Which finish?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by TPPhotog, Nov 20, 2004.

  1. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    I'm been burning the midnight oil recently working with matt and glossy fibre, but can't really decide which I prefer.

    The matt gives me a look which I suppose I tend to think of as that "illusive fine art look", also good tonal range, natural looking deep blacks, reasonably bright highlights and a feel I can't describe.

    The glossy also gives me good tonal range, not so natural deep blacks but with brighter highlights and of course a shine that make reflections look more natural.

    So which finish do you prefer and why?
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It probably depends on the particular brand of paper, but I generally like glossy fiber that's been allowed to dry naturally (as opposed to ferrotyped). Matte finish is sometimes okay, but I find it usually dulls the blacks a bit. On the other hand, that can work for some prints.
     
  3. lee

    lee Member

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    David speaks for me on this matter.

    lee\c
     
  4. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Another vote for glossy paper dried matte.
     
  5. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I kinda like matte better than air-dried glossy but, as already stated, it depends. Right now, all I have in my darkroom is matte fiber paper and pearl surface RC.
     
  6. sparx

    sparx Member

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    I haven't graduated to FB yet but for RC it's matt every time i'm afraid.
     
  7. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    I guess it does depend on the final use so maybe I'm just printing things that should be on Matt at the moment. All my stuff is air dried as I don't have a dryer.

    Lee I've heard that Pearl RC looks almost similar to Fibre if selenium toned, have you tried that combo yet?

    Sparx so why Matt for you?
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've used Pearl RC, and it's my preference for RC, but it doesn't look anything like fibre, even if selenium toned. It's its own look. If you have any postcards I've printed, they are mostly on Pearl RC.
     
  9. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    The pearl surface Ilford MG IV RC doesn't take much if any color from selenium but the toner does remove the slightly green tint in the paper. I honestly never noticed this green tint until I compared untoned prints to selenium toned ones. The pearl Ilford WT RC tones beautifully at whatever dilution you want. It's like a well-trained puppy in selenium--it sits up, rolls over, speaks and does anything to please you. Virtually the same as the glossy fiber. Both the WT fiber and RC also look gorgeous in Nelson gold toner but it's a labor intensive toner that's used hot.

    I recently bought a lot of other brands of fiber paper to try out (all matte or semi-matte). I'm hoping to get some quality darkroom time over the next month or so and do a little experiementation with the Nelson gold and selenium.
     
  10. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Anything on RC does not come anywhere near what fiber paper is. RC does not tone as effectively. Beyond the toning considerations, the blacks do not exhibit the dmax of fiber (as substantiated by densitometric evaluation).

    In my estimation RC is for throw away work. Personally, I print everything that I print on glossy air dried paper...that means work prints and fine prints. The enlarging papers that I favor are Seagull graded (slightly better dmax then VC) and VC for neutral toned and Forte (JandC Classic) for warm toned images. For contact printing I do Azo.
     
  11. mobtown_4x5

    mobtown_4x5 Member

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    Glossy seems to have more depth to the blacks for me- maybe this is just an optical illusion? OTOH, too much gloss can be a bad thing- I guess it depends on the subject matter.

    Strange but true confession:

    I also sometimes use carnuba wax on matte prints- I have gotten several positive compliments on the resulting surface- but it is a lot of work, and may not be archival? Anyone else ever tried waxing or am I a real weirdo on this one? :smile:
     
  12. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    I find that David Goldfarb speaks for most of us on most things... :smile:

    besides wax, people also use oil or varnish to "finish" matte paper. Does anyone know more about how you would do this?
     
  13. djklmnop

    djklmnop Member

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    I usually use glossy for landscape work since it is more revealing. For portrait work, I prefer matte. It feels like cotton and looks like a painting.
     
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  15. oriecat

    oriecat Member

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    I prefer pearl, I have been using RC. I do have a box of glossy that I've been using, only because it was given to me free. :smile: I also have some matte FB and I want to get some more FB, not sure what I will try first. How does drying FB differently change the finish? I wasn't aware of that. I don't have a dryer so anything would be air dried.
     
  16. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Alas I feel my printing is only good enough for myself and the acknowledgeable pub so I haven't reached the stage of being confident to take part in the postcard exchange yet.

    I think for me the comment on Matt that "It feels like cotton and looks like a painting" has hit the nail on the head, possibly a timeless look. The waxing of Matt prints sounds quite intriguing.

    I think I may try Pearl RC selenium toned on prints smaller than 8"x10". Must admit I think I'm getting a fibre fetish as I loved RC until I printed lots of fibre in succession. Now RC feels stiff and lifeless when I'm working with it and isn't as pleasurable.

    Many thanks for your thoughts and experience once again everyone, it's been as always very informative and enlightening :smile:
     
  17. mikeb_z5

    mikeb_z5 Member

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    I've been using the Pearl RC as well and prefer it over glossy for rc. I've been using KRST 1:5 for 4-5 mins and it seems to tone ok for me. But what do I know I'm a newb :smile: . Ymmv,

    Mike
     
  18. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Greetings and welcome then Mike :smile: I loved Pearl RC untoned until I got onto fibre, but I'll give it a go with toned for my smaller prints to see how it looks. thank you for the dilution and times :wink:
     
  19. James Bleifus

    James Bleifus Member

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    TP,

    If you're on the fence why not keep both papers around? That way you can choose the finish that best matches the photograph.

    Cheers,

    James
     
  20. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    Tony,
    I prefer FB glossy, air dried for my important images. For non-important stuff, I use MG IV Pearl.
    I have played around with MG FB Warmtone (glossy) and like it very much. I like having the choice between those two papers.
    $0.02 deposited.

    gene
     
  21. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    James I've thought about that, but if possible I'd like to create a consistent look accross my work. I may be hoping or expecting too much being able to print all pictures on the same finish but different grades of course.

    Gene the warmtone does bring in another variable of course as again it's a beautiful material to work with.

    Many thanks to you both for your comments :wink:
     
  22. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    Matt works well for handcoloring as the dmax is less and it has some tooth.

    Other than that I would neither use that surface nor RC. Basically , I use graded fiber glossy papers. Finish prints are always toned. Finished means ready for the wall or for the buyer.
     
  23. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Thank you Ann, it's looking like Glossy Fibre is the favourite choice with most people. I always remember that when I tell people I shoot and print traditional b&w they always comment on the beautiful shades and shine they associate with it. Happily I won't be doing professional stuff anymore so no need to worry about buyers :D
     
  24. sparx

    sparx Member

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    I just like the look and feel of the matt paper better. I've used Jessops matt and Ilford pearl as well as the gloss from both these companies and, like i said, matt every time. I find the image harder to focus on with gloss because of the additional reflection and i also think you lose some detail and grain, especially when shooting faster film.

    Just my opinion of course.
     
  25. tomishakishi2

    tomishakishi2 Member

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    Air dried glossy 95% of the time. Far greater depth for landscapes, which IMHO is essential. I use matt for some portraits. I dont feel Matt has that 'walk in' feel.

    Tom
     
  26. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy Member

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    When I was taking photo classes back in college I grew a strong distaste for Glossy RC. I never liked the way it felt, and it annoyed me to no end during critiques since I could never seem to find a position to look at them without having a glare obscuring half the image. So I ended up working with pearl and semi-matte for RC which I like.

    When I started doing Fiber work I went strait to matte because of the bad taste the glossy rc left me. But last night I made my first Glossy Fiber prints, and damn, I like them. Glossy on fiber seems to be a much different beast then glossy on RC.