shooting 35 on 120 and split grade printing


this shot was taken on Ilford xp2 on my Mamiya RB67 Pro s with 120 film back i used two 3d printers adaptors that means i could mount my 35mm film canister in the back as a 120 which then means the whole negative becomes exposed to light as opposed to just the 35mm area in the centre of the banding top and bottom. the negatives came out great and i found putting a little masking tape on the waist level viewfinder reminded me that the shooting area was only the middle third. i then decided to print on kentmere glossy paper which i thought with the chrome of the bike’s would look great in glossy. one problem i found was there was not much contrast in the first prints i did so i decided to have a go at split grade printing.


Split grade Printing

as multigrade paper or otherwise known as VC (variable contrast) paper is sensitive to two different  grades of light, reds and yellows, reds give more contrast and yellow gives less contrast. below is the set of Ilford multigrade filters


These are graded from 1 to 5 with 5 being higher density and red which gives more contrast and 1 being less red and more yellow which is to increase whites. the one problem with using filters or adding anything thats dense to the light path of your enlarger is it will increase your exposure time. the nice thing with these filters is it really dosent increase it by much the first three filter so 1-3 give an extra half of time so if your overall exposure time is 6 seconds you would up it to anotyher half to 9 seconds. if you move on to the more dense filters 4 -5 you double your exposure time so 6 seconds becomes 12 seconds.

below is how you do a split grade printing test chart


you will see using the 1 grade filter and exposing the paper whilst blanking out with black card and moving down every 3 seconds (its upside down by the way) so the top one is 3 seconds of grade 1 and then you do the same with the 5 grade filter from right to left. moving the black card with three second increments. this then gives you a full tonal range and you should notice that i have circled the second down fourth from the right as the desired tonality. this would mean i would need to expose my final print at 12 seconds 1 and 6 seconds 5 and the result was the image at the top of the page.


i really enjoyed split grade printing and i can certainly see the benefits of any good printer using this method it gives a more professional print rather than just a flat boring image

until next time

PJ x



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