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Multigrade vs Galerie: What is grade 3?


Ornello
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Hello:

 

I recently bought some Ilford Galerie FB paper (glossy) which is now available only in grade #3. I printed a negative on MGV with filtration (20M) that seemed was indicated for grade 3 in Ilford's literature. The print looked too hard, so I reduced the filtration to 0 (which Ilford says is grade #2). That seemed better. I then printed it on the Galerie paper (fresh) and it looked flatter (lower in contrast). My enlarger is a Fujimoto G70 (which has both condenser and diffusion heads). I use the condenser head. The lens is a Focotar-2 50mm.

The contrast on the MGV paper print (with 0 filtration) seemed to be about half a grade higher than on the Galerie paper print (it should be a grade lower).

Has anyone else done such a comparison?

Edited by Ornello
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Not since maybe 1975? I really don't recall.

I do have a 20-year-old Ilford Data Guide, and it includes characteristic curves for Multigrade IV paper (using filters) and for Ilfobrom Galerie FB graded papers - and they are indeed not identical.

I just found online Ilford documents showing those curves for MGV and IB Galerie FB:

Multigrade V RC: https://www.ilfordphoto.com/amfile/file/download/file/1954/product/745/

Ilfobrom Galerie FB: https://www.ilfordphoto.com/amfile/file/download/file/1741/product/722/

Edited by adan
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You don’t use filters with graded paper, leave the colour filters at zero or don’t drop them in. The paper you have is a fixed grade 3 and would be considered “normal”. Grade 4 is harder, a bit more contrasty, grade 2 softer.

Have a look at http://www.photomemorabilia.co.uk/index.html for lots of info about papers.

When modern multi grade papers came out in the 1970’s it meant that you did not have to buy boxes of each grade, just use multigrade with filters. I just use the magenta filter, usually about 60M. The instructions may say use a mixture of yellow and magenta. You will never need to use cyan. You can buy sets of filters that fit in a holder under the enlarger lens if you don’t have a colour head in the enlarger.

My favourite paper many years ago was Agfa grade 6.

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2 hours ago, Pyrogallol said:

You don’t use filters with graded paper, leave the colour filters at zero or don’t drop them in. The paper you have is a fixed grade 3 and would be considered “normal”. Grade 4 is harder, a bit more contrasty, grade 2 softer.

Have a look at http://www.photomemorabilia.co.uk/index.html for lots of info about papers.

When modern multi grade papers came out in the 1970’s it meant that you did not have to buy boxes of each grade, just use multigrade with filters. I just use the magenta filter, usually about 60M. The instructions may say use a mixture of yellow and magenta. You will never need to use cyan. You can buy sets of filters that fit in a holder under the enlarger lens if you don’t have a colour head in the enlarger.

My favourite paper many years ago was Agfa grade 6.

uuuuuh!

The problem is that the MG paper with 20M filtration (which according to the instructions from Ilford produces grade 3) produces higher contrast than the Galerie grade 3. They don't match!

 

Edited by Ornello
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7 hours ago, adan said:

Not since maybe 1975? I really don't recall.

I do have a 20-year-old Ilford Data Guide, and it includes characteristic curves for Multigrade IV paper (using filters) and for Ilfobrom Galerie FB graded papers - and they are indeed not identical.

I just found online Ilford documents showing those curves for MGV and IB Galerie FB:

Multigrade V RC: https://www.ilfordphoto.com/amfile/file/download/file/1954/product/745/

Ilfobrom Galerie FB: https://www.ilfordphoto.com/amfile/file/download/file/1741/product/722/

I can't tell in the forest of curves....

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Let me ask this - on what basis would you assume that Grade 3 (filtered according to specs) on Multigrade paper would match Grade 3 graded paper - perfectly and all the time?

The ISO has never issued a standard for photo paper contrast (unlike many other things in photography).

https://www.iso.org/committee/48420/x/catalogue/

Which means the paper makers are free to set their own standards - per product line, if the chemistry demands.

Nor is there any exact consistency across enlarger color head brands (see pg. 3).

https://www.ilfordphoto.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Contrast-control-for-Ilford-Multigrade.pdf

Your Fujimoto is supposed to work about like Kodak color heads - or at least it was supposed to in 2010 (publication date of link above, republished in 2017). But from two different factories over up to 40 years?

- What's the exact color temperature of your enlarging bulb (not the specs, the actual measured color of YOUR bulb)? That will change the color mix and thus the contrast of MG prints.

- Dichroic filters do not fade much (if at all) - but how about the "white" of the mixing chamber, after x-many years. Has it changed with time?

