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Is there a similar fiber paper to Adox MCC 110 that doesn't cost quite so much?
Old 04-12-2018   #1
Steve M.
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Is there a similar fiber paper to Adox MCC 110 that doesn't cost quite so much?

I love the Adox fiber MCC 110 papers, but they ain't cheap! Does anyone know of another fiber paper that might be sorta, kinda close to it? I want to take some double portraits and print them large, but the sizes don't work well for full frame 35mm negs. 11x14 is a little on the small size when cropped, and 12x16 loses two inches on the long end (and I only gain 1 inch on the short side vs the 11x14). The only other option is to buy the 20x24 and crop it down, but that's something like $240 for 25 sheets! I better stick w/ 11x14 and live w/ the smallish size because 16x24 prints from the 20x24 paper is pushing things w/ a 35mm neg.

I know, it's better to shoot 120 film for these large sizes, but sharpness is not my priority. Besides, I like grain, and they're portraits anyway. It would be nice to get those pure whites and deep blacks that the MCC 110 delivers. Someone suggested some of the Ilford glossy papers might be good. Not exactly like the Adox stuff, but good in it's own way for portraits. I would like to avoid a real cold look, and neutral or warm is desired.
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Old 04-13-2018   #2
Erik van Straten
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The first choice you'll have to make, is if you want gelatin/silver paper or resin coated paper. Resin coated paper is much easier to handle. If you are not used to it, gelatin/silver paper will be a disappointment. The learning process for using gelatin/silver paper takes some time.

I've never used it, but many people seem to like Foma paper. I think it is not as expensive as Adox. Ilford is about the same price as Adox.

The best thing you can do is to buy a small amount of Foma paper in a small format and do some printing, just to see if you like it.

Erik.
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Old 04-28-2018   #3
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Bergger papers are nice too but about same price.

Ilford MGFB Classic is a little lower price depending on where you buy it. You can change its appearance depending on developer. PF130 (similar to ansco 130) gives a richer depth than a warmer/softer developer like LPD 1:2/1:3. Selenium toning (1:20) for 2-3 minutes can increase the dmax slightly and clear the green/gray cast some folks get. Slightly over exposing and a quick dilute bleaching might give you a tonality/contrast you are seeking too, depending on the negative.

Buy in bulk when possible to save so you spend less for packaging.
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Old 04-28-2018   #4
Erik van Straten
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Adox is the best.

Split grade print on ADOX MCC 110.

Leica M3, Color Skopar 50mm f/2.5, Bergger 400.

Erik.

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Old 04-28-2018   #5
Steve M.
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I never print on RC paper Erik. From the very first prints I made (on RC), the fiber versions looked so much better, probably due to the brighter whites. There's the archival aspect too.

The Ilford MGFB Classic paper sounds like a really good choice, and the price is attractive. I'll give it a try. Thanks.

A friend gifted me a like new Beseler 23 C last week. I bought a 50 2.8 El Nikkor for it and lots of Dektol, and already have some TMY 400 and Tri-X, so it's time to get this going.
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Old 04-29-2018   #6
Erik van Straten
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Yes, good luck Steve. Show us the results! The EL Nikkors are fantastic.

The fiber paper is indeed much more beautiful than the resin coated, but quite difficult to dry. Drying and flattening are the thoughest part of the workflow.

The best thing to do is to press them flat in a Seal dry mounting press.

Erik.
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Old 07-18-2018   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
I love the Adox fiber MCC 110 papers, but they ain't cheap! Does anyone know of another fiber paper that might be sorta, kinda close to it?
You have tow options:
1. Buy directly at Fotoimpex. Probably the cheapest way to get Adox MCC. They do ship internationally.

2. Adox MCC is indeed an outstanding paper. I do use it, too.
But: There is another paper which has (almost) the same emulsion and looks extremely similar: Adox MCP. It's excellent, and my most used paper.

