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  1. #1

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    Newby needs advice on PT/PD printing - grainy

    The problem is not quite grain, but small pin-prick sized white dots - particularly noticeable in the shadows. The dark shadows don't have nearly the same smooth tone as do the mid tones and highlights.

    Other than that problem, I'm getting decent results with a digital negative on Pictorico with an Epson 4000 - setting are premium glossy, 2880, no color mgmt. Chemistry is from B&S, equal amounts of PT PD and Ferric Oxalate solution 1 and 2, all at room temperature. Chemistry is roughly 2 months old, but the problem has been there from the beginning. Coating is by glass rod, single coat. Developer is Ammonium Citrate at room temperature. Paper is Arches Platine and I'm printing on the top surface (I tried, accidentally, printing on the other side but it was clearly the wrong side).

    I've tried humidifying the paper, but no change.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    clay's Avatar
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    Ditch the Ferric oxalate solution number 2 except in tiny quantities. It is awful stuff and can cause grainy prints. Most printers now use Na2 when they need contrast control. The white dots sound like the paper has some buffer in it still. Which would be weird with Platine. I'm not sure about that. You could try acidifying the paper with 2% oxalic acid prior to coating. The other thing is that you might want to consider using potassium oxalate as a developer instead of the ammonium citrate. It is generally smoother and warmer toned than AmCit. Finally, the glass rod may be an issue. You really ought to get a 2 inch Richeson 'magic' brush. Your prints will show an immediate improvement.
    I just want to feel nostalgic like I used to.


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  3. #3
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    Clay is right - too much of the Fe #2 will cause white specs. The basic issue is that Fe #2 is a contrasting agent - you substitute Fe #2 for Fe #1 in order to increase contrast, but as the concentration of Fe #1 decreases, the sensitizing solution becomes weaker.

    A better approach is the method described in the article in the latest View Camera in which the NA2 solution is used instead of Fe #2. It only takes a minute amount of the NA2 solution to achieve a far wider range of contrasts than you can get with Fe #1. And an added benefit is that the NA2 approach uses only Pd salts, and that saves money.
    Louie

  4. #4
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    Unfortunately, I have gotten those white specks -- and I never use Fe#2. They showed up on some Fabriano Aristico...I had great success with the paper...then when I bought my second batch, the white specks showed up. I never figured out the cause -- but it looked like the solution actually was being repelled from the paper by the sizing. I switched paper before I worked out the problem with the Fabriano.

    Soaking the paper in Oxalic acid might help (2 to 5% solution). Brushing might help -- I actually start with the rod, and then after three passes, finish with the brush. (it helps me to get the proper area coated!)

    Since you have the chemicals, you might want to stick with the Fe#2 for now...but I would suggest tweaking your negs (up the contrast) to use as less of the Fe#2 as you can. You will get less grain than way...but I doubt the white specks are Fe#2 related...but I have been wrong before!

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  5. #5
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    If you try the oxalic acid (wood bleach from the hardware store) soak and it doesn't work, you might try adding some Tween or simply try another paper (although Platine has always worked in my limited experience).

  6. #6

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    I know these white specks from a long time back, looked at them under a 10x magnifyer and microscope, and as far as I know, they are a problem related to the sizing of the paper and very difficult to come by. I don't think changing from rod to brush helps. Sometimes you think you have the solution, only to see them re-occuring in the next print. If I remember correctly, I had them on Watson Watercolour and Rives BFK. Aches Platine is notoriously changing, I would not advise it. The news on Artistico, however, distress me, as this paper has, as far as I know, always been pretty consistent.
    My advice is: change the paper, to Artistico, I would have said, but...
    Expensive but a sure bet is Buxton paper. And what about this new American paper whose name I have forgotten? There was some news it had been changed and newly marketed???

  7. #7
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Lukas, my troubles with Fabriano was a couple of years or more ago -- as you said, things change. I even had a very bad batch of COT320 once (must have been unevenly sized -- the prints were very mottled), but my latest pt/pd prints on a recently bought batch are wonderful...smooth as can be.

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukas Werth View Post
    And what about this new American paper whose name I have forgotten? There was some news it had been changed and newly marketed???
    Believe that would be the Weston Diploma paper - have not seen results of the new batch, but I think there was a thread here where someone was using it without issue.

    The FAEW that I am using is still fine (though I tend to purchase at least 30-50 large sheets at a time - yields 120-200 sheets). Same for the Platine I have.

    A bit of topic, have considered ordering one of the sample paks from Daniel Smith to try the different papers in it - which includes some of the following:Arches Cover and Arches 88,Rives BFK and Rives BFK Heavyweight
    Magnani Pescia,Copperplate by Zerkall ,Hahnemuhle Copperplate Bright white and Warm White,Durer Etching White by Hahnemuhle ,German Etching by Hahnemuhle ,Daniel Smith Lenox ,Somerset White Satin and Textured, Somerset Velvet ,Rising Stonehenge ,Fabriano Tiepolo. As these are full sheets (22inx30in) seems like a good way to test different papers. Has anyone tried this before?
    Mike C

    Rambles

  9. #9
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    Might you have brushed the paper too harshly, thus abraiding the paper?
    Thank you.
    CWalrath

    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  10. #10

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    Just to be on the safe side, have you looked at your negs with a loupe? Any pin-prick patterns there?

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