PDA

View Full Version : RC advocates please chime in



RodinalDuchamp
27-Jan-2016, 08:41
I've had this conversation in person with a few friends and we seem to be split.

The argument is that fiber based paper is inherently better than RC paper in every aspect. The response is that RC paper had been used successfully now for decades.

1. I've been told that fiber paper had better latitude. Based on this more Gray tones can be pulled out of a print.

2. Fiber paper lasts much longer ( I agree with this but not sure if it matters once the print is circulating in the market)

I am really interested in this claim that fiber paper had more latitude.

I know for sure all traditional color prints are done on RC. I know the MOMA has RC black and white traditional prints in its collection.

If RC is good enough to be in the MOMA's collection what is the divide for? I feel at a certain point it's preferential but many printers hold on to the idea that fiber based paper inherently makes better prints I assume this is because of the latitude claim.

I have no real dog in this fight I want to be a spectator and hear what you seasoned guys have to say.

I print a lot on RC but I've printed on fiber also. Honestly besides the feel in hand and surface textures I haven't been convinced fiber makes better prints. I am from the thinking that good negatives make good prints.

Bruce Barlow
27-Jan-2016, 08:53
Years ago I made a lot of tests. At that time, Kodak Polycontrast 4 RC was pretty darn good in direct comparison (same neg, exposure to have comparable prints) to Seagull, Ilford Multigrade FB, Bergger, and several others. Not quite Galerie, but little is. Since it was so good, of course Kodak almost immediately discontinued it.

I think the smart photographer does what I did, and makes some direct comparisons. He or she invests a couple hours, and sees for one's self.

I use the cheapest RC I can find for proofing. Way good enough for photography.

vinny
27-Jan-2016, 08:59
ya lost me..........."The argument is that fiber based paper is inherently better than fiber paper in every aspect." but I agree. Fiber is better than fiber so that's what I use.

RodinalDuchamp
27-Jan-2016, 09:00
Woops sorry. Edited for correction.

Fiber is inherently better than RC in every aspect.

LabRat
27-Jan-2016, 09:00
If you need a perfect smooth gloss for scanning/reproduction prints, RC has it...

Steve K

RodinalDuchamp
27-Jan-2016, 09:02
Well let's keep the conversation based on physical prints/characteristics. I wonder if anyone has actual literature on the respective latitudes.

Michael R
27-Jan-2016, 09:08
1. I've been told that fiber paper had better latitude. Based on this more Gray tones can be pulled out of a print.



This is not correct. The emulsions in current RC papers offer all the tonality FB papers do. In fact from the perspective of sheer reflection density range, RC papers can exceed the range of FB papers in some cases.

RC papers have also come a long way in terms of "archival" characteristics.

For me the main issue is the tactile/surface characteristics. I prefer FB glossy and don't like any of the RC surfaces. But that's simply a personal aesthetic preference regarding the physical characteristics of the papers, and has nothing to do with tonality (ie "gray tones" etc.).

RodinalDuchamp
27-Jan-2016, 09:11
Michael,

I can't tell the difference. I have to agree with you. Besides the tactile/surface aesthetics I believe them to be generally very close if not identical.

Now some also raise the question of price. Well fiber is more expensive it HAS to be better right? Well maybe it's the added security of archival quality that they are selling at this point and that's fair. Fiber is older, tried and true this come with a certain premium.

RodinalDuchamp
27-Jan-2016, 09:12
By the way I have contacted Ilford directly regarding this question and will post their response if they do respond.

Drew Wiley
27-Jan-2016, 09:24
If you like the look of certain RC papers, go for it. But you will have an uphill battle in terms of how collectors perceive these, if that is the kind of thing you havein mind rather than just commercial work. Most of the color C-prints, which are indeed a form of RC, once collected and shown by museums have probably either
faded or discolored into oblivion unless they're of a relatively recent generation of more stable Fuji dyes. Museums show a lot of things for public interest which
aren't necessarily permanent. Some of these are sold to private collectors after showings if they're too big to be realistically archived, which is often the case today when big has become too big to store anywhere. But I'm not aware of any RC paper that could legitimately be termed "premium" in terms of richness.
It's always been a price point and convenience market. Another issue is that they don't drymount well, so unless they're pretty small, don't look all that good
in a frame.

Michael R
27-Jan-2016, 09:27
Rodinal:

You can also look at the respective characteristic curves (which show contrast ranges and density ranges) in Ilford's tech publications for each paper on their website. When it comes to tonality, RC papers are just as good as FB. There are still, of course, other differences which would have to be tested by the user when it comes to things like toners.

Drew Wiley
27-Jan-2016, 10:23
Toners can make a huge difference. But some papers, like MGIV, I actually preferred in RC version for its silvery quality. Fine for commercial portfolios, submission to scan for ads etc. But once you go big (if these specific papers are even available in big rolls), you have to mount them for display just like plastic
based color prints using hi-tack adhesive foils, which is a pain in the butt and not something realistic to the casual user. Drymounting is so much easier and safer. Frankly, just for fairness, it would be nice if some of prejudice against RC was removed, since "archival" or not, they're probably more permanent than most of the color prints being sold today. At one time Ilford did an experimental run of MGIV on full gloss polyester base, back when they were still united to the Swiss division which used this same base for Cibachrome. Now that would have been interesting to work with!