Concerning long-term stability: First class RC papers like Adox MCP and Ilford Multigrade IV RC with their outstanding Schoeller paper base have archival times of at least 80 years. Under good storing conditions even more than 100 years due to Ilford.
My oldest RC prints are about 40 years now, and look like new.
A proper fixed and washed Adox or Ilford RC print will outlive us (Foma RC paper is an exception, because they use a very cheap Chinese RC base which is not long term stable; you get what you pay for).
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Old 07-18-2018   #8
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiff View Post
You have two options:

Concerning long-term stability: First class RC papers like Adox MCP and Ilford Multigrade IV RC with their outstanding Schoeller paper base have archival times of at least 80 years. Under good storing conditions even more than 100 years due to Ilford.
OK, I'll check that. If not true, I'll get you!

I'm joking, but I prefer gelatin paper. I've been using that since 1968 (Agfa Brovira).


Erik.
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Old 07-18-2018   #9
retinax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
OK, I'll check that. If not true, I'll get you!

I'm joking, but I prefer gelatin paper. I've been using that since 1968 (Agfa Brovira).

Erik.
Erik, RC papers also have gelatin, the difference is underneath. So you might get happy with RC after all
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Old 07-18-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
OK, I'll check that. If not true, I'll get you!

I'm joking, but I prefer gelatin paper. I've been using that since 1968 (Agfa Brovira).

Erik.
Erik, as Retinax correctly said, both fibre and RC papers are silver-halide gelatin papers.
In general the film and photo paper emulsions are bedded into gelatin, which is the perfect material for that.
The silver-gelatin emulsions used for fibre and RC papers are almost identical. There is just a little bit modification for optimal adhesion.
And both papers have a real paper base: The difference is just that with RC papers the paper base is sealed and resin coated.

The Ilford technical person told me that due to their research RC papers will be stable for a very long time (see above) if proper fixed, washed and stored. They told me the differences in long term archivability between both types of papers are much much smaller than most photographers think.
At least that is valid for papers with a high quality paper base like that from Schoeller (German market leader for such paper bases). Both Ilford and Adox use this highest quality Schoeller paper base for their fibre and RC papers.
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Old 07-18-2018   #11
Barry Kirsten
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There was an Agfa RC paper I used to use and really loved, but I'm darned if I can remember its name. My main baryta (FB) papers at the time were Ilford Gallerie and Agfa Record Rapid. The Agfa RC paper was very close to Record Rapid in its results, with a silver-rich warm-tone appearance. Sadly long since gone.
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Old 07-18-2018   #12
Erik van Straten
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Hmm, I started printing my pictures at the age of thirteen, in 1968. In those years RC papers didn't exist. These came available in 1978 or so. Of course I too used those, because they were very handy: dry in a few minutes and beautifully flat. This paper was called Agfa PE. For many years I used that paper until one day I was looking for some old prints. How disappointed I was. The images were faded, slightly brown, with silvery spots on them. Also, they had a terrible smell. They were sticking together. My older prints, printed on the good old Agfa Brovira, still were like I printed them twenty years earlier.

That day I stopped printing on PE papers (as they were called) and tried Ilford Galerie. I never was happy with that paper because I could not dry it in the way I liked. The surface melts on a hot press. With the old Agfa Brovira drying was not a problem. I dried them hot on a Büscher press. But alas, the Agfa paper was gone.

Recently I discovered Adox MCC 110. It is like Agfa Brovira, but has variable gradation. This is for me the ideal paper. I can dry it on a Büscher press and flatten it on a Seal dry mount press. I've never been so happy. No plastic coatings at all. It dries flat. Wonderful tonality. Also the surface is beautiful. Easy to retouch with Spotone. (I still have some bottles of this stuff, also out of production.)

