I have a terrible feeling that we'll end up going round in circles here and not be able to supply you with a solution.
Originally Posted by sgoetzin
I suppose the first question we needed to ask was: You are disappointed by Ilford MG FB, compared to what other papers and developers?
Or is it simply that you expected to see deeper blacks and whiter whites and less neutral grey tones without having a known standard to compare things to?
The problem of having nothing to compare things to is that your expectations might be more than any one paper and developer combination can deliver.
I think we can discount RC rather than FB delivering better blacks and whites as simply a quality of RC. If that was the case then in the search for the best blacks et cetera most users would have converted to RC. Instead of which most APUGers use FB because of its perceived superiority.
Give us your best scan of what you consider to be an unsatisfactory print but which is graded according to the Heiland machine and maybe this will help us to solve the problem or help us to make comments which will help.
Alternatively you can only try out different combinations until you get to the one which meets your requirements or conclude that in FB there is no combination that will match your requirements.
It could be a long search given the number of combinations but that may be part of the fun. As in the saying: The journey is more satisfying that the arrival
Best of luck
I have to agree with PentaxUser, there's nothing remotely wrong with Ilford MG FB, it sounds more like an inexperienced user hasn't realised that you can't expect to get significant shifts in warmth/colour with this paper, which is why Ilford also sell a Warmtone FB paper.
Having used this paper in the past I always found it gave superb prints with excellent blacks and clean highlights.
Thanks for your feedback. I will scan a print I took on MG FB to show my point. And yes, RC gives me better black and whites than MG FB, but it is <only> RC paper. Maybe I just do not expose and/or develop adaquately my films for the Ilford MG FB paper ?? Maybe I just don't use the right developer (Ilford Multiograde 1+9) ??? I am aware that some finetuning has to be done, but I have to know which parameters have to be modified.
Originally Posted by pentaxuser
I ordered Rollei Vintage 111 (substitute to Agfa Fb paper) which might better respond to my expectations. I'll keep you informed.
Anyway, thanks again to all of you for your feedback.
I don't want to start a flame war here about RC v FB. However if RC gives better results for you in terms of blacks and whites and it is your opinion that matters after all, then if I were you, I'd consider moving to RC.
Originally Posted by sgoetzin
I have always wondered about the benefits of FB, taking into account the extra washing, flattening etc. As at least one other APUGer has said and he uses FB on occasions " You can't tell behind glass" and you certainly can't feel any difference then!
Just a thought
Here are 2 examples, The first is FB, the 2nd is RC.
Well. I think we can certainly conclude that it is not your imagination. I think the RC is the better, punchier print. Maybe others of the FB persuasion will say that they are different but that the FB isn't greyer or the blacks and white not as deep. It's just different.
As I have never used FB I, like you, await comments eagerly. If they say that the FB is equally fine and just different then any thoughts I had of converting to FB have now been banished.
Anyway I think we have the basis for getting somewhere now.
I also use a Heiland Splitgrade device and spent a few hours last Saturday with Jürgen Heiland during his visit to Monochrom Berlin discussing questions about the device. The Splitgrade system is a fantastic tool for getting good working prints very quickly. He would be the first to tell you that the exact settings for each paper are based on his own testing in his darkroom with his chemicals, his technique, his enlarger etc. That is to say if you find that prints with a particular paper/developer combination are generally too light, too dark, too hard or too soft for your own taste you should go ahead and find your correction (by test strips for example) and then enter the desired correction in the device (you can enter correction factors for your enlarger or for each paper). I don't think the problem is due to Ilford MGIV FB being flatter than the PE paper, I am pretty sure that the Dmax for Ilford MGIV FB is actually slightly higher (darker blacks) than for the PE paper. So don't give up on the Heiland Splitgrade and certainly don't give up on Ilford MGIV FB, it is a beautiful paper.
The Heiland Splitgrade is just the best device I ever bought for my darkroom, as is the TAS processor. And as I already said before, I use it as an interface and I know how to interpret the results it sends me back, I do not take them for granted.
Originally Posted by hal9000
In the meantime, I tried the Rollei Vintage 111 (clone for Agfa MCC 111 FB) + Agfa NE Warm 1+9 and to me the results are more suited to my taste a print has to be in terms of whites and blacks. I also tried the Ilford Multigrade Warmtone FB (quite expensive) + Multigrade 1+9 which gives also better black and whites. Thus having 2 alternatives to the Ilford MG FB, I think I will stick to them and leave the MG FB behind.
Thanks to all for your help.
Have you ever tried the Warmtone variant of MGIV FB paper? The first time I started using normal MGIV FB, after having used AGFA MCC111 for quite some time, I was disappointed with the results, especially the blacks compared to the very deep ones of MCC111. Although I am now better able to manage the paper, and can get very acceptable results, I still feel the Ilford Warmtone MBIV FB is the superior paper in terms of total contrast and deep blacks. It get's very close to MCC111, even developed in plain Ilford Multigrade developer.
It's my prefered paper at the moment, even though limited availability here in the Netherlands of the Warmtone variants...
I've found Ilford FB to be a wonderful paper and I don't know many who dislike it - other than one individual still hankering after the old Dupont Varigam!
I think we're intermingling three separate issues here:
Image tone - that's an issue with developer, toner etc. But I'm not sure I've noticed much difference between RC or FB.
Highlights - purely a question of print exposure, (and dry-down; though I've had less problems with dry-down since I started using a less intense inspection light.) If the highlights are dingy - too much exposure; if they're blocked - too little.
Blacks - a question of filtration. If they're not deep enough, then, as long as your highlights are OK, contrast is too soft.
I have, in the past, had difficulty switching to a new paper - and sometimes between batches of the same paper, but I've found I can quickly overcome them as long as I treat each issue separately. I used to have a reticence in doing these tests but I've found it's quicker and cheaper to run them upfront rather than keep blindly throwing darts at the problem.
As regards FB / RC the issue here is really permanence. The emulsions are equal in this regards, but as far as I know, the issue of the polyethylene paper coating remains the long term issue - nt the emulsion.
Frankly, I'd hate to see someone discard Ilford FB 'cos, IMHO it's a wonderful addition to your repertoire.