First time using FB paper...A Question

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Max Power, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    OK, so I've never used FB paper before, but in the spirit of participating in my first print exchange I wanted to use FB because it seems to be the preference out there. I picked up a box of 25 sheets of Ilford MG IV FB Glossy and it cost me a fortune :D

    I have read the Ilford data sheets on this paper, and I understand how it must be processed.

    My question, though, is this: notwithstanding the base of the paper itself, will FB MG IV glossy and RC MG IV glossy react the same way to exposure? Rather than wasting a bunch of expensive sheets of FB paper doing test strips etc, can one do testing on RC and then do final prints on FB with the same result?

    Thanks for the help,
    Kent
     
  2. thedarkroomstudios

    thedarkroomstudios Member

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    Not final prints. You can work with both and gauge a baseline for starting your FB prints. Fibre isn't terribly expensive (roughly 30% more than RC) and if you start with relativley narrow 2" strips each test shoudln't cost you more than about 15 cents. Biggest factor to remember is that FB has a rather dramatic dry-down.
     
  3. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    Basically I do all my portfolio prints on 10x8 inch RC paper.
    I keep notes on every print I do.

    Occasionally I'll pick one of those prints to be re-printed on 12x16 inch fibre paper.
    I more or less start from scratch, but I use the notes as a form of hindsight.

    But yes if you rougthly match up the dev times (work out what time you need for the fibre to give the same look as RC) then you can do your test strip and inital work print on RC before switching to fibre version as you move towards completion.
     
  4. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    They are different enough to warrant a different test strip, though usually for the same emulsion the exposure times will be pretty close. Development takes a little longer, as does stopping, fixing, and of course washing.

    If you want to save a little money you would be better off buying in 100 sheet boxes.
     
  5. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    There is no reason you can not make a correlation. I believe that your problem will be two fold: speed and contrast. This will be due to both manufacturing variance and storage. You may find in the end that it is better to stay with a single product.
     
  6. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Although Ilford MGIV FB and RC have the same ISO sensitivity, you can't really rely on this for several reasons: different texture (FB Glossy is not as "glossy" as RC glossy so you may want to change the exposure grade) and as said above, dry-down is a factor. However, your RC times will be a good basis to start with test strips.

    Other points to be aware of so they do not catch you unawares are that FB takes much longer to appear in the tray so don't worry if there is hardly a hint of image when RC would normally be finished... Also, FB is floppy when wet, unlike RC which stays rigid. As you will have read, fixing and washing times are longer: especially washing. You also need to be able to dry them either face down on screens or by hanging them up on a line with two prints placed back to back with clips in each corner to reduce curling.

    The emulsion side can be tricky to identify under the safelight as both sides have a similar texture; in general, the paper curls in at the edges towards the emulsion side. Because of this curl you will need an easel for FB paper whereas you can get away without one for RC.

    Have fun! Bob.
     
  7. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I cut an 8x10 sheet into 10 1"x8" strips. You'll probably want to test on fiber if you are going to print on fiber. If the dry-down difference between RC and Fiber ruins some of your prints, you are being penny wise and pound foolish.
    Many people dry their fiber test strips with a hair dryer or microwave to judge their dry down before making their final print. Also Les McLean has an excellent article on dealing with dry down which is a good read for anyone getting started in fiber.

    Just my opinion.
     
  8. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    The condition of your developer must be taken into
    account. Less active developers will reduce emulsion speed.

    I think suggested development times are minimum times.
    A print may be completely developed in two minutes in fresh
    developer. That same print will need more time in developer
    which has seen a few prints on each occasion of it's few
    outs and ins of the bottle. Dan
     
  9. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    Thanks everyone for the information and the pointers. I will read Les Maclean's article about dry-down.

    As an aside, I suppose that FB seems expensive because I paid $33CAD for 25 sheets whereas only a year ago I bought 5 boxes of 8x10 RC at $29CAD a box (yes it was on sale at 50% off).

    Thanks again,

    Kent
     
  10. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    You should have already noticed dry down on MGIV RC.
    You'll get similar dry down with the fibre paper. The microwave technique is a good tool for estimating the dry down.
    Also make sure you give the stuff a darn good wash and remember to take notes.

    Have fun!
     
  11. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    There's an easier and cheaper way to gauge dry-down. Buy a sheet of white acrylic at a hardware or glass store and stand it up in or on the edges of your fixer tray. (I use big cat-litter trays, and put two small screws in two corners of the tray lip to act as stops for the bottom of the acrylic sheet.) Lean the acrylic back against something tall enough to suppor it--a shelf, your sink back, chemical jugs, etc. Then when you turn the lights on, you can flop your print onto the acrylic sheet (the fixer will drain back into the tray) under a 60 watt bulb about 3-4 feet above the tray. Weaker bulb if closer. Seen at this angle in this illumination, you'll get an approximation of the dry-down effect--close enough to accurately predict how much more or less exposure to give.

    Larry