Erik.
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Old 07-19-2018   #13
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RC papers were introduced in the beginning of the 70ies. First with color papers, and shortly after that also on BW.
In the last decades a lot of R&D has happened with photo papers, which resulted in many siginificant improvements. Also concerning long term stability.
Our curent top quality BW RC papers from Adox and Ilford are much much better than the first RC papers. E.g. the problematic titan dioxide has been removed long ago by Schoeller.
So the current, modern high-tech RC papers from Ilford and Adox will probably outlive all of us, including the younger photographers.

I understand your love for Adox MCC. I like it very much, too.
Fortunately its RC version Adox MCP has (almost) the same outstanding emulsion, with just tiny differences due to different adhesion characteristics of the paper bases (sealed vs. not sealed).
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Old 07-19-2018   #14
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If ADOX MCP is anything like the original that I had a brief experince with a decade or so ago, then it's probably the best RC paper on the market. However it's only those prints made on ILFOR RC paper that had survived without blemishes. All other makes of paper show some defects, mostly silverin-out/bronzing, including AGFA MCP! Hopefuly ADOX is better in this regard and now equivalent to ILFORD RC.

As for ADOX MCC 110 cheaper alternative, try Fomabrom Variant 111 - an excellent paper in every regard.
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Old 07-19-2018   #15
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I have never had any problems with Agfa, Adox and Ilford RC papers in more than 30 years. Even the oldest, some of them hanging on the wall for about 30 years, are absolutely fine.
I do two-bath fixing, and washing in running water for 2-3 minutes.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 07-19-2018   #16
Steve M.
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I don't have a closed mind on RC papers, and their flatness compared to fiber paper curling is attractive. Not that I've tried that many RC papers. On my very first darkroom prints I had a sample pack from Freestyle that included several types of RC papers and two MCC 110 fiber papers. There was a huge difference to my eyes between the Adox fiber papers and the RC papers. It was also dead easy to dial in, with absolutely no need to add filtration. It just came out exactly as I wanted on the first print after doing the test strip to determine exposure. Been using it ever since.

The Fomotone miha mentioned sounds worth a try, but something tells me that MCC 110 is in a class by itself for MY type of preferences, so I may have to just live w/ the high price. It's a very subjective thing, and everyone has their favorites.

I'm not sure if the MCC 110 paper is gelatin based. There ARE papers that aren't, but after a call to Freestyle they stated that they did not have any enlarging papers that did not have gelatin in them. Apparently, that's in the emulsion that holds the silver particles.
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Old 07-19-2018   #17
Oren Grad
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Two things:

1) Re permanence of RC papers, go to Ctein's website, download his book "Post Exposure" which he has generously posted for free access, and read chapter 12, and especially the section starting on p 158.

http://ctein.com/booksmpl.htm

2) MCC and MCP are not interchangeable. I can't comment on whether the emulsions are chemically different, but in practice they have noticeably different characteristic curves, so a given negative printed on the two papers will come out with different tonal scales. This was true when I tested the original Agfa MCC and MCP when they were new to market, and was also true of Adox MCC and MCP that I've used more recently.

That doesn't mean you won't like both of them - they're both very fine papers. They're just different.

BTW, the same is true of the Ilford FB/RC pairs, only more so - MG FB Classic, MG FB Cooltone and MG FB Warmtone, respectively, render very differently from their supposed counterparts MG IV RC Deluxe, MG RC Cooltone and MG RC Warmtone.
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Old 07-19-2018   #18
Oren Grad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
I'm not sure if the MCC 110 paper is gelatin based. There ARE papers that aren't...
Can you name any? Silver-gelatin emulsion is the fundamental technology on which all films and darkroom papers are based, whether color or monochrome and FB or RC.
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Old 07-19-2018   #19
Barry Kirsten
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Is there any significance in the terms MCC and MCP? I note from some of the above posts that several companies use them for their papers. These are terms that have obviously escaped my notice.
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Old 07-19-2018   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Kirsten View Post
Is there any significance in the terms MCC and MCP?
In this thread, MCC and MCP refer to two specific products: Adox (formerly Agfa) Multicontrast Classic FB paper, and Adox (formerly Agfa) Multicontrast Premium RC paper.
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Old 07-19-2018   #21
Steve M.
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I've made papers at home using salt w/o a gelatin emulsion. An emulsion need not be gelatin based, you can use albumen, resins, gum arabic and organic acids like citrus. I think that iron based silver processes like kallitype, cyanotype don't use it, and maybe platinum, gold or palladium? Many years ago I remember printing out papers were available with and without a gelatin emulsion. Of course, those are all gone.

