I've always developed on RC Multigrade without a problem, but am starting to get annoyed with its quality. I bought a TON of paper off craigslist for around $100, and alot of it is Fibre based.
I read around on the internet, and in some books, but still have questions.
what other steps are necessary? I know theres more washing steps, are more chemicals necessary too? A fixer remover?
Do I need to get a red safelight? I only have an amber one- so I might just turn it off to do it, that wouldn't be too hard.
The processing differences with fiber paper are:
1. Developing and fixing steps tend to be longer. I usually develop FB for a minimum of 2 minutes, sometimes 3, compared with about 1 minute for RC. I use film-strength rapid fixer - 30 seconds for RC, one minute for FB. Also, I sometimes (but not always) use the two-bath sequence with FB, but never with RC.
2. I always add a hypoclear step with FB paper. I rinse the prints first in plain water, and then put them in a hypoclear bath with continuous agitation for one minute. I use Sprint Hypo Remover diluted 1:9; Kodak HCA works well, as do Permawash, Orbit Bath and similar products, and you can make up a bath from plain sodium solfite that works just as well.
3. I also choose to selenium tone my FB prints. However, that's a creative decision and not a process-related decision. I use RC mainly for proof and/or publication prints, and FB for display prints, and I prefer the appearance of selenium toned prints.
4. Theoretically, I wash FB prints a bit longer than RC. Practically, the difference here is trivial - I simply pass the prints through successive trays of plain water, letting them soak for 5 minutes or so in each tray with occasional agitation. 5-6 trays does the job.
5. I dry my prints on fiberglass screens. RC prints go face up, FB prints go face down. RC prints do dry faster, but I usually let them go overnight in either case.
Everything else - including the safelight - is the same with FB and RC paper.
technically speaking, FB doesn't need more chemicals to be processed. you can use the same developer, stop bath and fixer, but times are changing. Go to Ilford's web site and check the suggested times for dev/fix. You'll need more with FB. What does change (dramatically) is the time needed to wash the prints. The difference is huge and can only be reduced by using yet another chemical. You'll need a "hypo clearing agent" (Kodak's product is named so, others named washaid etc etc) after a "short" wash, then ever more washing. I put short in double quotes because it's very relative. You see, that "short" wash would be enough for RC paper. Regarding red/amber/whatever safelight, it doesn't matter if it's FB or RC you're using. It's the emulsion itself that is the important factor. The spectral sensitivity of your paper could mean that an amber safelight is good or not. Generally, a red safelight is the safest choice, but not the best one in terms of being able to see easily.
I went out to the darkroom today and had some fun, just messing with simple contact printing and stuff with a few sheets of fiber paper and heres what i noticed:
1. some paper was fine under the 15 watt amber light, some got a little foggy, some turned compeltely black in 10 seconds in developer...
2. The things that FB paper does blew my mind. One that this lady gave me was called "charcoal color" and it looked like regular paper, it wasn't glossy at all, I had a hard time telling what was the emulsion side, but figured it out. When i put it in the developer, the exposed part turned blood red. I said "Charcoal? Really? no way", then when I put in the stop bath it became a little less intense, and then when It was put in Fixer it turned a dark gray in seconds. I just stood there and laughed. Totally amazing. May not sound incredible to you pros, but for me It was like "yay science!"
3. It's touchy. I couldn't just "eyeball" my negs anymore. I had to study them and really know what grade to use.
I'll definitely be doing this more often. I need to get a new tray to put some hypo solution in.
Thanks for your help!
You also need to try some 'real' fiber-based paper, which you won't get for $100/ton. Experimenting and exploring is fine, but these hand-me-downs are counterproductive when it comes to making good prints. Many people give up, because they only dealt with old scrap paper, which should have been discarded to begin with.
I hope this doesn't happen to you, because good fiber-based paper is something very special!
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This may have nothing to do with the safelight, but how well the paper was stored and how old it is. Second hand paper can be unpredictable.
. some paper was fine under the 15 watt amber light, some got a little foggy, some turned compeltely black in 10 seconds in developer...
We have questions. What of that FB paper is Graded
Originally Posted by Hopscotch
and what is VC? Can you identify for us the FB papers
you do have? Dan
Originally Posted by dancqu
Theres just way too much to list everything that I have. I have alot of Ilford Multigrade IV FB, alot of Ilford Galerie RB, alot of Kodak Panalore. Theres tons of other high quality graded colored and other artistic type things, but only packs of 10-25 sheets. The boxes of Ilford and Panalore are 250 sheets.
I did some and got some great results- i mixed up some hypo and increased all the times- some were a little low-contrast, but all the paper seemed to be fine- not foggy or exposed!
Thanks for all your help.
Was it the Panalure that darkened under your safelight? As I recall, that paper was intended for producing black and white prints from color negatives and was panchromatic—meaning that a safelight couldn't be used.
Originally Posted by Hopscotch
What do you suggest is good fibre. I just began using fibre and am learning the intricacies. I bought Ilford DW Neutral tone. I like high contrast and tried the cool tone developer. I am getting the tone I want. But the drying and keeping the prints flat is a constant challenge. Any suggestions you have for using fibre would be appreciated.
Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht