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  1. #201

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    Ilford CoolTone Fiber Further Observations

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    I took the prints (5 images plus all the tests) out from between the 2 books and weights for flattening and spent a 1/2 hour comparing vs. other fiber prints on other papers I have printed in the past. I thought the observations might be useful so here they are.

    Shadows
    The blacks are really nice. The only ones that are in the same league (perhaps equal) are those of Forte Polygrade V also developed with Edwal Ultra Black. Both of these have that deep black hole kind of black.

    Highlights
    The Ilford Cooltone is the best. The highlights have excellent brilliance. Very different from MG IV in my experience. The Forte were good, but I prefer the Ilford Cooltone on the highlights. Really is exceptional.

    Tone
    The ILford CT is cooler than MGIV (developed with either Edwal or Multigrade), Adox 110 developed with Moersch SE6 (with or without finisher blue), and seems to be about as cool as the Slavich cool tone printed with Edwal. It is NOT as cool as the Forte printed with Edwal. The Blacks and Whites are similar, but the grays on the Forte take on a slight bluish cool cast. I just love the tone of the Forte best. The Ilford CT is 2nd best. The Slavich prints seem a bit dull in comparison to the Forte, Ilford CT, and Adox. The Adox 110 with Moersch is neutralish and really nice...not as cool as CT but very nice nonetheless. I will keep using that paper, but I'll use it now with a warmtone developer and use Ilford CT for cooltone.

    Sharpness
    The CT is sharp, certainly as sharp as any of the others, perhaps slightly sharper than some. I have a Dichro enlarger and I don't think that is the best platform to make this distinction because it puts smoothness over sharpness.

    Surface
    The Ilford CT is very slightly glossier than the others. It is a really nice surface. It maintains all the "fiber wave" depth that I really like. It looks nothing at all like an RC paper. All told I liked this surface the best of the papers, but I love the others as well. Never met a Fiber Glossy I didn't like.

    Dry Down
    If there is dry down on the CT it is very slight. On one of the 5 images (the ultra contrasty one) an area that I was pretty sure was blown out has some degree of detail...perhaps a touch of dry down. I don't see it on the other 4 images - they look as i remember in the wash.

    Bottom line - I really like the paper.

    From here-
    1) I will selenium these in a few weeks. The comparisons above are vs. selenium toned prints on the other papers. I hope to get a slight tone change to cool with this effort. Would LOVE to hear what people are seeing with selenium and what times/dilutions you are using.
    2) Would love to hear if anyone has compared the 3 developers Ilford suggested - Edwal Ultra Black, Moersch SE6, and Dokomul. Which is coolest? Has anyone achieved that slight nuance to blue in the midtones?

  2. #202

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    I deliberately went outside my normal comfort zone this past weekend - took some high-key, high-flare outdoor shots with 6x7 ACROS which I knew would
    be a pain in the butt to print, then went to work with the new Cooltone. Getting good consistent silvery long-scale gradation under such circumstances is something quite difficult to achieve with VC papers, and in the past there are only a few premium graded papers I trusted the task to. So I was pleased to
    see just how well Cooltone did, and how I was able to achieve some very lovely prints from negs I would have normally just thrown away or put on the
    backburner of never-to-be-done projects. Interestingly, the two main emulsions of Cooltone seem to be very closely matched in hue, though it does take
    full development of the paper to make either fully cool. Yet I did attempt split-toning with a few of these and was successful, but using a somewhat different strategy than with Fineprint or MGWT. In two images I had some make-or-break highs which had to dry down absolutely precisely, and it appears
    I properly estimated it. I would not agree that a single drydown factor will accurately control all such circumstances, because complex toning regimens
    can really fool with the final look. But in terms of simplified technique, one could probably predict such things reliably. And yeah, one of the strong points
    of this paper is the ability to hold a lot of fine detail way up there in the highs. It is somewhat different from any paper I have worked with before, but
    holds a lot of promise. It's good stuff.

  3. #203
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Drew , are you suggesting that this new paper requires a different printing strategy than Ilford Warmtone?

    I have never approached a VC paper with a different split printing method, maybe the starting points change but the basic workflow always remains the same.

    I am all ears to hear your wisdom flow from the West Coast.

