Is FB paper harder to print?

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sruddy

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I'm a beginner in the darkroom and am still mostly in the testing and learning mode. I'm trying to decide on which paper to use for my final prints. I started with ILFORD RC satin and pearl, and have tried their art 300, FB ilfobrom Glossy grade 3, and now FB VC Warmtone semi matt. I succesfully printed the negative I'm working with on 20 x 24 RC pearl with nothing put a single exposure using #2 filter. I was very happy with the result except for the plastic paper. Moving onto the FB working on 8 x 10 size my highlight detail is blown out. Am I not developing the paper long enough of should I expect the FB paper to print different from the RC paper?
 

MattKing

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Each paper is different, although some of the differences are small.
A good approach is to adjust exposure to obtain the highlights and mid-tones you like, and then adjust the contrast to obtain the shadow rendering you like.
 

winger

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What Matt said plus, yes, Ilford fiber needs more development time than their RC. At 68 F (ish) and Ilford MG developer at 1:9, I use 1 minute for RC and 2 minutes for fiber. No matter what else I may change, I keep those consistent. But there are some tweaks for fiber compared to RC that seem to change with each different image. I also get a little pickier when I'm using fiber, I think.
 

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It is not any more difficult to print just more expensive, so you take more care when printing. Resin coated is fine when you are learning to print and for most general work. I only use FB when I have a print that is good enough and the extra effort is worth it.
 

Ian Grant

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It is not any more difficult to print just more expensive, so you take more care when printing. Resin coated is fine when you are learning to print and for most general work. I only use FB when I have a print that is good enough and the extra effort is worth it.

If someone is not experienced then it may well be a little harder to print on FB papers. They usually need slightly longer development times, have a greater dry down effect, need more careful fixing, better washing and preferably a hypo clear bath, don't dry flat.

When I started there were no RC/PE papers only Fibre based, the first PE paper I used was ex-military surplus before Ilford or Kodak introduced papers like Ilfospeed.

The introduction of Ilfospeed made printing so much easier, I was working commercially and it revolutionised professional work to the extent of almost wiping out FB papers. So on the basis that it made printing easier then FB printing was and still is more finicky.

Ian
 

MattKing

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I agree with what Ian just posted - the process is a bit more demanding with fibre paper.
In addition, while RC does change appearance as it dries, fibre paper actually changes density as it dries due to dry down effects.
But other than that, printing is the same :D.
 

Ian Grant

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Adding to MAtt's comments. RC papers like films can tolerate quite high levels of silver in fixer, FB papers can't so you need to be much more scrupulous in fixing techniques. Two bath fixing is the easiest.

Ian
 

pentaxuser

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I succesfully printed the negative I'm working with on 20 x 24 RC pearl with nothing put a single exposure using #2 filter. I was very happy with the result except for the plastic paper. Moving onto the FB working on 8 x 10 size my highlight detail is blown out. Am I not developing the paper long enough of should I expect the FB paper to print different from the RC paper?

I am a little confused about exactly what your question is. Are you saying that the same exposure for 8x10 on FB blew your highlights i.e. you lost details in those highlights that you were able to retain in the same print size, exposure, grade with 8x10 RC? Thus does the same make of FB paper( Ilford, say) require require a different exposure, all other thing being equal? If that is your question then my understanding is that exposure time does not change for FB v RC paper.

Was the loss of highlight detail the only difference? If you have attempted to develop the FB paper for the same time as the RC it will exhibit underdevelopment so the blacks/ heavy shadow details will be greyer than they should and the white/highlight details will also be greyer than they should. Overall the whole print will look greyer and lack contrast.

Showing us a scan of each will help

pentaxuser
 

btaylor

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If you’re pulling your FB prints out of the developer after 1 minute like you would for RC, that’s going to be a problem. I find 2.5 to 3 minutes in Dektol 1:2 works best for me. Fix and wash times are different, that’s about it.
 

MattKing

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Thus does the same make of FB paper( Ilford, say) require require a different exposure, all other thing being equal? If that is your question then my understanding is that exposure time does not change for FB v RC paper.
The emulsions on FB and RC papers are not necessarily matched - the support does matter. Even without changing the support, the speed can vary from batch to batch.
 

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I agree with what Ian just posted - the process is a bit more demanding with fibre paper.
In addition, while RC does change appearance as it dries, fibre paper actually changes density as it dries due to dry down effects.
But other than that, printing is the same :D.
Dry down is a big deal with fiber. My general rule is if I am going to hang it on the wall, or really want "the look and feel" I use fiber. I have an Ilford dryer, 10 seconds to dry. RC is almost like Polaroid, it gives you almost instant feedback on what you are doing.

For years I refused to print on anything but fiber. I still print anything I want to display on fiber. Dry mount etc. Royal pain if you get what you want with RC.
MHO, Mike
 

mshchem

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If you’re pulling your FB prints out of the developer after 1 minute like you would for RC, that’s going to be a problem. I find 2.5 to 3 minutes in Dektol 1:2 works best for me. Fix and wash times are different, that’s about it.
Totally agree. Temperature and time is huge deal.
 

tedr1

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Ilford FB and RC papers I have used are different speeds. FB is approximately half the speed of RC, so a 20 second exposure on RC turns into a 40 second exposure for FB. Always check the Ilford information sheet that comes with the papers, they include this information under speed rating I seem to recall.

Ilford RC and FB papers processed in the same developer require different processing times, the normal time for RC is 1 minute and the normal time for FB is 2 minutes. Pulling FB out of the dev after 1 minute will not give normal results. Always check the Ilford information that comes with the developer, it includes this information.
 