RodinalDuchamp
27-Jan-2016, 10:26
Oh wow. That sounds like really interesting stuff to work with. Almost like a woven method I would assume.

I can only see RC paper getting better with time.

Bill_1856
27-Jan-2016, 10:30
What does "RC" mean?

RodinalDuchamp
27-Jan-2016, 10:33
Resin Coated as opposed to Fiber Based

bob carnie
27-Jan-2016, 10:43
When I started my printing business, I had a partner who chose to make RC prints rather than Fibre. I grew up on Fibre and other than contacts never used the stuff. Basically I like the look of Fibre papers over RC.

All the RC prints that were framed by my partner exhibited a de silivering , whereas all the fibre prints did not. We put in a policy of no RC and have not had a print returned in 25 years since taking this stance.

This de silvering in prints was a common and confirmed problem and basically during that period of time put a bad rap on RC prints , I am not sure if the manufactures fixed this problem as I have not made a custom
RC print .

As far as print finish I am a big fan of matt prints that are slightly toned, and have gravitated my taste buds to this type of look. Art 300 and Ilford Matte are my favourite Silver Papers, and I truly love the look of Pt Pd on COT or Arches.

Luis-F-S
27-Jan-2016, 10:57
I haven't printed on RC paper for at least 25 years and then only because that was all that Panalure came in. These prints were used for publication scanning and then (hopefully) thrown away. I have no intention of using RC again till I go to the nursing home. L

RodinalDuchamp
27-Jan-2016, 11:02
Well that may be true but 25 years is a long time. The emulsions of today are different.

My experience with RC is mostly Ilford multigrade IV which makes consistently good prints.

As Drew mentioned there probably is at least some unfounded unfair bias against modern RC emulsions.

Luis-F-S
27-Jan-2016, 11:04
Well that may be true but 25 years is a long time. The emulsions of today are different.

Thanks, but I have no interest in printing on plastic. L

Jac@stafford.net
27-Jan-2016, 11:09
RC has improved dramatically in the past thirty-something years. That said, I still have some RC prints that old and they are just fine, but in storage away from contaminants.

You really should make some tests on fiber and RC, various brands and types. Some papers have whiteners that show well under incandescent (warm) light. I like a 'deep' look, an illusion created by a brightened white base. Double-weight fiber has a great feel, too.

But RC for everyday stuff. Save the good stuff for the rare print that deserves it.

(I do not tone and defer to those who do.)

jbenedict
27-Jan-2016, 11:24
Given my choice, I'd always use straight grade fiber based paper, preferably Oriental G (in the blue box, not the stuff with the big black circle on the front of the box). Or Ilford Gallerie straight grade fiber based.
These days, however, unless one does alternative processes and makes the materials, we don't have a huge choice in materials. For proofing and photos which aren't intended to be "fine art" RC multigrade is fine. Fiber based multigrade will have to do for everything else.

Michael R
27-Jan-2016, 11:24
Thanks, but I have no interest in printing on plastic. L

Well, there is paper inside the plastic, and the emulsion sits on top of the plastic so technically you`re not printing on plastic.

Randy Moe
27-Jan-2016, 11:29
I primarily print RC now-a-days. 20 years ago I printed only FB from enlarged 35mm. All prints still look great. 2 words. Auto Focus.

At that time I used a small college darkroom with a huge rotary print wash tank, it was fed barrels of 60 F water. Endless hot water. I washed my prints after all other users and pulled them at 1 hour. In the meantime I cleaned the drying screens. I knew most users were sloppy. I also mixed fresh chems every session from buckets of dry.


Now, with LF, I shoot worse negatives than I did then, so I print on RC, for 3 reasons. I like a short water wash cycle when I'm paying for a water heater. It's so fast to process through wash it feels like Polaroid. My prints look great to me and I know RC prints will outlast me.

I don't like glossy anything, not FB, RC or Ink Jet. I use Pearl or Satin. See below for exception.


But I do have 800 sheets of 8x10 AZO SW FB grade 2 & 3, which will be used this summer, from July to October when Chicago tap will range from 60 to 70 degrees. No water heater needed.

And I have plenty of modern FB once I take a great negative...


For me it's a question of water. How much do you have? How much will you pay for it?

RodinalDuchamp
27-Jan-2016, 11:35
Has anyone actually encountered a collector or curator that will pay more for a fiber print? Or has anyone ever successfully sold an RC print but at a reduced price solely because it was on RC and not the craftsmanship technical or artistic merit?

Michael R
27-Jan-2016, 11:58
Rodinal: It probably comes up relatively rarely in B&W fine art because most people (including all the big names I can think of) seem to prefer printing on FB paper for its tactile/surface qualities and dry mounting). But consider fine art colour prints. Those are all done on RC or Polyester paper.

