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Thread: The RC Myth.

  1. #1
    Dave Miller's Avatar
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    The RC Myth.

    It seems to be generally advocated within this forum that fibre paper gives superior printing results to resin coated material. May I offer the argument that this is false, misleading, and probably driven by snobbery?
    Assuming the same image is printed equally well on both products of an equal finish, it is almost impossible to tell which medium is providing the support without physical help. Further if the finished print is displayed behind glass then it is IMPOSSIBLE to tell which type of paper was used. After all it is the emulsion that we look at, not the sub-carrier. So, why do we make life even more difficult, and expensive for ourselves than it already is? I accept that some fibre papers tone a little better than their resin counterparts, and certain processes will not work on RC, but thatís mainly because the emulsion type required isnít available on that bearer. Iím thinking here of Bromoil, and Lith as examples.
    So, what argument can the forum offer for the exclusion of RC papers?
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


  2. #2
    dr bob's Avatar
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    For me personally, the choice of paper and finishes depends on the image and what I visualize as the final product. RC does the job in many cases.
    I love the smell of fixer in the morning. It smells like...creativity!
    Truly, dr bob.

  3. #3
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    I quite enjoy RC papers for the easy of us, but when it comes to producing a "fine" print I find that many of the processes I need to use to get what I want do not work well with RC papers. But if I can get what I want from RC I stick with it.
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  4. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    We still don't know how archivally stable the latest RC papers are, and fiber is proven technology. I have some 20-year-old RC prints that have lasted, and I have some 10-year old RC prints that have silvered out on display.

    High end galleries that sell to serious collectors show very few RC B&W prints. Maybe it's snobbery, but, hey if the snobs are your market, there's no downside to catering to it.

    Personally, I don't think any RC paper I've tried really produces the blacks and the subtle gradation you can get with graded fiber papers. On the other hand, they may work for some kinds of images and some tastes.

    I use RC papers for convenience sometimes, for some proofs, prints for reproduction that don't need to last a long time, and for snapshots that are for passing around more than for mounting. Prints that are important to me are on fiber.

  5. #5
    jovo's Avatar
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    I always make contact sheets, and often make work prints on RC paper because it's so much quicker and I can experiment and get a sense of direction from quickly washed and dried prints. Then I use fiber paper for the greater depth of tone and 'look' that clearly differentiates it from RC for finished prints. I wish the RC material were as good as the fiber stuff, but so far at least, it doesn't seem to be. OTOH, depending on whom you are making prints for, RC prints do indeed look pretty darn good and just may be good enough...just not compared to the same image on fiber paper.
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  6. #6

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    I've used both & prefer the look of fiber - there is a different appearance with the image on RC floating on the surface while same image seems to have a 3 dimensional quality on fiber.
    Also, as mentioned above & in Ctein's Post Exposure the jury is still out on the longevity/permanence of RC. Many on the Pure-Silver list as well as manufacturers would argue that Ctein's observations were for single batch with one manufacturer; but there seems enough anecdotal evidence that the problem is pervasive. After reading what manufacturers have to go thru in order to try to make RC permanent, makes me wonder about the long-term reliability of the solution(s).
    van Huyck Photo
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  7. #7
    BWGirl's Avatar
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    Well, Dave, I for one am very happy you bring this up! I have been trying to figure out if there are real differences (besides fiber being an all around pain in the posterior... extra washing, curly prints, dry down). I love it that every day I come here and learn something new!
    Jeanette
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  8. #8
    FrankB's Avatar
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    I'm with Jeanette on this one. I'm a newbie to FB and would appreciate as many views and as much information as possible (without actual bloodshed!) on this thread.

    Great thread and (as always) great forum!

    Frank

  9. #9
    fhovie's Avatar
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    RC paper is great for testing and a lot of commercial work but for "fine art" it is not generally accepted. We know how archival properly used fiber papers are and that they will look great in 50 or more years. I like the look of fiber paper better and when I use RC paper, I can see the thin plastic layer over my image like a old soap film. When I look at a fiber prnt, I can see the image directly. I still use RC to fiber paper about -2 to 1. I put the work I am really proud of on fiber.

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    But Aren't the emulsions the same?

    It seems the papers I once used in the 70s are very different than the papers of today. I see these differences in todays emulsions and that raises the age old question of longevity. Yes the old papers have a proven track record but they suposedly had more silver compound in them. According to another discussion I saw here, new emulsions are silver starved. From what I read about emulsions of Agfa, Kodak and Illford, they are all using the same compounds in both their RCs and FB papers.

    Since New RC and FB are both using the same emulsions but have different bases... will modern papers hold up as well as their grandparent's papers? Which one is better if both emulsions are the same? Does the base material realyl make any difference if the emusions fail?

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