Glossy, semi-matt or matt surface?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by naaldvoerder, Jan 8, 2005.

Glossy, semi-matt or matt

Poll closed Jan 15, 2005.
  1. Glossy

    31 vote(s)
    64.6%
  2. Semi-matt

    12 vote(s)
    25.0%
  3. Matt

    5 vote(s)
    10.4%
  1. naaldvoerder

    naaldvoerder Member

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    Hi all,

    I routinnaly use semi-matt fiber paper. I just got wondering whether I can't choose between glossy and matt, or maybe it really is the most beautifull surface. My prints, if good enough for the wall, end up in frames without glass. I was wondering what most of you use primarely. So a poll...
     
  2. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    I went through this question of life myself recently using Ilford FBs and ultimately I fell in love with the look of Matt. Just to confuse myself though I have some Agfa MC 111 Gloss to try out soon :D
     
  3. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    That's a vague question. Perhaps it should read, "Which surface do you prefer most?" or "Which surface do you use most often?" In any case, the question is open to too many interpretations to return any meaningful answers.

    I interpreted it as which paper surface do I use most. For the most part, I use glossy RC paper. However, there are some photographs that scream for a matte or semi-matte finish. Formal portraits and some sorts of still life photographs fall into this category. Street photography and landscapes usually call for glossy surfaces. My admittedly anecdotal observations suggest that if a subject looks best when represented by a low contrast image, then it is a good candidate for printing on a semi-matte or matte finished paper. Otherwise you really can't go too wrong using an unglazed FB glossy surface.

    ...and Tony, I really think you're going to enjoy the Agfa MC-111. I've been through a box and a bit more of the stuff in 10x8 and it is really nice stuff.
     
  4. Dr.Kollig

    Dr.Kollig Member

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    Difficult questions:
    - The sense of life
    - The best surface

    I'll only refer to the second question, which is just a bit easier for me:

    for portraits etc. I prefer Agfa 118 which is a kind of pearl, for not-human I might prefer glossy like 111 - but not glazed, rather dried to the cloth, which gives a kind of quarter-matt look.
    In RC I rather go for pearl or satin. For one friend only I print on matt paper.
    So in my darkroom you will find all kind of surfaces, like Foma 542 ivory matt, 133 velvet, even some outdates silk-grain (could be Orwo 117)

    Wolfram
     
  5. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Wolfram - I think for me "the best surface" is a difficult enough question, never did work out the question to which the answer is 42 but that can wait for a few more years. Thanks for the information on Agfa FBs, looks like another year of playing errrm testing.
     
  6. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Tony's right that the answer is 42, and I have no idea what the question is either.

    Mostly I use glossy FB, which air-dries to a nice semi-glossy. Some images want a different surface, right down to the paper-fibre surface of Bergger Silver Supreme - which I used for the last print exchange.

    I'll vote for the average, since I can only vote once.
     
  7. Dr.Kollig

    Dr.Kollig Member

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    42, 42, lets see...

    42, was that the number different surfaces one could get in the old days? I shall return to the darkroom, have another tea and look at the old packages of companies long gone and almost gone papers like Fomatone. I think Fotoimpex and some other rescued that paper from being killed, due to low sales, the 131 is still available but it might take a trip to one of the Foma stores to get 133 or 542.
    Think positiv, my stocks are rising...I mean my stocks of baryt photopaper :wink:
    Although I even found some 318 Agfa Portriga RC-paper.

    Wolfram
     
  8. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Wolfram I'll give you a clue, the mice came up with the answer :smile:

    I hope the manufacturers don't see this thread or I won't be able to get Matt finish for very long.
     
  9. gareth harper

    gareth harper Inactive

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    Oh dear Tony has fallen in love with matt! It is lovely though, ain't it.

    I just about always use pearl when I'm doing RC.

    For fibre if I had more money or a freezer I'd keep both glossy and matt (I generally use MGIV, though not alawys). I usually find that glossy is easier to print with, it naturally has more contrast, I agree though that some prints just scream out for that pure matt look.
     
  10. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Glossy - air dried on fiberglass screens. Always.

    Expect for prints that will be hand colored. They go on matte papaer.
     
  11. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I've been using matt and semi-matt surface paper lately. I like them much better than glossy. But I also tried some semi-gloss Bergger and I admit I like this surface more every time I look at it. So, I'm now on the fence as far as what surface I prefer. They all look pretty much alike under glass anyway.
     
  12. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    Glossy is my primary surface. For the subjects that I shoot it seems to hold detail better. But a matt surface seems to fit many portraits and more moody landscapes.

    One surface that I like quite a bit is the pearl surface that Ilford has. If only they made their cool tone pearl in Fiber instead of RC only.
     
  13. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    Glossy FB or RC - RC is for evaluation - I am really never done with it till it is on glossy air dried FB. The glossy surfaces seem to have better blacks.
     
  14. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Matte

    I have made one photo on matte paper.Somehow I must have bought it by mistake. That being Ilford Gallerie grade 3 matte. This paper is just beautiful and it so flexible as to processing.Toned it in homemade polytoner afterward. I'm a confirmed believer in glossy but would not be adverse to using this matte surface again for the appropriate subject matter.
     
  15. oriecat

    oriecat Member

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    Hear hear, I second that! I have just started using FB and when looking for a paper to try I couldn't understand why I couldn't find any cool tone. :sad:

    So for RC, I prefer pearl, and I just started with a couple FBs so I don't know yet.
     
  16. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Phew that's better I was starting to feel in a minority of one on FB Matt :smile: Now Cool Tone Pearl in FB that would be very worth trying.
     
  17. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    I used to use matt mostly but now mostly glossy. Some prints look better on matt and some on gloss. I have no intention of buying semi-matt (or pearl) anymore as just picking between two already hurts my brain enough.