Glossy vs. Semi-matte paper developing

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by zrbarnes, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. zrbarnes

    zrbarnes TPF Noob!

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    I have 80+ sheets of Kentmere Fineprint VC FB Neutral Tone Finegrain Semi Matte. I am in a beginning photography class and I'm the only one with semi-matte paper.

    The teacher isn't too good with outside of the box things, and semi-matte isn't inside his box.

    Unfortunately, my prints are coming out grey-ish, and I'm having troubles with chemical stains. Teacher says this is because the semi-matte needs a different printing process.

    Anyone have any experience with this?
     
  2. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    matt papers don't have the same dmax as glossy papers and may tend to look more flat even with higher contrast filters. With my beginners i recommend glossy papers as they will show every flaw which i feel is important to the learning process. however, I have students who use both as they may be doing some handcoloring and matt papers are best for that process and also they are printed flatter to help with the coloring, other than that the process should be the same. Check the spec sheet in the paper pack to see if the maker might be recommending a longer development time. ALso, the expsoure time may be long if the paper is slower, but other than that i have never heard about a "different printing process".

    Chemical stains, may be the result of your technique and can occur on glossy papers as well ,they are not just something that occurs with matt or semi-matt papers. they could be the result of chemistry remaining on your fingers from developing, or perhaps poor washing .

    As a photo educator i find this very sad, outside the box or inside the box that this instructor can't be more helpful.
     
  3. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    If this is what the teacher actually said then the teacher is completely wrong. There is nothing about the surface finish that affects any of the chemical steps or washing. Stains and contrast problems are the result of some other issue.

    I suspect the stains are the result of exhausted chemicals and/or improper fixing and washing. The paper you mention is a fiber based paper and its likely that the teacher's processing instructions are for RC (resin coated) papers. Fiber based papers generally require longer fixing times and always require substantially longer washing times (hours if you aren't using a hypo clearing agent).

    Low contrast can be the result of using exhausted or improperly mixed paper developer. Many RC papers actually have a developing agent built into the emulsion and are less sensitive to exhausted or weak developers than fiber based papers.

    As a rule, stains caused by exhausted developers are usually reddish or rust colored. Stains from under fixing, either too short a time or exhausted fixer, are more often purplish.
     
  4. zrbarnes

    zrbarnes TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the helpful info. I'm going to go on a fact finding mission tomorrow to nail down some of the specifics and check the instructions that came with the paper, but here is what I can remember:

    We aren't allowed to use RC paper, so all the instructions are for fiber based papers.

    Most of my exposure times are around f8 @ 8 to 12 seconds. (which is about the same as I was using for the glossy)
    If I leave it on longer, the print gets darker but never reaches what I would call a true black.

    Developer Ratio is 1:19 @ 3 to 5 minutes
    Stop Bath is 1:32 @ 30 seconds to 1 minute
    Fixer is 1:7 @ 5 minutes
    Hypo wash @ 2 minutes
    Water wash @ 15-20 minutes

    This info may not be any help since I don't know the brand/type of the chemicals, but that's all I can remember.

    The weird thing about the chemical stains is that I wasn't getting them with the glossy paper that I borrowed from a friend. I will pay veerrrry close attention this next time to make sure that nobody cross contaminates the tongs (working with other people in a darkroom can be frustrating).

    Could there be any issue between someone developing glossy paper in the same chemicals as me? Even if they are both kentmere and fiber based?
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  5. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes, but not because of the type of paper. Rather because the other person
    is being sloppy and contaminating the baths or the chemistry is exhausted from
    over-use or somebody is getting their grubby hands on the paper that you
    are using, etc.

    Start with clean trays and tongs. Mix your own fresh chemistry and maintain
    proper bath temperature. Be neat. Don't touch the paper with dirty or wet
    hands. Don't use paper that somebody else touched. Keep your tongs (if you
    use them) in their proper trays, etc.
     
