developing?

As an example, do you think a 100 iso responds the same at 100 iso as at 25 iso and development shortened for the increased exposure.

I'm not asking for a ZS explanation as such, I personally use the ZS and BTZS and fully test film using BTZS relative to each developer but not everyone uses those systems to handle scene contrast.

Interested to hear what methods people use. Spot, incident - wet finger to the wind :)


Mark Woods
18-Aug-2014, 17:07
I use the ZS and a spot meter. I visualize the tonal values I desire in the print and expose & develop accordingly. I've not been disappointed. I'm sure that those who print with multiple contrast filters on the same print might have some interesting comments.

18-Aug-2014, 18:53
The tone reproduction curve is different in each case. The most realistic reproduction (though still quite distorted) can sometimes be had with contrast paper around #3. However, there is no one correct answer.

neil poulsen
18-Aug-2014, 21:26
In my view, there is no substitute for improper control of film contrast and exposure. No amount of paper contrast control can make up the difference.

David Karp
18-Aug-2014, 21:44
A good negative makes everything so much easier.

19-Aug-2014, 06:15
In my view, No amount of paper contrast control can make up the difference.

Actually graded and multigrade paper can achieve excellent prints from negatives of varied tonal scales. You should try it.

19-Aug-2014, 10:57
A good negative makes everything so much easier.

As true in the digital world as in the darkroom. Scanning adjustments and Photoshop can do many wonderful things, but a bad negative makes for a bad start.

Ken Lee
19-Aug-2014, 11:48
As with so many things, it's best to correct problems as far "up-stream" as possible. Correct exposure first, then development, then printing/scanning etc.

Drew Wiley
19-Aug-2014, 12:52
Every film and paper is different. Then you've got different developer personalities in each case. You really need to master both the input and output. I don't trade
one at the expense of the other. Once in awhile I'll try "salvage" reprinting some early neg, and the availability of high-quality VC papers certainly makes this kind of
thing easier than it once was. But the point is to have a reasonably on-target versatile neg in the first place. But generic question can only engender generic