Obtaining prints on old Ilfospeed paper

Monticello Avenue-3

A
Monticello Avenue-3

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
surprise!

A
surprise!

  • Tel
  • Feb 7, 2023
  • 2
  • 3
  • 145
Anatomy

A
Anatomy

  • 1
  • 4
  • 167
Morning

D
Morning

  • 0
  • 0
  • 103
BD2023-1.jpg

D
BD2023-1.jpg

  • 0
  • 1
  • 127

Forum statistics

Threads
182,041
Messages
2,519,209
Members
95,480
Latest member
stngoldberg
Recent bookmarks
1

Robin Guymer

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
204
Location
Melbourne Australia
Shooter
35mm
A few boxes of very old Ilfospeed 3.1M print paper came with my purchase of an LPL C7700 enlarger. I'd tried a few times to get a print on this 10x8 paper at grade 3 / F4 / 140 sec. but it was too fogged to be useful. Was going to chuck it all out but experimenting with some Caffenol and normal developer, I managed to obtain an old looking print to suit the subject car at Shoshone museum Death Valley. The attachment also shows a print result in standard developer on new multigrade paper.

My experiment was a very rough caffenol mixture in one tray and standard developer in another plus a rinse tray and stop and fix. Exposure on the paper was at F5.6 (nikor 50mm), 120 sec @ 200Y & 0M (on the colour head (grade 00) ) then 60 sec @ 170M & 0Y (say grade 4.5), then 4 sec no filters at F2.8. Placed the paper in the Caffenol for 3 minutes until a rough image began to appear. Rinsed then into the normal developer for 60 seconds, stop and fix for 90 seconds.

I know this kind of old paper is not suitable for split grade printing but did that help, or was it the post 4 sec no filters flash? The Caffenol certainly gave the paper some brown stain I was after but I wonder if it also helped the paper develop? I can see more shadow detail on the old paper print. Won't be throwing this paper out now as it has got some character to it. Any suggestions for further improvement in the process? Thanks.

Shoshone car 1.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Down Under

Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
Messages
1,087
Location
The universe
Shooter
Multi Format
Old (more than 10 years) Ifospeed paper is RC base and can be iffy - but I have a few 5x7 packs left from the 1990s still able to produce excellent prints. Old Ilfobrom is (usually) a much safer bet, being FB - a few years ago 20 100-sheet boxes of 6.5x8.5 single weight (a rarity) came my way via an old photo studio in rural Victoria (Australia), fortunately the owner had kept it in cold storage and it now resides in my home darkroom fridge, so it has remained in surprisingly good condition given its manufacture dates (mid-late 1990s).

Ditto old Multigrade III paper (also RC) which can give surprisingly good results but is a PITA to work with. Sheets of paper taken in sequence from the same box will often produce prints with totally different contrast and mid-tones - so working with M III is a hands-on, try-it-and-see experience.

Ilfospeed, Ilfobrom, Multigrade... just now I'm not quite sure where this post will take us, but let me move on to a few processing suggestions.

I'm sure you will find many posts on this if you search APUG/Photrio, but here goes anyway. My comments below apply only to regular print developers (Dektol, Multigrade,PQ, a few others I've worked with), I'm unsure about Caffeinol as I've not used it.

Sodium carbonate to spiff up the blacks and up the contrast a bit. It has been a while since I've mixed up a batch, so memory wanders a bit. A 5% solution, I think. Add it to the developer tray in 10 ml shots. (Suggest you Google this one for more specific data.)

Ditto benzotriazole to handle fog. Use more sparingly - a 1% solution, again added in 10 ml amounts tho' I've used 5 ml slugs in the past. In spite of its advanced age my Ilfobrom doesn't show any sign of fogging, so I've not used this for a long while.Again, you should Google for info.

Old time darkroom workers also used potassium bromide but I've never gone that way as I don't have any in my darkroom.

Kodak Dektol seems to work better as a higher contrast brew than the Ilford paper developers, Multigrade (somewhat aggressive, produces prints too quickly in the tray for my liking) or PQ (slower, more pleasing mid tones in my prints, can be diluted 1+8 or 1+14 or in any other mix you want and you still get results.

One of the great pleasures of using outdated paper is the anticipation of what you will get in the finished print. Some of my Ilfobrom enlargements looked, quite honestly, like crap as finished prints, but a few minutes in dilute selenium toner brought out the mid-tones and resulted in some very charming enlargements recalling prints from the period 1900-1950, when printing papers and processing chemistry were more traditional and very y different from today's photo papers and developers.

Robin, you experimentation produced a good and, I reckon, an interesting print - try one in selenium if you have any of this chemical on hand - and see what the tones turn into.
 

pdeeh

Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2012
Messages
4,767
Location
UK
Shooter
Multi Format
Any suggestions for further improvement in the process?
What ozmoose said.
Benzotriazole can be remarkably good at rescuing ancient paper.
 

freecitizen

Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2014
Messages
78
Shooter
Large Format
Lumen printing is worth a try. Also worth seeing if it will Lith. Often old fogged papers can give very good lith prints.
 

pentaxuser

Subscriber
Joined
May 9, 2005
Messages
16,877
Location
Daventry, No
Shooter
35mm
Robin, can you say how you came to use your different settings ie. what decided you on these combos of Y and M? What does 2 mins at the higher setting of 200M and then 1 min at the lower setting of 170M do that 3 mins at say 200M does not do. Given the grade equivalents on the dichroic head and the final outcome it looks as if the paper has lost a lot of contrast. When I had some MGIII which had lost a lot of contrast I found it almost impossible to increase contrast and extra exposure simply darkened the whole picture.