I think unless one has no choice, it is best to simply print on whatever type of paper looks best to the printer.

Jon Shiu
27-Jan-2016, 12:04
Are there any RC papers with a nice surface that doesn't look cheap and plasticky? (Note: I also thought Kodak Polymax Fiber Glossy surface looked like a crummy RC surface because of the texture.)

Jon

pdh
27-Jan-2016, 12:17
Are there any RC papers with a nice surface that doesn't look cheap and plasticky?

Jon

If you can get fotospeed rc "oyster" finish in the US, give it a try.

papercam
27-Jan-2016, 12:51
I have been making paper negatives on a variety of RC and FB papers for maybe 25 years. I have RC prints that are 35 years old that look as good now as the day they dried. I have had "de-silvered" RC prints too, but I learned it was because RC papers "outgas" , if that is the right term, they were under-glass, and these gases cause de-silvering. If i am not mistaken, Kodak, Wilhelm and Ctien did extensive "archivability" tests on RC paper it according to their tests, if RC papers are processed correctly they might last at least as long as FB prints, if the R (resin) stays stable. I like being able to expose a negative or print, and wash it and have it dry in a short amount of time. It's convenient.

RodinalDuchamp
27-Jan-2016, 13:02
I like your empirical approach.

Generally I find that some people swear RC has an inferior latitude which makes prints appear less subtle. But then again I also know some people that as has been stated here already say they are quite comparable.

Anthony Oresteen
27-Jan-2016, 13:22
I love RC paper. I use it for all my contacts, postcards, and 8x10's that I give out. For 11x14, 12x16, 16x20, & 20x24 prints it is strictly FB paper. My choice is Ilford Multigrade IV.

I contact print all my negatives on 8.5" x 11" paper. It only comes in RC from Ilford in that size. Right tool for the job. Case closed.

This is the same argument - oil based paint vs latex based paint. Which is better? Depends on the job.


I have Ilford RC prints (both dry-mounted & un-mounted) that I made in 1982-84 that have not faded or peeled or lost their luster. They still look great.

RodinalDuchamp
27-Jan-2016, 13:24
I don't think acrylic paint is in anyway deemed less than oil. I don't think acrylic paintings are automatically deemed inferior to oil paintings. Eventually I think RC paper will attain the same status.


Jackson Pollock painted almost exclusively using latex paint and his are among the most valuable ever.

Stephen Thomason
27-Jan-2016, 14:14
I use RC for testing. Not that it is "unworthy" for fine art, I just prefer the tactile feel of the fiber paper, and the subjective "look" of it.

Will Frostmill
27-Jan-2016, 14:32
See above regarding desilvering, Ctien and others demonstrated that it definitely was an issue. (See "Post Exposure", now a free pdf.) possibly it still is an issue. Depending on how it's dried, you can get veiling - Ctein descibes that too. That will mess up your perception of tonality, so some people are going to have a legitimate beef - that's specific to their process. Finally, with VC papers (not just RC) you can hit an exposure/negative combo that puts an important tone right on the split between blue and green response curves, which can look dreadful, and since almost all RC paper people would have used in school would be VC paper, it wouldn't be hard to accidentally conclude that RC paper had worse tonality. So, yeah people were right to question using the stuff, but no, not all the logical conclusions they came to work out.

It's worth noting that despite all the difficulties RC paper presents, Ctien happily turned out print after print using a fast desktop processor unit. (Albeit he went back and re-fixed his prints, just to be sure.)

pdh
27-Jan-2016, 14:40
Its also worth pointing out that the problems identified by ctein et al were a good number of years ago, and Ilford more recently have stated repeatedly that the source of the issues were identified and corrected for the current generation of rc papers

RodinalDuchamp
27-Jan-2016, 14:50
According to Ilford spec sheets both RC multigrade IV and FB multigrade classic have 7 full grades of contrast.


Interestingly enough they have more tech info available for the RC paper.

MIke Sherck
27-Jan-2016, 15:02
I have no idea whether RC is "as good as" fiber (or vice versa) I just don't like the way RC feels in my hand, I don't like it's plastic-y "chemical" smell, or the sheen the surface takes on. I do like the quick processing, though, but I don't use it.

Mike

Sal Santamaura
27-Jan-2016, 16:57
See above regarding desilvering, Ctien and others demonstrated that it definitely was an issue. (See "Post Exposure", now a free pdf.) possibly it still is an issue...


Its also worth pointing out that the problems identified by ctein et al were a good number of years ago, and Ilford more recently have stated repeatedly that the source of the issues were identified and corrected for the current generation of rc papersSee this thread I recently posted


http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?125178-RC-print-permanence-update

after contacting Ctein about the "sealed in a frame" issues. Apparently, even 20 years ago, RC paper had been improved sufficiently so that selenium toning was adequate to preclude problems.


