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Thread: Paper / Developer Choices

  1. #1
    Lascassas, TN
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Lascassas TN

    Paper / Developer Choices

    I am trying to rationalize my darkroom processes. I have standardized my film and film developer (FP4-MPK). I shoot mostly landscapes (4x5) and kidís portraits (120). I print mostly 8x10s and up to 16x20ís. I normally use my base paper through the work prints and a display print. Sometime at that point I will try a different paper.

    I was using Kodak Poly Contrast paper with Dektol. As I finished my last box I need to select a new standard.

    What are the recommended paper / developer combinations?

    Do you use the same paper for proofing and work prints as you use for display prints?

    Has the longevity of RC prints improved? With the reduced processing and cost, can RC paper be used for work prints and then switch to fiber base for the final print?

    Any suggestions?

    Bill Kumpf

  2. #2
    Eric Biggerstaff
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Denver, Colorado

    Re: Paper / Developer Choices


    Of course, it is best to purchase several small packages of different papers and try them out.

    For me, I use:

    Ilford MGFB IV
    Ilford MG Warmtone FB
    Forte Polywarmtone FB (I have a few hundred sheets left)

    All of these are developed in Clayton P-20 at a 1+6 dilution for 2.5 minutes. This is a nice developer that I dilute from concentrate just before use. Also, I recently made some prints in Ansco 130 and it is very nice as well.

    I try to use the same paper for work prints and final prints. Although, at times I will use RC versions of these papers for work prints to save cost.

    Hope that helps.

    PS - To Ralphs point below, I find P-20 to give neutral tones on MGFB IV and nice warm tones on, you guessed it, the warm tone papers. It is VERY similar to Dektol to my eye. Not to cold, and not to warm. The Ansco 130 on the MGFB IV seemed to provide a slightly warmer image tone on the neutral tone paper, and the mid-tones seemed to pop a little better, but I have not used enough of it to really understand what it can and cannot do yet. I liked the P-20 as it is a liguid concentrate and I can dilute just before using. Also, it is well priced through Freestyle.
    Last edited by Eric Biggerstaff; 30-Jan-2008 at 10:30. Reason: More information
    Eric Biggerstaff

  3. #3
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Rio Rancho, NM

    Re: Paper / Developer Choices

    As different people use different paper/developer combinations for various reasons, and papers will often exhibit different tonal characteristics with each developer, it would be wonderful if those responding could include that sort of information. That way, we might be able to tabulate the data into a table of some sort for everyone's future reference. Obviously, there's still the factor of individual interpretation of the results, but it might still be useful.

    Suggested tonal categories: cold, cool, neutral, warm, very warm

    Any marked color cast could also be noted.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Van Buren, Arkansas

    Re: Paper / Developer Choices

    RC paper can be quite long-lived. I have RC prints I made in the early 1970's that have not changed at all. While I favor the "look" of fiber-based paper, really, modern RC paper is not inferior in keeping qualities, in my opinion.

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