Old Noob Questions About RC vs FB Paper

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Arkasha, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. Arkasha

    Arkasha Member

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    I started developing and printing B&W some 30 years ago, and RC paper then was pretty crap. The paper of choice for quality work was always FB.

    Has this changed? Can RC paper now compete in richness and general "pop" with RC paper? And whose brand would you recommend - Ilford, Adox, Kodak .. .


    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Welcome to APUG. You will find the site has a wealth of information if you use the search function. This subject has been beat to death, numerous times, so I don't think anything substantive or revealing will all of a sudden come up. As far as papers are concerned use whatever you can get and can afford. Learn how to get the most out of it. By doing so you will be leaps and bounds ahead of he magic bullet chasers.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    RC papers are good but most p[eople still prefer the qualities of FB papers. I don't know what RC papers you used 30 years ago but the Ilford and Kentmere papers back then were excellent.

    As for brand of FB papers Ilford, Foma, Adox are all excellent it's finding a paper tha suits you. Kodak exoted the market quite a few years ago.

    Ian
     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Of the ones I've tried side by side I don't see any significant image difference. What i mean by that is that everything I need to do can be done quite nicely on either.

    Given that and the ease of using RC instead of fiber, RC is my choice
     
  5. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    RC papers have changed a lot. They now give excellent quality prints. Some people prefer the surface and weight of FB papers, however. RC has the advantage of staying more flat and washing faster. Both mount well. RC emulsions are generally the same as their FB counterparts. There were once some length of life issues with RC, especially in closed frames, but these were corrected several years ago, at least by most manufacturers. Life should be reasonably equivalent for RC and FB.
     
  6. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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  7. clayne

    clayne Member

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    I will say this: RC glossy is generally too glossy and can exhibit a kind of strange silvering pattern when examined under direct light. Other than that it's about feel and process. FB papers are generally more responsive and flexible process wise. They're more enjoyable to work with but take more time.
     
  8. R.Gould

    R.Gould Member

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    These days there is very litle to chose between RC and FB, I personally prefer to print on RC paper, it has the advantage of being easier and quicker to both wash and dry, drys flat, and as far as U can see, with prints side by side on RC and FB, I struggle to tell the difference by looking.
    Richard
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Same here.


    Steve.
     
  10. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    A quick addition to the observation by clayne. Occasionally, I've found that RC glossy seems to benefit from a heated dry. Those dedicated quartz RC dryers do a great job but I have found that a careful application of a hair dryer can often remove what Ctein refers to as "veiling" (see Post Exposure). Care is necessary as too much heat will melt the plastic.

    Neal Wydra
     
  11. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Speaking from memory here but I recall seeing on Ilford's publication or hearing from Simon that RC of today is expected to last as long as FB; however, there is no historical evidence of it since RC has not existed that long in today's formulation.

    I have to say, RC Glossy look significantly different from everything else, but pearl surface is quite nice.

    I print on anything from RC glossy to FB matte. (because I hand color) Placed behind a mat and glass (of a frame), the difference in texture and tonality is very hard to see. I know which one is which because I printed them, but if I didn't, I'd have to take a very close look to determine them apart.

    Currently, RC Pearl is my favorite for prints I don't intend to hand color.
     
  12. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I use both types of paper. I like RC glossy for many things. I like Ilford's MG WT RC as a favorite RC paper, but also use Arista/Foma for quick contact sheets, etc... It's nice to have fast fixing and washing and drying. For fiber, it's about the surface and material. Fomatone MG & Ilford Art300 are my fiber choices, it's all different and which product to use depends on the subject. Something mechanical and intricate detail doesn't belong on Ilford art300 which is more course and less detailed than a traditional silver paper. People and pictorialist things look great on art300. If I have something with heavy duty blacks and big shadow detail, FB might be better than RC for me.
     
  13. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    FB is great, but for ease of use I perfer RC.

    Jeff
     
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  15. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    I hate RC glossy with a passion. There's that wrong Plastic feel. Ugh!!
    Semi-matte is quite ok.
     