I have no idea whether RC is "as good as" fiber (or vice versa) I just don't like the way RC feels in my hand, I don't like it's plastic-y "chemical" smell, or the sheen the surface takes on...I'm not sure what smell you're referring to. Despite an extraordinarily low olfactory threshold (search for my many complaints about reeking Toyo film holders, Chinese textiles, etc.), I've not detected any repulsive smells from either modern RC or fiber-based photographic papers.

I do vastly prefer the surface of Ilford (all I've used so far, but perhaps others' equivalents too) Pearl RC paper to any currently available glossy fiber-based paper. The latter are all too damn shiny. If only a variable-contrast, low- or no-brightener fiber-based paper were offered that matched the gloss of my F-surface Azo stash, I'd be very happy.

As things stand, given that I neither sell nor hope to place prints with museums (I'd only use fiber-based paper in those cases), I'm quite content using Multigrade Warmtone RC, developed in Adox Multigrade developer, then toned in selenium. I even have no trouble mounting it in a press at 180 degrees F, using Colormount, at sizes up to 11x14.

Drew Wiley
27-Jan-2016, 17:11
"Grades of contrast" has nothing to do with DMax or viewed print density range, which is itself affected by both responsiveness to toners, sheen, and character of the paper itself. In color prints, we overlook much of this due to the dominance of color itself. Maybe library-like setting will accept RC prints, but I've never personally encountered any serious institutional or private collector interest in them. "Better safe than sorry" seems to be the mantra, even if this doesn't jive
with the custom when it comes to collecting color. Better take a second look at that Ilford literature - One of the things they tout about FB Ilfobrom is its track record. Anyone can learn to drymount RC prints in a heat press given the right supplies. Whether you can tolerate the orangepeel and sheen blotching is another question, or the occasional bonding failures of low-temp adhesives. Most pro framers gave up on that approach a long time ago.

Sal Santamaura
27-Jan-2016, 17:52
...I even have no trouble mounting it in a press at 180 degrees F, using Colormount, at sizes up to 11x14.


...Anyone can learn to drymount RC prints in a heat press given the right supplies. Whether you can tolerate the orangepeel and sheen blotching is another question, or the occasional bonding failures of low-temp adhesives...I don't consider 180 degrees F low temperature. It's the same temperature I use with Colormount for fiber-based prints. Never a bonding failure with either type of print paper.

As for orange peel and "sheen blotching," on Rising mat board or the acid- and lignin-free buffered album pages I use, neither are visible.

jp
27-Jan-2016, 18:18
R.Duchamp; please get some of both and spend a couple evenings or days testing.

I use both RC and Fiber paper. Probably about 90% RC paper. I like Oriental RC VC Glossy and Ilford's RC papers. Tons of contact proofs, a few prints as gifts or personal use on RC paper. I have prints I made in the late 80's on RC paper which have no de-silvering or fading or other problems. It is quality.

I think there is a tiny advantage in some of the glossy fiber papers which I reserve for prints being exhibited, etc.. Maybe the RC is too glossy? I haven't figured it out, but for some things, fiber glossy is better for than RC glossy. I don't ferrotype it it; just leave it as almost glossy. I like Ilford and Foma FB papers. Then the Ilford Art300 (FB) paper is in a category by itself. The texture is very nice for some things.

I don't have problems with either RC of FB paper in the drymount press when done right. My way of doing it wrong is not to dry out the sandwich before doing the drymounting as I live in a humid area. A damp matboard in there will drive moisture toward the print which makes the gelatin sticky and that's bad.

Sal Santamaura
27-Jan-2016, 18:24
...I think there is a tiny advantage in some of the glossy fiber papers which I reserve for prints being exhibited, etc.. Maybe the RC is too glossy? I haven't figured it out, but for some things, fiber glossy is better for than RC glossy...I strongly dislike high surface gloss and never use glossy RC papers. In my opinion, RC pearl surface is ideal. Nearly a perfect match to the air-dried glossy fiber-based papers of old, i.e. before manufacturers started transitioning them to near "supergloss" status. :)

invisibleflash
27-Jan-2016, 18:55
My reply is for inkjet, I gave up on wet darkroom years ago.

From my testing, RC compares well with non RC paper. I don't use RC that much cause I can't print on the back of it. It also looks kinda cheap if you handle it compared to rag papers. RC inkjet, when cured, has excellent water tolerance. A dye transfer will start bleeding dye within a few hours. A RC pigment inkjet will be water fast for lot loger. Rag inkjet gets damaged easily with water. For my artists' books I've gone over to DUO RC instead of DUO matte that I had been using.

invisibleflash
27-Jan-2016, 18:57
I use RC for testing. Not that it is "unworthy" for fine art, I just prefer the tactile feel of the fiber paper, and the subjective "look" of it.

Yes, that sums it up for me too.

Willie
27-Jan-2016, 20:22
Name a few top photographers who use RC paper for their work.

jp
27-Jan-2016, 21:11
Name a few top photographers who use RC paper for their work.
We are talking photo paper, not Wheaties.

Roger Cole
28-Jan-2016, 04:39
I make all contact sheets on RC, because why not? It's cheaper and quicker and easier to process, and quickly dries flat with no trouble. For this I only use RC glossy because, while I like RC Pearl for regular prints, the texture interferes with fine detail when examining a contact sheet under a loupe.

