Old AGFA paper, still usable?
Picked up some old paper today. Being a total noob when it comes to printing, i wonder if this old paper (prob from the 60's or 70's) can still be usable? Most boxes hasn't been opened. And is the paper any good?
Here's a list of what I received:
agfa brovira bn2a 3 1/2 x 5 box of 25
agfa brovira bn2a 5 x 7 box of 25
agfa brovira bn2a 7 x 9 1/2 box of 10
agfa brovira bs2a 4 1/8 x 5 7/8 box of 100
agfa brovira bs2a 5 x 7 box of 100
agfa brovira bs2a 5 x 7 box of 25
agfa brovira bs2a 5 x 7 box of 25
agfa brovira bs2a 7 1/8 x 9 1/2 box of 100
agfa brovira bh2a 3 1/2 x 5 box of 100
agfa brovira bh2a 4 1/8 x 5 7/8 box of 25
agfa brovira bh2a 5 x 7 box of 25
agfa brovira bw2a 4 1/8 x 5 7/8 box of 100
agfa brovira bw2a 5 x 7 box of 25
agfa brovira bw2a 7 1/8 x 9 1/2 box of 100
agfa brovira bn112 9 1/2 x 12 box of 10
agfa brovira bn1 3 1/2 x 5 box of 100
agfa brovira bs112 7 1/8 x 9 1/2 box of 10
agfa brovira bs112 9 1/2 x 12 box of 10
agfa brovira beh1 5 x 7 box of 25
agfa record rapid rrs1 5 x 7 box of 100
ilford ilfospeed medium 180 pearl 5x7 box of 25
ilford ilfospeed medium 180 pearl 7x9 1/2 box of 25
Most of them will still work, but some of them will require a slight addition of KBr to the developer to work as they were intended to.
Sometimes I've used very old Ilfospeed G3 instead of preflashing the paper when I need less contrast in the highlights, it seems that the only thing that happens to this paper with age is a loss of highlight contrast.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
If the paper has been stored correctly it may still be quite good. I have some inherited Brovira, Record Rapid and Emax from the seventies and eighties that still works very well.
I have some Portriga Rapid which dates back to the 70's & 80's which has been refrigerated most of it's life. Paper is still as good as new.
Portriga is Agfa's warm tone fiber paper while Brovira is a decidedly cold tone paper. Bromide emulsions don't tend to keep as well as chloride emulsions (warm tones) nevertheless the Brovira may still be capable of producing fine results.
If the paper does exhibit some fogging or greying in the highlights try mixing some Kodak #1 restrainer aka benzotriazole in increasing amounts to your developer as this could well retard the the highlight fogging.
What developer do you guys recommend?
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I’m not adventurous when it comes to paper developers. I usually use Kodak Dektol, Agfa Neutol WA or Tetenal Eukobrom depending on paper and the tone I'm after.
Funny you should mention Agfa Brovira. I'm just back from the darkroom where I tried out some old (obviously) Brovira BN113 10x15 (that's cm). I have recently received a few unopened boxes of 100 of various Brovira papers (10x15 and even smaller; nothing bigger, but hey, it was for free, so I can't and won't complain), and I thought I'd give them a try.
Originally Posted by jrydberg
What worked for me (and may or may not work for you) to get some useful results: the paper required very short exposure compared to new Ilford paper (about 1 stop less), but it required a loooong development time. Where I normally see some image appear after, what, 10-20 seconds(?), it takes a full minute for this Brovira. After some trial and error, it seems that after that, it still requires about 90 seconds, so total would be 2 1/2 minute.
Comparing my last print of this evening to the first attempts, I'd say with some adjustments the paper is still useable. But I have to check tomorrow in daylight to be sure.
Regardless of that: wow, my darkroom / our bathroom smells better than ever. The lovely smell of old Brovira, mmmm! (So, in the event that it turns out to be unuseable for any serious printing, I will take out one paper every now and then just to smell it... )
All I can say is: do some testing. Don't give up too soon, try different things (took me a few prints to figure out; I'm glad I was persistent enough). Good luck!
-- A sinister little midget with a bucket and a mop / Where the blood goes down the drain --
After doing a few testprints you can see most def see fogging, and the papers keep curling like crazy when drying. I've put the prints under preasure to try to keep em straight, but it doesn't seem to help that much.
I develop in Ilford Multigrade, since that was the only thing my local shop had in store right now. The Ilford datasheet says normal development time is 60 seconds, so I go the full minute.
I'm a bit amazed in regards to exposure times; Trying BW2A, I ended up exposing for 2.5 seconds at f11. Sounds short to me, but I'm a noob so what do I know.
Exposure is a factor of the projected image size as well as the paper emulsion speed, so if you are printing, say, a 6" x 4" image then your setting sound about right. Stop down further if you want a longer time. Apart from that enjoy the experience.
I once found myself in a desperate situation- foggy paper and a must-print negative that happened to have lots of shadow detail and lots of highlight. I discovered that I could get a fogless, long scale print by tremendous overexposure and extremely short development. That required pulling the print from the developer almost as soon as the image appeared, so that even development was very difficult. But I had nothing to lose except otherwise bad paper, and I did get a very satisfactory print or two in the end, along with a full wastebasket.