  16. clayne

    clayne Member

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    For me, RC is to digital as FB is to film. I use RC mostly for contacts and random prints but print everything else on fiber. Fiber feels substantial to me, is generally more responsive to process, and I prefer the look of FB gloss.
     
  17. jscott

    jscott Member

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    In a photo course the (brutally honest) teacher called RC "real crap", and I tend to agree after printing many hundred sheets of both.
    RC is for contact sheets and quickie prints. Once I get things happy on RC with the enlarger, I change to Fiber for the real keepers.
     
  18. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    Any additional opinions? I'm not sure I want to get into FB paper, but how do RC papers handle toning?
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Quite well - many of my postcard exchange photos (all RC) have been toned.
     
  20. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I'm sure there are plenty more opinions to go around but what is your goal? At the end, the one that needs to satisfy is you, or your clients - not everybody on the forum.

    Ilford MGIV FB and RC does not tone very well. The color won't shift that much and when it does, it wasn't very pleasant (to me). FB WT (Warm Tone) papers do tone well, and I like them but they are kind of costly. I have not tried RC WT.

    Kodak no longer makes paper and hasn't done so for years.... One of the surprising gem is Adorama's house brand paper. I was told it was made in EU countries but not by Ilford. I have some here. They actually tone well. Because of the price point, I use these a lot to play around and experiment.

    My standard is Ilford MGIV RC glossy, pearl, FB glossy and matte. (I hand color) If I intend to tone deeply and especially in sepia or brown, I use Warm Tone (WT).

    I don't particularly like the RC glossy but I use them for quick prints and contact sheets.

    I use RC pearl surface quite a bit. It's surface quality is similar to FB glossy. It's hard to tell them apart behind glass.

    If I am making something special, I use FB glossy - which dries like RC pearl in terms of texture.

    I also use FB matte because I hand color - but I guess this is more of a special purpose type thing.
     
  21. clayne

    clayne Member

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    I'd just like to add that Ilford MGIV papers will not *direct* tone in Se that well, unless used at 1+10 for 3-5 minutes (heading towards magenta). Use any bleach+toner and even a strong polysulfide brown toner and it *will* tone.

    All of this is of course related to chloride/bromide ratios.
     
  22. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    Thanks much, Matt. How do you proceed with toning? Dev > Stop > Fix > Wash > Hypo Clear > Tone > Wash again? I suspect times are much shorter for RC papers? Maybe longer for toning because of the polymer?
     
  23. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Tony:

    There is need to use Hypo Clear with RC.

    Almost all of my toning has been done with RC, and I tend to vary dilutions, so I cannot comment on relative times.

    As stated above, the effect of Se toning on the neutral tone MGIV is quite subtle, but the effect on warm tone and cool tone variants is more obvious.

    I tend to do a fair bit of split toning - bleach/redevelop sepia plus Se - so there are a fair number of intermediate rinses/washes. I need to be careful of the corners.

    And lately I've been finishing with some time in hardening fixer plus a re-wash - only because that is the easiest way for me to get some post-toning hardener onto the prints.
     
  24. clayne

    clayne Member

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    If you use 2-step fixing you do *not* need to wash before selenium toning. In fact, if you do have issues going from fixer to selenium, then your print is not entirely fixed.

    However, other toners, you do need to wash.
     
  25. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    both rc and fb papers are well made these days
    you can only really tell which one will work for you
    after trying whatever you want to try ...

    rc paper sometimes has a sharp corner and can scratch
    other prints, but other than that, a breeze to use less wash time
    and it can be spooled much easier and used in roll film cameras ..

    good luck !
    john
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2012
  26. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    What bleach do your recommend for sepia toning of RC papers? Is there a particular product from B&H Photo (where I'm assembling my purchase list)? And where can I read up about chloride/bromide ratios?

    Also, do any of the toners (e.g., copper, sepia) work with RC papers?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2012