Ilford Ilfobrom Galerie FB is a bromide paper (as the name suggests) - slightly different chemistry than MG (a chlorobromide paper). Bromide has a greater tendency to collect fog.

I recall my grad school photo lab getting a shipment of factory-fresh Ilfobrom in which the "whites" were all slighty gray from fog - and that will knock down the apparent contrast very obviously. But in addition, how long was your Ilfobrom Galerie FB "on the shelf" somewhere enroute from Ilford (Worcester, UK) to your enlarger? Maybe in an unrefrigerated truck on a hot day?

I also recall, when last I did color darkroom printing, that each box of Kodak color paper came with its own specific data sheet. Which would list (in red print) what changes in color filtering were need for that specific batch - e.g. this specific batch or box of paper needs -20M/+5Y filtering, compared to the standard aim-point.

There was no guarantee at all that the colors (or for Polycontrast/Multigrade B&W papers, the color response/sensitizing dyes of the contrast layers) will be identical from batch to batch. Just "pretty close" and within certain tolerances.

Every new box - we adjusted for that batch per the data sheet - and still did our own tests (if we needed that level of precision-matching).

It appear you have just done that test.

For your equipment, with these particular batches of MGV and Galerie Grade 3, you need -20M from the specified Ilford aim-point, for the MGV print to match the Graded 3 paper contrast.

 

Edited by adan
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I assumed your paper was new or reasonably new. Even so fibre based Galerie will have a different tonal range and base white to multigrade. 

If the paper is old then you just have to test it to see if it is any good. I inherited several boxes and packets of various types of paper last year and they varied from very grey fogged to very usable. Some Chen Fu paper was ok and some not. Some Agfa Record Rapid was very good, but not much of it. Some Barclay paper was ok and some not. Some papers were graded, 2 or 3, and some multigrade.

Back to your paper, grade 3 used without filters should look “normal” with a correctly exposed and developed negative, and good developer.

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17 hours ago, adan said:

Let me ask this - on what basis would you assume that Grade 3 (filtered according to specs) on Multigrade paper would match Grade 3 graded paper - perfectly and all the time?

The ISO has never issued a standard for photo paper contrast (unlike many other things in photography).

https://www.iso.org/committee/48420/x/catalogue/

Which means the paper makers are free to set their own standards - per product line, if the chemistry demands.

Nor is there any exact consistency across enlarger color head brands (see pg. 3).

https://www.ilfordphoto.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Contrast-control-for-Ilford-Multigrade.pdf

Your Fujimoto is supposed to work about like Kodak color heads - or at least it was supposed to in 2010 (publication date of link above, republished in 2017). But from two different factories over up to 40 years?

- What's the exact color temperature of your enlarging bulb (not the specs, the actual measured color of YOUR bulb)? That will change the color mix and thus the contrast of MG prints.

- Dichroic filters do not fade much (if at all) - but how about the "white" of the mixing chamber, after x-many years. Has it changed with time?

Ilford Ilfobrom Galerie FB is a bromide paper (as the name suggests) - slightly different chemistry than MG (a chlorobromide paper). Bromide has a greater tendency to collect fog.

I recall my grad school photo lab getting a shipment of factory-fresh Ilfobrom in which the "whites" were all slighty gray from fog - and that will knock down the apparent contrast very obviously. But in addition, how long was your Ilfobrom Galerie FB "on the shelf" somewhere enroute from Ilford (Worcester, UK) to your enlarger? Maybe in an unrefrigerated truck on a hot day?

I also recall, when last I did color darkroom printing, that each box of Kodak color paper came with its own specific data sheet. Which would list (in red print) what changes in color filtering were need for that specific batch - e.g. this specific batch or box of paper needs -20M/+5Y filtering, compared to the standard aim-point.

There was no guarantee at all that the colors (or for Polycontrast/Multigrade B&W papers, the color response/sensitizing dyes of the contrast layers) will be identical from batch to batch. Just "pretty close" and within certain tolerances.

Every new box - we adjusted for that batch per the data sheet - and still did our own tests (if we needed that level of precision-matching).

It appear you have just done that test.

For your equipment, with these particular batches of MGV and Galerie Grade 3, you need -20M from the specified Ilford aim-point, for the MGV print to match the Graded 3 paper contrast.

 

Both packages were brand new. I just expected there to be a closer match. I even tried some older Galerie left over from 12 years ago, and it was (as expected) somewhat less contrasty. If anything, the age of the bulb would tend to make it yellower, and thus reduce the contrast slightly. This is my model enlarger:

https://www.photrio.com/forum/threads/so-i-lied-i-actually-got-a-fujimoto-g70.146402/

I have other enlargers.

