Ilford MGIV & Warmtone (MGWT), a discussion...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by brian steinberger, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    I'm very curious as to others opinions and experiences with these two FB papers. After using pretty much every VC paper available I'm ready to settle down with these two papers for all my printing needs.

    What are your experiences? Which one do you use more than the other? Or which one do you use exclusively? Which subject matter do you print on which paper? What developers are you using with which paper? How are you toning them?

    These are the kinds of things I'd like to discuss, as well as similarities and differences between these papers. I'm only looking to discuss the FB versions of these papers, and this isn't an MGIV vs. MGWT debate, just simple discussion.

    I'll start; I use both papers. I find MGIV in 130 1:1 then selenium toned just lovely. I haven't figured out a great developer for MGWT yet but I like what I get from LPD, and I think 130 1:1 may be a bit better. I'm still tinkering with that though. MGWT tones so wonderfully in sepia and selenium. I like the MGWT surface better than MGIV. MGIV is a bit dull, but still ok. Overall I think MGWT is just a lovely paper, maybe the best out there. But I still have a weakness for cold cold charcoally blacks and bright white highlights.

    What's your opinions, experiences??
     
  2. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I find ilford warmtone to be the best paper available on the market.
    When not toning for colour I use Dectol 1 1/2 an a 45 second tone in selinum. The look is nuetral and rich.

    I use MG4 when I want to split tone and tri tone, as the blacks stay quite dramatic but the highlights and midtones can be warmed up considerably for a very nice split print
     
  3. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    Bob, what dilution of selenium are you using for your 45 sec dip of MGWT?

    Also, can you elaborate on split toning MGIV?

    Thanks so much!
     
  4. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Outside of lith printing, these two papers are the only ones that I use. I reach for the MGIV when I want a neutral or cool toned picture, such as a night scene and others that need deep rich blacks, or fog or snow scenes where I want a hint of blue. Like you, Brian, I really like the bright white paper on which MGIV is coated, and the deep blacks that it can give. I use MGWT when, obviously, the picture needs a little warmth, such as portraits.

    I use the same developer for both papers: the ID78 formula that Ian Grant posted here. I use it neat for neutral tones, add some benzotriazole for cool tones, or KBr for warm tones. Only having to keep one stock developer solution is a blessing for me, and I am thankful to Ian for posting it here.

    I typically selenium tone all of my finished prints, both to accentuate the tone and give archival permanence.
     
  5. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I think MGWT is the best all round paper on the market, pipping Adox MCC. I find MGIV OK but it can lack the magic of MGWT.

    As for devs, just about anything is great with MGWT. PQ Universal or Ilford multigrade give a warm hue but Dektol or Eukobrom give a very rich neutral tone that I personally feel to be far superior to anything MG IV can muster in terms of depth. I cottoned onto the cooler devs with this paper after seeing that my printer achieved cooler tones than me and that the result was not what you could call warmtone at all. Only next to MGIV can you tell it is not a neutral paper in such devs.

    For a brighter base, or when lots of speed is used, I will be settling on the MCC. Right now everything I print goes on MGWT!
     
  6. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I have always used selenium 1:5

    For MG1V

    postasium ferri
    potasium bromide

    Usually I am using 32g to about 12 liters at 70d
    I will immerse the print for approx 45sec to 1 1/2 minute depending on how warm I want the highlights.
    Wash
    then a Gold toner for one minute or until I see a peach tone in the upper midtones
    wash
    then it is either or Iron Blue or Selenium

    lately I have moved back to Selenium 1:5 for about one minute then wash

    or Iron Blue for about two minutes and wash until the yellow comes out of the white borders.

    I love the look of Iron Blue but I feel it is non archival, very messy and hard to control

    What I am going to do now that I believe is really crazy is make a enlarged Negative for the shadows . I will measure the print that is mounted on aluminum after all the above steps are done to the silver print
    then in registration I plan to lay down a pigment of dark blue to reach the shadows and creep into the lower midtones.
    This will be with carbon tissue or Gum, I have to try both and see what works best for me.


     
  7. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    The reason I like blue for shadows and sepia for the highlights is the natural complimentary colour combination of this and if I am driving the eye to upper midtones and highlights it works really well.
     
