Old AGFA paper, still usable?

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

  1. jrydberg

    jrydberg Member

    Messages:
    84
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Picked up some old paper today. Being a total noob when it comes to printing, i wonder if this old paper (prob from the 60's or 70's) can still be usable? Most boxes hasn't been opened. And is the paper any good?

    Here's a list of what I received:

    agfa brovira bn2a 3 1/2 x 5 box of 25
    agfa brovira bn2a 5 x 7 box of 25
    agfa brovira bn2a 7 x 9 1/2 box of 10
    agfa brovira bs2a 4 1/8 x 5 7/8 box of 100
    agfa brovira bs2a 5 x 7 box of 100
    agfa brovira bs2a 5 x 7 box of 25
    agfa brovira bs2a 5 x 7 box of 25
    agfa brovira bs2a 7 1/8 x 9 1/2 box of 100
    agfa brovira bh2a 3 1/2 x 5 box of 100
    agfa brovira bh2a 4 1/8 x 5 7/8 box of 25
    agfa brovira bh2a 5 x 7 box of 25
    agfa brovira bw2a 4 1/8 x 5 7/8 box of 100
    agfa brovira bw2a 5 x 7 box of 25
    agfa brovira bw2a 7 1/8 x 9 1/2 box of 100
    agfa brovira bn112 9 1/2 x 12 box of 10
    agfa brovira bn1 3 1/2 x 5 box of 100
    agfa brovira bs112 7 1/8 x 9 1/2 box of 10
    agfa brovira bs112 9 1/2 x 12 box of 10
    agfa brovira beh1 5 x 7 box of 25
    agfa record rapid rrs1 5 x 7 box of 100

    ilford ilfospeed medium 180 pearl 5x7 box of 25
    ilford ilfospeed medium 180 pearl 7x9 1/2 box of 25
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    That's treasure.

    Most of them will still work, but some of them will require a slight addition of KBr to the developer to work as they were intended to.

    Sometimes I've used very old Ilfospeed G3 instead of preflashing the paper when I need less contrast in the highlights, it seems that the only thing that happens to this paper with age is a loss of highlight contrast. :wink:
     
  3. Uhner

    Uhner Member

    Messages:
    1,101
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If the paper has been stored correctly it may still be quite good. I have some inherited Brovira, Record Rapid and Emax from the seventies and eighties that still works very well.
     
  4. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

    Messages:
    536
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    I have some Portriga Rapid which dates back to the 70's & 80's which has been refrigerated most of it's life. Paper is still as good as new.

    Portriga is Agfa's warm tone fiber paper while Brovira is a decidedly cold tone paper. Bromide emulsions don't tend to keep as well as chloride emulsions (warm tones) nevertheless the Brovira may still be capable of producing fine results.

    If the paper does exhibit some fogging or greying in the highlights try mixing some Kodak #1 restrainer aka benzotriazole in increasing amounts to your developer as this could well retard the the highlight fogging.

    Cheers
     
  5. jrydberg

    jrydberg Member

    Messages:
    84
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    What developer do you guys recommend?
     
  6. Uhner

    Uhner Member

    Messages:
    1,101
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I’m not adventurous when it comes to paper developers. I usually use Kodak Dektol, Agfa Neutol WA or Tetenal Eukobrom depending on paper and the tone I'm after.
     
  7. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,258
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Funny you should mention Agfa Brovira. I'm just back from the darkroom where I tried out some old (obviously) Brovira BN113 10x15 (that's cm). I have recently received a few unopened boxes of 100 of various Brovira papers (10x15 and even smaller; nothing bigger, but hey, it was for free, so I can't and won't complain), and I thought I'd give them a try.

    What worked for me (and may or may not work for you) to get some useful results: the paper required very short exposure compared to new Ilford paper (about 1 stop less), but it required a loooong development time. Where I normally see some image appear after, what, 10-20 seconds(?), it takes a full minute for this Brovira. After some trial and error, it seems that after that, it still requires about 90 seconds, so total would be 2 1/2 minute.

    Comparing my last print of this evening to the first attempts, I'd say with some adjustments the paper is still useable. But I have to check tomorrow in daylight to be sure.

    Regardless of that: wow, my darkroom / our bathroom smells better than ever. The lovely smell of old Brovira, mmmm! (So, in the event that it turns out to be unuseable for any serious printing, I will take out one paper every now and then just to smell it... :D )

    All I can say is: do some testing. Don't give up too soon, try different things (took me a few prints to figure out; I'm glad I was persistent enough). Good luck!
     
  8. jrydberg

    jrydberg Member

    Messages:
    84
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    After doing a few testprints you can see most def see fogging, and the papers keep curling like crazy when drying. I've put the prints under preasure to try to keep em straight, but it doesn't seem to help that much.

    I develop in Ilford Multigrade, since that was the only thing my local shop had in store right now. The Ilford datasheet says normal development time is 60 seconds, so I go the full minute.

    I'm a bit amazed in regards to exposure times; Trying BW2A, I ended up exposing for 2.5 seconds at f11. Sounds short to me, but I'm a noob so what do I know.
     
  9. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

    Messages:
    3,894
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2003
    Location:
    Middle Engla
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Exposure is a factor of the projected image size as well as the paper emulsion speed, so if you are printing, say, a 6" x 4" image then your setting sound about right. Stop down further if you want a longer time. Apart from that enjoy the experience.
     
