I use Oriental Seagull graded exclusively.
I have tried other developers at different times and keep going back to dektol 1:1. I will probebly also use selectol and selectol soft split development when needed as I did before VC papers came out.
Originally Posted by jp80874
For cool look I use Kentmere Bromide with either Ilford Cooltone or PF's BW-65. For warm look Forte Fortezo in either AgfaPhoto Neutol WA or Ilford Warmtone. There is a certain richness of appearance with graded paper prints that I was never able to achieve with VC.
van Huyck Photo
"Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"
I cannot remember the last time I used VC filters. I use VC and graded paper, mostly fibre based, but I've found that most papers, even theough they are technically variable contrast, are by default, either grade 2 or grade 3. Just from use you get to learn which ones are which. That said, Ilford Galierie is sitll my overall favourite.
Also the suggestion of a two bath setup - one bath being Dektol, the other being selectol soft is a good one. Another idea that helps a wee bit with contrast control,a nd overall control of you rprint, is to mix your developer a bit week, like instead of 1:1 with Dektol, try 1:2 or even 1:4. You devloping time is much slower, and you may find through an evening of printing you have to replace/replenish your developer in your paper trays, but I think it's worth it.
One last thought - when shooting 4x5, th eold rule, always expose two sheets of the same shot whenever possible, back home, I develop the who sheets differently. Depending on how the first sheet looks, next day I'll develop the second sheet eitehr 10% less or 10% more time, and this varies the contrast on your negatives to being with - this is a great way to have control of how your print will look without resorting to variable contrst filters, and if you do use those filters, you still ahve even more control still.
There seems to be a mindset with some people that you are not a serious photographer unless you use only graded FB paper. This may be a variant of the belief that one must suffer for one's art. :-)
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I have found graded paper easier to use than VC. I am not the type of person who enjoys dealing with a lot of, uhhh, variables .
Originally Posted by Gerald Koch
art is about managing compromise
Some likely do equate serious with FB. How could they
Originally Posted by Gerald Koch
do other wise? Compare the curves. Extremes are used to
achieve acceptable results with VC papers. Some
who use VC paper resort to grade 0 and 5
printing of A print.
If VC paper curves were like Graded paper curves I still
would not use it. The level of darkroom lighting afforded
by Graded paper's blue only sensitive emulsion is a
BIG + in Graded paper's favor. Dan
I seldom use any filtration with VC paper since my development scheme has long been fixed at using the equivalent of grade 2-1/2. However, if I should need to then I can always tweek it a bit either way.
Originally Posted by dancqu
I find graded paper too restrictive and am disinclined to keep multiple boxes of paper or different types of developers cluttering up my very small darkroom.
I use graded paper about 80% of the time:
- Neutral: Ilford Galerie G2 and G3
- Warm: Forte Fortezo G3
When I do split grade printing or need extreme low / high contrast, I use:
- Neutral: Forte Polygrade 5
- Warm: Forte Polywarmtone.
My advice - get a premium graded paper such as Galerie (G2 or G3 depending on your preference) and compare it to your favorite VC paper for the same negative. NOTE: in the case of Galerie, I find it really needs to be selenium toned to get the most of it. You can get it in packs of 25 sheets, so it is not too expensive. The results will speak for themself.
I only use graded papers (Ilford Gallerie G2 and G3) with a Zone VI cold light. My film developing time is callibrated for G2 to achieve a full tone negative on 120 film and G3 for 35mm (because I want a "softer" negative). When I choose a negative to print, I make two pilot prints (1 each on G2 and G3). This gives me two grades to look at for "atmoshphere" and contrast. I then make the choice, and the unchosen paper is put away and I proceed to make fine prints on the chosen Grade.
I have never used VC FB paper because I don't want to be bothered with filtration (I have an old cold light and would have to use gelatin filters.). I am satisfied with graded papers and clearly don't want to get into the debate as to whether it's better then VC. It works for me and, I don't have a lot of time for testing new products... In the late 80s I was using RC paper; When I first made a print on FB paper, I literally threw all of my RC paper in a dumpster...
Often wrong, but never in doubt!