  8. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    Tom, thats very interesting about the coldtone developers with MGWT. I would like to try Eukobrom but I don't know of anyplace in the US selling it. You have any idea? Are you selenium toning your MGWT prints in Eukobrom? If so, how and what are the results?
     
  9. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    Bob, are you sepia toning in thiorea toners? If so, how much sodium hydroxide are you adding for color? Very interesting processes you're doing there!
     
  10. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    I've used Ilford's Warmtone papers for years...there's very few images it doesn't make look great (but that might just be my subjects and personal style). It tones really nicely too - I mostly use selenium (although at either 1:10 or 1:19) or a very mild sepia.

    Their regular Multigrade FB is nice for neutral tones or subjects that don't need a slightly warmer look. I've normally used Ilford's Warmtone developer but am using Dektol more and more.
     
  11. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I am using pot bromide and pot ferri for the bleach and sodium sulpide for the toner
    bleach for time, wash then dip in sulphide to tone.. the real stinky stuff, keeps Dinesh out of my darkroom.
     
  12. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    I have a problem alot of times accepting MGWT when un-toned or slightly selenium toned. I love it toned lightly in sepia, or heavily in selenium or viradon, but to my eyes un-toned it looks rather unpleasant. This may be my developer (LPD). Slightly selenium toned is better, but doesn't seem to work well for much of my work.
     
  13. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    Ditto. I have been printing on MGIV with Dektol or MG dev for years, but it was in PF 130 1+1 22-23 C that it started to sing for me. I tone in KRST 1+9, usually 2-3 min, 24 C.

    I also use Galerie, graded, for portraits, but for landscape the above combination works for me. I will experiment with MCC next, though, just in case.
     
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  15. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    I love both of these. Sometimes I just want white and the matt finish looks more fine art to me and then its MGIVFB but usually I just love the MGWTFB, the semi matt is smoother. I'm using bromophen 1+3 lately and love it. Have Berg selenium for toning too.
     
  16. John Simmons

    John Simmons Member

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    MGWT is my favorate paper...followed by MGIV. I have tried all the developers mentioned and the ones that suit my tastes most is Agfa Neutrol WA and Ilfords Warmtone Developer. I don't like the look of it toned in selenium only but I find a combination of sepia and selenium works best for my taste. Often I will just use sepia toner (kodak sepia I).

    The one drawback of MGWT is with drymounting. It has such a nice high gloss finish that you must drymount it perfectly. The smallest speck of dust or even a pet hair will show up under the print if it is not perfectly clean. The emultion on the corners of the print want to flake off as well if you go to long under the press. I seem to ruin 25% of all my prints drymounting with this paper... With MGIV or the Varicon paper I have no such issues. But the beauty of MGWT makes all the hassel worth it in my mind.
     
  17. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    John, I know in the past you used cold tone developers sometimes with MGWT. Are you still doing so?
     
  18. Dinesh

    Dinesh Subscriber

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    Yeah, that and the fact that you don't wear pants when you print!
     
  19. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    My 2 cents

    For the last 8 months I have been printing and preparing a show for a Toronto gallery the same Bob Carnie appearing here can attest too.

    Several things have become quite clear as the majority of the show was printed on MG1V or MCWT.

    I have always been hung up on the color of my final image, for years I have never been quite satisfied, always a Portriga Rapid "warm tone" guy I have been trying to replicate that color for years without success. I've used Azo, pure palladium and always returned to Ilford's WT as the closest current paper to Portriga Rapid.

    Printing for the Toronto show began with the idea of split toning a major section of the show by using MG1V and then split toning only the highlights while preserving the cold blacks to make for a dramatic result. The rest of the show is printed on MGWT and Portriga Rapid with a small amount on Azo and a Palladium or two.

    Of the dozen or so split toned MG1V only two or three remain in the show for the simple reason that cold tone papers just can't match the low value micro contrast when compared with chloro-bromide emulsion or warm tone papers.

    About three months ago still trying to achieve the warmth I have been chasing for years I read about and ultimately tried another warm tone developer, GAF 125 with MGWT. The results are glorious, not only my opinion but of those Portriga Rapid printers I have known for 25 years. One thing I have noticed, the newer the MGWT the more warmth in the final print.

    The unfortunate part, I've decided to reprint all but two or three of MG1V prints for the Toronto show.

    Google GAF 125 developer, new MGWT and a 1:40 selenium bath for 5-8 minutes, just spectacular!

