Ilford Multigrad FB and Ilford Warm-Cool-Tone developers

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by sgoetzin, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. sgoetzin

    sgoetzin Member

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    I am a little bit disappointed by the Ilford MG FB papers which gives me too neutral grey tones. I develop in Ilford Multigrade developer 1+9 for 3 min. Does anyone have experience with this paper and the Ilford Warm- and Cool tone developers ? Do they allow to get deeper blacks and white highlights ?

    Any feedback is welcome.
     
  2. phaedrus

    phaedrus Member

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    I don't know about deeper blacks, but developing MG FB paper in Cool- and then Warmtone developers (for 2 minutes, respectively) used to give me the duotone effect I was after. Unfortunately, they discontinued Cooltone developer recently. Guess I'll replace it with a Moersch developer.
     
  3. phaedrus

    phaedrus Member

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    Oh, and one more thing: selenium-toning will significantly increase your print's Dmax. But you knew that already, I suppose.
    So long, Christoph
     
  4. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    This is going to sound negative but if you haven't got blacks and white highlights are you sure that your exposure and more importantly your grade is right?

    I have used Cooltone and before that "normal" B&W developer( Nova Darkroom's own) and while the Cooltone paper in Cooltone developer was colder to look at than Ilford Multigrade in Nova developer it didn't really make the blacks blacker and the whites whiter. An overall greyness strongly suggests that the contrast grade is too low.

    My paper was RC and not FB but that shouldn't make a difference. Otherwise switching to RC would cure the problem and few would use FB paper.

    Might help if you attach a print that you are not satisfied with.

    pentaxuser
     
  5. sgoetzin

    sgoetzin Member

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    Thanks for the info.
    I am a little bit surprised as you are the only having replied to this thread. It seems as the Ilford warm and cooltone developers are not very popular among the darkroom printers. The only test of these developers I found was the one by Mike Crawford in the March 2006 issue of B&W Photography. The latter was however of no great use to me. I posted the same thread in the German APHOG.DE, but I got absolutely no reply at all. Strange, isn't it ?!!

    By the way which Moersch developer will you use to replace the Ilford Cooltone.
     
  6. sgoetzin

    sgoetzin Member

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    Exposure is OK. Grade is determined by the Heiland SplitGrade which is 100% accurate used on a Kienzle 6x9 and an APO Rodagon 90. The RC version of the paper gives much better tones. But I want to print on FB, especially Ilford MG as I have quite lot of this paper in stock. But anyway, I think a lot of people are disappointed with it in the FB version.
    Which combination of FB paper & developper do you use ?
     
  7. Stoo Batchelor

    Stoo Batchelor Member

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    [QUOTE=sgoetzin;Grade is determined by the Heiland SplitGrade which is 100% accurate

    I do not mean to sound disrespectful, but I find it a bit strange that you should trust a machine or whatever one of them is. Your good old fashioned eyes will tell you weather you have got the grade right or wrong.

    I use Ilford MG4 Matt with great success, deep blacks and fine whites. Both achieved in almost all developers I have used, including Ilford Warmtone. Other Photographers here on APUG, whos work I have seen printed on Iford MG4 and developed in Ilfords Warmtone(and coldtone), literally sing. with the most exsquisite blacks you will ever see, and tones right through the range, right up to the brightest highlight. Leon Taylors work comes to mind.

    Chuck your gizmo in the bin, or at least trust it with caution, go back in the darkroom with a box of fresh paper. Do a test strip and work from there, using you heart and eyes as your tools to determine exposure.

    Subtract your dry down factor, and I am sure that you will come out of the darkroom singing and dancing.

    Good Luck

    Regards

    Stoo
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2007
  8. sgoetzin

    sgoetzin Member

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  9. Stoo Batchelor

    Stoo Batchelor Member

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    Hi

    firstly, thanks for not taking offence when reading my answer, it did read as if I was being rather arrogant, it was not intended that way.

    I always use a warmtone developer. I settled with Tetenal Variospeed W (the w stands for warm) Prior to this I was using Ilford's Warmtone developer. I found that there was no difference in both developers when it comes to the look of the final print. The change was just down to the fact that the Ilford developer leaves a brown residue in my Nova slot processor.

    My film is almost always Ilford Delta 100 developed in a staining developer, usually Prescysol ef, though I am experimenting at the moment.

    One thought, you mentioned earlier that R.C paper had better tonality than the F.B paper. This leads me to believe that you may have a problem with your dry down factor. It is known that the surface of F.B will dry out with more vigour than its R.C sister paper, not a great deal, but it could be enough for your highlights to loose their sparkle. When that happens, your whole print will end up looking muddy and flat.

    I hope this helps.

    Regards

    Stoo

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2007
  10. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear sgoetzin,

    If I read your initial post correctly, you are looking for a "colder" looking paper. I have always felt that Ilford multigrade was slightly warm for my tastes as well. Try the Kentmere product. To my eye it's a bit cooler.

    Neal Wydra
     
  11. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I have a terrible feeling that we'll end up going round in circles here and not be able to supply you with a solution.

    I suppose the first question we needed to ask was: You are disappointed by Ilford MG FB, compared to what other papers and developers?

    Or is it simply that you expected to see deeper blacks and whiter whites and less neutral grey tones without having a known standard to compare things to?

    The problem of having nothing to compare things to is that your expectations might be more than any one paper and developer combination can deliver.

    I think we can discount RC rather than FB delivering better blacks and whites as simply a quality of RC. If that was the case then in the search for the best blacks et cetera most users would have converted to RC. Instead of which most APUGers use FB because of its perceived superiority.

    Give us your best scan of what you consider to be an unsatisfactory print but which is graded according to the Heiland machine and maybe this will help us to solve the problem or help us to make comments which will help.