Maybe there aren't any more mass produced machine made photo papers w/o gelatin, and I don't understand why because the gelatin is simply a medium for the silver particles to reside in. It's the silver that makes the image, not the gelatin. It would seem that there are various other mediums that the particles could be immersed in besides the ones I mentioned.
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Old 07-19-2018   #22
Erik van Straten
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Gelatin paper is somewhat thicker when wet. It seems that your picture is unsharp when the paper is wet, but when dry, the picture is sharp. I've never seen this effect with RC papers.


Erik.
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Old 07-19-2018   #23
Oren Grad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
I've made papers at home using salt w/o a gelatin emulsion. An emulsion need not be gelatin based, you can use albumen, resins, gum arabic and organic acids like citrus. There are iron based silver processes like kallitype, cyanotype, or platinum, gold or palladium that don't require gelatin emulsions. Many, many years ago I remember printing out papers were available with and without a gelatin emulsion. Of course, those are all gone.

Maybe there aren't any more mass produced machine made photo papers w/o gelatin, and I don't understand why because the gelatin is simply a medium for the silver particles to reside in. It's the silver that makes the image, not the gelatin. It would seem that there are various other mediums that the particles could be immersed in besides the ones I mentioned.
Yes, there are certainly many alternative processes that do not use a gelatin emulsion. Mostly these are now DIY crafts, though I'm aware that you can buy cyanotype paper, and from time to time someone has tried to make a go of selling pre-coated papers for other alt-processes. But all mass-produced films and papers commercially marketed for general-purpose photographic use are, and have long been, silver-gelatin based.
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Old 07-21-2018   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
Maybe there aren't any more mass produced machine made photo papers w/o gelatin, and I don't understand why because the gelatin is simply a medium for the silver particles to reside in.
All current films and photo papers are using gelatin (some alternative processes excluded).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
It's the silver that makes the image, not the gelatin. It would seem that there are various other mediums that the particles could be immersed in besides the ones I mentioned.
Gelatin is the perfect medium to protect the silver-halide crystals and to let them work as they should. For decades the R&D departments of all film manufacturers have tried to find alternatives. And after decades of research they have stopped this work, because the results always have been: Gelatin is perfect. And all other alternatives have been much worse.
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Old 07-21-2018   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
Two things:

1) Re permanence of RC papers, go to Ctein's website, download his book "Post Exposure" which he has generously posted for free access, and read chapter 12, and especially the section starting on p 158.

http://ctein.com/booksmpl.htm
I know the book. I have it. It's a good one, but not error-free. With all respect to Ctein:
- some parts of his book have been already wrong at the time of its publication
- as it is now an old book and technology has moved on, some parts are just outdated now.

And that is e.g. true for the RC paper subject: The stability problem has been titan dioxide in the early RC papers. But that is not used anymore for quite a long time with high-quality RC papers: Both Ilford and Adox are now using a highest-quality Schoeller RC paper base, which is free of titan dioxide. Just ask Schoeller, Ilford, Adox. They will tell you.

