Deepest black on Ilford FB MGIV

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Marc Leest, Jul 20, 2005.

  1. Marc Leest

    Marc Leest Member

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    I always arrive when using Ilford FB MGIV having not satisfactory blacks.(deep grey, not black). Prolonged exposure blocks the shadows. So what can I do to improve this issue (film developer, technique, paper developer, toner).

    thx, Marc.
     
  2. david b

    david b Member

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    Is this glossy or semi-matte? Also, is this warm tone?
     
  3. Marc Leest

    Marc Leest Member

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    It's the non WT, glossy - air dried.

    M.
     
  4. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I know what you mean.
    I had the same problem and solved it completely by switching to Kodak Polymax Fine Art Paper. Unfortunately, soon that will no longer be an option ( :mad: Thank You, Kodak :mad: ).
    Once, I tried Edwal Ultra Black paper developer with pretty good results. It boosts the Blacks and the contrast a bit but it is sort of expensive, at least compared to Dektol.
    I'll be following this thread closely to see what others suggest.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Try graded paper. I find the blacks more satisfying with graded papers in general. I keep some MGIV FB on hand, but just for negatives that I think might particularly benefit from split grade printing or local contrast burning.

    Also, you can try increasing the development time, using stronger developer solution, or a higher contrast filter.

    Michael Smith's amidol solution will boost blacks slightly with MGIV FB, in my experience, but not necessarily enough to justify the expense.
     
  6. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    From what you describe, my thoughts are that the curve of the film is not coinciding with the curve of the paper. By that I mean that if you are using a long toe film and placing your shadow exposures on the toe of the film curve then your shadow densities will not show adequate separation when you print them. This would lead your shadows to block more then if the shadow densities are placed higher on the curve. You might try giving more film exposure and see if this helps you at the printing stage.
     
  7. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    It's hard to say where your problem is. A few suggestions tho':

    When taking the photo, meter for the shadows and print for the highlights in the darkroom.

    You might want to develop the film a *little* longer. This will increase the contrast. This can take lots of trial-and-error. I'd start with a 1-minute increase.

    Use fresh developer when devving the film and paper. Nothing leaves you flat like exhausted dev.

    Are you using variable contrast filters or a color head when you print? The filters/colorhead will affect your contrast.

    It may take a while to pin this down, but keep at it.
     
  8. Chris Fraser

    Chris Fraser Member

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    I agree 100% Split Grade Printing..

    Chris
     
  9. Marc Leest

    Marc Leest Member

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    I use a VC head with a RH designs analyser pro. Calibrated with a Stouffer transmission step wedge. Split grade printing is an option.
     
  10. Chris Fraser

    Chris Fraser Member

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    I use split grade printing for virtually all of my work. Once I got use to it the technique it seemed like a natural way to print. I get the print I want faster and I like the results better!
     
  11. veriwide

    veriwide Member

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    I use the same Ilford Fb in semi matte warm tone, and felt the same about the blacks. I single filter print and split filter print with it. I have found my way to get the blacks that I want.

    I print to get all the shadow detail I want, develop and dry, then once I have a collection of 20-50 prints and selenium tone 1:19, at room temp, for about a minute or two, until I see the rich black I want.

    I hope this works for you. If not, when I ask for ideas in the darkroom I like to try each one that I get. Being in the dark is better than being in front of a computer.

    Patrick
     
  12. Wally H

    Wally H Member

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    I use Photographer's Formulary BW-65 paper developer on the MG-FB (VC)... after air drying and mounting, I also steam the print to add a little more to the blacks...
     
  13. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    I agree that MGIV does not give up its blacks easily. As Donald Miller pointed out you may need to re-tailor your exposures to fit the paper. I have found that Agfa Nuetol or Edwal Black combined with selenium toning will provide good blacks. IIRC Zonal Pro works well but I don't know if it is still available.
     
  14. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Get a better paper. Develop it in amidol.
     
  15. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    You could try strong warm selenium. KRS at 1+4 at 25 degrees C. You will also get a tonal shift from green (untoned) to blue as well as much deeper blacks.
     
  16. Marc Leest

    Marc Leest Member

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    I am about quitting RC paper at all. For less critical work i want to use MG IV FB. Tonality is ok, only the blacks. A suggestion ?
     
  17. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

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    Marc

    I have used Multigrade IV quite extensively and reiterate what Donald Miller said that you might need to adjust the film exposure/development to "match" the multigrade curve. Selenium toner also slightly darkens the blacks in MGIV

    As an alternative I have started using Oriental Seagull VC which gives me a deeper black still using Ilford MG developer.

    Phill
     
  18. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    For enlargements, I really like Efke/Adox/Cachet/Maco/J&C Expo graded FB in Michael Smith's amidol formula. Steve Anchell has also written good things about this paper in amidol (not sure which formula he uses). In Europe you should be able to get it from fotoimpex.de.

    Most of the premium graded papers are good, though, and much is a matter of taste. Buy a few 25 packs and test them for yourself to see what you like.