Edited by Ornello
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19 hours ago, adan said:

Let me ask this - on what basis would you assume that Grade 3 (filtered according to specs) on Multigrade paper would match Grade 3 graded paper - perfectly and all the time?

 

On the basis that Ilford are competent. The grade numbers should be consistent from one product line to another.

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Ilford's response:

I appreciate why you’re asking your q. Your findings however are what I’d expect really, as all our paper products do have slightly different contrast ranges.  If you were to print - and direct compare all our paper products ‘grade for grade’, there definitely would be an offset in contrast. But the offset of any grades, would likely not be much more than ½ to ¾ of a grade.

To better explain that - some of our papers will have slightly harder or softer extreme grades (00 end and 5 end) - when compared with each other. As well as showing slight differences with how the overall grades are spaced, and how they cross compare.    

So it definitely is probable that MGFB Classic printed with an eg MG 3 filter, will look different in contrast if compared to Galerie Ilfobrom grade 3 paper. Some of the differences is simply because of the products having different formulations. Differences too, will link to silver levels in the products varying – so blacks will look slightly different, and when deeper – it can make contrast look higher/harder.

Another factor that might be applicable to your findings, is that if you’re comparing an older batch of one product - versus a fresher batch of another product. Ie as paper loses contrast when it ages - it would make the contrast differences even more noticeable.

The difference I see is about 1.5 grades, thus my complaint.

 

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On 1/12/2022 at 7:12 PM, Ornello said:

On the basis that Ilford are competent. The grade numbers should be consistent from one product line to another.

I have not printed on the papers mentioned in this post.

My experience is only based on graded fiber papers of Ilford and Agfa, and since the mid-nineties on Ilford fiber warmtone multigrade. Between boxes or envelopes with different batch numbers it was, and still is, normal there are differences. In contrast and in exposure times. I never use left-over unexposed test strips from a box when the batch numbers are different.

These differences, with normal use, are no big deal. Because we make corrections all the time. Things like which developer you use; temperature of the developer and fresh / not fresh deveoper also contriubute. These differences were more noticeable with graded papers, but multigrade papers also had and have them.

When Ilford Multigrade Warmtone paper came out it was one of the first things I tested: paper from boxes with different batch numbers. That's about 25 years ago. I found my notes of back then which confirmed what I wrote before. I also remember discussions with one printer in Paris (for whom I worked in the early eighties) and with a b/w printer in New York who both confirmed my findings. We also agreed it was no big deal. Making good prints always remained possible. We certainly never compared one product line to another product line. Not matte with glossy paper, not warmtone with neutral paper. There's not point to that.

Part of the work we did in Paris was print portfolios. In particular one portfolio we did for the Witkin Gallery was demanding: 10 negatives by one photographer, printed 100 times. That was a complicated story in many aspects, not in the least because of these differences between different batch numbers on the boxes. We were delayed at first because we did not get what was agreed: boxes with the same emulsion numbers.

Ilford has made, and is making fantastic paper and I have never been limited in any way by this issue, which in my opinion is not an issue.

 

 

Edited by M.Hilo
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13 hours ago, M.Hilo said:

I have not printed on the papers mentioned in this post.

My experience is only based on graded fiber papers of Ilford and Agfa, and since the mid-nineties on Ilford fiber warmtone multigrade. Between boxes or envelopes with different batch numbers it was, and still is, normal there are differences. In contrast and in exposure times. I never use left-over unexposed test strips from a box when the batch numbers are different.

These differences, with normal use, are no big deal. Because we make corrections all the time. Things like which developer you use; temperature of the developer and fresh / not fresh deveoper also contriubute. These differences were more noticeable with graded papers, but multigrade papers also had and have them.

When Ilford Multigrade Warmtone paper came out it was one of the first things I tested: paper from boxes with different batch numbers. That's about 25 years ago. I found my notes of back then which confirmed what I wrote before. I also remember discussions with one printer in Paris (for whom I worked in the early eighties) and with a b/w printer in New York who both confirmed my findings. We also agreed it was no big deal. Making good prints always remained possible. We certainly never compared one product line to another product line. Not matte with glossy paper, not warmtone with neutral paper. There's not point to that.

Part of the work we did in Paris was print portfolios. In particular one portfolio we did for the Witkin Gallery was demanding: 10 negatives by one photographer, printed 100 times. That was a complicated story in many aspects, not in the least because of these differences between different batch numbers on the boxes. We were delayed at first because we did not get what was agreed: boxes with the same emulsion numbers.

