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  1. #1

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    A Switch to RC Paper - a relevation

    Long believing that prints made on fibre based paper are nicer than those on RC paper, I never really compared the two side by side. Until....

    I wanted to show my daughter the basics of printing. To reduce the time (she had to go to bed), we used Agfa MCP RC paper to make a few prints. I made other prints later that evening on Galerie FB. The next morning, we put the pictures in a frame and looked at them. Pointing to the picture on RC paper, she said "I like this paper better". Do you know what? I had to agree with her! In my mind, the RC prints looked better.

    To boot - it is easier and less time consuming to process. What about longevity - though a well processed fibre print will probably outlive an RC print, I cannot say that I have the time to really properly process the fibre prints. So in my case, I am sure my RC prints will last longer than my fiber prints...

    Anyways - to each his own, but I for me RC is the way to go!

  2. #2
    fhovie's Avatar
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    I always start with RC. It is my test bed. If a print is worthy, it graduates to fiber. OF course there are many fiber papers with many surfaces. If glossy floats your boat, Agfa RC is pretty glassy. I use a lot of it. But a work of art for me winds up on Forte FB glossy - not ferrotyped - and toned and mounted and I like the luster look of that. After a number of years (15-20?), the plastic coating on the RC paper will fade and yellow and it will not look as good. The FB paper will look the same in 100 years as it does today. It has been a lot of years since I used Gallery - I have some hanging and it seems to need the lighting a certain way to really look good. Some papers need really appropriate light to be great. I have been using some freestyle glossy fb paper lately and it seems OK - the Forte seems a little contrastier and the paper base is certainly warmer.
    Last edited by fhovie; 11-13-2007 at 11:23 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: language correction
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

  3. #3
    titrisol's Avatar
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    AGFA MCP was such a nice paper, it also tones great.
    It is a pity it went the way of the dodo.... though fotoimpex is trying to resurrect it.
    Mama took my APX away.....

  4. #4

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    What about longevity - though a well processed fibre print will probably outlive an RC print, I cannot say that I have the time to really properly process the fibre prints. So in my case, I am sure my RC prints will last longer than my fiber prints...

    When RC first hit the commerical market in the mid 70s I was still in the Air Force, we were told by both GAF and Kodak that an RC print will last 10 years in storage but just a couple of years if displayed. I have RC prints that are now over 30 years old, most appear to be stable, at least the prints made on Kodak paper, the GAF seem to be fading some. Fuji crystal archive color paper is rated for 75 years on display, so I dont know a black and white RC print will not last at least 75 years. I have read somewhere that an archival fiber print will last for 300 years but I dont know the science to back that statement.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by fhovie View Post
    After a number of years (15-20?), the plastic coating on the RC paper will fade and yellow and it will not look as good.
    This question is genuinely asked in a spirit of inquiry. What is the evidence that the latest level of RC from say Ilford, Kentmere or the new "Agfa" will have faded and have yellowed plastic after 15-20 years.

    It strikes me that the latest level RC from Ilford for instance has maybe only just turned 20 years old and maybe not even yet?

    We are quite a conservative group here on APUG. Nothing wrong with that per se but I often wonder if the truths of the past on various aspects of photography linger beyond the point where they still contain the truth simply because we are comparing a product that isn't the same now except in name with its predecessor?

    By the way it may or may not be a propos that this thread coincides with another in which the OP complains of the same thing that struck the OP's daughter. Namely poorer whites and blacks. That OP has now posted two scans of a FB and RC in which he says that all other things in the processing are equal and like this OP's daughter I think the RC is the punchier of the two prints. Have a look yourself if you haven't done so. That thread could now get interesting in its ongoing discussion.

    Sorry I cannot give the thread's title but it won't be hard to find. His scans are worth a look and the ongoing detection of why there is a difference is worth attention. Well to me anyway

    pentaxuser

  6. #6
    Shawn Dougherty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom_bw View Post
    we used Agfa MCP RC paper to make a few prints. I made other prints later that evening on Galerie FB. The next morning, we put the pictures in a frame and looked at them. Pointing to the picture on RC paper, she said "I like this paper better". Do you know what? I had to agree with her! In my mind, the RC prints looked better.
    To each his own for sure but I don't think it's fair to say that Agfa MCP RC prints look better than prints on Ilford Galerie. I believe in this case it has more to do with the way YOU print than the paper itself. Take a negative that was targeted to that particular grade of Ilford Galerie and skillfully printed and I doubt the results would be the same.

    That said, if it works better for you and your work flow more power to you! And keep passing that tradition along. All the best. Shawn

  7. #7

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    [It strikes me that the latest level RC from Ilford for instance has maybe only just turned 20 years old and maybe not even yet?

    I have first generation Kodak and GAF RC prints, the Kodak prints are holding up. I think paper manufactures were (perhaps still are) concerned about claims that would not hold up in the field, leading to overall distrust of the new paper. Few users needed a commerical print to last for more just a couple of years anyway. Aside from testing in the lab no one really knew what the life span of RC was going to be so I think Kodak and other errord on the side caution. I dont see why a RC print will not last 75 to 100 years, at least in storage.

  8. #8
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    RC is a useful learning tool. It helps to eliminate some of the fine points of printing like proper drying technique and safe paper handling so a new user doesn't get too intimidated to keep at it. That said, I just don't LIKE the look/feel of an RC print. The plastic in the RC paper makes a print feel like just that, plastic. They're TOO glossy and TOO slick. While I don't have quantifiable proof of my opinion, it is my considered opinion that RC paper lacks the delicateness of tonality that a fiber print is capable of. Then again, I've gone beyond fiber paper and into alternative processes, and a fiber-based silver print lacks the delicateness of tonality I can achieve with platinum, so there you go. I still do print silver from time to time, and when I do, it will always be fiber.

  9. #9
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Howell View Post
    [It strikes me that the latest level RC from Ilford for instance has maybe only just turned 20 years old and maybe not even yet?

    I have first generation Kodak and GAF RC prints, the Kodak prints are holding up. I think paper manufactures were (perhaps still are) concerned about claims that would not hold up in the field, leading to overall distrust of the new paper. Few users needed a commerical print to last for more just a couple of years anyway. Aside from testing in the lab no one really knew what the life span of RC was going to be so I think Kodak and other errord on the side caution. I dont see why a RC print will not last 75 to 100 years, at least in storage.
    All very fine and good if you're truly looking for a commercial print for an admittedly temporary purpose, but what good is a photographic image if it only lasts beyond the lifetime of the original photographer and/or the original subject when kept in dark storage?

  10. #10
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Howell View Post
    When RC first hit the commerical market in the mid 70s I was still in the Air Force, we were told by both GAF and Kodak that an RC print will last 10 years in storage but just a couple of years if displayed.
    What are the reasons for these claims?

    Film is an emulsion coated onto a plastic base and it lasts a lot longer than that.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

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