Serious problem with Ilford paper

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Early Riser, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    I have spent the last few days in the darkroom dealing with a serious issue with Ilford Multigrade FB. I was working on a negative that I was split filtering, that is using a combination of 130m filtration (grade 5) and 130 Y (grade 00), the image itself needed to be printed high in contrast as it was being diffused. I was getting an unusual amount of texture in the sky, a grittiness, which was strange considering I was using a 4x5 Tmax 100 neg.

    I thought that maybe my paper was fogged, so I tried it on another batch of Ilford Multi, and had the same effect, I tried it on a piece from a new box of 20x24" paper and the problem seemed far less evident. Today I went to B&H and bought 3 different batches of Ilford multi in 2 different sizes. I am still having the same problem with the brand new paper.

    The problem only appears when the higher contrast settings are used so i decided to do a test. I covered the enlarger lens with a translucent diffuser, the kind that they use on light boxes, no texture will be projected this way. I turned off all the safelights except one, a Zone vi LED safelight set for VC paper and quite far away from where I was working. I exposed sheets of Ilford Mutligrade under the heavily diffused enlarger, the filtration set to 130m, even making it a point to actually move the paper continually in large sweeping, random motions during the 1 minute exposure to insure that no texture can be projected on the paper. After processing and fixing what I ended up with every time was a zone 4 print with an extremely visible, random texture, which can be best described as a coarse sprayed effect with a slight bit of uni directional run added. I tried this on some really old Oriental VC paper, at least 3 years old, paper that I new had to be way fogged and it had a similar but clearly different mottling, not as bad in fact as the brand new Ilford.

    I have a huge amount of printing to do over the next few months and am at a loss for this problem. I have used this same printing technique in the past and never had problems using grade 4 or 5.

    I well be getting other brands of paper this weekend to see if the same problem can be duplicated and to hopefully find a paper that allows me to use grade 4 and 5. Anybody ever experience anything like this? Is it possible that this is a result of the paper being x-rayed on it's way to B&H? Is it possibly and uneveness in the coating of the high contrast layer?
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I wouldn't expect three year old Oriental to be too badly fogged, actually, so maybe it's not a paper issue. If you have mottling from some other cause I would expect it to appear differently on different papers. It also may be something you haven't noticed before, because perhaps you haven't had the kind of negative that would reveal it.

    Maybe it's a developer or agitation problem. What are your developer, dilution, development time, and agitation procedure?
     
  3. lee

    lee Member

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    have you tried another negative?

    lee\c
     
  4. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    You said that you have "grittiness"in the prints. The more conrast you add to a print, the more grain will show. I'm not sure if this is your exact problem/solution, but that's my first guess.

    Try making the same print, but use only the yellow setting. Don't add any magenta and see what happens.
     
  5. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    This problem is happening with 2 different paper developers, Ilford Multi grade and Ilford PQ universal both at 1;9. Ilford Multigrade developer is made for Ilford multi grade paper so i can't imagine a conflict there. The agitation is the same continuous 2-2 1/2 minute agitation that I have done for 30 years, and including with grade 5 prints.The stop is Kodak indicator, 2 oz per gallon, the fixer is zone vi print and film fixer, the same stuff I've been using for years. I also tested it using 130 Y (grade 00) and that came out perfect. Totally even, totally textureless.

    And BTW 3 year old paper, of any brand is going to be fogged. I find that after a year there is a noticeable difference in the highlight values, but nothing like I am experiencing now. I store paper in a dedicated refrigerator, open working boxes are kept in a different storage room than my darkroom, and both my darkroom and storage room have IQ Air air cleaners with gas cartridges to help remove any chemical vapors. Still, these problems are happening with brand new paper.
     
  6. lee

    lee Member

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    I have some of the blue and white boxes of Oriental that do not seem to be fogged and I have not stored it any special way.

    lee\c
     
  7. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    Guys , the tests have no grain. There is a translucent diffuser,just like the kind you find on a light box, over the lens, between lens and paper, no image, no grain. In addition the paper is continuously moving during the exposure, there is no way that the enlarger can project any grain or any texture under these circumstances.

    A VC paper is comprised of 2 different photo sensitive emulsions, one a lower contrast emulsion that is only sensitive to yellow light, and the other a high contrast emulsion that is only sensitive to magenta light. The low contrast emulsion is working perfectly, the high contrast emulsion is a mess.
     
