graded paper

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Andrew Laverghetta, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. Andrew Laverghetta

    Andrew Laverghetta Member

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    Hi!

    In my search for a different paper to use, I've come across a lot that I would like to try but I don't have much money to spend. I hope to use it for my final project for this semester. I'm thinking about papers both by Ilford and are the FB MG warmtone and the Gallerie 3.

    The problem is, I haven't been able to use graded paper before. I see that a lot of people say that it's better quality and the website seems to make this claim as well. I tend to develop my film the same way so they contrast is pretty much consistant from roll to roll and I tend to make good negatives. Don't you use different dillutions of developer? How do you know which dillutions will effect the paper grade to move it to 3.5. Can you lower the contrast on graded papers to 2.5? I'm hoping to use this paper to make 16 prints of nighttime landscapes or at least outdoor shots.

    Are there any sites or books that I could check out?

    Also, for the multigrade warmtone paper, a friend of mine tried warmtone by forte and the paper base seemed almost orange, at least in comparison. I would like to use a warmer paper to go along with a kind of mood, but I don't want it to look dirty as I thought this other paper looked.

    Thanks for your input!
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Using a fixed graded paper requires a lot more from the photographer in consistancy exposing and developing film. I have found that when using VC paper it gets really easy to become lax and lazy because you can adjust paper contrast so much more easily. Graded paper does give a richer print in my experience.

    To answer your questions about adjusting contrast with graded papers, the common practice is to use a soft developer like Selectol Soft in conjunction with a normal developer like Dektol or D72. In my practice if I need to soften below a paper grade, I will develop part of the time in Selectol Soft or another soft working developer and finish in the normal developer to set the blacks on the print.

    Some people do dilute developers beyond the manufactures recommendations. I have not done this because I have experienced paper fogging with legthy developing times.

    Insofar as graded papers, I like JandC Nuance a lot. It is what I would consider a neutral to slightly warm emulsion.

    The Ansel Adams book "The Print" will give you some information on the use of graded papers and fine tuning the print. Good luck.
     
  3. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Just went back to graded papers. Maybe I've been lucky but I find that making prints over VC to be even easier. As long as you have a fair knowledge of negative control/consistency it works fine. I borrowed one from Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee; using Amidol and a water bath. I'm nailing prints on the 3 and 4 try now. Maybe it is in keeping with a vision for the print because you should always know where you want to go. Rarely use grade 2. I'm happily in a grade 3 world right now and it is the best ever. I'm not going to debate Amidol versus other developers just simply that it will work over the entire period when
    producing a print and produce the exact same result on the last print as the first. I've used every other print dev. there is. Most are either the same or a variation of same or they have no good effect on modern papers. We only have so many days in our lives; that means only so many prints so I choose to use a formula that guarantees me the best results while I pump out 20 or 30 copies of the same print in a day. Always proof your negatives with a grade one filter. That wil open up the print and let you see exactly what is there or not. I used to proof on #2 paper or filter and it tells you nothing. Do I go up or down? Gee-you'll never know. Try this for yourself and you will wonder why you ever did it before. On making your first test print put it up on a plastic sheet; sqeeegie it off and then put a very low light on it. That will tell you if your blacks are too dark. Readjust your time or f/stop appropriately and go from there. Soon you should be nailing the print on the second or third try. If I'm not worrying about what filter to use it eliminates one more variable.
    Go Graded.....
    Best to everone, Peter
     
  4. vet173

    vet173 Member

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    I am also looking at going back to graded papers. If your looking at the gallerie paper, another bromide paper you might look at kentmere bromide. I am having good results and it is a LOT cheaper than gallerie.
     
  5. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Note that MG FB Warmtone is not graded
     
  6. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I use both graded and Multi Grade

    I have not found one is better than the other. I think the printing skills required for both have their paticular methods of approach.

    With graded paper, control can be with the negative and as well with a two bath developer.
    With VC paper , control can be with the negative and developers , but most importantly with split filter printing a whole new world of advantages present themselves. Learning how to master split printing is not as easy as one thinks, but when you get the grasp of it, using graded paper is not the choice of approach that I use.
    I will use a graded paper for specific needs.
    You mention night photography, being able to split print would definately be an advantage for you.
     
  7. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    Andrew, try the Foma papers. For me, I prefer the look from Agfa Brovira paper, but it is long since gone. Foma seems to have the closest look. I too find that graded papers are much easier to print on, and have a superior base & look to them over MC versions.

    Ilford is not going to give you the warm tones you're looking for. I can not understand why photographers seem to think of them as their last/only choice when it comes to these things.

    Freestyle carries Foma @ very reasonable prices, give them a try. J&C is forever out of stock on what I need, so I've given up on them.

