View Full Version : Aristo D-2 + VC Papers... too contrasty ?

Ken Lee
28-Feb-2006, 13:45
I recently upgraded my Aristo D-2 Cold Light Head (http://www.aristogrid.com/prod02CB_D2.D2-HI.htm" target="_blank) by replacing the 20-year-old lamp with a new one recommended by Aristo. I notice that my prints are rather contrasty, even though I am using Ilford VC paper and Ilford VC filters.

In the short-term, I have had to dilute my Ansco 130 paper developer quite a bit, or use Selectol Soft, or make Number 1 my default filter.

Has anyone else encountered the same problem ? Is there a remedy, other than changing my film development times ?

ronald moravec
28-Feb-2006, 14:06
V54 lamp works well. Gives about the same contrast as the condenser head and the Ilford filters space nicely on some old Kodak polycontrast. Ilford paper gives high contrast tones with close spacing.

The problem is the visual light is dim and the actinic printing light is too bright. I dial out 3 stops with the Aristo dimmer trying to get 20/30 sec at 16.

Jerry Flynn
28-Feb-2006, 14:17
I agree with Ronald. I find that with the V54 the grade spacing is uneven and crowded towards the hard end of the scale with Ilford paper. I had the same experience with Forte.

I use the cold light head for graded papers, where I find the performance excellent.

Ken Lee
28-Feb-2006, 14:26
Jerry -

May I ask, with which brand of Graded papers have you had success ?

If I were making large prints from small negatives, I'm sure the high level of actinic light would be welcome - but I have also been very glad to have the dimmer. Without it, exposures are unreasonably short, unless you stop down the lens, well past its optimum aperture.

Alternately, is there another Cold Light which can be used in the Beseler 45 series ?

Christopher Perez
28-Feb-2006, 16:23
Is this model cold light head a full spectrum model? Or does a person need a yellow filter to add the missing colors?

In my case I need a pale yellow filter. This evens out the contrast and makes my Ilford VC papers filter nicely.

Ken Lee
28-Feb-2006, 17:23
Chris -

It emits blue-green light, like the one pictured on the Fine Art Photography (http://www.fineartphotosupply.com/coldlightheads.htm" target="_blank) web site.

According to their site (bold letters mine):

  "In my darkroom the V-54 Cold Light Head gives a fine #2 result with Ilford HP-5 film developed in Ilfotec DD-X for 15 minutes at a 1:9 dilution (see Ilford products page) with Elegance Paper. Contrastier films like Kodak Tri-X may require a 50Y compensation filter (place the filter above [behind] the enlarging lens inside the bellows).

Where do you get a 50Y filter ?

Ken Lee
28-Feb-2006, 17:37
OK - I found it by searching Google for "CC50Y".

Now, the question is: which kind of filter to get: Glass ? Gelatin ? Plastic ?

Which is appropritate for the enlarger ? I guess it's best to leave it above the lens.

Mark Woods
28-Feb-2006, 17:39
I use a 15y CalColor filter in my enlarger head. It's a Besler 810 Cold Light Head. Call or contact Rosco and ask for the "professenal" swatch book. It has all the filters and they are larger than the lens board. I'm not sure they will match exactly to CC filters since they are calibrated to Kodak negative motion picture film stock, but you can get close.


Mark Woods
28-Feb-2006, 17:49
Hi Ken,
To clairify my last post. You could find out the filter combination that works for you, then buy sheets of gels and put them in the cold head. That gets them out of the optical path in terms of small scratches and things like that. In that position they are pretty bullet proof. (I also added a deffusion gel to the color.)


