If I use anti-fog (benzo) on a non fogged paper will I loose blacks?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Katie, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    I have some really old papers that I use for contact sheets and after finishing those, I decided to print some prints (well larger contacts, really, as i used my multiple Neg carrier and special easel to make 3 neg enlargements on a strip of 11x14 paper cut into thirds. Anyway, I had the anti fog in the developer already and noticed that even at grade 4 my blacks were weak. Was this caused by the benzo you think? Just curious - its expired, but not terribly old ilford mgiv rc paper.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It can have that effect, but the degree varies between makes and types.

    Ian
     
  3. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    What developer?
     
  4. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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  5. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    You mention 'even at grade 4'. This makes me suspect you are using a VC paper.

    I use old papers all the time. Sometimes like 40 years old. Ask anyone on the psotcard exchanges. They are probably sick of them by now.

    All papers as they age loose contrast. Paper that was once a grade '4' may gravitate to act sort of like grade '2' after a time. What I think you are seeing is that the 'hard' emusion in the VC paper has lost it's umph.

    I find a short test with a step wedge is what lets you see how an old paper is reacting now. then it is a matter of picking, or producing, a negative to suit its characteristics.

    One of the things I have wandered into is historical hand coated print processes, which typically need s really contrasty negative. My very flat old expired silver chlorobromide papers work very well at producing contact sheets and proof sheets for negatives, or more frequently, copy negatives, that are too hard to print on in date silver papers.
     
  6. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Katie:
    Your blacks were weak because the benzo slows things down. More development time was needed.

    In the dark, take a tiny sheet of that paper and place a coin on it (hold it down firmly); then turn on the room lights for ten seconds. Then, in the dark, develop the paper for the normal time. After fixation, if the paper's coin area is less than medium grey, you have paper that can successfully be used for quality prints. Proceed as follows:

    You now need to know how little development you can get away with and still retain DMAX (maximum black). (Age-fogged paper is always a challenge getting sufficient black without marring the pure whites. Contrast is always the victim.) Truncating development as such will allow that coin area (part NOT exposed) be become even lighter. You now, with this experimentation, have the maximum contrast obtainable with this paper / development time combination because you have (just) retained DMAX and have lightened the unexposed areas to the best of your ability. The only thing left to do is to match your enlarger exposure to conform with this new development time.

    Your final print should be somewhat darker than normal. After fixation you immerse the print in Farmer's reducer to 'bring back' the pure, white highlights. This will also help with increasing contrast a bit. (Use the combined Farmer's solution with fixer mixed in.) With this reduction you should have obtained an ideal print with this workaround. Remember, new paper is really forgiving and easy to master. With age-fogged paper you MUST zero onto the ideal development time and exposure. It's tough but doable. - David Lyga
     
  7. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    You don't mention how much benzotriazole you used so its hard to tell much. But unless you were very heavy handed with it then any effect on paper speed and contrast should be very small. Remember you can also reduce fog with old papers with potassium bromide. This is what people did before antifoggants became popular. For 1% benzotriazole or 10% Kbr you usually begin with 2.5 ml per liter of developer and work upwards in 2.5 ml increments if necessary. Ansel Adams recommends that you do not exceed 50 ml per liter of developer. If this doesn't work it is best to discard the paper.