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Author: wangwengwu

Best RC for museum type quality prints, rich full tonal ranges.

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Post time: 2013-6-6 17:21:12 |Show all posts
Dear Mr. McCluney: "and leave the wifes iron alone."  You mean just in case they have their own printing flattening iron, isn't it?

Post time: 2013-6-6 16:17:39 |Show all posts
I am not counseling that adoption of RC paper for museum archives, I was just stating my personal experience with my prints.  My old (35 yr.) RC b/w prints still look just like they did when I printed them, and I have not tried to store them properly, they are just work prints. Flattening fibre prints without a dry mounting press is easy.  You can flatten them with an clothes iron.  You iron them between blotters, etc.  You can also dry-mount fibre prints with a clothes iron.  It is just more time consuming than a dry mounting press, but much less expensive.  It would be best to purchase a clothes iron specifically for your flattening purposes, and leave the wifes iron alone. McCluney Photo

Post time: 2013-6-6 14:49:28 |Show all posts
The RC paper of 35 years ago was pretty poor in both structure and tonality.  While I wouldn't argue with anyone that they have 35-year old prints on RC that still look as good as they did when printed, it's unlikely these prints will last as long as archivally processed fiber prints from the same period.   RC papers have improved greatly since those old plasticky papers I used in the 1970's.  They "might" have an extended lifespan due to these improvements but nothing has really convinced me they are truly archival.  They do look better.  I've been impressed with the look of Ilford MG Warmtone RC--it's not plastic-looking at all.  It also tones nicely in selenium.  It even tones nicely in Nelson's gold toner, which is done at high temperature.   Despite my most recent experiences with RC paper, I still prefer to print on fiber-based paper.  It feels like real paper compared to RC.

Post time: 2013-6-6 13:12:31 |Show all posts
"I have RC b/w prints I made over 35 years ago that still look just like they did when I made them.  There has been no deterioration. What is the deal with RC not being archival?" If you make an RC print and keep it in perpetual dark, cold storage, it might not decay over 35 years.  Museums have purchased color (RC) C-prints from photographers like Joel Meyerowitz; however, a museum may ask for two prints for the price of one- a print to display and a print to keep in dark, cold storage. I've never seen an old RC print that's been handled or displayed and hasn't shown deterioration.  Typically, the white RC base will yellow; and it may be subtle enough that someone looking at the print over a period of years won't notice the discoloration.   B&W RC prints have are particularly suseptable to oxidation, which presents as "bronzing."  See Ctein, "Mastering the Black and White Print", Photo Techniques, Special Edition #11.   Oxidation/bronzing is why, as I note above, Ilford recommends selenium toning for its RC B&W papers.  The selenium toning does not deepen the blacks on an RC paper the way it would with a fiber print; but may prevent oxidation. Seriously, though, if you cant see the difference between a well-made B&W RC print and a well-made fiber print, go to museums and get used to looking at fiber prints by competent printers.  The difference isn't that hard to see when you've viewed a number of fine prints.  And it doesn't suprise me that "professional photographers" wouldn't know the difference- the vast majority have earned a living selling RC prints and don't spend time in museums looking at great fiber prints.

Post time: 2013-6-6 11:39:32 |Show all posts
Thanks for all the responses.   I have done some FB prints when I was taking some classes years ago.  The only issue I have with fiber is that it?s a pain to get flat after being processed.   That?s for another discussion on techniques getting your final print flat enough to mouth without spending $1000+ on a dry press.  I did find Oriental on B&H so thanks for the information.

Post time: 2013-6-6 10:21:43 |Show all posts
I have RC b/w prints I made over 35 years ago that still look just like they did when I made them.  There has been no deterioration.  What is the deal with RC not being archival? While the tonality of these old RC prints is not up to modern standards, the point is that they have not decomposed, etc. McCluney Photo

Post time: 2013-6-6 09:18:51 |Show all posts
Some years ago, I showed some mounted prints to photographer friends with, like me, 30 to 40 years experience. The pictures were praised (at least in my presence), but I was criticized for using RC paper, with that awful RC 'veiling' and plasticky look. Actually, the paper was Afga FB, matte surface.  On another occasion I showed a FB print to some artist friends (not photographers) which gathered some praise. It was very difficult to make so I described the process and showed the work prints, made on RC. Everyone much preferred the RC version. They found the FB paper too overstated for the image. I understand that everyone wants their prints to last as long as possible, and when selling them, especially portraits and family pictures, you have an obligation to use archival materials and methods. OTOH, I think there is a greater obligation to choose the best paper for the particular image, and that should not be determined by whether the paper is RC or FB.

Post time: 2013-6-6 07:52:37 |Show all posts
No offense taken SG.  I think we pretty much agree on all accounts even if it didn't come across that way at first.

Post time: 2013-6-6 06:33:55 |Show all posts
I made the comment but perhaps I'm an average joebob.  I'm certainly don't claim to be the most experienced printer in the world but I have used and handled both types.  I just think that when mounted, matted and framed behind glass the differences aren't as nearly as significant as some would lead you to believe when observed at a normal viewing distance.  However, I still believe that anything of importance should be printed on fiber for the reasons I stated above.  There are many good reasons why it is the standard for gallery type work.

