Inexpensive Fiber Papers in Dektol?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by jolynned, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. jolynned

    jolynned Member

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    I have a small amount of experience in the darkroom and now have full access to one at our local college. In a week I've already nearly blown through one 25 sheet pack of Bergger VCNB 8x10 Glossy (fiber) and a 25 sheet pack of Ilford MGIV FB. This is getting spendy.

    I'm looking at the Oriental Seagull and Arista fiber paper brands and I would love to hear thoughts, opinions, experiences with some of the less expensive brands out there. I'm looking for a glossy, variable contrast fiber that will do okay in Dektol since that is what they use at the college. I'm planning on learning how to tone with selenium soon, so something that tones well is on the list too.

    Another question I have is, the school darkroom doesn't have tongs and we're just supposed to use our fingers. Obviously, this isn't ideal but I'm wondering just how bad it is? I have my own tongs that I can bring in if I need to.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    There aren't really any bad papers, but really you should stick to one for a while while yourv starting out. Try whatever the Arista budget Fibre base VC, they aim that at students, otherwise get the Kentmere from Freestyle. The only thing with Dektol is don't let the temperature drop below 20°C.

    Ian
     
  3. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I second Ian's sentiments. Ilford MGIV doesn't tone well in selenium, though. I know Kentmere does, and they have a private label version of the Kentmere paper too.

    Good luck, and have fun.

    - Thomas
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I think what was private label Kentmere has a slight name change and is a different paper from someone else but I could be wrong. Freestyle are now the official Kentmere distributor in the US. the Kentmere.com website is theirs not Ilford/Kentmere's.

    Ian
     
  5. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    BTW, I don't know of a paper that doesn't do well in Dektol.
     
  6. jolynned

    jolynned Member

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    Thank you, Ian and Thomas. I guess I'll try a 25 pack of the Arista Classic and the Oriental Seagull and hopefully make a choice from there with what I should continue using. I did a search before posting for opinions on the Arista papers and couldn't find anything.

    Jim, perhaps I'm remembering incorrectly, but I thought I read somewhere that Dektol gives some papers a greenish tint? I read it over a year ago, so I could be wrong.
     
  7. singram

    singram Subscriber

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    Ilford FB works really well in Dektol. A lot of the pictures in my portfolio are either Ilford FB or RC Pearl. I get very rich blacks and nice overall tones. I have tried the Arista.edu brands of papers, but RC instead of fiber, in the Arista chemistry (not Dektol) and found them to be muddy compared to Ilford.

    You should use tongs. Get three and label each one (with a marker) for Developer, Stop and Fix. Never touch any other chemical than the one you label for, to keep from getting "tong marks" on the corners of your prints. I always prop the respective tongs on the tray of chemicals they are used for, to keep them straight.

    After four years of college and about five years in the news biz as a photojournalist (back in the day when we shot film and printed pix for the back shop to screen) I never used tongs. I probably printed thousands of pictures this way, and now I have dermatitis on my "printing hand" which shows up the worst in the winter, and I also break out when I come in contact with fixer.

    steve
     
  8. PVia

    PVia Member

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    Definitely use tongs...

    If you can't afford the stainless ones with rubber tips ($10 each), at least get the bamboo with color-coded rubber tips...very inexpensive and usually 3 to a package.

    Don't use sloppy procedures. It will come back to haunt you...
     
  9. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Hi Jodi,

    You can use tongs if you want to. However, you'll probably get chemicals on your hands whatever you do. If you have any cuts or grazes on your fingers, you'll soon know about them when they encounter the chemicals!

    I find tongs awkward, especially when dealing with larger than 10 x 12" prints. If you choose not to use tongs, remember to wash your hands at the least after every session. To protect your paper, wash all traces of fixer from fingers and dry them before handling fresh paper; this will avoid mysterious white marks on the prints. I hope your darkroom has a sink.

    All IMO, and of course YMMV.
     
  10. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    True, but sometimes the green goes away when dry. You can always go for a short time in a toner like selenium; only takes a minute or two.
     
