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Thread: Results: Two papers, two developers, one toner

  1. #1

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    Results: Two papers, two developers, one toner

    Ilford Multigrade Warmtone fiber, in gloss and, increasingly, semi-matte (the more recent gloss surface is too glossy for my taste) has been my primary paper since it came out, following the demise of Portriga, Insignia, and some other warm papers. I have used Multigrade developer or Dektol, and selenium toner, typically 1:19. Today, I tested Bergger's VC warm-tone semi-matte fiber and Ilford-Harman's warmtone developer. By no means a thorough exploration, it gave a starting guide. This is how I tested.

    I used a half-length full-range portrait negative, 4x5, made in direct sunlight. I made 8 identical 5x7 prints on Ilford (WTF), 8 on Bergger (BG). I developed 4 of each in Dektol (D) and 4 in warmtone (W) developer. I then toned 3 sets of 4 prints (WTF in both D and W; ditto BG) for 5, 7, and 10 minutes, leaving one set untoned.

    Preliminary observations: The two papers are identical or almost so in weight and surface. BG's base is slightly whiter, but a very subtle difference even in side-by-side comparison. BG also requires about 17% more exposure in my system with a grade 2 filter (see footnote) and seems to be just a tad softer, with a more gentle shoulder, but I did not test for this directly.

    The untoned prints in each set are virtually identical, with a slight nod to warmth going to WTF. Both are warm, the WTF tends a bit more toward the golden. The W developer appeared to make no difference in color, but seemed to be a bit more active than the D, lowering the darker values a bit -- but again, a subtlety. In the toned sets, WTF toned somewhat more than BG for each time interval, with the color shift tending to affect the upper mid values more than it did in the BG. The tone of the color shift tracked with the untoned color difference, i.e., the BG is a bit more towards the neutral paper's purplish selenium color while the WTF is a bit more towards the brown.

    In any case, both are fine warm tone papers, and their similarities are certainly greater than their differences.

    -----------
    Footnote: Although I used to keep a 40Y in my coldlight enlarging light path, I decided, after a few tests, to forego it when I returned to my darkroom a few years ago, after about 13 years' absence. It may well have faded after my previous heavy use as a professional (and sitting so long), and I was unable to find a 6"-square replacement without buying a full set of CC filters. I have tweaked my processes to print without it and so far have encountered no significant problem.
    Last edited by Ulophot; 23-Jun-2019 at 08:49. Reason: Slight additions
    Philip U.

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  2. #2

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    Re: Results: Two papers, two developers, one toner

    The semi-gloss variant of Bergger's warmtone paper is my absolute favourite paper at the moment. It has a beautiful ivory base. I've never tried toning it. I develop it in Ansco 130.

    If Ilford's gloss is too strong for you, I highly recommend giving the Bergger semi-gloss a go.

  3. #3

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    Re: Results: Two papers, two developers, one toner

    Yes, that Bergger paper is beautiful. I prefer it with selenium toning; really makes it pop & shine, so to speak.

  4. #4

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    Re: Results: Two papers, two developers, one toner

    I’m trying at the moment to pair Bergger Pancro 400 with VC CB Semi-Gloss. I get the feeling that Pancro is very middy, and might be better paired with a paper that has a brighter, less cream tint to help with highlight definition. I absolutely love this paper though so am pushing on with experiments to try make it work.

  5. #5

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    Re: Results: Two papers, two developers, one toner

    PS: if you have the ability, I’d love to see scans of each comparison print to compare.

  6. #6

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    Re: Results: Two papers, two developers, one toner

    Tim, try this, and let us know your results.

    1) bleach print in dilute bleach for 30 seconds or less to just where light grays start to be affected. wash, Redevelop fully using Ansco 130 1:4 - it may take a while. wash 10mins+ -- Do you notice a tonal shift toward a warmer grey?

    2) now drop that same print in selenium 1:10 or more dilute. I get a shift in the dark tones to charcoal brown. I am guessing the bleach does have an impact on the dark tones but not visible until the selenium alters the silver.

    OR
    bleach print partially or fully, then redevelop using a normal dilution of Pyrocat HD with less part B 5:4:500 . On the ivory base you may not notice any staining of the paper but you will on a white base, but it is less noticeable once it dries. With ilford MGFB Classic this alters the tonality to a warmer brown overall but for some reason tends to sharpen the print too. Note it may go muddy midway through re-development but it clears and it may take 5 to 10 minutes to regain highlights. If you use a dichromate bleach vs a ferri-pot bleach you get a more pronounced brown from the bleach tanning the paper.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
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  7. #7

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    Re: Results: Two papers, two developers, one toner

    > If you use a dichromate bleach vs a ferri-pot bleach you get a more pronounced brown from the bleach tanning the paper.
    Isn't this due to chromium ending up in the final print? Chrome bleaching + redevelopment will intensify the image so you may want to print a little lighter. I find the color tends to shift a bit towards green.

  8. #8

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    Re: Results: Two papers, two developers, one toner

    Seems strange that the Ilford Warmtone developer prints aren't warmer than the Dectol prints. Isn't that the main reason to use the warmtone developer. I've never tried any comparisons with the latest version of Ilford MGWT but in the past with other warmtone papers and warmtone developers I could see a difference compared to Dectol.

  9. #9

    Re: Results: Two papers, two developers, one toner

    The ILFORD Warmtone developer gives warmer results than Dektol / D-72 in my experience.

  10. #10

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    Re: Results: Two papers, two developers, one toner

    Quote Originally Posted by koraks View Post
    > If you use a dichromate bleach vs a ferri-pot bleach you get a more pronounced brown from the bleach tanning the paper.
    Isn't this due to chromium ending up in the final print? Chrome bleaching + redevelopment will intensify the image so you may want to print a little lighter. I find the color tends to shift a bit towards green.
    I agree with that. The dichromate bleach I use is for bromoil so it hardens and tans the emulsion. Bergger products turn a lovely brown for me when using selenium and/or thiourea which is a tad richer than Ilford Warmtone FB. The ilford warmtone developer does nothing to shift the color toward brown but just is a warmer/softer gray.

    I believe it was Ian Grant who taught me you can shift prints to brown tones by using Bleach + redevelopment with dilute developers. I have been experimenting with Pyrocat M as a second pass developer and it does stain the paper slightly and shift color tones to brown/olive.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

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