View Full Version : Tri-x with oriental paper

jack nips
22-Mar-2005, 11:15
I just switched to using oriental paper from agfa classic, with mixed results...I love the blacks, the highlights are very bright, but is there a way of cutting down the contrast at all? Does anyone that uses oriental always pull the film a stop to cut down the contrast? I was printing with a 00 filter and it was probably more contrasty than agfa with a 5!! Any tips for good paper developer? I used d-72 and was thinking about a developer that could warm the paper up a bit-


Kevin Crisp
22-Mar-2005, 11:57
Jack: Developing both new and old Seagull in Dektol and Clayton developers I have not noticed what you describe with Tri-X negatives. The grades per the filters were very close to what I would expect using graded paper, and no adjustment was necessary to development time. I use Ilford filters. If you are using a cold light head that is not the modern color for doing this (I think Aristo calls it the V54 tube, it is a bright aquamarine color) that could explain your problem. I did find it impossible to tame contrast with this or other VC papers until I changed the tube. Contrary to suggestions from Kodak and others, I don't think you will be happy trying to use yellow filtration to make an old head work like the V54. I actually have found Seagull relatively soft compared to Forte, which seems a good 1 1/2 grades more contrasty, at least with Dektol. I have no experience with D-72, but perhaps you could dilute it some and see if that helps? The filters which worked a couple decades ago don't seem appropriate for modern materials, but I assume you have a recent set of filters since you're referring to an "00."

22-Mar-2005, 14:32
The enlarger is pretty modern, ill try using filtration provided by a color head- I do have some dektol I need to mix up-

Also, It seems to take forever to expose and develop and eats up the developer very fast...what was a 15 second exposure with agfa was around 90 seconds using the oriental (grade 2). It also took a lot of time to bring the highlights up in the development tray even when using straight d-72-


Kevin Crisp
22-Mar-2005, 14:38
I find that times with the v54 tube are, if anything, too short. Sometimes I have to use a neutral density filter to avoid very small stops for printing. Good luck.

Gem Singer
22-Mar-2005, 16:26
Hi Jack,

D-72 is the older formulation of Dektol. If the D-72 you are using is in a Kodak package, that might be the cause of your problem. Since D-72 was discontinued by Kodak quite a while ago, your paper developer is probably expired. I does not seem likely that the problems you are experiencing with the Oriental Seagull paper could be the result of the enlarger lamp or the VC filtration. Fresh Dektol developer should solve the problem.

Agfa Classic is a warmer tone paper than Oriental. Adding a little potassium bromide to your tray of Dektol developer will clear the highlights and produce a slight olive tint with Oriental Seagull. Toning in Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner will change that olive tint to a rich eggplant purplish black tone. If you want warm tones, use the same technique and stay with the Agfa Classic paper.

Gem Singer
22-Mar-2005, 16:42

You are talking about variable contrast Oriental Seagull, aren't you? If you are using Graded (#2) paper with 00 variable contrast filtration, it would take forever to expose, since the paper would be receiving mostly green light, and graded paper is more sensitive to blue light.

dan otranto
22-Mar-2005, 18:38
i thought that 00 was lowest contrast, 5 highest contrast? The problem im having with this paper is that the mid tones are almost non existant. It does look very robert adamsy though, which is nice.

Gem Singer
22-Mar-2005, 19:49

You are correct,# 00 is the lowest contrast. It is almost pure green light falling on the paper. #5 is the highest contrast. It is almost pure blue light falling on the paper. If you are using grade 2 Oriental, it is not variable contrast paper and would respond to green light (a #00filter) the way you describe. Is your Oriental paper graded #2, or is it variable contrast? Is your Kodak D-72 developer mixed freshly from scratch, or is it from an old outdated package? You didn't make it clear in your response.

