Graded paper weirdness

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by crispinuk, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. crispinuk

    crispinuk Member

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    I've been using some of my inherited stash of Ilfobrom paper this evening, (it's the original Ilfobrom not the modern galerie stuff).
    Previously I'd had no reason to use other then the grade 3, but tonight I wanted to lower the contrast so used grade 1 instead (dont have any grade2). This paper actually increased the contrast, so I tried the grade 5 and found it to be very low contrast. It wouldn't be the first time I've looked stupid in public, but I thought as the grade number increased so did the contrast ?
    To get a reference I ended up making exactly the same exposure on each of the 4 grades I have (1,3,4 and 5). These appear to decrease in contrast going from 1 up to 5 (grade 1 has white highlights and black shadows, as the box number increases the highlights darken and the shadows lighten).
    Of note is the grade 5 is noticeably lighter than the others (which are all reasonably uniform exposure wise) and a search on the 'net and here on APUG shows that the grade 5 was (is) a stop slower than the other grades, which tends to discount my first theory that the papers had all been put back in the wrong boxes. The search also suggested that age tends to lower the actual grade of the paper, but I would have thought this would have resulted in the paper going from grade 5 now = grade 1 or 2 down to grade 1 now = totally fogged, rather than an apparent inversion of contrast grades ?

    Ultimately I'm not going to be using this particular type of paper again once these boxes have been used, and I now know how they compare in contrast, but I'm curious as to why the numbers on the box seem to be the inverse of the widely recognised contrast progression.

    Any thoughts ?

    Crispin
     
  2. MMfoto

    MMfoto Member

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    I would think that the higher grades of paper would fog more severely and could loose much more contrast than the lower ones. Also, can you be sure that all these papers were stored under the same conditions and are the same age?

    That aside it sounds like the problem is that you equalized the exposures and that the paper are of differant speeds and need more exposure for the higher grades, AND the higher grades are really fogged.
     
  3. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Are you printing from open boxes of paper?? It could be that the paper was accidentally put into the wrong boxes by the last person to print.

    McCluney Photo
     
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    That's what I used to believe, too, but apparently it's not so. Mike Gristwood, when he was at Ilford, told me that well stored grade 5 doesn't lose any contrast at all for many years. I forget which metal salt is used but as Mike said, "It doesn't go anywhere."

    Of course, "Well stored" is the catch...

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  5. crispinuk

    crispinuk Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I think describing 30 years in my father's loft as "well stored" would be stretching the truth a bit. Not sure how "many" and "30+" years compare either. :smile:
    Looking at the dried prints today it is evident they have printed progressively darker overall as the grade number increases (information gleaned from the internet states that the grades have equal speed with the exception of the grade 5) . I think I'm going to go with age related fogging and much as it pains me to throw anything away I'll bin it and order some fresh MG paper.

    Crispin
     
  6. MMfoto

    MMfoto Member

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    Now hang on a second. :smile: Paper is expensive and expirimentation fun. Fogged paper could be of use if you wanted to try printing down and bleaching up, it just might work fine for that purpose.
     
  7. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I fixed and washed my last batch of fogged paper and used it in my inkjet, took a little adjustment of the output, but did rather well for both color and black and white.
     
  8. crispinuk

    crispinuk Member

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    OK, perhaps that was a bit of a rash statement. I'll hang on to the old paper for playing with, but I think I need to get some fresh paper and learn to print properly with something I know will behave in a consistent manner.
    I'm not sure I could dry it flat enough to use in my inkj£t but it's a good tip to try.
    Crispin
     
  9. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    There is also the possibility of using restrainers in your developer, such as Liquid Orthazite to remove chemical and/or age related fog.
     
  10. bwakel

    bwakel Member

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    Don't forget lith

    Crispin, as you know I would say this, but don't forget that fogged paper tends to print well in lith. Go order some Moersch SE5 and get lithing!

    Barry
     
  11. MMfoto

    MMfoto Member

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    In what way does fogged paper print differently in lith developer?
     
  12. bwakel

    bwakel Member

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    You can control the contrast in lith prints by adjusting the exposure and development time. Even when the paper's fogged you can still get strong contrast by under-exposing the paper (for a lith print, i.e. over-expose one or two stops compared with a normal print - just the act of over-exposing can also get round some of the issues with fogged paper) and then developing until you get the shadow density that you desire. Also, lith prints can be very attractive without the need to be 100% accurate to the original negative so fogging can be less obvious.