    Cheers
     
  20. olwick

    olwick Member

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    Steve, is it possible to purchase GAF 125 somewhere or do you make your own? All I found on search was the recipe.
     
  21. archer

    archer Member

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    Dear Olwick;
    You'll find the formula for GAF 125 in the paper recipes section in the articles forum.
    Denise Lbby
     
  22. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Can you elaborate a bit more on this? Low values = shadow contrast?

    If so, one of the observations I've always made is that standard MGIV just doesn't have the beautiful deep maximum black / D max that MGFB Warmtone naturally (untoned) has. This makes a significant difference in the appearance of the total contrast and image depth.

    Selenium toning, although very effective in boosting that maximum black with standard MGIV too, just doesn't solve the whole problem though compared to the "natural" deep blacks without selenium on MGFB Warmtone. I somehow feel selenium toning, although effective in boosting the maximum black, also changes / flattens out the contrast curve near the low values / shadow / black end of the paper curve. This may lead to apparently, or visibly, less contrast in shadows compared to a "natural" untoned deep black like the one of MGFB Warmtone, where the contrast curve may be more straight line in the shadows.

    What are your thoughts on this?
     
  23. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I sort of know what the above quote means and have to say that MGWT provides the best low value separation of the two Ilfords. In some devs the image tone can be a touch too green, but in fresh dev, or cooler tone devs, it is a lovely off neutral and looks stunning untoned. When I first collected from prints from Robin Bell I was amazed by how beautiful this paper can look untoned and unmolested, if the printing is done right and the developer is chosen well. In fact I think this paper looks better untoned than toned for documentary work and only once in a while will I use a dash of selenium to deepen blacks and only when there is no danger of introducing noticeable colour shift. If you make a best print on MGIV and then do the same on MGWT I have generally found the MG IV print looks inferior. I have found that MGIV really benefits from printing a bit soft and given a hammering in selenium. MGWT seems to allow for that sort of lusciousness and depth without being messed with. When you have a large number of exhibition prints to make it makes a huge different to time and also predictabilty of outcome. Toning is one more variable to contend with. I never thought I would be saying these words, but now I am a convert to the straight print for most applications.
     
  24. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Agree with all of these statements.

    I don't like straight print from MGIV either, but do for MGFB Warmtone.

    However, even though toning is "one more variable", I still love toned results on most papers. It really transforms MGIV paper prints, but like you imply, is less of a necessity, or even undesirable, with MGFB Warmtone. I have found tones to easily become to "warm" or especially nasty "orange" while sepia toning the Warmtone paper. You really have to do partial tonings with Warmtone. Not a problem with MGIV.
     
  25. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    I mix my own from scratch and do not believe the formula is ready packaged but you might want to give the Photographers Formulary a call on the chance they make something comparable.

    As to Marco B's comment on the differences between MG1V and MGWT. Your observation is correct, however, it is a function of the emulsion and not so much the brand of paper. MG1V is a straight bromide emulsion which produces colder tones as well as faster printing speeds. I believe the D max of both papers to be very close however because the MGWT is a split of bromide and chloride in the emulsion the low value contrast is greatly enhanced and the perception of a deeper black becomes a factor.

    Believe me, I have been chasing this elusive quality since Portriga died a slow death in the early nineties. There simply is no pure bromide paper that will provide the micro contrast in the low values that a chloro bromide paper can, this is true with any manufacturer.

    There is also a difference in the air dried gloss between the papers and that may have something to do with your impression of lower D max with MG1V. You can greatly increase the gloss of any paper surface by heating the still moist print. I regularly have to do this with Portriga Rapid, I hang the print to drip and when the majority of the paper is no longer shinny from water sheeting off the surface of the print I place the print on a piece of flat metal in a pre heated oven to 200 degrees for about 3 minutes and the resulting gloss is extremely high, some of which goes away with dry mounting just as any other paper loses a bit of gloss.
     
  26. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    I might suggest that the corners flaking off are a result of using a razor blade to trim and finalize the print for dry mounting. I used to use a razor blade and metal straight edge to trim prints and I would on occasion see the corners chip off either before or after dry mounting.

    Some years ago I purchased a Roto Trimmer, I said then and still say now, the single best purchase I have made for my photography in the past 15 years. I have not seen a chipped corner since.