Its probably different with cheap Foma RC paper: They don't use the top-quality Schoeller base. But instead a cheap Chinese paper base.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
2) MCC and MCP are not interchangeable. I can't comment on whether the emulsions are chemically different, but in practice they have noticeably different characteristic curves, so a given negative printed on the two papers will come out with different tonal scales. This was true when I tested the original Agfa MCC and MCP when they were new to market, and was also true of Adox MCC and MCP that I've used more recently.
My experience is a bit different: I've found being Adox MCC and MCP very similar in their optical characteristics.
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Old 07-21-2018   #26
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There are often (?always) synthetic polymers in commercially manufactured photographic printing paper emulsions as well as gelatin; PVA, as far as I recall, though it's a hazy memory from long ago. See also https://patents.google.com/patent/US2982652

Cheers,

R.
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Old 07-21-2018   #27
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Just to go back to the OPs original question...it's about fiber paper. For me RC doesn't produce the results I look for in a print. So If paper costs more...I buy i bulk, print less large sizes, work with developers and toners to get the look i'm after. The permanence of RC just doesn't enter into my printing equation.
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Old 07-22-2018   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiff View Post
And that is e.g. true for the RC paper subject: The stability problem has been titan dioxide in the early RC papers. But that is not used anymore for quite a long time with high-quality RC papers: Both Ilford and Adox are now using a highest-quality Schoeller RC paper base, which is free of titan dioxide. Just ask Schoeller, Ilford, Adox. They will tell you.
Hi Skiff, the stability problem wasn't titanium dioxide (or Titanox) but free radicals that generate under certain conditions. Titanox has a high UV absorption (this is why it's used in sunscreen creams as a main ingredient) which in turn protects the pictures. It is the quality of Titanox and certain addenda that lead to the improvement of RC print stability trough decades. I believe that Titanium dioxide is still present in the Schoeller base.
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Old 07-22-2018   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miha View Post
I believe that Titanium dioxide is still present in the Schoeller base.
As I've already written several times in this thread:
Schoeller themselves has clearly said that there is no titan(ium) dioxide in their RC paper base.
Ilford and Adox have confirmed that.

And both Adox and Ilford use the Schoeller paper base for their RC papers.
But Foma is using a cheap Chinese base for their RC papers (probably from Lucky). That is why I avoid Foma, and use Adox and Ilford RC papers. You get what you pay for.
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Old 07-22-2018   #30
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So what do they use instead?
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Old 07-24-2018   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miha View Post
Hi Skiff, the stability problem wasn't titanium dioxide (or Titanox) but free radicals that generate under certain conditions. Titanox has a high UV absorption (this is why it's used in sunscreen creams as a main ingredient) which in turn protects the pictures. It is the quality of Titanox and certain addenda that lead to the improvement of RC print stability trough decades. I believe that Titanium dioxide is still present in the Schoeller base.
Miha, thanks to your pm and the link to the reliable source I've realisied that I've changed things in my memory.
So you are right.
Due to Schoeller TiO2 is not a problem at all for long term stability and is used for decades both in fibre and RC paper bases.
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Old 07-24-2018   #32
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"For me RC doesn't produce the results I look for in a print."

That's getting to the nut of it. I just can't get RC papers to give me what I want in my photographs. Otherwise I would use them. I was just looking for a more affordable paper than MCC 110 that looks similar, but now I see that it would require buying several different types of papers and testing each one. That's expensive and time consuming. May as well go with what I know works and pay what it costs.
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Old 07-24-2018   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
"For me RC doesn't produce the results I look for in a print."

That's getting to the nut of it. I just can't get RC papers to give me what I want in my photographs. Otherwise I would use them. I was just looking for a more affordable paper than MCC 110 that looks similar, but now I see that it would require buying several different types of papers and testing each one. That's expensive and time consuming. May as well go with what I know works and pay what it costs.
Where are you located?
In my first answer I've written:
"Buy directly at Fotoimpex. Probably the cheapest way to get Adox MCC. They do ship internationally."
At Fotoimpex Adox MCC has the lowest price, significantly lower than Bergger and Ilford.
Foma is of course cheaper. But in my opinion not close to MCC.
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Old 07-24-2018   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miha View Post
Hi Skiff, the stability problem wasn't titanium dioxide (or Titanox) but free radicals that generate under certain conditions. Titanox has a high UV absorption (this is why it's used in sunscreen creams as a main ingredient) which in turn protects the pictures. It is the quality of Titanox and certain addenda that lead to the improvement of RC print stability trough decades. I believe that Titanium dioxide is still present in the Schoeller base.
In other words, we are in exactly the place that Ctein described when he wrote Post Exposure. Additives to stabilize RC paper against the Titanox reactions had already been introduced at that point, and are acknowledged in his writeup.

