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Thread: VCCE vs Color Head (for B&W)

  1. #1

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    VCCE vs Color Head (for B&W)

    Hello,

    I have a doubt. If someone could explain to me what are the main advantages of a VCCE head vs a Color Head.
    The top master black and white photographers seem to use them. I know that we with a VCCE head can adjust contrast without adjusting the exposure, but is there more advantages?
    Also the VCCE head has a button to choose between Kodak or Ilford paper. What if we use other brands? ( As is my case)

    Thank you
    Best

  2. #2
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: VCCE vs Color Head (for B&W)

    You can adjust contrast without exposure with a color head, too. Use Paul Butzi's method. It works great. As long as both systems are dialed in for your paper, and the heads are in good condition, I don't see a reason to pick one over the other. Obviously, if you ever want to print color, the choice is clear. What's more important than the type, is the specific head versus it's competitors. Is it easy to use? Is it low vibration? Is the heat dealt with properly? I prefer f-stop timers. Is there one compatible with a specific head?
    Please stop feeding the trolls.

  3. #3

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    Re: VCCE vs Color Head (for B&W)

    For 15+ years used a Color Head to print variable contrast professionally. Fast forward maybe 15 years, retired and built my dream darkroom. Acquired a VCCE head and used it if for a few months but went back to using my Color Head. The VCCE head worked great, but hard to break old habits that one is very comfortable with. I found it harder to print with the VCCE head. It's like with print tongs. Always printed with generic cheap bamboo rubber tipped print tongs. Then acquired a lot better SS kostiner print tongs... Used them for a short time then went back to using the cheaper bamboo ones. I was and still am a lot more comfortable with using the cheaper bamboo ones. VCCE vs Color Head, I defy anyone to tell from looking at a finished print as to which head was used.

  4. #4
    jim_jm's Avatar
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    Re: VCCE vs Color Head (for B&W)

    I don't think there's going to be any significant difference between a color or VCCE head for B/W printing. I use a color head on my LPL, but that's what it came with. I'm sure the VCCE head would be similar in use and the results would be the same.
    I don't know if there's any purpose for a button to choose Kodak (discontinued) or Ilford paper. I use the Ilford Multigrade charts to determine contrast dial settings for single or dual filtration.
    More importantly, select a head that is in the best functional condition (if used), has all parts included, clean filters that are not faded, good lamp of the proper voltage and mixing chamber in good condition.

  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: VCCE vs Color Head (for B&W)

    They are pretty identical, just the controls for the colors are different. "VCCE" are either electrically or mechanically designed to follow a fixed set of values. Values that one can just as well set with individual color controls.

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: VCCE vs Color Head (for B&W)

    Top printers use all kinds of options. If you have a decent colorhead you really don't need anything else, plus you can do color printing too if you wish. For those who work strictly or mostly with VC papers, there are obviously other equipment options. But those won't necessarily give you better b&w prints.

  7. #7

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    Re: VCCE vs Color Head (for B&W)

    The main difference is callibation for the specific materials and the B/W head does not have a cyan filter...

    MG settings on a color head are not too hard to get the hang of if you have an old set of MG filters to compare the color of the light to visually... The paper is not too fussy about the slight differences...

    Steve K

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: VCCE vs Color Head (for B&W)

    Colorheads are fully incremental. Unless someone is somehow stuck in the mentality of fixed MG filter values, there's no need to even be aware of them in relation to VC printing. All you really need to know is which color gives greater contrast and which less, then dial as needed, do a test strip, and perhaps adjust. Of course there are all kinds of related tricks. But for a beginner even talking about paper grades is an unnecessary complication. Even back when some of us routinely used graded papers, they differed between brands. It's like labeling a modern car transmission with horse and carriage speeds just for sake of tradition, like "horsepower" itself.

  9. #9

    Join Date
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    Re: VCCE vs Color Head (for B&W)

    Most appreciated guys!

    Thanks for all the time and information.

    Best

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