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  1. #1
    Max Power's Avatar
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    First time using FB paper...A Question

    OK, so I've never used FB paper before, but in the spirit of participating in my first print exchange I wanted to use FB because it seems to be the preference out there. I picked up a box of 25 sheets of Ilford MG IV FB Glossy and it cost me a fortune

    I have read the Ilford data sheets on this paper, and I understand how it must be processed.

    My question, though, is this: notwithstanding the base of the paper itself, will FB MG IV glossy and RC MG IV glossy react the same way to exposure? Rather than wasting a bunch of expensive sheets of FB paper doing test strips etc, can one do testing on RC and then do final prints on FB with the same result?

    Thanks for the help,
    Kent
    Max Power, he's the man who's name you'd love to touch! But you mustn't touch! His name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it, you mustn't fear! 'Cause his name can be said by anyone!

  2. #2
    thedarkroomstudios's Avatar
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    Not final prints. You can work with both and gauge a baseline for starting your FB prints. Fibre isn't terribly expensive (roughly 30% more than RC) and if you start with relativley narrow 2" strips each test shoudln't cost you more than about 15 cents. Biggest factor to remember is that FB has a rather dramatic dry-down.
    The Darkroom Studios ~ Brad Walker
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  3. #3

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    Basically I do all my portfolio prints on 10x8 inch RC paper.
    I keep notes on every print I do.

    Occasionally I'll pick one of those prints to be re-printed on 12x16 inch fibre paper.
    I more or less start from scratch, but I use the notes as a form of hindsight.

    But yes if you rougthly match up the dev times (work out what time you need for the fibre to give the same look as RC) then you can do your test strip and inital work print on RC before switching to fibre version as you move towards completion.

  4. #4

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    They are different enough to warrant a different test strip, though usually for the same emulsion the exposure times will be pretty close. Development takes a little longer, as does stopping, fixing, and of course washing.

    If you want to save a little money you would be better off buying in 100 sheet boxes.

  5. #5

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    There is no reason you can not make a correlation. I believe that your problem will be two fold: speed and contrast. This will be due to both manufacturing variance and storage. You may find in the end that it is better to stay with a single product.

  6. #6
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    Although Ilford MGIV FB and RC have the same ISO sensitivity, you can't really rely on this for several reasons: different texture (FB Glossy is not as "glossy" as RC glossy so you may want to change the exposure grade) and as said above, dry-down is a factor. However, your RC times will be a good basis to start with test strips.

    Other points to be aware of so they do not catch you unawares are that FB takes much longer to appear in the tray so don't worry if there is hardly a hint of image when RC would normally be finished... Also, FB is floppy when wet, unlike RC which stays rigid. As you will have read, fixing and washing times are longer: especially washing. You also need to be able to dry them either face down on screens or by hanging them up on a line with two prints placed back to back with clips in each corner to reduce curling.

    The emulsion side can be tricky to identify under the safelight as both sides have a similar texture; in general, the paper curls in at the edges towards the emulsion side. Because of this curl you will need an easel for FB paper whereas you can get away without one for RC.

    Have fun! Bob.

  7. #7
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    I cut an 8x10 sheet into 10 1"x8" strips. You'll probably want to test on fiber if you are going to print on fiber. If the dry-down difference between RC and Fiber ruins some of your prints, you are being penny wise and pound foolish.
    Many people dry their fiber test strips with a hair dryer or microwave to judge their dry down before making their final print. Also Les McLean has an excellent article on dealing with dry down which is a good read for anyone getting started in fiber.

    Just my opinion.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Power
    ... can one do testing on RC and then
    do final prints on FB with the same result?
    The condition of your developer must be taken into
    account. Less active developers will reduce emulsion speed.

    I think suggested development times are minimum times.
    A print may be completely developed in two minutes in fresh
    developer. That same print will need more time in developer
    which has seen a few prints on each occasion of it's few
    outs and ins of the bottle. Dan

  9. #9
    Max Power's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the information and the pointers. I will read Les Maclean's article about dry-down.

    As an aside, I suppose that FB seems expensive because I paid $33CAD for 25 sheets whereas only a year ago I bought 5 boxes of 8x10 RC at $29CAD a box (yes it was on sale at 50% off).

    Thanks again,

    Kent
    Max Power, he's the man who's name you'd love to touch! But you mustn't touch! His name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it, you mustn't fear! 'Cause his name can be said by anyone!

  10. #10

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    You should have already noticed dry down on MGIV RC.
    You'll get similar dry down with the fibre paper. The microwave technique is a good tool for estimating the dry down.
    Also make sure you give the stuff a darn good wash and remember to take notes.

    Have fun!

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