Jerry Flynn
28-Feb-2006, 18:04

I've used Ilford Galerie, Oriental New Seagull, Forte Fortezio, Kentmere, the old Freestle Arista (which I assume is Ilford Galerie). I guess I do not worry a great deal about stopping down beyond the optimal aperture - I am usually at f/22 or so for an 11X14 from a 4X5 negative.

ronald lamarsh
28-Feb-2006, 18:30
I have heard that other papers like forte, adox vario G etc. actually test toward the soft end of the spectrum. According to the folks at J&C Ilford changed their VC formula and redesigned their filters to match some time ago and they don't give the even spacing with papers other than ilford. I have a set of the old dupont filters coming in the mail and will post as to how they work. My direct experience has been that european papers other than ilford tend toward the soft end............but I was using nasco 130 diluted 3:1 and pyro negatives. I have since gone back to rodinal and Dektol and have achieved plenty of contrast.

Steve Sherman
28-Feb-2006, 21:02
Hi Ken,

For years I have used an Aritso light on my 45MX chassis, the light has the high output Blue light (w54) designed for graded papers. For multicontrast papers I use Rosco theatre gels, medium green and medium blue to add light to the light source.

In other words, a CC Y 50 color correction filter will alter the color of the light by diminishing intensity, then you must use contrast filters which further decrease light intensity. I suggest and use myself additive light, by using in conjunction with one another pure green and pure blue gels. Yes, it does take some trial and error but the effects are rewarding. Split contrast printing is quite easy with this system.

Actually, it is a poor man's adjustable contrast cold light head made by Aristo. These light sources by Aristo are pure green (low contrast) and pure blue (high contrast) and mixed together with some type of rheostat.

I would suggest using additive light rather than subtractive light as a source.

Ken Lee
1-Mar-2006, 09:24
Thanks for all the info.

I contacted Aristo, and told them about the information on the Ilford site (http://www.ilford.com/html/us_english/PDF/cont.pdf" target="_blank), which details their use of an Aristo W45 lamp and a CC40Y filter (recommended by Aristo).

Aristo told me that the W45 is an older lamp, which due to limitations of the art at that time (20 years ago) emitted a small amount outside the blue/green portion of the spectrum.

Due to advances, their current lamp (the one to which I recently upgraded), the V54, emits light only in the blue/green portion of the spectrum (no Red), and thus requires no compensation.

Aristo asked me about the age of my Ilford Filters, suggesting that my filters (aquired used) might have been made to match the older W45 lamp, rather than the newer V45 lamp. Aristo also pointed out that over time, filters can become discolored.

So here's another question: How to contact Ilford (whose datasheet seems to be obsolete) and ask them about compatibility with modern lamps ?

Ken Lee
1-Mar-2006, 12:11
I have written an open letter to Ilford on APUG.

Thanks for your help. Perhaps the best thing to do is adjust my negative development time and move forward.

Kevin Crisp
1-Mar-2006, 12:41
I tried using yellow filters (as suggested by Kodak and others) to get an older Aristo lamp to work with modern VC materials. I just couldn't tame the contrast. Arista did admit on the phone that filtering the old lamp probably wasn't going to do it and they were right. I relamped with the V54. I used Ilford filters below the lens, and above the diffuser in sheets (still Ilford) when using a lens too big for the swing arm holder on my enlarger.

With Oriental VC, the grades seem to correspond well with graded papers, this is a good combination. It worked well with Polymax as well (down to my last 15 sheets). Results have been as expected with graded papers, including old and new Oriental. I haven't tested for purposes of testing, but the spacing of the grades seemed appropriate and useful, I noticed no piling up of contrast on one end.

Arista EDU VC material is another story. (I assume this is rebranded Forte from Hungary.) The contrast can be brutal, certainly more than one grade harder than I expect. I still have range left in my filter set to tone it down (they go down to "00") and I really, really like the paper.

My only complaint is that the V54 tube is too bright. Sometimes (even with a dimming control) I have to stick a ND filter on top of the back of the lens.

phil sweeney
1-Mar-2006, 17:33
Hi Ken,

I use that lamp on a MXII. However with kodak filters. Using Iford multigrade most of my prints are grade 2 and occasionally grade 3. rarely grade 1. My target VIII density is 1.36 (HC110). I also use Ilford Galerie.

On speed most of my 11 x 14 prints are 20-40 seconds at f16. For 8 x 10 I stop down to f22.