  6. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    the matt papers will never look the same as glossy, so you need to adjust your thinking in this area. THey have a lower Dmax which effects the blacks. you can increase the paper grade with filters, but again , the surface of the paper will never look the same as glossy.

    gang darkrooms can be a pain if not monitored carefully
     
  7. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    FB papers need extended washing for clearing chemical staining, washing with many other prints will increase the dilution of the wash, I recommend you do a final rinse of your print in a tray under running water, alone. How are your negs? if slight overexposed you need more enlarger time and higher filter grading for true blacks, 3 mins should be it for dev time, no longer, do test strips of the same paper making sure you include a portion of the print containing white & black, everything else should be differing shades of grey, I think you may be overdeving this paper. H
     
  8. zrbarnes

    zrbarnes TPF Noob!

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    Alright, I got into the darkroom tonight and did some tinkering... Teacher wanted us to do 1:19 ratio @ 5 minutes (crazy) for the developer, but after reading the developer bottle and my instructions from my paper, I settled on 1:9 @ 1.5-2 minutes. This seemed to help a little.

    The biggest payoff was with the soft light filter. I had turned it down some, but not seen much result. After I turned it down several more notches, everything started popping like it should! No more flat grays for me.

    I really concentrated on not cross contaminating my tongs and managed to work by myself, so we will see if I have any chemicals stains when I go to pick them up in the morning. I leave my prints in a tub with water running in it while I work, so by the time I'm finished, the first couple prints have been washing for a couple hours. The later prints hopefully are washed enough by the hypo and 20 minute wash in the wash station.

    One thing I haven't yet figured out is the practical difference between a print at higher aperture and more time vs. a print at lower aperture and less time. This is why I usually stick with f8 and adjust my time using the test strips; I haven't yet had a print that was out of range for it.

    All in all, I'll have fun letting the teacher eat his words about semi-matte :) Thanks for the tips! Feel free to keep them coming.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2009
  9. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    are you using yellow and magenta for contrast?
    then if your lowering the yellow, the magenta is now stronger which will increase the contrast.

    most fiber papers i have ever used and i have been doing this for over 60 years never called for 5 minutes of development times, usually between 2 -3 minutes. You pick one and stick with it.

    I would suggest you stay with f8 and become consisitence in making your negatives . THere are difference when you start changing the fstop and time and they can be benefical, but as a beginner i would suggest you get your sea legs first.

    I am so sorry your insturctor doesn't seem to know what they are doing and so hesitate suggesting you talk to him about when and how to make the changes with fstopand times and what it will do or not do.
     
  10. zrbarnes

    zrbarnes TPF Noob!

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    Hmmm, this is one thing I'm unsure of. The enlargers we use only have a black control box with 3 variable control knobs: Soft, Brightness, and Hard.

    Do the colors somehow relate to those controls, or is this something that I don't have?
     
  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I've got to second Ann's comments about five minute print devlopment times with a WTH? Five minutes is a ridiculously long time--so long that in a community school darkroom, you're likely to have contamination of white light from beginning darkroom workers doing dumb things like inserting negative carriers with the enlarger light on, or flipping the enlarger on to see better in the dark,etc,etc. Also, if the safelights are not truly "safe", some slight level of fogging could occur over a five minute development time.

    And a 1:19 developer concentration when your paper's manufacturer suggests a 1:9 dilution would be a clear,simple, obvious source of inadequate D-max on your blacks. If it calls for 1:9 and you were using 1:19, that would be the near-equivalent to using exhausted developer.

    Safelight fogging of prints while in the developing tray is all too common. Also, try and develop face down in the tray and stick to a strict development time. Developing face down ensures that you stick to the time and are never tempted to "pull" a print early. [ Your instructor BTW, sounds like he or she deserves a C- grade.]
     
  12. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    your being kind derrel i wouldn't even go with a c-, this type of instructor drives me crazy, and this person isn't the only one, i get to hear some wild stories from students. (un asked for, but delievered none the less)
     

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