Split Grade Printing – Darkroom Technique Part 4 – by Sroyon Mukherjee

As I read and learnt more about printing, a mysterious phrase appeared on my radar – split grade (or split filtration) printing. Its advocates claim miraculous benefits – fast and precise control over exposure and contrast, fewer test strips, enhanced dodging and burning possibilities, and unlocking secret tones which are beyond the reach of ordinary printing techniques (the first three are mostly true; the last is mostly false). On the other hand, sceptics like David Vestal (The Art of Black and White Enlarging) dismiss split grade as ‘tricks’ and ‘distractions’.