Don't get me wrong. The picture looks OK but I just wonder what the change of settings actually does? How bad is the age fogging i.e. how grey is the border that had no exposure? I have never used Ilfospeed paper but 3 mins exposure at f5.6 seems like a very long time. Maybe fresh Ilfospeed needs a longer exposure than RCMG but what might the right exposure be if it was fresh.

Thanks

pentaxuser
 
OP
OP
Robin Guymer

Robin Guymer

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
204
Location
Melbourne Australia
Shooter
35mm
Old (more than 10 years) Ifospeed paper is RC base and can be iffy - but I have a few 5x7 packs left from the 1990s still able to produce excellent prints. Old Ilfobrom is (usually) a much ...........................................
Robin, you experimentation produced a good and, I reckon, an interesting print - try one in selenium if you have any of this chemical on hand - and see what the tones turn into.
................
Thanks ozmoose, I feel inspired now to try some more. I have a few of those chemicals and will do some more research. I'll print your great reply for future reference. It will be interesting to see if the paper is consistent as it may be like you suggested that each print will be a surprise. The Caffenol does allow plenty of time to monitor development as it's very slow but then when put in the Ilford Multigrade developer the print comes on quick. The issue with the Caffenol is it stinks and quickly pollutes the developer, stop and fix and I read that a brew is only good for a few prints. Anyway it's a fun experiment.
 
OP
OP
Robin Guymer

Robin Guymer

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
204
Location
Melbourne Australia
Shooter
35mm
Robin, can you say how you came to use your different settings ie. what decided you on these combos of Y and M? What does 2 mins at the higher setting of 200M and then 1 min at the lower setting of 170M do that 3 mins at say 200M does not do. Given the grade equivalents on the dichroic head and the final outcome it looks as if the paper has lost a lot of contrast. When I had some MGIII which had lost a lot of contrast I found it almost impossible to increase contrast and extra exposure simply darkened the whole picture.

Don't get me wrong. The picture looks OK but I just wonder what the change of settings actually does? How bad is the age fogging i.e. how grey is the border that had no exposure? I have never used Ilfospeed paper but 3 mins exposure at f5.6 seems like a very long time. Maybe fresh Ilfospeed needs a longer exposure than RCMG but what might the right exposure be if it was fresh.

I was originally trying fresh multigrade paper with split grade exposure settings (after test strips) then experimenting with various times in developer and caffenol and back to developer, or caffenol first then developer. Just trying combo stuff. The fresh paper did take on some coffee stain and the contrast was okay. Then I just winged it on the old paper. I looked at my previous lousy results at 140 sec and just started experimenting. Even got out the old Metz flash and gave one print a post flash from across the room - haha that print went in the bin. Your right that the image lacks contrast and yes previous attempts with this old paper did show the edges as fogged. Not sure if the split grade exposure achieved anything, maybe 3 minutes at grade 3 would be same result. Anyway it's all good fun.
 

pentaxuser

Subscriber
Joined
May 9, 2005
Messages
16,877
Location
Daventry, No
Shooter
35mm
Thanks, Robin. If it were me I might be tempted to try 200M for max contrast for maybe 2 mins and then another at 3 mins to see if there is any difference in contrast between the two. If 3 mins has a greater contrast then this is a win even if it is darker overall and if it doesn't, compared to 2 mins but 2 mins reduces the flat dark overcast look then this may be the win.

pentaxuser
 

MattKing

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
Messages
41,628
Location
Delta, BC, Canada
Shooter
Multi Format
Correct me if I am remembering wrong, but isn't Ilfospeed a fixed grade paper?
If so, changing the magenta and yellow settings on the light source isn't likely to help with controlling contrast. It may, however cause poor results, if you end up all or partially out of the range of sensitivity for the paper.
Here is the data sheet for the current Ilfospeed Deluxe - note the spectral sensitivity: https://www.ilfordphoto.com/amfile/file/download/file_id/1917/product_id/725/
 

pentaxuser

Subscriber
Joined
May 9, 2005
Messages
16,877
Location
Daventry, No
Shooter
35mm
A crucial point, Matt.

Robin, it looks to me that a test strip under white enlarger light at f5.6 at say 40 secs, 51 secs, 85 secs,120 secs,180 secs, using 1/3 stop increases each time might be in order and go from there.

pentaxuser
 

miha

Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
2,305
Location
Slovenia
Shooter
Multi Format
There was ILFOSPEED MULTIGRADE II at some point...
 
OP
OP
Robin Guymer

Robin Guymer

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2017
Messages
204
Location
Melbourne Australia
Shooter
35mm
Thanks Matt & pentaxuser, I am sure your right about the split grade and that I should just stay with white light (grade 2) using stop grades on test strips. Looking at previous results with this old paper I can see that it differs from sheet to sheet and the ones in the middle of the pack may be better. If I have any luck I'll post the results.
Robin.
 
Photrio.com contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
To read our full affiliate disclosure statement please click Here.

PHOTRIO PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Ilford ADOX Freestyle Photographic Stearman Press Weldon Color Lab Blue Moon Camera & Machine
Top Bottom