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  1. #1

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    Why are RC paper surfaces different than FB? Etc.

    I'm wondering why the surface of a glossy RC paper necessarily has to be so shiny in comparison to a typical glossy FB surface. In other words, why does the super-coating need to be different?

    A related question - why are development times almost always shorter for RC papers than FB (even FB papers with incorporated developing agents)?

    Another related question - why are fixing times almost always shorter for RC papers than FB?

    I feel like I should know the answers and I'm just overlooking something obvious.

  2. #2
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    With respect to the "glossy" question, I expect that the surface on RC papers are intended to be analogous to ferrotyped glossy FB paper.

    And that "Pearl" is intended to be analogous to glossy FB paper that has not been ferrotyped.

    On the other two questions, I'm sure that the fact that the substrate in RC papers does not absorb chemicals while the substrate in FB papers does absorb chemicals is a large part of the answer.
    Matt

    “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

  3. #3

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    Matt,

    While "pearl" might be meant to be analogous to unferrotyped glossy FB, it's a poor substitute at best. It has a texture and (to me) doesn't look at all like the surface of a glossy FB paper. It seems to me there must be a reason why they can't make the surfaces the same as FB or else they would surely do it, wouldn't they? I know quite a few people who have never considered using RC papers specifically because they don't like the surfaces in comparison to FB (glossy is too glossy, pearl is some kind of stippled crap etc.).

    Re the processing questions, you're probably right - it likely has to do in part with the impermeability of the RC coating over the paper base, but I can't figure out how. Why would that make development faster? Why would that make fixing faster?

  4. #4

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    RC paper is, essentially, plastic coated paper so "gloss" or "pearl" depends on how they mold the plastic. Real ferrotyped gloss is a lot shinier. Look at yur parents' (or grandparents') drug store snapshots.

    and, yeah, since the emulsion is on top of the plastic (or part of it, i dunno) the fixer works very quickly. The surface of chemicals to be fixed is thinner and doesn't soak into the paper.

    I like RC for knocking out quick prints, use FB for the show prints.

  5. #5

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    But in either case, the emulsion sits on top of the paper (simplistically, on top of the baryta layer in a FB application and on top of the plastic-coated paper in a RC application) and is only covered with gelatin supercoating layers. So I would have thought the surface characteristic would be a function of the supercoating in either case.

  6. #6
    AgX
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    No, the paper surface structure is actually controlled by the base.

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    I think Ilford's satin surface is the best RC match to air-dried FB glossy, I don't care for the pearl either. The satin RC surface is smoother than FB glossy, but it has a similar sheen.
    That said, I buy RC glossy mostly because it has the best shadow tone, and just live with the fact that it's more shiny than I prefer. Like Summicron1, I only use it for proofing.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by AgX View Post
    No, the paper surface structure is actually controlled by the base.
    Interesting. I've experienced this in painting, but would like to know more about how this works with films and papers. On B&W negative films it seems there are controls. The base is always shiny, but the emulsion side varies from flat to shiny depending on the film. I had assumed this was a function of emulsion addenda and supercoating, but based on what I've experienced preparing painting supports, I guess things below the emulsion (subbing for example?) can affect the surface sheen.

    This still doesn't address the development and fixation times though.

  9. #9
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Are the emulsions thicker on FB papers?
    Matt

    “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

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    AgX
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