So where are we?

- We don't know what the additives are
- We don't know whether the additives are effectively consumed in neutralizing deleterious reactions and therefore might be "used up" at some point - so we don't know how long their effect will last
- We don't know what tests Schoeller relies on to support any claim about "stability through decades"
- We don't know whether Schoeller's claim applies only to dark storage under ideal environmental conditions (where such a claim may well be valid!), or to prints on display, where the paper is subject to light-driven reactions and vulnerable to atmospheric pollutants, and where most of the observed problems with RC have shown up

If you have documentation that addresses any of these points, it would be enormously helpful to share it.
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Old 07-24-2018   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
In other words, we are in exactly the place that Ctein described when he wrote Post Exposure.
Indeed we are. I don't know what if any improvements have been made in the last decade. The base has visually changed that's for sure, whether stability imporved as well, this we don't know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Grad
If you have documentation that addresses any of these points, it would be enormously helpful to share it.
Unfortunately I have no such documentation Oren. But my experinces are not encouraging so I started to tone my RC prints. Not all of them, of course, I don't mind if my album prints change in time but framed Ilford MG deluxe satin looks quite nice toned in Agfa Viradon New IMO.
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Old 07-24-2018   #36
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Hi,

I would be greatly interested in testing this paper. Does anybody know of a source in Canada?

Thanks in advance,

Paul
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Old 07-24-2018   #37
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Paul, I also live in Canada, & purchase Adox paper through B&H photovideo in NY. I've also bought it from Glazers in Seattle.
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Old 07-24-2018   #38
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Dear Deardorff38,

Thanks! I'll check them out.

Paul
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Old 07-24-2018   #39
Oren Grad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miha View Post
Indeed we are. I don't know what if any improvements have been made in the last decade. The base has visually changed that's for sure, whether stability imporved as well, this we don't know.
...

Unfortunately I have no such documentation Oren. But my experinces are not encouraging so I started to tone my RC prints. Not all of them, of course, I don't mind if my album prints change in time but framed Ilford MG deluxe satin looks quite nice toned in Agfa Viradon New IMO.
OK, I think we are in the same place. I too use RC paper sometimes, and when I intend the prints for long-term keeping, I tone with selenium.

I was pursuing the issue only because I was concerned that some of the comments posted were leaving the impression that the stability issues of RC paper are definitively known to have been solved. But at least as far as information that is generally available to the public can tell us, I don't think that's the case.
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Old 07-24-2018   #40
Skiff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
In other words, we are in exactly the place that Ctein described when he wrote Post Exposure. Additives to stabilize RC paper against the Titanox reactions had already been introduced at that point, and are acknowledged in his writeup.

No. Because
a) Ctein has not had delivered any proven facts. He had only speculations. He even admitted that. Quote: "I also didn’t prove that the culprit is the TiO2."
We don't know whether he did some mistakes in his workflow, had a bad batch or the paper was affected by heavy air pollution, e.g. high ozone concentrations (some photo copy machines are emitting quite a lot of that, and that is harmful to fibre paper, too).
b) Due to an official Schoeller statement both the fibre paper base and the RC paper base have the same technology (with TiO2 components) incorporated. Therefore in this regard: No differences between fibre and RC paper.
c) Billions of color prints have been printed for more than 40 years on RC paper. And they don't show the problems Ctein has talked about. Therefore I am sure that it has been a specific problem in his workflow / his surrounding / his specific material used, and not a generel RC base problem. As said before: My RC prints are all fine, even those which are decades old. Including those hanging at the walls and exposed to light daily.
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