Darkroom Tutorials Split grade printing the Ilford way using Ilford Multigrade under the lens filters

Split grade printing requires the use of different coloured light to change the contrast of Ilford Multigrade black and white printing papers. There are 3 ways to do this:

  1. Use a specially designed enlarger or enlarger head. This is the most expensive but simplest method.
  2. Use Ilford Multigrade filters, available in kits to cover the entire contrast range of 0 to 5 with all of the 1/2 grades too. Relatively inexpensive and the kits can be fitted to any enlarger as they come in 2 types, under the lens and above lens.
  3. Use an enlarger with a colour head and dial in the filter factors according to the tables provided on information sheets with every box of Ilford Multigrade paper.

Option 1 is the easiest and is already described in my previous article and video on split grade printing the Ilford Way.

Option 3 is the most difficult and tedious to use as this requires the enlarger filter dials to be changed under safelight several times for each print.

Option 2 is the one I will cover here and is most appropriate for the majority of the available enlargers, both those with colour heads and those with condensers. In fact I will cover just the Ilford Multigrade Under the Lens Filter Kit here as it can be used on any enlarger. There will be another article following on using the Ilford Multigrade Above Lens Filter Kit.

The video lasts just over 14 minutes.