Shopping trip and paper question

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. I had to go into town today and felt well enough to stop at a camera
    store on the way home. There are two with darkroom supplies and I
    went to the one I prefered in the past.

    I was surpised, a few years ago it was full to the brim with people
    buying film, darkroom supplies and cameras. It was empty, with more
    staff than customers. I guess I just came at a slow time. :-(

    The store was full of digital cameras and equipment. Their one hour
    lab was silent and their once large collection of film cameras,
    new and used, was reduced to one shelf of 35mm and a display case
    of old medium format stuff, which was proably just for show.

    They had a display case full of film, about the size of a medicine
    cabinet and a single glass door fridge with color film. The darkroom
    chemical row was two feet wide on the floor under a shelf and two or
    three bottles deep. They had a cheap safelight (red), some Jobo reels
    and a bulk loader on a top shelf, well covered in dust.

    It was depressing to say the least. Analog photography is not dead
    in Israel, but I doubt that anything except C-41 film and one hour
    labs will last the decade. :-(

    I bought a bottle of Ilford multigrade developer, so old the glue
    was coming off the label. They also had Agfa Neutol, from the old
    Agfa before the sell-off.

    Film developer was really bad. I mentioned on this list a month or two
    ago my wife had picked up for me what will probably be their last
    bottles of Rodinal and HC-100 and I was right. The only thing left were
    dusty bottles of T-Max and Tetnal Ultrafin Plus.

    I was told that neither of them are one shot like Rodinal, so I was not
    interested in buying them. If it turns out I want or need to, I expect I
    will see the same bottles when I come back for them, even years from

    I bought the red safelight. Although I prefer the amber ones, I figured
    you can never have too many safelights as long as you spread them out,
    and I may ever see another one. It also uses a 7.5 watt small based
    bulb, which is still common. The Kodak safelight someone gave me uses
    regular base 15 watt bulbs, which have evaporated. I can get 15 watt
    bulbs with small bases (but no adaptors), or 7-10 watt (I guess
    they can't make up their mind :) Most lilely they are 7 watts on
    220 volts, and 10 watts on 240).

    The paper was even more dissapointing. I wanted to start small and cheap,
    so I asked for the smallest paper they had. They had a box of 100 5x7
    multigrade and for less than half the price a box of 100 4x5 Kentmere
    VC Select. They had smaller envelopes of larger paper, but I think I
    have more kinds of paper for my inkjets. (really sad).

    The Kentmere had no dates on it, but a code of "9944 I1J" was on the
    box. I have no idea of what it means, but my guess is not good
    (manufactured during the 44th week of 1999). I sent them an email
    we'll see what they say.

    I do have a question. Kentmere says that it will work with Ilford
    Multigrade or the "new" Kodak filters. All I have is a set of the old
    ones that someone gave me. I assume they won't work properly, but
    will they work at all?

    Is there a conversion chart? Is there a chart of what they are so I
    can compare them to the filter values on the Kentmere web site?

    A web search only yielded offers to sell them on eBay and one guy in
    Austrailia asking a similar question, with no answers. Either he was
    prolific in posting his question, or many websites "archive" each other.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Oct 11, 2007
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  2. Geoffrey S. Mendelson

    Draco Guest

    Good day to you Geoff,



    I' m not sure if either can answer the questions you have. But it
    could be a start. The photgraphy maket is driven by the amature/P&S
    folks. Those who want the image now and not have to deal with the
    science and artistry of the darkroom. Sad to say but unless a store is
    willing to stock and maintain a customer base that uses traditional/
    analog photography, it will get tougher to find the material.


    Enjoy today.

    Tomorrow is promised to no one.
    Draco, Oct 11, 2007
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  3. Geoffrey S. Mendelson

    Ken Hart Guest

    I don't have a 'definative' answer for you.
    It's my understanding that the new Kodak filters have neutral density added
    so that the exposure will remain the same when you change contrast filters.
    At one point, when you go from #3.5 to #4, the exposure doubles. In other
    words, if the exposure is 10 seconds with a #1 filter, and you decide to
    increase contrast to #4, the new exposure will be 20 seconds. With the old
    filters, the exposure was different for each filter.

