Kodak or Ilford for multi grade.
Old 01-08-2020   #1
jmpgino
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Kodak or Ilford for multi grade.

Been printing with Ilford Multigrade paper and their Developer for a good while now and I just continue to be disappointed at the results. Blacks are just not black when paper has dried. I even use a hairdryer to quick dry test strips to get a batter idea of finished values.
So since it is cooler here in the south around this time of the year, I tend to do my vacation printing. Finished off a 500ml of Ilford stuff and decided to get some Kodak Dektol, just got four packages of the stuff.
On reading up about it from users comments, it has high acclaim. Will I get any better results, does it really make a visible difference ?
Other reason for buying it was the dry mix. I have been throwing more liquid stuff away because it goes off so quickly in the south. I have started putting Argon gas into the liquid bottles recently, it does make a difference for sure on deterioration of the contents.
So should I get back in the darkroom and retry some negatives again or is it not worth the rush.
Cheers.
James.
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Old 01-08-2020   #2
Ko.Fe.
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Fresh Ilford MG RC glossy gives awesome bw in Ilford paper developers.
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Old 01-08-2020   #3
retinax
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1. Are you by any chance using the satin paper? It just doesn't go very black.
2. Are you definitely developing to completion? Leave a bit of paper in the developer for a few minutes with the lights on. This is how black it goes and if you don't get that in your prints, you're not developing long enough (or the print needs more exposure/harder contrast filtration). It needs to be repeated because I read otherwise frequently: You should develop your paper to completion, contrast and brightness is controlled only through exposure, not by pulling the print when it looks about right, nor strictly after one minute or whatever the instructions say, they may not apply for you if, e.g., your temperature is too low or your developer getting exhausted. Leaving paper in the developer for too little time gives muddy prints, leaving them in for a few minutes more does little harm, it's a while before highlights will fog.
Differences between developers should not be dramatic.
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Old 01-08-2020   #4
Freakscene
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpgino View Post
Will I get any better results, does it really make a visible difference ?
If you are using Ilford resin coated paper, changing developer will make virtually no difference to your results unless the developer that you have been using has oxidised or is otherwise performing suboptimally. If you are using fibre base paper there will be a small, but still not great difference. Ilford FB papers are formulated to provide as close to the same tonal representation, DMax and image colour as possible in most common developers.

The only substantial difference that I observed with any Ilford paper was that Ilford FB warmtone looked slightly green in the darker tones when developed in Dektol whereas it did not in Ilford developer.

I suggest that, like others have commented, there might be problems with aspects of your technique other than choice of materials or that this paper simply can't give you what you want. If you are still dissatisfied, revise your technique from basic principles and consider trying a different paper.

Marty
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Old 01-08-2020   #5
jmpgino
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I leave the prints face down and let them all go for two and a half minutes. Ilford says two minutes is enough. I have been using mat paper and glossy, yes the glossy does pack a bigger black punch but for framing purposes I don’t like a glossy finish behind glass. I learnt years ago not to watch the print develop, so not until in the fixer for a minute do I turn the light on. They look great in the fluid but when dry they have lost their punch.
Tried selenium toning on some old poor prints and got either no change or an eggplant colour.
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Old 01-08-2020   #6
Rob-F
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Once I discovered Ilford Multigrade, I never went back to Kodak papers. I use both the fiber base (FB) and the Resin Coated (RC) papers. I use it with LPD (Liquid Paper Developer). LPD produces the results I want, and it just keeps going, like the Energizer Bunny, so it's good for long printing sessions. It's a concentrate, and varying the concentration of LPD allows you to change the tone of the print, from cold to neutral to warm tone. The Ilford Multigrade filter set is excellent, with a wide range of contrasts.
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Old 01-09-2020   #7
retinax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpgino View Post
I leave the prints face down and let them all go for two and a half minutes.
And how do you agitate? At what temperature? Two and a half minutes with little or no agitation or at a low temperature may be not enough. You should do the maximum black test I proposed above, with fresh developer. Do this with all papers you use.
How do you determine filtration and exposure? If there's any doubt here, you could use the maximum black test snipped to compare to your test strips.
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Old 01-09-2020   #8
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Less dilution of developer could help, say 1:7 instead of 1:9. And yes, good agitation of the print while in the developer. Are you using a Sodium Thiosulfate Fixer? That can bleach prints if it is too strong or prints are fixed too long, but that would more effect bright tones, not shadows.

You might try this after getting a print that looks good wet: make two additional prints at 3%, 5% more exposure and then one with a half a grade and one with a full grade more contrast. Evaluate when dry, perhaps some additional black will result.

There is certainly a wet to dry transition when printing that is different with different papers. I’ve been finding that contrast changes are a little smaller with the ILMG Classic than I recall with the IV.
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Old 01-09-2020   #9
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I print for myself and have also printed commercially for a range of artists and photographers for the past twenty years. I used to use Dektol and Selectol Soft developers, and Ilford and other paper developers before that. About 18 years ago I took a class with master printer Jim Megargee (co-owner of M/V Labs in NYC) and he turned me on to Ethol LPD paper developer (the same soup Rob-F mentioned above); I've been using it pretty much exclusively ever since. As Rob mentions, it does have some unusual characteristics. As he states, you can adjust the tones it produces from cooler to neutral to warmer by changing the dilution of the developer. This works with all papers. Second, it really does last virtually forever. I save it from session to session filling the tray halfway with old, used (seasoned, LOL) developer and the other is half fresh developer diluted to the same strength.

95% of the printing I do for myself and for my clients is on fiber paper from Oriental, Ilford, Kodak, Berger, Adox and others. LPD is excellent with all of them. It will give excellent deep blacks as long as the paper gets the proper exposure. It works just as well with RC papers, too.
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Old 01-09-2020   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drewbarb View Post
This works with all papers.
LPD is very concentrated and well buffered so it does have a very long working life. But there is no way of working around the built in developing agents and accelerators in Ilford RC papers - it doesn't matter what developer you use, the DMax and tones change so little it is almost negligible. These papers were formulated to vary as little as possible no matter how they are developed.

Marty

Last edited by Freakscene : 01-09-2020 at 16:29. Reason: Fixing the bb code.
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