I make 5x7s on RC as well because those are most often just prints of snapshots to give away, maybe to frame casually but not mount.

Larger prints I have been making only on FB but I have thought of changing to RC, maybe Ilford's Premium Weight, for 16x20s just because wet FB paper in that size becomes so floppy and difficult to handle without creasing. Of course the MGWT isn't available in RC Premium Weight (nor have I used MGWT RC at all, only FB which I really like a lot) but maybe if we all asked Ilford nicely...

I have a couple of mounted and framed (professionally - I've never tried to do my own mounting and matting) 8x10s on RC paper from the late 80s, Ilford MGIII I think it was in those days, and both are discoloring, mainly around the edges near the overmat but not exclusively there. I have no idea what this "de-silvering" would look like so I don't know if that is it, but both were carefully processed and washed and both were selenium toned. I don't think I could have done anything better with the RC paper of the time and I really don't know why they are doing this. I suspect mounting under glass for so long is a large part of it and hopefully today's RC papers would not have this problem.

Like many others I like the look of FB but I do sometimes (ok, often when washing FB prints or trying to flatten them!) question if it is worth the extra hassles. We have no shortage of water here, in fact we were so far above average rainfall this past year we've had frequent flood warnings, nor is my water bill much of a factor so I am not really concerned with the water usage just the time and hassle.

Ben Calwell
28-Jan-2016, 05:57
I used to love using Kodak Polyprint RC paper.

David Lobato
28-Jan-2016, 06:49
Regarding Fine Art perception of value is important, and RC paper is seen by some as cheap and not as archival as FB paper. I used it a lot years ago, its convenience and quality can't be understated. Many users here have good and valid reasons for it. Today I have a favorite mounted and framed RC print on my wall from 35 years ago and it's noticeably yellowed compared to the FB prints hanging next to it.

mdarnton
28-Jan-2016, 06:56
I am an RC advocate, and I am chiming it. I used almost entirely RC papers from when it was introduced in 1971 or so until I gave away my darkroom in 2005. Some, not all, of the earlier prints have silvered surfaces. I eventually learned that some of that comes from using nearly-exhausted fix; after I started keeping my fixer fresh I never had a bit of problem with RC. ALL of the other dire warnings people threw out in those days never came true, so there's not much to say. Many of my prints have been kept in a hot/cold attic, and they're still fine. They haven't yellowed, the surfaces haven't degraded, etc. Prints that were kept wet too long dried with the edges turned up, but that's my fault.

I definitely prefer the surface of fiber paper, glossy-dried-matte, but you can't have everything. My favorite paper now is Hahnemuhle photo rag pearl, in the heaviest weight. If you want to discuss tactile and visual qualities, that pounds any silver paper ever made into the dirt, so I no longer consider silver paper discussions at all.

bob carnie
28-Jan-2016, 07:30
Art 300 pounds Hannamuhle photo rag pearl into the dirt ,,, and then it stomps on it.



I am an RC advocate, and I am chiming it. I used almost entirely RC papers from when it was introduced in 1971 or so until I gave away my darkroom in 2005. Some, not all, of the earlier prints have silvered surfaces. I eventually learned that some of that comes from using nearly-exhausted fix; after I started keeping my fixer fresh I never had a bit of problem with RC. ALL of the other dire warnings people threw out in those days never came true, so there's not much to say. Many of my prints have been kept in a hot/cold attic, and they're still fine. They haven't yellowed, the surfaces haven't degraded, etc. Prints that were kept wet too long dried with the edges turned up, but that's my fault.

I definitely prefer the surface of fiber paper, glossy-dried-matte, but you can't have everything. My favorite paper now is Hahnemuhle photo rag pearl, in the heaviest weight. If you want to discuss tactile and visual qualities, that pounds any silver paper ever made into the dirt, so I no longer consider silver paper discussions at all.

Bruce Barlow
28-Jan-2016, 08:16
I'll continue to proof on RC, but will be a fiber bigot because my freezer is full of it.

I use what I already own, and subsequently claim morally superiority...

Michael R
28-Jan-2016, 08:21
Name a few top photographers who use RC paper for their work.

Anyone doing colour darkroom prints is using RC or Polyester. That includes Christopher Burkett etc etc.

Drew Wiley
28-Jan-2016, 09:45
It's a felony to lump RC and polyester base in the same category. If you don't believe me, just look at the difference in price!! I happen to use both for color work, but related to how I want the final image to look, relative to the specific subject matter. Some subjects are appropriate to full high gloss, others to sorta
gloss (RC), others to matte. But mounting the shiny ones takes a lot more skill. Chris Burkett prints Cibachrome, which is world apart from anything RC,
although Ciba-Geigy did temporarily market an RC version of it called Pearl which a few people might remember. It didn't catch on much, though I personally printed a few portraits on it rather than full gloss polyester, which was better suited to damn near perfect complexions! And even this has held up extremely well over time compared to RA4 prints of similar vintage, which by now have yellowed noticably; yet this fact is due to the superior dyes involved rather than the support itself. The old complaints against RC black and white were related to the brighteners interacting with UV and causing "checking" (micro-cracks) in the overlying plastic sandwich. Allegedly this problem was fixed a long time ago; but I'm hardly in the know, since I've never displayed RC black and white, only FB. All mine are in commercial binder-style archival portfolios, still doing just fine.

