The Challenge of Black and White Print Exposure
- How do you choose the right grade of paper to get black blacks and white whites, without either loss of detail in the extremes, or a flat muddy result?
- Having chosen the grade, how do you decide on the correct exposure?
- How do you get the skin tones right in a portrait?
- How do you choose the right paper grade and exposure for “difficult” subjects such as a fried egg on a white dinner plate?
The RH Designs Solution!
The unique patented Grey Scale Display on our enlarging exposure meters works like an electronic test strip. In conjunction with a spot-metering sensor it shows you the exact tonal range you’ll get at a particular grade and exposure setting. “What you see is what you’re going to get!”
The sensor is used to measure the light level in the important parts of the image projected on the enlarger easel. The picture on the right illustrates how the tonal values in the final print are then shown on the grey scale display by means of LEDs which illuminate next to a grey tone. The meter calculates an exposure based on the highlight reading; after that you can change the exposure and paper grade settings and see the effects on the print immediately on the display. No test strips, no wasted paper!
The real power of our system becomes apparent when you realise that skin tones can be placed accurately for portraiture, that a high-key print with no true blacks (the fried egg example above!) can be made easily simply by setting up the grey scale for the desired tonality, that you have full control over the finished print. In addition, the effects of burning in can be seen directly on the display and the Analyser Pro will even work out the burn-in time for you automatically.
The latest products (since 8/2005) use a much faster and more stable measurement system which together with a Calibration Kit makes fine tuning your meter to your particular equipment, materials and methods much quicker and less involved.
The later measurement system is available as an upgrade for earlier Analyser Pros and ZoneMaster IIs. Unfortunately for hardware design reasons we cannot fit it to the older Analyser and ZoneMaster models - sorry.
The range includes:
Analyser Pro: the acclaimed exposure meter / timer combo which combines our sophisticated exposure metering technology with a versatile f-stop enlarger timer
Analyser 500: a version of the Analyser Pro dedicated to the Ilford Multigrade 500 enlarger system and including some unique features
ZoneMaster II: just the metering functions in a compact battery-operated instrument for use with a separate enlarger timer. It can be connected directly to our StopClock Professional.
The Heiland SplitGrade System
The SplitGrade system by Heiland Electronic GmbH, Wetzlar, Germany, is a sophisticated system combining a metering probe, controller, and a motorised filter module (or adaptor for certain enlargers) which can produce high quality black and white prints automatically. The filter module has two filters, yellow and magenta, and exposures are made through each filter in turn. The ratio of the two exposures controls the resulting contrast of the paper. The system is available for a number of popular enlargers, and although it does not have the grey scale display featured on RH exposure meters, it requires minimal setting up and is more automated in operation. Choose this system if you want automation and hassle-free prints, or an RH product for greater flexibility and control over the finished print.
Analyser Pro /500 or SplitGrade System?
The difference is best likened to that between an automatic-exposure camera and a hand-held spotmeter. The SplitGrade system is highly automated and as such can deliver good quality prints from most negatives, but it can be caught out by for example a picture of a fried egg on a white plate - much like the auto-exposure camera it will deliver 90% of the time but you need to be aware of its limitations. It does of course have full manual override for such circumstances. The Analyser Pro is, like a spotmeter, more accurate and can place mid tones with precision, but requires more care in use and in initial setting up. The 'learning curve' is perhaps steeper than that of the SplitGrade. In short - if your negatives mostly have a full range of tones then the SplitGrade will deliver, but if not then an Analyser Pro might be the better choice. Typically, portrait photographers would be better off with an Analyser Pro because flesh tones can be precisely placed on the grey scale.
Top of page