Post time: 2013-6-6 05:13:41 |Show all posts
Perhaps find some research data on the archivability of differing papers from the manufacturers etc..., but the bottom line regarding what is acceptable to museums and art dealers as a fine art print would need to be Fibre Base paper processed using archival methods. Archival processes require two fixing baths, hypo clearing solution and extended washing times. Some would also consider toning the final step as most toners change the silvers to more stable compounds that resist oxiodation and so forth.  Selenium can mixed from strong to weak depending on the intended result,be it a strong selenium tonal shift or a weak solution for archivability without changing theappearance of the image.  Selenium will work on RC paper as do others toners, but no one I know would consider it archival.  I like to use RC sometimes because it is all around much quicker to work with for imediate results.  The imagaes do sometimes tend to be more punchy on papers like Ilford RC gloss, and can be misleading to use for proofs, and hard to replicate on Fibre base. IF I can't get the pop I want with Ilford Gloss FB I might then switch to Oriental depending. On the other hand, if I intend to do a contrast shift like a split using selenium and sepia, and maybe a warming dye bath like tea, I would have to use a matte base.  RC just wont work for varying reasons, perhaps most importantly, regardless of not taking a dye bath (effects the paper base), it isn't recomended for such exteneded wet times.  Someone above wrote that they didn't think many people would distinguish RC from fibre behind glass.  I don't know about that.  Certainly not any ol' joebob, but anyone who has done some printing and handled the two should see the difference imediately.

Post time: 2013-6-6 04:12:39 |Show all posts
My favorite RC paper is the AGFA MCP310 (the number signifies glossy, as I recently found out from folks here on p.net:)).  I find I like it much better than the Ilford equivalent in almost every way.  I have not, however, ried the Ilford product suggested in the first response, so I can't compare.  However, as much as I can't find any fault with the RC paper, I don't understand why you would choose not to use FB for the truly special prints.  I use a lot of RC paper - I think I am still learning and as such, I go through a lot of paper trying things out and just ironing out techniques.  But you look at one FB print, and you realize that its a whole different ball of wax... its as though the image was a part of the paper as opposed to sitting on top of it.. and the gleam in the highlights is just magical.  Plus, archival quality is unquestionable with _properly_ processed FB - everything else is a bit of a gamble: perhaps its pretty good, perhaps its better than it was... but why try?

Post time: 2013-6-6 02:57:51 |Show all posts
"all B&W RC prints were made with a small portion of the silver used with fibre based papers. They use dye couplers" I'm not aware of any B+W RC paper that uses dye couplers.   Perhaps some special purpose papers used for making B+W prints from color negs but that's about it.  B+W RC prints have always contained silver in the resulting image just as with a fiber print.  Whether the amounts of silver are the same IDK but there have been plenty of myths started over the silver content in emulsions.

Post time: 2013-6-6 01:26:47 |Show all posts
In terms of sheer image quality and tonal range, I personally don't think many people will be able to distinguish RC from Fiber when displayed behind glass.  Without going through all the data I also  believe that most RC papers are capable of similar Dmin/Dmax readings and consequently compare well with FB paper regarding tonal range.  I've also heard some people say that RC gives a "sharper" look since the emulsion is very evenly distributed on the supprt as opposed to some it being absorbed and somewhat textured by a fiber base (even with glossy coat.)  Nevertheless, any image that has any hint of importance to me gets printed on fiber.  RC has supposedly come a long way regarding archaivability but even the manufacturers will tell you that a properly washed fiber print is the benchmark for longevity.  There is also a tactile quality in holding a handmade fiber print that seems lost with the more "sterile" and machine processed feel of an RC print.  Of course this is just my very subjective feeling on the matter.  Some fiber papers also respond more effectively to toning but this can't be applied universly across the board as it varies with paper type and the toner used.

Post time: 2013-6-6 00:09:24 |Show all posts
I've been using Oriental VC RC paper for awhile, and just got a batch from BHPhoto. It's beautiful stuff, and pretty dang close to the results of the Oriental fiber paper I've used. I was very impressed with its richness and tonal range for an RC paper. Where did you hear it was being discontinued? I've also used Forte which I like. Personally, I don't care for the results of selenium toning on RC. It does make a difference, but not as dramatic as fiber.

Post time: 2013-6-5 23:02:27 |Show all posts
"Confusing at best." I don't know how you could be confused. RC stands for Resin Coat. That's the plastic backing used on the prints. Plastic and museum do not go together. Let's start there. From my recollection (many years ago when I used it) all B&W RC prints were made with a small portion of the silver used with fibre based papers. They use dye couplers. This may have changed, but I know that there is far less silver in RC prints. Silver is what makes B&W beautiful.  To be fair, the confusion starts from posts that are repeats of other misinformation.Doug

Post time: 2013-6-5 21:22:00 |Show all posts
For "museum type quality prints" you will want to print on fiber- not RC paper.  IMHO, the terms "museum type quality prints" and "black and white RC paper" are mutually exclusive. That having been said, the best black and white RC paper I've used has been Ilford Portfolio.  It is the same emulsion as Ilford's regular Multigrade IV RC, which has impressive tonal range for an RC paper. But Ilford Portfolio has a really thick RC base.  I love thick papers: http://www.ilfordphoto.com/products/product.asp?n=24&t=Photographic+Papers I find Ilford's Pearl surface RC papers more asthetically pleasing than Ilford's Glossy RC papers.  Also, selenium toner is recommended for longevity ("to protect from oxidation") with Ilford Portfolio, but will not enhance the tonality of the paper: http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/20061302095291.pdf
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