    Rolleijoe
     
  8. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    What developer are you using with kentmere bromide?

    Thanks,
    John Powers
     
  9. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    I use ethol lpd and can get a nice silvery look

     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Graded papers are blue only light sensitive. If you've
    been using VC papers with their blue and green sensitive
    emulsions you've become accustomed to a much dimmer
    safe-lighting than is allowed when using Graded paper.
    Shop for the appropriate yellow, or orangish-yellow
    safe-lights. Dan
     
  11. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    I use Oriental Seagull graded exclusively.
     
  12. vet173

    vet173 Member

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    I have tried other developers at different times and keep going back to dektol 1:1. I will probebly also use selectol and selectol soft split development when needed as I did before VC papers came out.
     
  13. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    For cool look I use Kentmere Bromide with either Ilford Cooltone or PF's BW-65. For warm look Forte Fortezo in either AgfaPhoto Neutol WA or Ilford Warmtone. There is a certain richness of appearance with graded paper prints that I was never able to achieve with VC.
     
  14. joneil

    joneil Member

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    I cannot remember the last time I used VC filters. I use VC and graded paper, mostly fibre based, but I've found that most papers, even theough they are technically variable contrast, are by default, either grade 2 or grade 3. Just from use you get to learn which ones are which. That said, Ilford Galierie is sitll my overall favourite.

    Also the suggestion of a two bath setup - one bath being Dektol, the other being selectol soft is a good one. Another idea that helps a wee bit with contrast control,a nd overall control of you rprint, is to mix your developer a bit week, like instead of 1:1 with Dektol, try 1:2 or even 1:4. You devloping time is much slower, and you may find through an evening of printing you have to replace/replenish your developer in your paper trays, but I think it's worth it.

    One last thought - when shooting 4x5, th eold rule, always expose two sheets of the same shot whenever possible, back home, I develop the who sheets differently. Depending on how the first sheet looks, next day I'll develop the second sheet eitehr 10% less or 10% more time, and this varies the contrast on your negatives to being with - this is a great way to have control of how your print will look without resorting to variable contrst filters, and if you do use those filters, you still ahve even more control still.
     
  15. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    There seems to be a mindset with some people that you are not a serious photographer unless you use only graded FB paper. This may be a variant of the belief that one must suffer for one's art. :smile:
     
  16. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    I have found graded paper easier to use than VC. I am not the type of person who enjoys dealing with a lot of, uhhh, variables .

     
  17. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Some likely do equate serious with FB. How could they
    do other wise? Compare the curves. Extremes are used to
    achieve acceptable results with VC papers. Some
    who use VC paper resort to grade 0 and 5
    printing of A print.

    If VC paper curves were like Graded paper curves I still
    would not use it. The level of darkroom lighting afforded
    by Graded paper's blue only sensitive emulsion is a
    BIG + in Graded paper's favor. Dan
     
  18. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    I seldom use any filtration with VC paper since my development scheme has long been fixed at using the equivalent of grade 2-1/2. However, if I should need to then I can always tweek it a bit either way.

    I find graded paper too restrictive and am disinclined to keep multiple boxes of paper or different types of developers cluttering up my very small darkroom.
     
  19. tom_bw

    tom_bw Member

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    I use graded paper about 80% of the time:
    - Neutral: Ilford Galerie G2 and G3
    - Warm: Forte Fortezo G3

    When I do split grade printing or need extreme low / high contrast, I use:
    - Neutral: Forte Polygrade 5
    - Warm: Forte Polywarmtone.

    My advice - get a premium graded paper such as Galerie (G2 or G3 depending on your preference) and compare it to your favorite VC paper for the same negative. NOTE: in the case of Galerie, I find it really needs to be selenium toned to get the most of it. You can get it in packs of 25 sheets, so it is not too expensive. The results will speak for themself.
     
  20. esanford

    esanford Member

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    I only use graded papers (Ilford Gallerie G2 and G3) with a Zone VI cold light. My film developing time is callibrated for G2 to achieve a full tone negative on 120 film and G3 for 35mm (because I want a "softer" negative). When I choose a negative to print, I make two pilot prints (1 each on G2 and G3). This gives me two grades to look at for "atmoshphere" and contrast. I then make the choice, and the unchosen paper is put away and I proceed to make fine prints on the chosen Grade.

    I have never used VC FB paper because I don't want to be bothered with filtration (I have an old cold light and would have to use gelatin filters.). I am satisfied with graded papers and clearly don't want to get into the debate as to whether it's better then VC. It works for me and, I don't have a lot of time for testing new products... In the late 80s I was using RC paper; When I first made a print on FB paper, I literally threw all of my RC paper in a dumpster...