I agree with Joe. FB paper is for the "keepers" and RC paper is for contact sheets. Actually instead of contact sheets I have my local pro photostudio make 4" X 4" machine prints of my negatives on RC paper. Then I store (in archival materials) the negatives next to the prints in binder boxes. This is convenient for me and gives me a good idea of which photos to print having the larger 4X4 prints.
Back to the RC vs FB debate, IMO FB blows away RC in the blacks, the grays, and the highlights. For all else, there's RC.
As far as durability is concerned, FB is far more so in my honest opinion. I have printed RC extensively for hanging in shows, and the problem I always had was fine hairline scratches in the protective coating over the emulsion. I have not had this problem with the FB. For image quality, for some reason, even given the fact that the emulsion is supposed to be identical in chemical makeup and thickness, the FB certainly does lend itself to be deeper and more 3-dimensional. This is not evident until the FB paper dries down.
Bottom line, FB is worth the effort. I haven't gone back to RC in the last 2 years since printing FB (save for printing images to scan).
Well, there is always someone who will have a different opinion.
I *refuse* to lump ALL RC paper together. I have been using Ilford MG "Portfolio" (usually with the "pearl" surface) nearly exclusively for my exhibition prints - and I have been more than satisfied with it.
I'm a trifle puzzled by the "fine scratches" bit ... Something inherent in the paper itself? - and with what surface? I would think that they would have to be more than "fine" on anything other than "glossy".
BTW ... as I understand RC, there is no "protective coating" over the emulsion itself ... the base (usualy, but not always, paper) is encapsulated (except for the very edges) in PE.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
I agree with Joe with some clarification...
RC gloss is the sharpest appearing 'paper,' and has the deepest blacks. As you move to satin and matt finishes RC looses that distinction. FB has a richness that makes it sufficiently 'different' from RC (especially gloss) as to make comparisons somewhat worthless.
From an appearance or display perspective...
It is my opinion that some work will look best on RC gloss and others are best suited to FB.
From a sales perspective...
Whether in reality RC is the equal to FB for longevity or not really is not an issue. The perception is that FB is *the* archival medium. Perception trumps reality every time.
From another point of view...
A photo printed on RC gloss, that utilizes RC's strengths, to my eye, still lacks the presence of a FB print that utilizes FB's strengths.
The time taken to wash, dry flat and flatten if still needed an FB print is part of the admission price. I wouldn't use it as deciding factor. (Easy for me to say I print a handful of B&W prints a year and a gazillion colour RC machines prints).
Well I have just finished doing 10, 20x24 prints on FB Forte Cold Tone. I found that the exposure times determined using RC Cold Tone Forte paper were dead on to the FB stuff. I'm sorry but my Scotish/Taurus nature precludes me from wasting a $10 sheet of paper to test strips.
I must say I am not very impressed with this paper. I realize it's a personal thing, and generally I can get a good print out of just about any paper, but this stuff for the most part is lifeless. I did a print on the warmtone FB Forte stuff and it appears to be much better albeit not very warm. More neutral in my books.
For the stuff I was printing the only way in which to get any zip would be a lot of selective bleaching and probably dual bath development. I'm going out to buy some Ilford, my old standby, and give it another go. Most of my negs do not need heavy manipulations. In fact as an artistic choice I try and stay away from them as much as possible. But that's the headspace I'm in right now.
I know other photographers that use Forte quite successfully, Barmbaum being one of them. He also does a LOT of bleaching to get the images he wants. For his vision this paper is probably best. I'm not sure if he uses the Cold Tone or not. I'll have to call him and find out.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
J&C carry Forte Fortezo (their J&C Classic Museum) in 16X20. Not sure what the Polywarmtone in 20X24 is; but at $3.50 per sheet it might be worth investigating.
Read in Ctein & elsewhere what manufacturers have to go thru in order to try to make RC archival; and it seems too open to errors/problems. Also, fiber is what galleries prefer.
van Huyck Photo
"Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"
I use both FB and RC and find things to like about each. As to fine scratches, I have noticed that using a squeegee on RC prints can produce scratches more easily than on FB.
I'm pretty sure that Bruce uses only the cold tone paper. Ray McSavaney uses mostsly Warmtone. Craig Richards uses the cold tone as well.
Originally Posted by EricR
Me, I stick with the cold tone. I have very few photographs that I like on the warmtone paper.....
Eric-I will gladly send you a print on Forte. Believe me I couldn't get dang out of it until I used a Glycin dev. I said the same thing. Just curious-it's not that EDU stuff - I sent it back to Freestyle because I couldn't get blacks on it.No wonder its so cheap.
I simply have never seen an RC paper surface finish that I like.