Michael R
28-Jan-2016, 10:18
You're missing the point. I was responding to a post which seemed to imply nobody important prints on anything other than FB, and I'm simply pointing out darkroom colour work isn't done on FB, but on "plastic" papers, so you'd have to essentially rule out all colour darkroom work if FB is a pre-requisite for being a real deal photographer.

Drew Wiley
28-Jan-2016, 10:51
OK. Thanks. Well... not all color work. "Assembly" color processes are still mainly done on fiber supports. But things like dye transfer and color carbon are a small niche nowadays. And most inkjet receiver papers are basically just sized fiver papers of whatever quality, depending, which is why is it so surprising they cost so much, since they carry neither an emulsion nor even a RC coating! But in turn, Michael, what you might have overlooked in what I replied is how color and b&W papers of former vintage distinctly differed in sheer surface permanence due to the dubious character of the white pigment in the base, which is what caused the surface failures in black and white products rather than color papers. Color at time simply faded and yellowed, and probably nobody noticed anything else if it even was present, which it allegedly was not. But color RC wasn't expected to last back then. I have read various technical articles on this subject, and while the problem was allegedly fixed a long time back, whether Sistan or other snake oils were temporarily involved or not, there still lingers a question mark
on the display reliability of RC b&w papers. Maybe unfair, but lingering rumor is all it takes. I just don't like the look of them compared to fiber prints. Color is really a different category because we process those images so differently, visually & physiologically as well as psychologically. But color prints on actual fiber
papers were once common and themselves have a somewhat different visual feel, at least in small scale and up close (like in a portfolio case) than RC prints.
Whatever. I have no personal prejudice either way, and many soon be doing a small amount of color printing on fibers papers myself.

Willie
28-Jan-2016, 12:14
We are talking photo paper, not Wheaties.

Ask Clyde Butcher about RC paper.
Ask Bob Carnie about it in his lab.
Ask former lab owners who closed rather than pay/reprint the RC images that failed.

NO top photographers print B&W RC for their work.

Drew Wiley
28-Jan-2016, 12:28
Cibachromes fade too if they're under UV, so citing Clyde Butcher is meaningless in this case. Dark storage, a different story. I'm sorta kinda know about Cibachromes. That was my specialty for thirty years. As far as black and white prints go, I don't really know the opinion of them these days, simply because
I've never ever seen an RC b&w print in a gallery, a museum, or even in what I consider my personal collection!

Willie
28-Jan-2016, 19:09
Cibachromes fade too if they're under UV, so citing Clyde Butcher is meaningless in this case. Dark storage, a different story. I'm sorta kinda know about Cibachromes. That was my specialty for thirty years. As far as black and white prints go, I don't really know the opinion of them these days, simply because
I've never ever seen an RC b&w print in a gallery, a museum, or even in what I consider my personal collection!

Point made.

Kirk Gittings
28-Jan-2016, 19:30
Even though I ask for fiber based prints in my classes inevitably someone brings in RC. IMHO RC sticks out like a sore thumb and not in a good way.

Roger Cole
28-Jan-2016, 23:45
It's a felony to lump RC and polyester base in the same category. If you don't believe me, just look at the difference in price!! I happen to use both for color work, but related to how I want the final image to look, relative to the specific subject matter. Some subjects are appropriate to full high gloss, others to sorta
gloss (RC), others to matte. But mounting the shiny ones takes a lot more skill. Chris Burkett prints Cibachrome, which is world apart from anything RC,
although Ciba-Geigy did temporarily market an RC version of it called Pearl which a few people might remember. It didn't catch on much, though I personally printed a few portraits on it rather than full gloss polyester, which was better suited to damn near perfect complexions! And even this has held up extremely well over time compared to RA4 prints of similar vintage, which by now have yellowed noticably; yet this fact is due to the superior dyes involved rather than the support itself. The old complaints against RC black and white were related to the brighteners interacting with UV and causing "checking" (micro-cracks) in the overlying plastic sandwich. Allegedly this problem was fixed a long time ago; but I'm hardly in the know, since I've never displayed RC black and white, only FB. All mine are in commercial binder-style archival portfolios, still doing just fine.

I printed quite a bit on the RC Pearl Cibachrome. In my case it was because I was a (relatively) broke college student at the time and it was about half the cost of the polyester gloss stuff. It was still slightly more expensive than printing on the Kodak Type 2203 I used before but once the RC Pearl came out the price difference was small enough to justify it for the much simpler processing of the Cibachrome. There was no way I was paying the cost of the polyester gloss. In fact I never made a print on it, though I went through a few boxes of the RC Pearl.