  10. eworkman

    eworkman Member

    Messages:
    64
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    Central Coas
    Shooter:
    Med. Format Pan
    I once found myself in a desperate situation- foggy paper and a must-print negative that happened to have lots of shadow detail and lots of highlight. I discovered that I could get a fogless, long scale print by tremendous overexposure and extremely short development. That required pulling the print from the developer almost as soon as the image appeared, so that even development was very difficult. But I had nothing to lose except otherwise bad paper, and I did get a very satisfactory print or two in the end, along with a full wastebasket.
     
  11. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,240
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Agfa Brovira works wonders with lith developers if all else fails. There are some fog-reducing agents out there, but I have a box or two that is hopelessly fogged, and I can get really nice prints from lith chemistry. I think it has to do with the paper receiving so much exposure from the enlarger (for this paper I recommend starting at 40s at f/8 for a normal medium format neg and go from there), in the realm of 3-5 times the normal exposure. Worth trying if it fogs badly. Or you can just send it to me... :smile:

    - Thomas
     
  12. acroell

    acroell Member

    Messages:
    88
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2004
    Location:
    Freiburg, Ge
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    That might be due to the fact that the modern papers (both FB and RC) usually contain some small amount of developer incorporated into the emulsion - not as much as the papers made for activation with just an alkaline solution- but still some. Older papers didn't use that,and not having the developer incorporated will lengthen the induction time.
     
  13. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,258
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That makes sense... thanks!
     
  14. thicktheo

    thicktheo Subscriber

    Messages:
    120
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Location:
    Athens, Gree
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    So I got this Agfa paper (Multicontrast or something, don't have the pack in front of me right now) from a university darkroom. I had it for some months and yesterday I decided to test it, with Ilford Paper Developer. Result? Very high fog, could not get the whites to show up, could not get normal contrast not even when using a 5 filter.

    Funny thing is, the times needed to expose the paper seemed to severely affect the final image, regardless of the selected aperture.

    What can I do to get usable and as-repeatable-as-possible results from this paper? I was given three 8x10'' 100-sheet packs and it would be a shame to throw it all away.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. resident K

    resident K Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2011
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You can try this paper in hydroquinone developer(gives more contrast) or glycin-hydroquinone(for normal gradation). I received absolutely clean(unfogged) pictures from ultimately hopeless papers if developed in common MQ-PQ dev-s. Also you can make lith.
     
  16. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,240
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It may or may not work, but print higher contrast than normal, overexposed a hair, and snatch the print from the developer before fog gets too bad. Then bleach back to remove excess fog. fix again.

    If you get the balance between overexposure, contrast, and snatch point, you can get almost normal looking prints.

    Benzotriazole in developer helps too.
     
  17. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,902
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Shooter:
    35mm
    For each and every box this procedure has to be done separately.

    1) Cut a small piece (about 1 inch square) of paper from the box you are currently testing. Then in full room light place half of it in paper developer (like Dektol 1 + 2 dilution) in order to see how long it takes for maximum black (probably less than one minute). Note the time in seconds.

    2) Cut another similar piece of paper. Keep the room light off. Place a small coin in the middle of the paper and firmly hold the coin down with your finger. With the coin held down, turn on the room lights for about 5 seconds. Turn off all lights and develop for the time needed in step one for maximum black.

    3) After fixation, note the tone of the coin area: if pure white you have perfect paper in that box. If medium grey it is still usable but will need other treatment to make beautiful prints.

    4) If medium grey: you need a two fold approach towards getting that pure white back. Add either potassium bromide or benzotriazole to the developer. (NOTA BENE: To make a stock solution (MY way) of potassium bromide add 12 ml volume of powder (about 18 G) to 100 ml of water. To make a stock solution (MY way) of benzotriazole add 1 G (sorry, volumetric measuring is not practical because this chemical is like feathers) to 100 ml of water). With either of these restraining solutions you add about 20 ml to each liter of developer working solution. Now, the addition of this will slow down the time it takes to achieve maximum black, so test again with the tiny piece of paper like in step two.

    5) Finally, if the coin area still shows some grey you have to make your print a bit darker and then use a reducer after fixation to take off that ugly veil of grey. Reducing solution, like Farmer's Reducer, but slightly different, is this: mix 1 G of potassium ferricyanide (or 1 ml by volume: with potassium ferricyanide the grams are the same as the volume) into 100 ml of water. That is your 'bleach'. Take one part bleach and add to one part 'paper strength' fixer. That is your reducing solution but, beware, that is quite strong. Depending upon how much grey you wish to remove you can dilute this solution up to FIVE TIMES! That means, a solution of 100 ml of reducer (ie, 50 ml of bleach plus 50 ml of paper fixer) can have up to 400 ml of water added to make a total of 500 ml of diluted reducer. Agitate frequently and watch the print like a hawk. Too much reduction means a lost print.

    6) The combination of both the restrainer and reducer has meant that many a box of photo paper deemed lost is now found. It does take a bit of experience to 'dance around' with this procedure but, in the end, you will have obtained a king's ransom of paper for pennies. - David Lyga

    NOTE: And, yes, Bertilsson's "snatch point" is very well spoken. It becomes, sometimes, a maddening game to play to know when to remove such a print from the developer because, on one hand, you want that contrast which is difficult to obtain with age fogged paper and, on the other hand, you want to keep the fog low with less development. You also want that maximum black. Achieving all three can be frustrating but the achievement of this ideal is enhanced with 'snatching' the paper from the developer at the proper time. ADVICE: experiment and note carefully what you did if you find improvements. - David Lyga.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2012
  18. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,255
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    it may have lost some speed and contrst,but that can be easily compensated for. try it!
     
  19. Ricus.stormfire

    Ricus.stormfire Member

    Messages:
    271
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    Bloemfontein
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    +1

    When in doubt, lith.....