Ilford FB Classic and FB Cooltone: first impressions

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Bruce Robbins

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I had a few sheets of each to play with over Christmas and the New Year and have finally got round to writing up some early views of the new papers. They're really, really good and I can't wait to get my hands on some more. I never used to be a fan of cool tone prints but I've changed my mind, even though I didn't have any real cool tone developer to hand.

You can read it here: The Online Darkroom



The Gate: FB Classic, Mamiya Press 6x9
gate+colour.jpg
 

sandholm

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Thanks for sharing, very interesting. These are two papers that I really want to get my hands on, Ilford is the new (cool/warm) black
 
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Dear Bruce,

I read your 'first impressions' we at the ranch are delighted you liked it.

No substitute for customer feedback....

Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
 
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Great review. Thanks for sharing! Ive had my first batch of both new papers for weeks and still haven't had time to print on them. What's interesting to me about your review is the initial lack of a dry-down effect. I will certainly hope dry-down is less of a factor with the new papers.
 

mr rusty

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Hi Bruce

I note in the web write-up you mention calibrating your Analyser Pro. As you know, It IS a fairly involved process, and if you have done it for the new papers, would you like to share your settings ;-).

Many thanks!
 

DREW WILEY

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I responded about the drydown on a different forum. And I've only worked with the Cooltone so far, but there is a distinct amount of drydown
which you have to factor in. To me it seems about equivalent to MGWT in the degree of this.
 
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Bruce Robbins

Bruce Robbins

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Hi Bruce

I note in the web write-up you mention calibrating your Analyser Pro. As you know, It IS a fairly involved process, and if you have done it for the new papers, would you like to share your settings ;-).

Many thanks!

Sorry to admit it but I only use the Analyser Pro as an f-stop timer! If I do calibrate it for the Ilford papers - and it's something I should be doing - I'll post the settings on my blog.
 

lhalcong

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I like the feeling of the print. It seems to me like it turned a mundane scene into something to look at. I'd like to know, the tone on the picture, is that the natural tone of the paper, or was that tone introduced by the scanner.? I also like the resolution and detail. did you scan the print or the film , What did you scan it with ?
 

mr rusty

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Sorry to admit it but I only use the Analyser Pro as an f-stop timer! If I do calibrate it for the Ilford papers - and it's something I should be doing - I'll post the settings on my blog.

No worries. If I get to it before you, I'll post here.
 
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Bruce Robbins

Bruce Robbins

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I like the feeling of the print. It seems to me like it turned a mundane scene into something to look at. I'd like to know, the tone on the picture, is that the natural tone of the paper, or was that tone introduced by the scanner.? I also like the resolution and detail. did you scan the print or the film , What did you scan it with ?

Hi,

It's impossible for me to know what tone you're looking at on your monitor so I'd take it as indicative rather than definitive. What I can say is that it's a scan of the print and there was just a little sharpening applied. The scanner is an old Epson 3200 flatbed. I scanned it as a colour file and checked the tone on the monitor (iMac) against the print. The print looked warmer so I adjusted the colour temperature in Lightroom to match the two as closely as I could. It's not an exact science -at least where I'm concerned :smile: - but I felt the scans were quite faithful to the originals. Hope that helps.
 

rwhawkins

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Bruce,

Definitely love your site, keep up the good work.

I've been working with Ilford Classic for a couple weeks now, pretty happy so far. You can see my first print here. I'm itching to try the warmtone next!
 

Adrian Twiss

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When Ilford RC Cooltone first came out the instructions advised that to achieve an enhanced cold tone the development time should be extended from 2 to 3 minutes. I was wondering if this was the same for the fibre version.
 
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Bruce Robbins

Bruce Robbins

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Bruce Robbins

Bruce Robbins

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Apologies for forgetting to reply, Simon. It's good to know that Ilford are keeping an eye on what people are saying about their products. You must be pretty pleased with the general response to FC Classic and FB Cooltone. I don't think I've seen a bad word about either paper - other than the fact that they don't lith. But nobody's perfect. :smile:
 

DREW WILEY

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Adrian - some extension of dev time with the FB Cooltone definitely seems to help, that is, at the same dev dilution. I certainly haven't tried anything like premature "snatch" dev with this paper yet. But for a good DMax, more prints seem to need around 3 min rather than 2, which is
typical for most analogous papers. I have always varied paper dev times and temp depending on exact circumstances, but in this case it does
generally seem to need a bit longer.
 
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I just ended my first DR session with Classic.

1. Classic is much faster than MGIV. #2. My test prints show rich blacks....there seems to be a sense of crispness I don't recall with MGIV. 3. Just looking at the prints in the water hold bath...no reason to miss MGIV. 4. Classic's image tone is slightly more neutral than MGIV using PQ paper developer; many people may not notice.

After printing a few Classic 8x10s from small format I tried to match test strips from my remaining two sheets of 2 year old MGIV. Values way off due to the paper speed. At this point I ran out of time.

Besides my 4 points, I adjusted projection time 20% moving from Ilford's #2 filter to a #1.5. This was totally unexpected and needs additional hands on time to validate.

The image forms around 30-35s. I suspect Classic has incorporated developer. Developer incorporated papers have less shelf life from my experience.

When I have more time and find the right neg I'm interested in a Galerie vs Classic comparison. I think Galerie may have smoother, richer mid tones.

I like the genuine silver gelatin stickers Harman/Ilford packaged inside Classic. It's a silly, little thing...but we print with fibre to achieve the highest print quality. A silver gelatin print deserves the distinction.
 
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Bruce Robbins

Bruce Robbins

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I just ended my first DR session with Classic.

1. Classic is much faster than MGIV. #2. My test prints show rich blacks....there seems to be a sense of crispness I don't recall with MGIV. 3. Just looking at the prints in the water hold bath...no reason to miss MGIV. 4. Classic's image tone is slightly more neutral than MGIV using PQ paper developer; many people may not notice.

After printing a few Classic 8x10s from small format I tried to match test strips from my remaining two sheets of 2 year old MGIV. Values way off due to the paper speed. At this point I ran out of time.

Besides my 4 points, I adjusted projection time 20% moving from Ilford's #2 filter to a #1.5. This was totally unexpected and needs additional hands on time to validate.

The image forms around 30-35s. I suspect Classic has incorporated developer. Developer incorporated papers have less shelf life from my experience.

When I have more time and find the right neg I'm interested in a Galerie vs Classic comparison. I think Galerie may have smoother, richer mid tones.

I like the genuine silver gelatin stickers Harman/Ilford packaged inside Classic. It's a silly, little thing...but we print with fibre to achieve the highest print quality. A silver gelatin print deserves the distinction.

Thanks for that, Richard.
 
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Unexposed paper with incorporated developer has a shorter self life. When I printed with Agfa Multi-classic the paper did not last much longer than 2/3 years and would degrade. I understood Harman (Ilford) has not had paper with incorporated developer.
 

L Gebhardt

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I obviously haven't been paying close enough attention, but has MGIV been discontinued or are these two new papers just added to the existing lineup?

Also, is there any difference in the base color between Warm, Classic, and Cooltone papers?
 
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