I always use tongs. The bamboo ones are actually my favorites. Stay away from the stainless tongs without rubber tips, they can scratch your prints... and they don't grip very well, either. If you don't use tongs, at least get some latex gloves. Who wants smelly fingers??
It's true, first and foremost to stick to a paper. After all, your neg is permanent and you shall always be able to reprint. But get the "feel" of one paper and developer combo. As others have said, don't worry about the "green" business: a lot of papers seem to react that way with a bromided paper developer but lose it on drying. If not, as others have said, a touch of dilute selenium toner get's the greens out very nicely, thank you very much, if you find the Dektol greenies too much for your tastes.
I am still hoarding some of the older Seagull in the freezer which I bought when the French-made Zone VI became unavailable. I have no experience with the newer stuff. But the OD-62 paper developer recommended by Oriental for the older stuff had more bromide in it than Dektol-like D-72, so I suspect the greens were not a problem with that paper.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
I find most papers look much better in Dektol mixed 1:1, as opposed to 1:2. At 1:1 print color is neutral and blacks are very rich. At 1:2 papers took on a greenish cast that needed selenium toning to remove. I can't think of a single paper where 1:2 looks better, in fact.
It's all good in dektol. I use Ethol LPD religiously but dektol is fine. I liked Oriental but have only purchased 1 25 sheet pack. Forte FB was my favorite.
I'll be purchasing some arista.edu ultra RC paper soon as it's the most reasonably priced offering out there as of right now. I'd love some 16x20 Ilford Warmtone FB but I can't afford $250 for 50 sheets.. $250 is what I spend in a year on materials (paper, chemicals, film).
I'd like to try the Slavich as well as the Fotokemika offerings but have no experience with them as of yet.
I went on two courses at college for B&W. As far as the chems were concerned, none of us used tongs. Smelly fingers would be the worse that can happen but your fingers will be in water often enough that I don't think that even the smell will stay. Unless you are in the unlucky minority whose skin suffers from any kind of immersion in normal strength darkroom chems I think that fingers will be fine. It was for about 50 of us.
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Thanks to everyone for your replies.
You all make good points - I do need to dig out my tongs and bring them to the lab with me. I'm also nursing a baby right now and the idea of using my fingers makes me uncomfortable.
Thanks to Jim and John for the tip about selenium to get the green out.
Marco, that's interesting about the dillution difference. I'm not sure what they mix it at at school but I'll check.
I'd have no problem with that. Leave yourself a little
Originally Posted by jolynned
finger nail. I find some handy.
I think tongs and deep long sinks must have come
along about the same time. Tongs? Deep long sinks?
What for? Dan
Buy cheap paper and bring tongs. Unless your negatives are way off, Arista paper should have the contrast range you need. I personally hate to smell my hands after soaking them in dektol/stop/fixer and the smell doesn't go away very quickly. Tongs are easy to use but I find that examination gloves work great when doing color in total darkness.
you can say that again ..
Originally Posted by jim appleyard
the only paper i have had a green cast to in dektol or ansco 130 was azo paper.
don't worry about cheep paper vs. expensive paper, it all works well.
i am still using the cheepest paper i can find, which was rebranded
ilford multigrade i got when photowarehouse was selling cuts
off of master rolls ...
regarding fingers in chemicals ...
it is best to use tongs, but there are times when you have to get your fingers
in the soup ... and it won't kill you. examination gloves work well, and
a box of them can be bought at your local drug store for not much money.
ps. i never use toners cause i think they are about as nasty a chemical
as you can get. if toned my prints, i would use gloves AND tongs!
There isn't anything you can't do with Dektol. I've yet to find a paper that doesn't work well in Dektol. Many of the boutique developers that people rave about are Dektol clones with sexy names or slight variances on the formula. Arista.EDU Ultra is the bargain basement brand from Freestyle. One hundred sheets or fiber based VC paper will set you back $53 US. That's pretty good for fiber based paper, and it's good paper. It's pretty good on the soft end, but it won't reach a true grade 5 with Kodak or Ilford variable contrast filters. It won't do it with color heads either. I don't think it can reach a grade 5 with any light source. But that doesn't matter much. If you need more than a grade 3 to 3 1/2 to print a "normal" negative, something else is wrong. It will do everything that Ilford's MGIV will do, and it actually changes tone in selenium. MGIV doesn't change very much.