    It's is also my understanding (from reading posts from very knowledgeable
    people on this group!) that the more yellow the light, the lower the
    contrast; the more magenta the light, the higher the contrast.

    I dug thru my old darkroom stuff and found a set of old Kodak filters. I
    compared the old #1 with the new #1 with my densitometer. They were nearly
    the same. I checked #2, the old filter was slightly more magenta (higher
    contrast) than the new one. I checked #4: the old filter was 2.8 magenta,
    the new one was 0.8 magenta, a substantial increase in contrast. It was
    visibly denser; just guessing, I would say it would require 3-4 times the

    I got out my old Kodak Master Darkroom dataguide from 1972, and went to the
    "enlarging computer". I set the #2 (normal contrast) filter to ten seconds,
    here are the changes for other filters and no filter:
    White light -- :07 seconds
    #1.5-- 10.5 seconds, #2-- 10 seconds, #2.5-- 11 seconds, #3-- 14
    seconds, #3.5-- 17.5 seconds, #4-- 35 seconds.

    As for the rest of your post bemoaning the sad loss of darkroom stuff; this
    edition of the Darkroom Dataguide has the B&W paper samples bound in it:
    such as Polycontrst F, Medalist J, Ektalure X (looks like rough canvas),
    among others. These 30 year old prints look just as good as the day they
    were bound, and they beat the crap out of inkjet stuff!
    Ken Hart, Oct 11, 2007
  4. Thanks, that sounds like a good start.
    I had one of those once. It was a great book.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Oct 11, 2007
  5. Might not be possible. I only got the Kodak ones because someone gave
    me a box of stuff the local photography school did not want back
    when they had a darkroom class. They kept it as it was "too good
    to throw out", but I expect in a year or two it would have been
    in the trash.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Oct 11, 2007
  6. The contrast grades will be poorly spaced and the curves lumpy.
    Ilford is a 3-emulsion paper with green, cyan and blue emulsions.

    Ilford with Ilford paper is very well spaced with good curves,
    with the exception of deep black and 00 and 0. 00 pretty much
    doesn't have a deep black.

    Data gathered with this equipment:

    More data here:

    I would get hold of Ilford filters.

    Look at Kodak and Ilford filters side-by-side: plainly very
    different. The what and wherefore of it all would be a waste
    of time. I started paper speed tests using MGIV with Kodak
    filters: The curves were plainly screwy; I promptly ordered
    a set of Ilfords.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Oct 11, 2007
  7. Kodak changed their VC filters many years ago. Unless
    your filters are more than 20 years old they are the "new"
    ones. Kodak also added a Grade 00 to the pack about 10 years
    ago. In any case, if your filters are very old they may have
    faded somewhat and should be replaced.
    Kodak and Ilford filters are a little different in both
    both spectral transmission and density but generally either
    can be used with any VC paper with a little experimentation
    to see what the actual densities and exposures are. None of
    the VC papers or filters is exactly on the mark as far as
    grade, grade spacing, or exposure is concerned plus the
    paper surface will make a difference. Glossy paper has the
    widest range of densities and, therefore, contrast, more
    matte surfaces will always be somewhat lower in contrast for
    a given paper grade. Again, one must experiment a bit to
    find out what the paper actually does.
    The closest thing to a conversion chart is to compare
    the color head filter settings for the various papers.
    Someone may have made some measurements and published or
    posted them but I've not seen them. Also keep in mind that
    the enlarger light source will make a difference as will any
    flare in the system so expecting very precise results will
    be disappointing.
    I've used Kentmere paper, both under the Kentmere name
    and as house brand paper from Freestyle. Its good stuff
    although the Freestyle paper tends to curl more than most.
    Kentmere is a very old company but, in recent years, has
    made mostly custom paper for rebranding.
    Richard Knoppow, Oct 12, 2007
  8. I checked. It's a Polycontrast Filter Set Model A, with filters
    from 1 to 4 in half grades. The box has some marks on it,
    but inside it looks like it was never used and the filters
    don't look the least bit faded. (But looks may not mean much).
    That's what I was hoping to do, but so far have not found a
    chart of settings equivalent to the filters I have.
    The Kentmere website has a chart of settings to use for the
    paper I have, so if I can find the Kodak ones, I can compare.

