Mc versus fixed grade.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by tony lockerbie, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    This maybe done to death, I don't know, but a recent experience prompts a question.
    I have been using MC papers (FB) for some years and do enjoy the versatility, however I purchased some fixed grade (2 Gallerie) from a friend a couple of weeks ago and was amazed at the improvement in both tonal quality and contrast.
    I have always processed my negs since the year dot to print well on grade 2 or 3 but am typically printing on MC (all brands) at grade 4 or higher to get that oomph that I used to get with the older fixed grade.
    You will probably say, just develop longer for more contrast, but my negs look great the way I'm doing them and I don't want to block highlights etc.
    Sorry for the rambling but I was wondering if others have had the same experience with MC papers, I mostly use Forte and Ilford 1V glossy fibre papers.
    It seems that I have gradually become accustomed to the newer papers and forgot how good the old ones (Gallerie, Seagull and Record Rapid) actually were.
    Tony
     
  2. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    In the sum total of the world, I think it depends a lot on individual papers. Gallerie is an absolute gorgeous one, both in looks and the amount of control latitude it has. The absolute best MG paper I've ever used was the Forte Polywarmtone aka J&C Classic Polywarmtone. I haven't seen a negative yet it couldn't handle. Whenever I couldn't get something quite right on graded paper, I'd switch to PWT and it would work. It just seemed to have a broader range of tonal scale that others did. Sadly, its no longer produced. I could have made it my one and only paper.

    However, that being said about PWT, I still seem to get better tonal separation out of the graded papers than I do with MG. The two that I work with now are Slavich, available in grades 2,3, and 4, and Kentmere Kentona, which is about grade 2.5.
     
  3. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Thanks Alex, I meant to ask what graded papers are still available and of course, the ones that would be available in OZ.
    Just seems odd that a neg that prints fine on gd2 paper needs about gd4 on MC.
    Tony
     
  4. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Don't know what's available Down Under but I have had the same contrast experience to some extent with MG papers. But I have seldom had to go above grade 3.5. Perhaps the difference lies in the filters you are using?
     
  5. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Using a variety of filters from Ilford gels through to an MC head on a Durst and LPL enlarger and MC head on an Leica focomat, all seem much the same.
    Tony
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You don't say what negative developer you are using but its been posted on APUG a few times that some staining developers need a bit of extra development for printing on VC papers.

    Another factor can be your safelight, there's a strange phenomenon where red-light fogs VC paper it's not enough to cause any image density when processed but it can drop the papers contrast. Many manufacturers began making special VC safelight filters because of this. This caused me problems in two smallish darkrooms but not in larger.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2007
  7. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Interesting thought Ian. I have a large darkroom and the safelight is an Ilford S902? Think that's what it is.... amber anyway.
    Tony
     
  8. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Oh, forgot to mention negative developers. Mostly Rodinal, ID11 and I have just started using Pyrocat HD. Interesting enough, the Pyro seems to give me a little more contrast even though the neg densities are the same.
    Tony
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Your safelights fine then :smile:

    The papers do vary in their inherent contrast between manufactures so your not always comparing like with like. Also paper freshness can make a difference. My nearest decent photo-store, an hour away, has quite good stocks of paper but a quick check shows manufacture as 1989 !!!!

    I recently changed my main LF enlarger and negatives that typically printed on GD 2 Record Rapid require GD2½-3 on Polywarmtone. My PyrocatHD negs need more like GD3-3½, but I've adjust development to get back to nearer GD2.

    Polywarmtone is the best Fibre based VC paper I've used, has an edge over the Agfa Classic and is on a par with Galerie for tonality, excellent highlights and good detail in the shadows.

    Variations do occur.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2007
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I use red-ish amber when working with VC but with
    Graded I switch to yellow-ish orange. Very noticeable
    improvement in the level of darkroom lighting and one
    of two reasons I prefer Graded. I've done some lith
    printing and don't recall any of the troubles some
    have at seeing when to snatch.

    A second reason for my preference can be seen in just
    about any close look of paper curves. VC papers as a
    group don't hold to the contrast curve below about
    mid density. Phil Davis comments on the subject
    in a Max-D news letter. Dan
     
  11. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Gallerie is a beautiful paper.

    Starting with a safelight test is good advice and job #1 :smile:

    When I switched to vc (mc) paper I had a big time struggle getting results that equaled my old Gallerie prints. What I did was choose a full scale negative that printed well on grade two Gallerie with normal development in Zone VI developer and then tried to duplicate it with Multigrade IV fibre based paper. In the end it was a Glycin/Metol developer and selenium toning at a 1:10 dilution that did the trick.

    Glycin developers are unique (as far as I know) in that if you extend development time they'll proportionally build density in the darker print values, and not make the whole print darker over all as other developers do.

    Anyways...the Multigrade IV prints stand shoulder to shoulder with the Gallerie prints......at least in my eyes...

    Murray
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I haven't used any Ilford Fibre based papers for a while now, but like Murray I've always found the Mutligrade Fibre based paper was pretty much on a par with Galerie, the differences are subtle, Galerie's slightly warmer and prints with a marginally longer tonal range.

    But it's the very subtle differences which become important, Ilford papers are superb at handling subtle highlights, whereas Agfa papers were very much better at shadow separation, and the holy grail is a paper that can handle both well.

    Forte Polywarmtone was the last VC (MC) paper to almost achieve that goal, and the secrets almost certainly comes from Guilleminot. So the Bergger/Ilford tie up wull be interesting.

    Ian
     
  13. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    A correction: That should be D-Max Newsletter. Specifically
    Volume 7 Issue 4. D-Max is available from The View Camera
    Store, an APUG sponsor.

    Phil Davis' article deals with the testing of three Forte Papers.
    Quote: "In other words, within this filter range, the only real
    difference in image contrast and gradation occurs in the
    dark tones, ..."

    He goes on to say, "This is a characteristic that's visible to
    some extent in most, if not all, variable-contrast paper curve
    families ...". Important to the VC printer is that "range" of
    filter grades wherein only dark tone contrast is affected
    by filter change; in his tests 5 grades with one paper
    and 4 grades with another. Dan
     
  14. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Thanks again for the well informed and comprehensive answers. The only problem with an area that's far from anywhere is working in isolation.

    I have been using the Forte paper mostly and found it the best of the VC,s but alas, that's gone too. I will stick with Ilford MC1V, hard to get anything else here, and check out the safelight issue.

    I guess my memory of papers like Seagull, Record rapid, portriga rapid, Gallerie etc. has spoiled me somewhat.

    Still, we should be thankful in this day and age that we can still buy traditional papers at all.

    Tony
     
  15. tom_bw

    tom_bw Member

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    I did a side by side of Galerie and MGIV FB. Where as shadows / midtones were about equal, I found the Galerie highlight to have more 'sparkle' - i.e. more highlight contrast. I used HP5 / Perceptol 1+2, so this would probably result in a more pronounced shoulder. If, on the other hand, I used something like TMAX in DDX, I imagine there would be less of a shoulder and perhaps a better match to MGIV. In short, for HP5 / Perceptol, I prefer Galerie. Perhaps this would not be true if other film/dev combos are used.