RC paper options (come back Jessops !)
Greetings to all members, especially UK-based (I'm new).
Remember Jessops ? In particular their budget RC papers. They haven't been available for about a year now but I did use them a lot and I'm now unable to replicate their quality (!) using Ilford Multigrade. I recollect there were various rumours asigning the source of Jessops paper both to Ilford and Agfa. I've tried Kentmere and Agfa multigrade premium with no joy. What was good about the Jessops paper ? It gave a good punchy result at normal grade settings with an attractive faint olive cast. I know I should be fibre-ing (and do occasionally) but I'm time stressed. I get what can only be described as muddy results with Ilford Multigrade RC, even with the contrast cranked up in the Magnifax. Myfilm/dev habits are not outlandish (135 Delta 400 in ID11 stock, 135 HP5 in dilute Perceptol, 120 FP4 in DD-X etc). I'm currently at the 'sell all the kit and buy a boat' stage so this is serious. There must be someone out there who gets good results with this paper. What's the secret ?
Is there an alternative ?
With thanks and regards,
I seem to recall reading that the last supplier (they had several over the years) of Jessops paper was Kentmere, but I wouldn't quote myself on that...
What print developer and how long are you developing for and at what temperature? I use a rule of thumb that I leave the print in the developer (constant gentle agitation) for 5-6 times the first emergence time. This ensures full development pretty much. This translates to about 1.5 minutes with MGIV-RC in most developers (but as much as 3 mins in some, such as Ilford Cooltone dev).
MGIV has one of the deepest Dmax of any paper available so if you are not getting a good black, there is something wrong somewhere. If it's more a question of lack of contrast, again, MGIV easily reaches a true grade 5 unlike some papers I could mention, though some colour heads can not supply enough blue light to reach grade 5.
Ignoring negative contrast as you have printed them OK in the past and assuming the paper is fresh(ish), is it possible your head's filters are faded? Try some separate MG filters if you have them and see if that improves matters.
Another possibility is the safelight filter may have faded or you have moved the safelight too close to the paper, Slight fogging from the safelight, not otherwise obvious, could lead to you underexpose the paper to avoid the highlights going too dark, but not leave enough exposure to get a good black, even at grade 5. Try a print without the safelight and see how it goes.
Welcome to the forum Oliver.
I always though Jessops paper was rebranded Barclays (sp?) paper, however I go with Bob's comments on this, and feel that either Ilford or Kentmere RC papers should give you a full range of contrasts. I use Kentmere VC Select for all work prints without any contrast problems. Your description of "muddy results" suggests a fogging problem, either with old paper stock, workflow, or darkroom enviorenment. Follow Bob's advice and let us know how you get on.
Hi gents....thanks for this response, particularly your faith in the paper. That prompted me to capitalise on yesterday's foul weather with a full darkroom session, to find that one of my three camera systems produces an excellent result on multigrade (funnily it's the least used, oldest, most manual, least exotic one). Tentative conclusion is that multigrade doesn't really like thin negs. Doing some tests. More gory details to come. Regards.
You can print beautiful prints from rather thin negatives. You may have to increase the contrast and fine tune the printing time.
The look of RC paper varies a LOT depending on the paper surface. I hate most glossy RC paper except for scan-and-toss purposes. The favorite RC paper of mine is AGFA Multicontrast Premium semi-matte 312, and I still have a LOT of this paper. Kentmere VC Select Fine Lusture is another very nice paper, although the paper base is significantly thinner and the paper is more flimsy than the AGFA. Both papers make very rich tonality in many standard developers. If the highlights are gray, suspect fog. If black is weak, suspect weak or aged developer.
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Hi Oliver, why don't you join one of the various print exchanges? Perhaps the UK print exchange or even the postcard exchange. This way you get to see what is possible on a variety of papers without having to buy a lot of different boxes.
Hello Oliver. I have only ever used one box of Jessops 5x7 several years ago. I think it was the last the shop had. Prints were fine but not noticeably finer than Ilford. If you'd shuffled them with Ilford prints then I am not sure I could have picked out which were which.
Anyway in terms of who made Jessops, all I can say is that at the time of printing(mid 2004 so probably 2003 paper) the filtration settings in the instructions were exactly the same as for Agfa MCP.
You've already got some good advice on solutions here on APUG with I am sure a lot more to follow if you keep going. Don't give up just yet.
I have recently obtained some Jessops VC paper which I like a lot. It seems to be very similar to Kentmere VC Select.
"People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.