  8. thedarkroomstudios

    thedarkroomstudios Member

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    I agree with David in that it sounds like a developer issue. Have you made any changes recently? If you tend to agitate by only lifting one side of the tray that can cause the "unidirectional" aspect you mentioned combined with too-weak solution or under-development will cause all sorts of other mottling. If you develop face-down in a tray that hasn't been scrubbed lately you will also often find some black streaks across the face of the prints.
     
  9. thedarkroomstudios

    thedarkroomstudios Member

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    Ah... more infor as I was writing :smile:

    Ilford did have a bad batch of RC MGIV glossy about 2 years ago. It is quite possible there is a problem with your new batch. Check the emulsion ID's to see if all yoiur new paper is from the same batch. If it is, I would contact Ilford. If it isn't I'd be more concerned about some other variable.
     
  10. lee

    lee Member

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    what if the dicroic magenta filter on the color head is old and losing its "Umphf" do you have a set of multigrade filters if so, try the hardest one to see if it is ok with that one. just a guess.

    lee\c
     
  11. thedarkroomstudios

    thedarkroomstudios Member

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    Thinking of the 'fridge aspect... I assume since you've been doing this for a few decades that you have already ruled out condensation and time for the paper to re-adjust to the darkroom environs?
     
  12. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    Lee, what some people consider acceptable or not fogged varies greatly. If you look at my work you'll see that I do a great many white on white type shots, any fog there can be very obvious. I also go to the other end of the spectrum and do images that are either split fitered or printed very high contrast, that is where I am having a problem today. And it's not like an overall fog, where your paper loses it's pure white and can only produce a light gray as it's whitest tone, what I am getting is more evident in dark values and seems like the high contrast emulsion was not coated evenly.
     
  13. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    About agitation. If developer is too weak you have a hard time getting black tones, I easily get black tones, and in 2 minutes. I agitate the prints face up, continuously. I have 2 developers set up right now, Ilford Multograde DEv and PQ Universal dev, and the problem exists with both of them. If there were a problem with my Dichroic filters I would not be able to get high contrast. I have no problem getting high contrast, what I get looks like someone didn't evenly coat the paper. It does look a bit like condensation, however I am using paper that is brand new, bought today, 4 different emulsions, never refrigerated by me.

    What was that past problem that Ilford had all about?

    As for the fridge, that's only for storing unopened boxes which then get a day to thaw. My house is kept at about 45-50 % humidity so condensation in general is not an issue. I have used this technique for many years and never had this problem.
     
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  15. thedarkroomstudios

    thedarkroomstudios Member

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    Well, I'm all out. You may want to post a scan in the technical gallery. If I remember correctly the problem was easily produced by fully exposing a sheet and developing, there were splotchy (highly technical term) areas that did not go fully black.
     
  16. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    If you are moving the paper and using a diffuser(white plastic ) under the lens and if you are not getting the problem with the yellow filter, I have to agree with Lee and suggest there is something wrong with the magenta dichroic filter. I have been using tremendous volumes of Ilford MG4 and Ilford Warmtone over the last years and have definately not seen the problem you describe, I would not blame the paper , but maybe your camera store has shitty storage capabilities and the problem may come from their end not Ilfords.
    This problem is a strange one.
    Posting on this thread a couple of images will help as suggested
    as a visual check is more easy for some of us /
     
  17. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    I just did the same test using a kodak #4 poly filter, still have the same problem.... it's not the dichroic filter, when my tests are washed and dried I'll try to post them.
     
  18. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    Early Riser,
    I am having very similar problems with bad mottle and unacceptable fog (e.g. high Dmin) with different recent batches of Oriental Seagull paper.

    I have initially documented my problems to the Pure-Silver list including posting a scan of the mottle. http://tinyurl.com/dzmrg

    I have written up my experimental procedure for another independent tester to follow (yep I'm pretty serious about proving my case!)
    http://tinyurl.com/8ddaw

    I have not been able to receive any confirmation from Cybergraphics that there is a problem (for me to get info from them is like getting blood from a stone). I am convinced the paper has a problem and am eagerly awaiting results of independent testing of paper samples I have sent to another dark-room enthusiast.