  4. #204

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    No. You would have no problem with it, Bob, after a little practice. But it is different. Getting an evident gold-chloride/selenium split is disappointing. But a gold toner followed by Kodak Brown split is easy. You just need to be VERY brief in the brown if you want the split and not an overall shift that spoils the cool general effect. And in this case, it will be a neutral black versus the deep blue-black that gold produces with MGWT. Of course, the Brown can go anywhere from the tiniest hint of gold in the highlights to a downright peach color. I look at this as just
    another tweak to Cooltone to be used in subtle moderation. MGWT is a better product for conspicuous splits or tris.

  5. #205

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    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...
    I've finally printed, using a couple of different developers, on these papers. I evaluated the resulting prints both with and without selenium toning. Here's my take on them.

    FB Classic is, unfortunately, much shinier than its predecessor IV. Also, like IV, it has a fairly warm image tone. Moersch SE6 Blue developer takes it close to neutral, perhaps even ever so slightly blue. Light selenium toning kills most, but not all, of the green. Curve shape is not unlike IV; negatives with "hot" high values are well handled. This will probably be a good match for 320TXP.

    FB Cooltone is just as shiny as Classic, maybe a bit more. Image tone is relatively neutral in standard developers, somewhat blue in Moersch SE6 Blue. Selenium toning can't eliminate the green without taking low values purple. It split tones, something many find attractive but I don't like at all. The paper seems loaded with brighteners, almost garishly so. Its curve shape appears better matched to negatives that are straight-lined or shoulder off somewhat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    ...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.
    I'd say that, in extreme situations, FB Cooltone could be called upon to rescue a negative. However, I remain addicted to Galerie as the finest combination of image quality and surface finish available today. It will continue to be what almost all of my prints (from Delta 100 in XTOL 1+3 negatives) are made on.

  6. #206
    Black Dog's Avatar
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    I agree with you re. Galerie-it remains one of my favourites.
    "He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.

  7. #207

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    I found the opposite. To me Classic has virtually the same sheen as MGIV, while Cooltone is more glossy.

  8. #208

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    I still haven't tested Classic. But I've run Cooltone through the gauntlet of my favorite amidol, glycin, and cold MQ tweaks. No problem getting
    completely consistent tone, or on the other hand, achieving attractive split tone when I want that. I don't personally like what selenium does
    to it unless it is very delicately or slightly done. But gold toner yields a wonderful increase in DMax and shift to cool, without going blue-black
    like Polygrade V sometimes did (but one of my favorite papers while it lasted). Cooltone tones quite differently from Warmtone, so it's nice to
    have both papers on hand. I don't have the budget at the moment to have Galerie on hand too, and should probably use up the remains of some of my older graded papers first, if they're still any good!

  9. #209

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    ...FB Classic is, unfortunately, much shinier than its predecessor IV....FB Cooltone is just as shiny as Classic, maybe a bit more...
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    I found the opposite. To me Classic has virtually the same sheen as MGIV, while Cooltone is more glossy.
    Well, not exactly the opposite. We both think Cooltone is a bit more shiny than Classic.

    It's important when comparing the surface gloss of papers to have them flat and keep areas of similar tone in each sample next to each other. I changed my mind on ranking them after initially failing to maintain that level of rigor.

  10. #210

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    ...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...
    FedEx just delivered some SE3 from Freestyle. I said I'd eventually get around to testing this combination; now is apparently "eventually." Recently I printed Classic in SE6, which, even at 1+15, gave distinctly blue results. Herr Moersch comments on his site (to the best of my ability to interpret Google-"translated" German) that SE6 was the only developer he tried where prints on the new Ilford papers went blue. Toning my Classic/SE6 prints reacted to selenium the same way your Classic/SE3 did, going very purple very fast.

    When you performed these toning tests of MG Classic that resulted in it starting off "neutral/cold," what SE3 dilution and development time did you use? You'd previously mentioned 1+1+20 for MGWT. I'll probably start off with 1+1+40 / 2 minutes and then add more A & B concentrate to bring it up to 1+1+20. However, given that color sometimes changes after drying, knowing beforehand what combination gave you neutral/cold might save some time and paper. Thanks in advance.



 

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