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Thread: Neutral Density Filters with V54 Cold Light head

  1. #1

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    Neutral Density Filters with V54 Cold Light head

    If I put a Roscoe neutral density filter above my Ilford multi-contrast filter, so both are between the cold light tube and the diffuser on the top of the negative carrier, the n.d. filter won't throw off the grade of the Ilford filter?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Neutral Density Filters with V54 Cold Light head

    It will work. These aren't totally neutral in hue, but close enough to be a non-issue with VC paper.

  3. #3

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    Re: Neutral Density Filters with V54 Cold Light head

    Do that all the time and I've never noticed any concerning issues.

  4. #4

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    Re: Neutral Density Filters with V54 Cold Light head

    Shouldn't, but if it does, you just change the MC filter! L

  5. #5

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    Re: Neutral Density Filters with V54 Cold Light head

    Well, thought I'd follow up on how this worked out for me. I first ordered a Rosco neutral density filter, and I overestimated how far down I needed to block the light level. It was just too much. I ordered a lighter grey polyester neutral density filter, this time a "Lee" branded one. I cut it down and put it in the 8x10 V54 head, between the tubes and the diffuser. I used Ilford below-the-lens VC filters, printing on my refrigerated 16 year old stock of Forte paper developed in Ansco 130 1:2. The paper, by the way, works like new despite its age.

    The first negative was a bit thin, and certainly should have been a grade 3 or 3 1/2. It eventually printed OK, but I had to filter it with a 1 1/2 filter. Exposure times from filter to filter were highly variable, which they typically are not except on the extremes with the modern VC filters. I'd have expected that negative to print like grey slate with a grade 1 1/2 filter, but the print was what I wanted despite the apparent mismatch. So what came next should not have surprised me.

    Next I tried a negative that was a textbook normal contrast negative. It was unprintable with any filter; just way too much contrast that could not be tamed.

    So, trying this, the two issues for me were:

    1. A break down of the usual exposure consistency from filter to filter.

    2. Much more contrast than normal with all VC filters I tried.

    Maybe the "Lee" neutral density filter isn't really neutral, I don't know. But I think I just need to work with shorter exposure times and not try to dim it down using these filters. Even with the Zone VI timer turned down to minimum brightness, exposure times are going to be short.

    Your mileage may vary, and from the recommendations you all made, it certainly does!

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Neutral Density Filters with V54 Cold Light head

    Most of those poly ND lighting "gels" are slightly yellow-greenish rather than truly neutral, so would tend to reduce contrast on VC paper with a V54. It's a bit hard for me to give you a direct answer because it's been a long time since I tried using something like that, and my own 8x10 V54 is a special high-output version - really powerful. It is especially nice for split printing through deep green or deep blue filters using GLASS filters, and punching through added mask density. But since I never print even an 8x10 b&w neg larger than 20x24, even the enlarging lens stopped down to f/45 results in no visible detail loss due to diffraction in the print itself, since it's only a 2.5X magnification at the most, and is going to be far less lossy than a below-lens plastic filter anyway. (Color printing is obviously done with a completely different enlarging system instead).

  7. #7
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Neutral Density Filters with V54 Cold Light head

    Not sure why you are having the exposure inconsistency. The thermostat in my Aristo kept it pretty even temp. between prints, but it heated up during it's typical long exposures with contrast filters in place. In terms of too-short exposures, I have never experienced that, but if I did I'd not think twice about stopping my 300 lens to f32 for a small two power enlargement (16x20). Are you having to go down around f64 without the ND?

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  8. #8
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Neutral Density Filters with V54 Cold Light head

    I'd agree that the ND filters for multigrade printing could be probably anything close to ND, but if concerned, I have read the Rosco Cinegel are more closely color neutral.
    Click image for larger version. 

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