    So far though, they have not replied about the date code.

    That's encouraging, I hope I can get more of the stuff.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Oct 13, 2007
  9. This _is_ a very old set. It should give you a variation
    of contrast but not the full range the paper is capable of.
    Also, modern filters include a certain amount of neutral
    density to equalize the exposure time among the grades. I
    find I must vary the time anyway but the matching helps.
    If you can find a way to aquire a current set of Ilford
    filters it would be helpful. I don't know if Kodak filters
    are available since Kodak discontinued paper manufacture
    some time ago.
    Richard Knoppow, Oct 14, 2007
  10. Geoffrey S. Mendelson

    Rod Smith Guest

    Check eBay or any of the big online photo dealers in the US (B&H, Adorama,
    Freestyle, Unique Photo, etc.) or Europe (Jessops, Retro Photographic,
    etc.). Some eBay sellers will happily ship overseas, and some (maybe all)
    of the big photo retailers will do the same (I know Freestyle will).
    You'll probably pay a lot for shipping, but you should at least be able to
    get the filters.

    Alternatively, if you know somebody who's travelling to the US or Europe,
    and particularly a big city like New York or London, have them pick up the
    filters and bring them back. I know that airport security is pretty
    paranoid about liquids and chemicals, and airport X-ray machines might
    ruin film or paper, but I'd expect filters wouldn't be a problem,
    particularly in checked baggage. OTOH, I've not tried this; maybe they're
    more paranoid now than I imagine.

    From your earlier post:
    Be cautious with old liquid developers. Some, such as Rodinal, have
    legendary life-spans, but others go bad after a while. If the bottles are
    as old as you say, some of them may have turned.
    I've never used T-Max or Tetenal Ultrafin Plus developers, but all
    developers can be used one-shot; it's just more economical to re-use some
    of them, particularly in high-volume situations. There's an "unofficial
    resource page" for HC-110
    ( that mentions using
    it one-shot, and I'd always assumed that's how most amateurs used it.
    Rod Smith, Oct 15, 2007
  11. Today I was given a gift of some darkroom stuff, which included a set of
    "Ilford Ilfosped Multigrade II" filters, 3 1/2 x 3 /12 inches. The
    number 2 and 3 filters have been cut down, and they look a little worn.
    They should be a good start and are very much appriciated.

    Will these work with the Kentmere paper (assuming they have not

    Thanks in advance,

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Oct 16, 2007
  12. My Ilford filters are marked _Ilford Multigrade_. I
    suspect what you have are intended for use under the lens,
    the box should be marked. Names of products tend to be
    different in different parts of the world. I no longer
    remember what Ilfospeed paper was.
    All I can suggest is to try the filters and see what you
    What is the problem with obtaining new filters where you
    are? If its a shipping problem or something of the sort
    maybe someone on the list can help.
    Richard Knoppow, Oct 16, 2007
  13. Geoffrey S. Mendelson

    UC Guest

    Ilfospeed is a graded RC paper.
    UC, Oct 17, 2007
  14. Ilfospeed was their brand of RC paper, which if remember
    correctly came out in grades first. The filters I have
    were bought in the U.S. probably in or near Boston.
    Thanks, sounds like a good idea to me. :)
    It's both shipping and paying for them. It used to be that sending
    a 4 pound box from the U.S. was under $6 and took a week. Last Spring,
    the USPS changed their rates. They carefully researched the air rates
    from courier services and halved them. So sending a box of multigrade
    filters will cost around $35. :-( (So would a small enlarger, several
    boxes of paper and so on.)

    The other issue is paying for it. We don't have PayPal, the Israeli Post
    Office dropped international money orders. We now have Western Union,
    which charges $28 to transfer from $.01 to $800. They are sneaky, they
    advertise that it is only $15 to SEND the money. That's true, but then
    it costs $15 to receive it. :-(


    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Oct 19, 2007
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