View Full Version : Different film development times for different papers

14-Mar-2016, 09:07
Hi, New to large format. I have standardized on two variable contrast papers. A resin coated, that being Ilford Multigrade IV RC DE LUXE Glossy and a fiber based, that being Oriental Seagull VC-FB II Glossy.

The rc paper is relatively inexpensive and I will use it to experiment and hone my experience. The fb is a lot more expensive and I am saving it for those negatives I want to print and display

I am using a stabilized Aristo VCL 4500 dual cold light head with a Metrolux II controller.

I am shooting 4X5 Tri-x 320TXP rated at 160 and developing in daylight using a Uniroller drum and roller. I am using HC 110 1:63 dilution H for the film and Dektol 1:2 for the paper.

I have done all the testing for personal film speed, proper proof, and film development times as outlined by Fred Picker.

To produce a Zone VIII on the Ilford rc paper i have to develop my film for 4:45 minutes. This gives me a grey tone slightly darker than the paper base white.

To produce the same Zone VIII tone on the Oriental fb paper I have to develop my film for 6:00 minutes.

Here is my conundrum. I read on the threads of people printing their negative on one type of paper, not liking the colour or surface texture then switching around and using a different paper and if they don't like this then they might try the negative on a third type of paper.

How are they able to do this when my testing seems to show me that the development time for the film is very specific to the paper one is using. In my case there is a 1:15 minute film development difference between producing the same tones on the rc and fb papers.

Does one always have to decide ahead of time which paper is going to be used for the negative one is about to shoot and develop accordingly? That seems to be really limiting but I don't see any way arouind it Am I missing something?

Your comments will be greatly appreciated.

14-Mar-2016, 09:12
Your using variable contrast paper. Change the contrast filter when enlarging on the different paper.

Michael R
14-Mar-2016, 09:25

You're not really missing anything. Any time you switch papers, contrast and curve shape can change. This means Ilford MG at grade 2 likely won't have the same contrast and tone reproduction as Oriental at grade 2. If you are using variable contrast paper, you can compensate for this by changing contrast filtration. As an example, maybe to get a similar print from the same negative, you need a grade 3 filter for the Ilford paper and a grade 2 filter for Oriental. Etc.

14-Mar-2016, 12:01
Hi, Thanks for the prompt responses. I guess I was too focused on producing a negative that would print on a Grade 2 paper contrast scale without filter manipulation hence the need to make changes to my development time. Thanks for clearing all this up

15-Mar-2016, 08:42
Not on the paper but on the film development; a time of 4:45 is regarded as quite short, and brings the risk of uneven development, you might want to look into a higher dilution of your HC 110..



15-Mar-2016, 09:39
You should set the ISO of the film to produce the zone one density of 0.1 to 0.15 over the film base plus fog and develop to produce the zone VII density of 1.1 to 1.15 as measured with a transmission densitometer. You then change the VC paper grade as required.

16-Mar-2016, 11:42
Cor: Thanks for the advice. I had a feeling that this was a rather short developing time and figured I would start getting problems with even shorter times when I start to determine my N-1 time. I'll have to start trying out the Dilution F (1:79) or even the Dilution G (1:119).

Luis-F-S: Is there a reason that you place your high value on Zone VII and not Zone VIII? I was following Picker's advice for placement of my high values. I do have access to a densitometer. Of interest, my Zone 1 is 0.11 and my Zone VIII is 1.15. This density gives me a grey tone just slightly darker than paper white when I print on the fiber based paper and use the minimum print time to produce a maximum black. If I strive to get a negative where Zone VII is 1.15 presumably my zone VIII density would go up somewhere around 1.2 to 1.3 and I wouldn't get any tone other than paper white for my zone VIII when using the minimum print time. Would that be a correct assumption?

16-Mar-2016, 12:12
Zone VIII has no texture. Zone VII is the first hint of texture. That is the way Oliver Gagliani taught it in his workshop (which even Freddie took at one time). You are essentially doing an N-1 development by developing for a Zone VIII of 1.15, but if Zone VIII work for you, I'm good with it. At least you're checking your densities with a densitometer which 99% of photographers never do!