  11. eddym

    eddym Member

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    I always use tongs. The bamboo ones are actually my favorites. Stay away from the stainless tongs without rubber tips, they can scratch your prints... and they don't grip very well, either. If you don't use tongs, at least get some latex gloves. Who wants smelly fingers?? :smile:
     
  12. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Jolynned,
    It's true, first and foremost to stick to a paper. After all, your neg is permanent and you shall always be able to reprint. But get the "feel" of one paper and developer combo. As others have said, don't worry about the "green" business: a lot of papers seem to react that way with a bromided paper developer but lose it on drying. If not, as others have said, a touch of dilute selenium toner get's the greens out very nicely, thank you very much, if you find the Dektol greenies too much for your tastes.
    I am still hoarding some of the older Seagull in the freezer which I bought when the French-made Zone VI became unavailable. I have no experience with the newer stuff. But the OD-62 paper developer recommended by Oriental for the older stuff had more bromide in it than Dektol-like D-72, so I suspect the greens were not a problem with that paper.
     
  13. Marco Buonocore

    Marco Buonocore Member

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    I find most papers look much better in Dektol mixed 1:1, as opposed to 1:2. At 1:1 print color is neutral and blacks are very rich. At 1:2 papers took on a greenish cast that needed selenium toning to remove. I can't think of a single paper where 1:2 looks better, in fact.
     
  14. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    It's all good in dektol. I use Ethol LPD religiously but dektol is fine. I liked Oriental but have only purchased 1 25 sheet pack. Forte FB was my favorite.
    I'll be purchasing some arista.edu ultra RC paper soon as it's the most reasonably priced offering out there as of right now. I'd love some 16x20 Ilford Warmtone FB but I can't afford $250 for 50 sheets.. $250 is what I spend in a year on materials (paper, chemicals, film).

    I'd like to try the Slavich as well as the Fotokemika offerings but have no experience with them as of yet.
     
  15. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I went on two courses at college for B&W. As far as the chems were concerned, none of us used tongs. Smelly fingers would be the worse that can happen but your fingers will be in water often enough that I don't think that even the smell will stay. Unless you are in the unlucky minority whose skin suffers from any kind of immersion in normal strength darkroom chems I think that fingers will be fine. It was for about 50 of us.

    pentaxuser
     
  16. jolynned

    jolynned Member

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    Thanks to everyone for your replies.

    You all make good points - I do need to dig out my tongs and bring them to the lab with me. I'm also nursing a baby right now and the idea of using my fingers makes me uncomfortable.

    Thanks to Jim and John for the tip about selenium to get the green out.

    Marco, that's interesting about the dillution difference. I'm not sure what they mix it at at school but I'll check.
     
  17. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I'd have no problem with that. Leave yourself a little
    finger nail. I find some handy.

    I think tongs and deep long sinks must have come
    along about the same time. Tongs? Deep long sinks?
    What for? Dan
     
  18. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Jodi,

    Buy cheap paper and bring tongs. Unless your negatives are way off, Arista paper should have the contrast range you need. I personally hate to smell my hands after soaking them in dektol/stop/fixer and the smell doesn't go away very quickly. Tongs are easy to use but I find that examination gloves work great when doing color in total darkness.

    Neal Wydra
     
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    you can say that again ..

    the only paper i have had a green cast to in dektol or ansco 130 was azo paper.
    don't worry about cheep paper vs. expensive paper, it all works well.
    i am still using the cheepest paper i can find, which was rebranded
    ilford multigrade i got when photowarehouse was selling cuts
    off of master rolls ...

    regarding fingers in chemicals ...

    it is best to use tongs, but there are times when you have to get your fingers
    in the soup ... and it won't kill you. examination gloves work well, and
    a box of them can be bought at your local drug store for not much money.

    john

    ps. i never use toners cause i think they are about as nasty a chemical
    as you can get. if toned my prints, i would use gloves AND tongs!
     
  20. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    There isn't anything you can't do with Dektol. I've yet to find a paper that doesn't work well in Dektol. Many of the boutique developers that people rave about are Dektol clones with sexy names or slight variances on the formula. Arista.EDU Ultra is the bargain basement brand from Freestyle. One hundred sheets or fiber based VC paper will set you back $53 US. That's pretty good for fiber based paper, and it's good paper. It's pretty good on the soft end, but it won't reach a true grade 5 with Kodak or Ilford variable contrast filters. It won't do it with color heads either. I don't think it can reach a grade 5 with any light source. But that doesn't matter much. If you need more than a grade 3 to 3 1/2 to print a "normal" negative, something else is wrong. It will do everything that Ilford's MGIV will do, and it actually changes tone in selenium. MGIV doesn't change very much.