Interestingly enough some of my Type 2204 prints from those days still look fine while others have faded badly, and they were all processed and stored the same. Well maybe my process wasn't that consistent (apparently) but they were meant to be the same. The RC Pearl Cibachromes look the same as when I made them.

mdarnton
29-Jan-2016, 06:20
Art 300 pounds Hannamuhle photo rag pearl into the dirt ,,, and then it stomps on it.

I will be sure to check it out, then! Thanks. The thing I like about the photo rag pearl that I haven't seen from other inket papers is that the surface doesn't look like it's been stamped on by a carefully machine-made stamp and is more random like old photo papers, but I am open to new contenders.

When I did use fiber papers, I would have happily used triple-weight if they'd made it.

Willie
29-Jan-2016, 10:10
Anyone doing colour darkroom prints is using RC or Polyester. That includes Christopher Burkett etc etc.
When I think of fine work I think of B&W. Every one of the color methods I have seen on long term display show major fading. Side by side with B&W fibre prints the difference is visibie. Ciba/Ilfochrome, Fuji SuperGloss, whatever - the color fades in a few years to a decade while the B&W work in the same light and conditions still looks good and, when compared to dark storage prints of the same image - show no fading or degredation.

NO fine art B&W printer shows his work on RC - it is a good proofing and commercial product.

Randy Moe
29-Jan-2016, 10:24
I will be sure to check it out, then! Thanks. The thing I like about the photo rag pearl that I haven't seen from other inket papers is that the surface doesn't look like it's been stamped on by a carefully machine-made stamp and is more random like old photo papers, but I am open to new contenders.

When I did use fiber papers, I would have happily used triple-weight if they'd made it.

Since I have been considering trying Foma triple weight, your comment made me Google.

Found this thread http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/46984-fomas-triple-weight-base-really-triple-weight.html

Looking at B&H and the description still makes me want to try this paper with 11x14 contact prints.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/792486-REG/Foma_432121_FOMATONE_MG_Classic_B_W.html


Careful old man that I am becoming, today I ordered a sample. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/792481-REG/Foma_43252_FOMATONE_MG_Classic_B_W.html

Michael R
29-Jan-2016, 10:46
When I think of fine work I think of B&W. Every one of the color methods I have seen on long term display show major fading. Side by side with B&W fibre prints the difference is visibie. Ciba/Ilfochrome, Fuji SuperGloss, whatever - the color fades in a few years to a decade while the B&W work in the same light and conditions still looks good and, when compared to dark storage prints of the same image - show no fading or degredation.

NO fine art B&W printer shows his work on RC - it is a good proofing and commercial product.

Virtually everything fades with time including pigments, dyes etc etc, obviously at different rates. Proper care and storage can make a difference. I'm not arguing against potential longevity concerns. Everyone can make their own choices. In my opinion people place too much importance on longevity.

If you only consider B&W to have the potential to be "fine art" photography, that is your choice.

I only print on FB B&W papers, but for me it is a matter of tactile/aesthetic and surface characteristics, as well as the overall look of a double-weight dry-mounted FB print. This is all a matter of opinion, except for my original post to this thread in response to OP's question regarding the relative tone reproduction of current RC and FB papers.

bob carnie
29-Jan-2016, 10:48
I have gone to tri colour over palladium for this reason, I love colour work but unfortunately what you are saying is true.

I will openly admit my new prints are not as pristine and vibrant as that of a C print or Inkjet of the same image, but the layering of pigments on paper (arches platine) has an incredible texture that you can only get from a matt silver paper or matt inkjet.
When I first started colour printing in 1973 we used Agfa paper and it had a warm rose pallette of colour which some of the work I am doing now is kind of looking like.

What I do believe is the prints I am making now will last for centurys and may be the only records of colour work of our times for future generations to see.
I am including Tri Colour Carbons and Fresson with this statement.

Here is an example of what I am talking about145743 - Though the colour is not perfect - I believe it's quite beautiful, and when viewed beside a Cprint of the same image, well
there is no denying its beauty.



When I think of fine work I think of B&W. Every one of the color methods I have seen on long term display show major fading. Side by side with B&W fibre prints the difference is visibie. Ciba/Ilfochrome, Fuji SuperGloss, whatever - the color fades in a few years to a decade while the B&W work in the same light and conditions still looks good and, when compared to dark storage prints of the same image - show no fading or degredation.

NO fine art B&W printer shows his work on RC - it is a good proofing and commercial product.

Drew Wiley
29-Jan-2016, 10:59
Wille - I've got Ciba print hung for thirty years in indirect mountain sunlight that look like they were made yesterday. Note, "indirect", not direct. On the other
hand, I know how to fade them into nonexistence in simple window light in a week using the wrong mounting adhesive. Strange, but true. There are dye transfer
prints still vivid today that were made in the 1940's; and precursors to Cibas made in the 1930's). A lot of variables. Then there's downright misleading terminology out there, like marketing inkjet prints as "pigment" prints. They aren't, but a blend of dyes, lakes, and fine pigments. And as every painter knows, not all actual pigments are equal either. If you want time tested hues, look at the surface of Mars or Death Valley - a lot of oxides, all utterly unsuitable for fine inkjet nozzles.

