View Full Version : Paper / Developer Choices

Bill Kumpf
30-Jan-2008, 09:35
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?


Eric Biggerstaff
30-Jan-2008, 09:52

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.

Ralph Barker
30-Jan-2008, 10:19
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.

Gene McCluney
30-Jan-2008, 10:29
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.