    While this won't help you out, I can't help but wonder if the two situations may be related.

    regards
    Peter
     
  19. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    Peter, One thing that I thinks clinches the fact that it's the paper that is the problem is that the direction of the mottling is always consistent with being parallel to the 14" side of the 11x14 paper. That is no matter how the paper is exposed, vertically or horizontally, the mottling always maintains the same direction on the paper itself, if the paper is turned horizontal, the mottling is horizontal, if the paper is turned vertical the mottling is vertical. No dichroi filter, chemical or agitation problem that i can think of will yield that kind of result.

    You mention a similar problem with Oriental paper, it's funny but I read omn some other post that someone thought that Oriental and Ilford were actually the same paper. I have to disagree with that because their surfaces are quite different and they tone very differently, but who know maybe the emulsion itself is the same.

    Hey!! I just looked at your link, that is exactly the same problem that I'm having!!! Have you found a fix yet? Have you found a paper that doesn't have that problem?
     
  20. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Early Riser,

    Send an email to Ilford. I once had a box of their paper with a coating problem and they sent me a new box to replace it.
     
  21. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    Early Riser, I too am convinced that it is the paper and not a figment of my enlarger.

    This must be the commonailty I have been looking for. The emulsions could well be the same, even though the papers are different. see this recent thread re. Ilford and Oriental http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16537&highlight=oriental
    Despite even using absurd amounts of benzotrizole in the dev., I have been unable to ressurect the paper. I complained to the manufacturer (Oriental USA who is really a shop front for Cybergraphics in Japan), and they eventually sent me replacement boxes - but to no avail the replacement paper still suffers unacceptable fog and mottle!!! This problem even spanned different batches of Oriental paper in my testing.

    I am glad you posted your experience since the only way to fix this is firstly to find other people with the same problem, and then bring it to the attention of the manufacturer(s). Not in a manner that causes them to ignore us, because we need them as much as they need us. This is why I submitted my paper samples to an independent tester to confirm that the problem really exists (I know it does exist, but the power of one voice isn't too much unless you know people very high up!).

    regards

    Peter
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2005
  22. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    Peter tomorrow I will be purchasing paper by Bergger, Kodak, Forte, and Oriental. I will also purchase another box of Ilford multigrade, but from a different dealer. I will test these papers. When did you have your printing problem? Have you used any not defective Oriental paper since?

    I have written Ilford twice and they have yet to reply.I was more than willing to keep Ilford as my sole paper supplier, and I use a lot of paper. At this point however Ilford's product appears to be defective and I can no longer trust their product. I am already on a very tight printing schedule, this is my livlihood and I have commitments, and it has cost me two days. Two days that I could not afford to lose.
     
  23. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    Here is a list of paper batches that I have tested for mottle and fog. The last set of tests I performed on 1st May 2005. (this date is found in the notes I gave in my first post for this thread)

    Oriental Seagull RP-VC paper details
    Size Qty Batch No. Obtained From Date shipped
    8x10" 4x20 sheet pkts 160N0902 B&H Photo 28th October 2004
    11x14" 1x50 sheet pkt 120N0901 B&H Photo 28th October 2004
    8x10" 1x100sheet pkt 130N0901 B&H Photo 19th March 2005
    8x10" 1x100sheet pkt 120N0901 Oriental USA 29th March 2005
    11x14" 1x100sheet pkt 120N0901 Oriental USA 29th March 2005

    No, I've not used any good Oriental since then as I got tired of wasting my money on defective batches. Oriental is not sold in Australia, so I have to spend twice as much in order to pay for the overseas postage from B&H in the US.

    FWIW, could you please list the batch numbers of the Ilford paper that you were having problems with?

    thanks and regards
    Peter
     
  24. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    11x14; 05b701c93, 02c702c42, 92c701c09

    16x20; 80a701c09

    20x24; 03d702c83, 84b701c19


    What are you using now?
     
  25. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    I have at least 4 different batches of Ilford paper - none of which match yours. The batch I specifically used to check for fog and mottle was 8x10" 97D502C47. No problems were present in this batch, in fact the scan I referred to in my first post in this thread used this batch.

    regards
    Peter
     
  26. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    I should clarify the paper type I am using, Ilford Multigrade, MGF.1k, that is Fiber based, glossy surface, neutral tone