Luis-F-S
29-Jan-2016, 17:17
Ask Clyde Butcher about RC paper.
Ask Bob Carnie about it in his lab.
Ask former lab owners who closed rather than pay/reprint the RC images that failed.

NO top photographers print B&W RC for their work.

+1 +1 +1

RodinalDuchamp
31-Jan-2016, 17:42
+1 +1 +1
Is this a valid argument? RC is in its infancy still.

We used to only have wet plate, then dry plate, then papers etc.

Just because it's not the choice of today doesn't mean it's not a valid choice or that improvements won't be made to the format.

Not saying FB is inferior or passe in anyway just pointing out a flaw in that logic.

LabRat
1-Feb-2016, 07:27
Let's not knock ANY photo material that is available to us!!!! One may have a preference for papers, surfaces etc, but they are all different "tools" with a different look (that might work well for something, but not as well for other things)...

I prefer DWFB, but I spent many hours over a RC processor professionally... The paper is fussier than fiber, as you have to work fast with it (like cooking something inside a blazing fire, you have to pull/flip it with split-second timing), but can have an excellent Dmax/bite, a shorter scale that can produce a dramatic bright/dark effect, high detail, "razor" edge effects, microcontrast, and mounted properly (and smooth), the glossy surface finish can vanish and look like you can fall into the print (with a seemingly 3D-like effect)... But your window is narrower than DWFB... These qualities are there, somewhere...

I have printed for more than a few fine art, high-end coffee table photo books/art catalogs etc, and guess what??? The repro prints (from the original negs) were RC...

Steve K

bob carnie
1-Feb-2016, 07:49
Historically RC paper has been the choice for all commercial applications for marketing, advertising , promotion, sales kits, head shots.

Coming from 40 years lab experience I can tell you that very , very , very few labs gave a rats ass , about fixer content and its freshness.

Basically , how fast - can the print get from dry to dry. Therefore there are untold millions of RC prints out there, under fixed - and definately
not washed .

I think this has a lot to do with this issue.

For those working with a double fix, hypo clear and proper wash the choice of paper came down to Tactile properties which Fibrer Base papers give us.
Many here use fiber for the way it presents.

Vaughn
1-Feb-2016, 10:26
Here is my first darkroom print I ever made. RC glossy. Made in the Fred Harvey employee darkroom on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. 1977. I had no one to see me through the processing, but I must of had some instructions. I just went for it and all sorts of things could have gone wrong. If I had made a better scan of it, you would see a wonderful crackled surface to the print -- I don't believe Kodak ever had a letter representing this type of paper surface. ;)

It was on my parents' wall for over 30 years, despite my many offers to reprint it. It may have gotten a little sun as the sun set over the ocean. Weak, but 30 years worth. Funny thing is that I recently came across my other copy of this -- it was stuck between pages of a book. Looks almost as good as the day I made it...it is not LF (120).

adelorenzo
1-Feb-2016, 12:23
I use RC for contacts and quick prints but I've followed the prevailing wisdom and keep buying fiber paper for my "good prints" (note: not really that good) but honestly, I hate the stuff. I can never get it perfectly flat and holding the print in hand it feels stiff like a potato chip. To me, an RC print (color or B&W) feels like I am holding an actual photograph. Maybe just what I'm used to.

I've printed in Ilford's Portfolio RC and it's really nice stuff, really liked how my prints turned out. I'll keep printing with the fiber paper I have but next time I order large paper for "good prints" I might just go with the Portfolio RC.

BetterSense
1-Feb-2016, 17:52
I only use RC. It is all I have ever been set to print. Glossy. I suppose I don't know better but I am OK with that.

Duolab123
3-Feb-2016, 00:21
I use both. RC is great to make working prints and snaps. I've been lucky to get an old Ilford quartz radiant heat dryer. Dries an 11 x 14 in about 12 seconds, slightly melts the gelatine into an incredible high gloss on ilford paper.
I love fiber, I've always made my best prints on fiber. Nothing tones as well, has the same warmth. It takes forever to wash, drying can be a pain, I use Pako drum dryers. It usually takes me 3 sessions at least before I end up with what I want.
Boy I miss Ektalure.

plaubel
3-Feb-2016, 02:26
I often use PE, but I don't like it much.
Checking out a lot, for me it is good to save some money.
Fomaspeed, MGIV, all are good papers, so is my impression.
But, again for me, they don't feel right.

But the main reason to bring my best pictures onto Baryta is, that I often have found that PE isn't possible to bring the last subtile nuances.
P.e. I tried to print old glassplates, which are rich in everything, but only Baryta showed me the whole quality of the plates.

The same - sometimes - with new film and especially with my 135mm Eurynar.
This lovely old lens has a special look which will come best on Baryta, I can't explain, but it is.

So for me, FB is a bit more subtile and FB has more deepness.
And it has a better feeling, what may be very subjective.

Ritchie