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  1. #1
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    Forte FB -vs- RC

    I am getting ready to hang a show at the end of the month and was doing some testing using both FB and RC Forte papers. Primarily I wanted to find out if I could use the same exposure times from small sheets of RC on the 20x24 sheets of FB as I was told it's the same emulsion.

    First I will give you some technical stuff, well as technical as I ever get anyway, the developer I was using was Agfa Multicontrast liquid mixed 1:4. Developing times are 2 minutes for FB and 1 min for RC. What I found was that exposure times could be transferred straight across.

    Now for the interesting stuff. The images tonal qualities looked identical. The FB did not have some magical ethereal qualities to it and in fact had a very slight green cast to it. Another observation was that the image seemed slightly sharper on the RC paper. This could be due to the glossy nature of the RC paper however.

    Since on the very odd occasion I use bleach on my prints I have found the FB much better than RC for this procedure. The only toning I do is selenium and both seem to tone that same way.

    So my question is, except for bleaching what's the big deal with FB? It's a royal pain in the butt to deal with and from what I hear is just as archival as FB.
    www.ericrose.com
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  2. #2

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    Well, there you have it. If the RC prints look good to you then that's what you should use. I think that FB paper feels better once dried, but that's a minor consideration. In my experience, resin coated papers are a lot more sturdy than fiber based papers. They wash out fast, they dry fast, and they don't curl. The only reservation I have about using RC paper for a gallery show is that it is too slick and shiny. If you are mounting behind glass, it won't make a bit of difference.

  3. #3
    rogueish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricR
    So my question is, except for bleaching what's the big deal with FB? It's a royal pain in the butt to deal with and from what I hear is just as archival as FB.
    Uuumm....
    FB is a royal pita and just as archival as FB?
    Actually I think I get what you asked. The sides have been drawn as to archival life of RC to FB. Don't know as I have no FB (or RC) prints more than 2 years old, but they both look good for their age... :rolleyes:
    Never used Forte RC, have one print on Forte FB (looks good to me). I have found that (to me, for me) FB needs a second or three more in exposure than RC ( on the Ilford paper I was using and my personal "look" preference).
    Sorry not much help in the tech section.

  4. #4

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    EricR, search this site..the RC vs FB debate is a long one. For my own work, it is all FB, reason - I would like it to last as long as possible and I like the look of FB. As to the archival debate..find thread on Clyde Butcher having to replace prints for customers that were printed on RC and if you can locate the article by Ctein both are pretty convincing why FB is better - YMMV.
    Mike C

    Rambles

  5. #5

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    FB vs RC

    Eric-it's all how YOU feel about it. If I remember correctly there was a serious article in Photo-Techniques about a few photographers who had sold several hundred RC prints to customers. Well after a couple of years the prints started to glaze/haze just plain deteriate and they were stuck having to remake all those prints on fober. Mfgs. CLAIM they have solved these problrems. Sure-I DO believe Kodak-right? Anyhoo- a fiber print properly fixed,toned,washed and mounted will last indefinately. Have you actualy gone to a museum and seen a Edward Weston or Paul Caponigro print? Sure-I bet EW would have used RC to save 5 minutes of time. I make prints for sale and myself but I put the most effort into it because that's how I approach my craft. Be the BEST at what you do-don't look for short cuts in a fastfood, throw away world. It's not really that much more effort to use Fiber and you will never regret it.
    Regards Peter

  6. #6
    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    I have found that the Forte is different between boxes of FB. I think you got lucky that the times were the same, and when you open a new box of either RC or FB the times may diverge. I generally found the FB needed much more exposure than the RC when I tried them together.

    RC is fine, but the jury is still out on its longevity. In another 100 years we will know the answer.

  7. #7
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    My experience with Forte papers is that they are inconsistent from one batch to another so that would immediately kill the idea to use the same exposure times for FB and RC papers. Eric, it seems as though you are looking for the quick easy solution and that indicates to me that you are in the lazy mode
    and that's not a good way to to make fine prints my friend.
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  8. #8
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Les McLean
    My experience with Forte papers is that they are inconsistent from one batch to another so that would immediately kill the idea to use the same exposure times for FB and RC papers. Eric, it seems as though you are looking for the quick easy solution and that indicates to me that you are in the lazy mode
    and that's not a good way to to make fine prints my friend.
    I agree in the past Forte did have a consistancy problem. It appears at least in the short term they have been able to tighten things up.

    I am not being lazy, just thrifty. Not wanting to blow paper at $10 a sheet is ok in my books.

    IMHO most of the problems with RC paper discolournig is due to poor fixing and washing technique. Early RC papers were another matter however as they were pretty flacky.

    I wish a museum would do some aging tests on modern papers to see what the results are. As far as I can see the permanance factor is the only benefit of FB. Which of course is no small thing. If in fact it's still a factor.
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  9. #9
    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricR
    I agree in the past Forte did have a consistancy problem. It appears at least in the short term they have been able to tighten things up.

    I am not being lazy, just thrifty. Not wanting to blow paper at $10 a sheet is ok in my books.

    IMHO most of the problems with RC paper discolournig is due to poor fixing and washing technique. Early RC papers were another matter however as they were pretty flacky.

    I wish a museum would do some aging tests on modern papers to see what the results are. As far as I can see the permanance factor is the only benefit of FB. Which of course is no small thing. If in fact it's still a factor.
    With large sheets just cut one up into smaller sizes and lay them down in important areas of the picture and expose as normal. This will save you big bucks as you can get alot of info out of two 4x5 sections in most cases.

    I have had problems with Kodak and Ilford RC papers silvering out. THis seems to happen immediately after drying and is not an age problem. I have never had this with Forte RC or any FB paper. The silvering problem looks like a layer of metalic silver haze on the dark areas when seen at glancing angles.

  10. #10

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    I don't think I'm alone, but glass or no glass I can see the difference in prints that are hung at shows. At a recent group show the RC prints stuck out like a sore thumb. The fiber based prints did have a better richness... Might be the skill of the printers, but part of it was the very materials they were on.

    Each photographer will choose the tools that suit them best... For me, RC is for contact sheets, everything else is FB.

    The "claims" of archival stability with RC are just that... When tests are done, they never go toe to toe with FB. (Note the references to articles posted above). Usually by someone trying to either sell you RC paper, or someone justifying why they use it.

    joe

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