Ilford has made, and is making fantastic paper and I have never been limited in any way by this issue, which in my opinion is not an issue.

 

 

The problem is that negatives developed for MG filtration 3 will look too soft on Galerie #3, and there's no easy way to cure that. Galerie #4 is discontinued. If, on the other hand, I develop my negatives to print properly on Galerie #3, I can adjust the filtration for MG to match it (or come very close) and ignore the filtration recommended by Ilford. So, of course, I have many negatives already developed to print on MG filtration 3.

😢

By my eye, it seems that the discrepancy is about 1.5 to 2 grades.

Edited by Ornello
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30 minutes ago, Ornello said:

The problem is that negatives developed for MG filtration 3 will look too soft on Galerie #3, and there's no easy way to cure that. Galerie #4 is discontinued. If, on the other hand, I develop my negatives to print properly on Galerie #3, I can adjust the filtration for MG to match it (or come very close) and ignore the filtration recommended by Ilford. So, of course, I have many negatives already developed to print on MG filtration 3.

😢

Yes, I see your problem. Given the limited possibilities of this paper, why do you use it? The concept of adjusting film development to a certain paper with these limits does not sound okay to me.

As you can tell I haven't made myself familiar with this paper. I would never consider using it because it would mean I could not print a large number of my past negatives.

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I don't know if the following is helpful ... haven't printed papers in almost two decades. When I did my own printing, I used a Bessler 23XCL (I think that was the correct model number), fitted with an Arista Cold Light head. I used Oriental Seagull G finish fibre papers, speeds 2 through 4, although most images printed well on 2 or 3. In order to obtain intermediate contrast effects, I sometimes used a modified version of the old-school Beers Developer--if I recall correctly, the actual formulation was named Dr. Pratt's. Long story short, varying parts A and B of the Dr. Pratt's (or Beers) developer sometimes did the trick.

I wonder if such an approach would work with Ilford's fibre paper, Galerie? Of course, this assumes that one had the scales, lab equipment, time, and desire to actually do such a thing? Perhaps we have some chemists in this Forum who might be able to help the OP?

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13 hours ago, Tom R said:

I don't know if the following is helpful ... haven't printed papers in almost two decades. When I did my own printing, I used a Bessler 23XCL (I think that was the correct model number), fitted with an Arista Cold Light head. I used Oriental Seagull G finish fibre papers, speeds 2 through 4, although most images printed well on 2 or 3. In order to obtain intermediate contrast effects, I sometimes used a modified version of the old-school Beers Developer--if I recall correctly, the actual formulation was named Dr. Pratt's. Long story short, varying parts A and B of the Dr. Pratt's (or Beers) developer sometimes did the trick.

I wonder if such an approach would work with Ilford's fibre paper, Galerie? Of course, this assumes that one had the scales, lab equipment, time, and desire to actually do such a thing? Perhaps we have some chemists in this Forum who might be able to help the OP?

I just remembered: I still have some DuPont BB Compound. It can help. It's  benzotriazole, I believe. It will restrain the high values and produce a bit more contrast.

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16 hours ago, M.Hilo said:

Yes, I see your problem. Given the limited possibilities of this paper, why do you use it? The concept of adjusting film development to a certain paper with these limits does not sound okay to me.

As you can tell I haven't made myself familiar with this paper. I would never consider using it because it would mean I could not print a large number of my past negatives.

It's the best paper for exhibition printing. I used to use Dupont Velour Black. It was superb!

Edited by Ornello
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13 minutes ago, Ornello said:

I just remembered: I still have some DuPont BB Compound. It can help. It's  benzotriazole, I believe. It will restrain the high values and produce a bit more contrast.

Yeah, I regularly used a 1% solution of Benzotriazole to achieve the very effect you describe so well. I don't know if that additive, alone, is sufficient to give the OP the result they desire. That being said, it's a valuable practice, in general.

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5 minutes ago, Tom R said:

Yeah, I regularly used a 1% solution of Benzotriazole to achieve the very effect you describe so well. I don't know if that additive, alone, is sufficient to give the OP the result they desire. That being said, it's a valuable practice, in general.

I'm the OP. 🤡

It's been a while since I used it. It was a 1lb bottle. I didn't use it often, so quite a lot is still in the bottle.

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If you want a really nice paper try Ilford Art 300. It’s double weight fibre based, twice the price of ordinary fibre based but has more silver with better blacks.

 

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