Thanks Varya. I'll probably end up trying both FB Classic and FB Cooltone, but it might be a while. Given that Rudman wrote the Cooltone is "much shinier" and you observe "slightly shinier," the only way to know whether I'll be happy with the finish is by printing on it myself.
Originally Posted by VaryaV
Galerie remains my paper of choice; I mostly contact print large format negatives. Despite every effort to keep film exposure and development compatible with scene conditions, sometimes a VC paper would come in handy. Let's hope FB Cooltone turns out to be a VC paper that can approach Galerie prints' quality.
After reading Alan Ross's report on MG Classic the new paper addresses the few shortfalls of MGIV fiber. News the emulsion will tone with better mid tone separation should increased richness. WooHoo!
With the short image formation time the paper emulsion must have incorporated a developer. Graded will have a longer shelf life.
I'm curious about the shorter untoned wash time. Since the paper weight remains the same as MGIV FB the coating must be different. If so, does that change how one should handle the prints in the wet stage?
I just posted my first Coldtone image to the Monthly Shooting Assigment gallery. Though scanning didn't do it justice (as always).
Sourdough, salami and blue cheese... and 2 dogs drooling with such sad, sad eyes. ... they're working me... they know I'll cave!
I am fairly confident that Ilford would have avoided incorporating developer into a new paper - the shelf life concerns in this time of modern marketing realities argue against it.
Originally Posted by Richard Jepsen
Shall we ask Simon?
He will probably be busy for a couple of days - Christmas and Boxing Day and all that - but I expect we will hear.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
According to Ilford's instructions the recommendation remains the same regarding the use of a non-hardening rapid fixer so I would imagine the emulsion and surface are as robust as MGIV. This has been my experience so far. Squeegeeing after the wash same as I always did with MGIV and I haven't seen any damage or scratching etc. Seems just as easy to handle.
Originally Posted by Richard Jepsen
My initial trials have been with a VCCE head but next I want to do a full set of comparisons using Ilford MG filters because I think in my setup the VCCE filtration might be distorting relative contrast levels.
On to some selenium toning...
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Michael, have you noticed a significant change in speed when using your VCCE head on higher grades with the new papers? If it had been calibrated for the former Ilford papers, I suppose the new (higher) speeds at higher grades might take the "CE" aspect out of VCCE.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
I never paid much attention to the "CE" aspect of VCCE anyway. Too many variables. I just do things by eye. But what I'm wondering more about is contrast. So the next step for me is to do a full set of curves with the VCCE settings and Ilford MG gel filters so that I can see what the deal is. The initial testing I've been doing so far has been more about the colour of the new paper and response to Selenium vs MGIV. And I sort of ran into the contrast question by accident while I was doing that: To make the swatches conveniently span half of a 21 step wedge (like the ones I sent you) I set the VC head to 1 and started doing test strips with MGIV and MG Classic. Now, as I said I haven't done all the tests with the MG filters or VC settings yet so take this with a grain of salt, but with the VC head set to 1 it seemed like MG Classic either needed more exposure and/or was less contrasty (one or the other or some combination of both) than MGIV. Either of those would be the opposite of what is in Ilford's technical pubs. MG Classic should be both faster and slightly more contrasty at grade 1 (using an Ilford #1 filter). Obviously filtration grades on a VC head don't line up exactly with MG filters in any case, but there could be significant changes here. The new paper has more evenly spaced contrast grades with MG contrast filters, so perhaps that's what's throwing me off.
As far as selenium toning goes, indeed the new paper exhibits a greater change in colour than MGIV. Not so much with high dilutions, but at 1+10 or stronger it is significant.
Please elaborate Michael.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
I wonder if the new Classic emulsion will be offered in RC, and the RC Cooltone expanded to larger sizes? Currently I only make contact sheets and the occasional 8x10 of a snapshot on RC but the difficulties of handling wet 16x20 FB would have me considering RC if I were to expand my darkroom printing capabilities to 20x24.
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Brian: I'll try, but these things are pretty subjective, depending on lighting, background etc. etc. as you know. I haven't done any densitometry on changes in contrast or d-max yet (not that it really matters) so I'll restrict my comments to colour for now.
Originally Posted by brian steinberger
Anyway a bit about the method just for reference. The grey scale strips are identically exposed and developed (in this case, my standard Dektol 1+2 and also repeated in SE3 because I still have some left). Toning is then carried out at 22C (washing is at 20C) for 5 minutes at 1+10, 1+20, and 1+40 (KRST diluted in working strength Ilford Washaid). The strips are labelled on the back. After drying I lay them out on warm and cool white mat board and try to evaluate under tungsten, halogen, and mixed daylight/tungsten. I also do "blind" tests by shuffling them (to prevent bullshitting myself ).
Preliminary observations (Dektol tests):
-Note I've always found when developed in Dektol, MGIV toned in KRST exhibits only the slightest perceptible (debatable) neutralization at 1+20, with a still relatively small, but noticeable neutralization/cooling at 1+10 without a shift toward plum/purple, so these are my reference points for comparison.
-Without toning, MG Classic seems slightly warmer than MGIV, visible in midtones
-Virtually no change to MG Classic at 1+40
-Small neutralization effect on MG Classic at 1+20. Directionally I would describe this as the typical selenium shift away from the slight greenish cast of most neutral papers.
-Noticeable shift of MG Classic to plum colour at 1+10
For me it seems like the sweet spot is around 1+20. Of course toning time affects everything. Maybe more time at 1+40 or a little less at 1+20 or some dilution in between.
As an additional comment, the trend seemed to be the same after development of MG Classic in SE3 (although without toning it starts off more neutral/cold in SE3 than Dektol). By trend I mean the changes in selenium vs straight were small until I got to 1+10 at which point the colour shift becomes pronounced. So in general with MG Classic that would seem to be approximately where one might want to start in terms of dilution if people want more pronounced colour shifts with selenium than they were used to getting with MGIV. I would not characterize this as "cooling" though. For that you probably need the new cold tone paper (which I have not tried). Or use a cold tone developer like SE3 or SE6 etc. and use dilute selenium.
My two cents so far.