Eric Wagner
23-Mar-2005, 07:34
I haven't tried Oriental paper lately, but might offer some suggestions about warmer developers. I used to mix D-72 and also decided I wanted a warmer developer. I tried several other formulas before I settled on Ansco 135 as my standard developer about 12 years ago. When I want still warmer tones I mix up a batch of Ansco 110, which I have been diluting 1:3 with Forte Fortezo.

dan otranto
23-Mar-2005, 18:11
Its Grade 2...ive never printed with non variable contrast paper...how different is it to print with this stufff?

Jim Galli
23-Mar-2005, 19:48
Jack, give her a go with no filter atallatall. If it's a little flat you'll need to try again on grade 3. If it's a bit contrasty, explore pre-flashing the paper a wee bit. If that doesn't work you'll need to go to grade 1. Filters will do you no good on graded paper. If it's a negative you love and it's too contrasty for the grade 2, make a very bland unsharp mask for the neg to throttle it back a bit.

Gem Singer
23-Mar-2005, 20:06

Graded paper will not change contrast when used with variable contrast filters. However, all printing paper responds to light in the blue end of the spectrum. As I previously stated, if you are attempting to change the contrast of graded paper by exposing it through a 00 variable contrast filter (green light), graded paper being less sensitive to green, and will give the response you are experiencing.

Try printing on the grade 2 Oriental paper without filtration. Set the dichroic color filters on your enlarger so that they emit only white light, with no color tint at all.

Ed Pierce
24-Mar-2005, 05:50

There are many ways to change contrast with graded papers. See my article 'Printing Tips', under 'Contrast Controls':


Jim Noel
26-Mar-2005, 10:45
I have used Oriental graded papers since they were first introduced by Freestyle.
As has been stated, use no filtration with these graded papers.

You can lower contrast up to 1 grade by using two developers.

First develop in a soft working developer such as Ansco 120 or Kodak Selectol Soft. Allow the development to progress until highlights are where you want them and then move the print to a more active developer such as Dektol, or D-72 (not the packaged one as it is more than 20 years old). This developer will bring up the shadows. Your combination of times will vary with each print, but a total of 3 minutes is "average". Some prints go up to 5 minutes.

Always use the soft developer first and don't allow the Dektol to contaminate the soft developer.

David Feuer
5-May-2005, 01:13
According to David Kachel (http://www.codemastersworkshop.com/frontdoor/cont_pt3.htm), contrast on graded papers can also be reduced (in a way he likes) by treating the paper with highly diluted potassium ferricyanide between exposing and developing. Contrast can be increased in a certain sort of way by ferricyanide bleaching at the end. I don't know if that's done before or after fixing--could someone speak to that?

Mark Sampson
5-May-2005, 05:41
I believe that this is called "Sterry's method". David Vestal researched it thoroughly in his book "The Art of B&W Enlarging". It looked like a very long way around to get to the answer. I used to use the tw0-developer method with Seagull and Kodak Elite, it does the job well. Unfortunately I am sensitive to Metol so Ansco 120 and Selectol-Soft cause allergic reactions. Luckily there are fine variable-contrast papers these days so I can use them and one tray of developer- and 'normal' print developers don't give me trouble.

Matt Mengel
5-May-2005, 07:29
I would try using a different developer. If you mix your own try 55-D, you can get the formula from Ed Buffaloe's site unblinkingeye.com and it's in the Darkroom Cookbook. If your not mixing try LPD from Ethol. It lasts along time and changes contrast with dilution. You can get it in powder or liquid. Sometimes if I have aprint that needs a little punch I just pour a little of the dev. into the tray to bump the contrast. Or in your case add water. If you try the 55-D it is a slower developer than D-72 you wont see anything until at least a minute. Pay no attention to the timer-judge your highlights.
Dektol and me just dont get along. Good luck.

David Feuer
5-May-2005, 15:52
According to Kachel, ferricyanide works far better than Sterry's dichromate. In particular, he claims it produces little speed loss. Several writers have cited Kachel's report, but I have not seen independant tests or tried it myself.