    Alternatively you can only try out different combinations until you get to the one which meets your requirements or conclude that in FB there is no combination that will match your requirements.

    It could be a long search given the number of combinations but that may be part of the fun. As in the saying: The journey is more satisfying that the arrival

    Best of luck

    pentaxuser
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I have to agree with PentaxUser, there's nothing remotely wrong with Ilford MG FB, it sounds more like an inexperienced user hasn't realised that you can't expect to get significant shifts in warmth/colour with this paper, which is why Ilford also sell a Warmtone FB paper.

    Having used this paper in the past I always found it gave superb prints with excellent blacks and clean highlights.

    Ian
     
  13. sgoetzin

    sgoetzin Member

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    Thanks for your feedback. I will scan a print I took on MG FB to show my point. And yes, RC gives me better black and whites than MG FB, but it is <only> RC paper. Maybe I just do not expose and/or develop adaquately my films for the Ilford MG FB paper ?? Maybe I just don't use the right developer (Ilford Multiograde 1+9) ??? I am aware that some finetuning has to be done, but I have to know which parameters have to be modified.
    I ordered Rollei Vintage 111 (substitute to Agfa Fb paper) which might better respond to my expectations. I'll keep you informed.
    Anyway, thanks again to all of you for your feedback.
     
  14. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I don't want to start a flame war here about RC v FB. However if RC gives better results for you in terms of blacks and whites and it is your opinion that matters after all, then if I were you, I'd consider moving to RC.

    I have always wondered about the benefits of FB, taking into account the extra washing, flattening etc. As at least one other APUGer has said and he uses FB on occasions " You can't tell behind glass" and you certainly can't feel any difference then!

    Just a thought

    pentaxuser
     
  15. sgoetzin

    sgoetzin Member

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    Here are 2 examples, The first is FB, the 2nd is RC.
     

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  16. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Well. I think we can certainly conclude that it is not your imagination. I think the RC is the better, punchier print. Maybe others of the FB persuasion will say that they are different but that the FB isn't greyer or the blacks and white not as deep. It's just different.

    As I have never used FB I, like you, await comments eagerly. If they say that the FB is equally fine and just different then any thoughts I had of converting to FB have now been banished.

    Anyway I think we have the basis for getting somewhere now.

    pentaxuser
     
  17. hal9000

    hal9000 Member

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    I also use a Heiland Splitgrade device and spent a few hours last Saturday with Jürgen Heiland during his visit to Monochrom Berlin discussing questions about the device. The Splitgrade system is a fantastic tool for getting good working prints very quickly. He would be the first to tell you that the exact settings for each paper are based on his own testing in his darkroom with his chemicals, his technique, his enlarger etc. That is to say if you find that prints with a particular paper/developer combination are generally too light, too dark, too hard or too soft for your own taste you should go ahead and find your correction (by test strips for example) and then enter the desired correction in the device (you can enter correction factors for your enlarger or for each paper). I don't think the problem is due to Ilford MGIV FB being flatter than the PE paper, I am pretty sure that the Dmax for Ilford MGIV FB is actually slightly higher (darker blacks) than for the PE paper. So don't give up on the Heiland Splitgrade and certainly don't give up on Ilford MGIV FB, it is a beautiful paper.
     
  18. sgoetzin

    sgoetzin Member

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    The Heiland Splitgrade is just the best device I ever bought for my darkroom, as is the TAS processor. And as I already said before, I use it as an interface and I know how to interpret the results it sends me back, I do not take them for granted.
    In the meantime, I tried the Rollei Vintage 111 (clone for Agfa MCC 111 FB) + Agfa NE Warm 1+9 and to me the results are more suited to my taste a print has to be in terms of whites and blacks. I also tried the Ilford Multigrade Warmtone FB (quite expensive) + Multigrade 1+9 which gives also better black and whites. Thus having 2 alternatives to the Ilford MG FB, I think I will stick to them and leave the MG FB behind.

    Thanks to all for your help.
     
  19. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Have you ever tried the Warmtone variant of MGIV FB paper? The first time I started using normal MGIV FB, after having used AGFA MCC111 for quite some time, I was disappointed with the results, especially the blacks compared to the very deep ones of MCC111. Although I am now better able to manage the paper, and can get very acceptable results, I still feel the Ilford Warmtone MBIV FB is the superior paper in terms of total contrast and deep blacks. It get's very close to MCC111, even developed in plain Ilford Multigrade developer.

    It's my prefered paper at the moment, even though limited availability here in the Netherlands of the Warmtone variants...

    Marco
    http://www.boeringa.demon.nl
     
  20. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    I've found Ilford FB to be a wonderful paper and I don't know many who dislike it - other than one individual still hankering after the old Dupont Varigam!

    I think we're intermingling three separate issues here:

    Image tone - that's an issue with developer, toner etc. But I'm not sure I've noticed much difference between RC or FB.

    Highlights - purely a question of print exposure, (and dry-down; though I've had less problems with dry-down since I started using a less intense inspection light.) If the highlights are dingy - too much exposure; if they're blocked - too little.

    Blacks - a question of filtration. If they're not deep enough, then, as long as your highlights are OK, contrast is too soft.

    I have, in the past, had difficulty switching to a new paper - and sometimes between batches of the same paper, but I've found I can quickly overcome them as long as I treat each issue separately. I used to have a reticence in doing these tests but I've found it's quicker and cheaper to run them upfront rather than keep blindly throwing darts at the problem.

    As regards FB / RC the issue here is really permanence. The emulsions are equal in this regards, but as far as I know, the issue of the polyethylene paper coating remains the long term issue - nt the emulsion.

    Frankly, I'd hate to see someone discard Ilford FB 'cos, IMHO it's a wonderful addition to your repertoire.

    Bob