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Something else that may affect your results is that many RC papers have developer in the emulsion. Usually the documentation included with the paper will say so, but not always. I think development times of 60 to 90 seconds hint at the presence of a developer-incorporated emulsion. At least this used to be the case but i may be wrong now.
 

RalphLambrecht

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I'm a beginner in the darkroom and am still mostly in the testing and learning mode. I'm trying to decide on which paper to use for my final prints. I started with ILFORD RC satin and pearl, and have tried their art 300, FB ilfobrom Glossy grade 3, and now FB VC Warmtone semi matt. I succesfully printed the negative I'm working with on 20 x 24 RC pearl with nothing put a single exposure using #2 filter. I was very happy with the result except for the plastic paper. Moving onto the FB working on 8 x 10 size my highlight detail is blown out. Am I not developing the paper long enough of should I expect the FB paper to print different from the RC paper?
the effort to print is about the same; although ,I prefer FB because ,I think it's a bit more forgiving when it comes to contrast and tonality (smoother);FB takes a bit longer to process due to longer washing times but that's no big deal. I think; you are starting out right by using pearl RC;when you are ready to make the jump,I'd recommend FB glossy from Ilford for you. After selenium toning the Dmax in the blacks will knock you off your socks.all the best.
 

mshchem

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the effort to print is about the same; although ,I prefer FB because ,I think it's a bit more forgiving when it comes to contrast and tonality (smoother);FB takes a bit longer to process due to longer washing times but that's no big deal. I think; you are starting out right by using pearl RC;when you are ready to make the jump,I'd recommend FB glossy from Ilford for you. After selenium toning the Dmax in the blacks will knock you off your socks.all the best.
I Selenium tone everything. I use KRST 1&3 in HCA. I agree blacks, everything gets better.
 

MattKing

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Something else that may affect your results is that many RC papers have developer in the emulsion. Usually the documentation included with the paper will say so, but not always. I think development times of 60 to 90 seconds hint at the presence of a developer-incorporated emulsion. At least this used to be the case but i may be wrong now.
To my knowledge, there are no papers any more that have significant amounts of developer incorporated in them. The caveat being that emulsions often include very small amounts of developer like chemicals used to fine tune contrast and speed, in order to minimize batch to batch inconsistency.
The reason that development speeds are different for RC, is that RC support doesn't absorb chemicals like FB does. So there is a lot more developer reaching the emulsion instead of soaking into the support.
 

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I prefer any FB as the print. I do print on fifty years old single grade FB papers. But I like RC for washing time. It is next to instax. :smile:
 

pentaxuser

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One of the key questions when you make the switch from RC to FB is: Is the exposure time much the same. I had always thought it was, then tedr1 suggests that it is a stop different from 20 secs to 40secs. Has that been the general experience? If tedr1' s experience is a reflection of the true speed difference then this alone might explain the difference in the OP results except that when he moves to FB his highlights seem to be blown which might suggest that FB requires a lot less exposure which doesn't sound right either.

So to return to the exposure aspect is there a large difference( as much as a stop) between RC and FB, all other things being equal, based on the general experience here i.e.Ilford Pearl Multigrade in both cases?

pentaxuser
 

Frank53

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According to the Heiland split grade controller that I use, the difference between Ilford Multigrade FB and RC is 0,5 grade lower and just over 10% less exposure (FB).
That's the factory set up (which gives usually good results) and may be different dependent on taste.
Regards,
Frank
 
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To my knowledge, there are no papers any more that have significant amounts of developer incorporated in them. The caveat being that emulsions often include very small amounts of developer like chemicals used to fine tune contrast and speed, in order to minimize batch to batch inconsistency.
The reason that development speeds are different for RC, is that RC support doesn't absorb chemicals like FB does. So there is a lot more developer reaching the emulsion instead of soaking into the support.
Ah, thank you Matt.
 

BMbikerider

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If you’re pulling your FB prints out of the developer after 1 minute like you would for RC, that’s going to be a problem. I find 2.5 to 3 minutes in Dektol 1:2 works best for me. Fix and wash times are different, that’s about it.

A Professional Printer who worked for Ilford quoted to me at least 15 years ago:- "You are paying for silver in the printing paper so why not use it. The 2 mins developing which is usual for fibre based paper, I treat as the absolute minimum. Using Ilford Multigrade developer at 1-9 dilution, 4 minutes in the developing tray is perfectly acceptable without causing fogging and will give detail in highlights not visible after only 2 minutes. With multigrade resin coated at least 1min should be considered the absolute minimum. The shadows will reach max density sooner than the highlights"
 

darkroommike

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Like Ian, when I first started printing RC papers were not available, shortly thereafter gov't. surplus rapid access papers were available, I suspect the paper was cut down from long rolls of rapid access papers used to quickly print and view aerial reconnaissance photos taken so "we" could keep tabs on the cold war opponents.

When good commercial RC papers came available it was a great thing. I still like FB papers but I do most of my day-to-day printing on RC. And as others have pointed out the printing is almost the same and the processing is almost the same but those little things can really impede your progress as a printer.

For just starting out, stick with one type of paper (I suggest RC for simplified processing and quicker "feedback"), stick with one brand of paper, one developer, and one print surface. It's OK to try out other things but keep the new stuff out of your workflow for the amount of time it takes for you to be comfortable with your process.
 

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I generally develop RC for 1-1/2 minutes, FB for 3. A printer I know develops his FB prints for 7 minutes and gets incredible blacks. Another develops for 3 minutes, but at 75º, and his prints look fabulous.
 

Ben 4

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Most have focused here on adequate development time, but the first thing I would do is increase the exposure and/or lower the contrast. As a few have suggested, both will be different from the RC print.
 
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