Steven Berkowitz guide to film and prints (pdf)

Ilford MV4 Fiber Based Paper guide (pdf)

Ilford fiber Processing guide

Working with Fiber Based Paper

Freestyle guide to printing

The original photographic paper is known as Fiber-baser paper, or FB. It is a high-quality acid-free
paper that holds a layer of fine-grained silver emulsion that is by definition slower speed,
which means it requires longer exposure times. The finer grain renders images with greater
detail. Since the paper absorbs some chemistry it has to be washed extensively. This papers
is toned for protection and for aesthetic variation in tonality. It is considered to be ‘Archival’
when properly processed and toned, This is of major concern to art collectors. This is the
paper that all professional photographers use for exhibition.

In the 1980’s
a faster paper was produced called Resin Coated paper, or RC. Resin is a plastic
coating that covers the surface of the paper so it does not absorb the chemicals. This cuts
down on processing time since Fixer Remover and long washing times are not needed. The
paper has a faster speed requiring shorter exposure times because the grain is larger. This
means the images are not quite as detailed. Since the paper is plastic, it dries flat in about 5
minutes. This paper is very convenient for making a set of contact sheets quickly for editing
your shots., but it is not used for exhibition because it lacks the quality and detail of Fiber
paper. It literally has less silver making it less valuable.

Fiber paper is sold in single weight and double weight. The double weight paper is somewhere
around 255 g/ms tat is a nice heavy exhibition style paper. The single weight paper is very
thin and is almost like tissue paper when in the chemicals. It is difficult to handle and does
not make a great finished product.
Fiber-based papers typically are also called Baryta paper (pronounced Ba•ree•ta). These papers
have a barium sulphate coating that is a clay-like material that enhances the definition of the
print and extends the tonal range. It also whitens the appearance of the paper itself and
increases reflectivity to produce a more dynamic looking photograph.
RC paper is about halfway between single and double weight. The base paper has a wood-pulp
base sandwiched between two layers of plastic resin. This paper is not particularly archival.


F I B E R B A S E P A P E R - A R C H I VA L P R O C E S S I N G

DEVELOP 2 ~ 3 minutes
(as recommended by the paper manufacturer)
use constant and consistent agitation
various developers can be used with fiber-base papers:
SPRINT ‘QUICKSILVER’ is used at 1:9 standard dilution

STOP 30 seconds
with constant agitation
use the SPRINT ‘BLOCK’ STOP BATH mixed 1:9

1 half the minimum time recommended by paper manufacturer
use the SPRINT ‘SPEED’ FIXER mixed 1:9
If these are Work Prints, the first Fix 1 can be for the full minimum
recommended time, and Fix 2 in the next stage can be eliminated.
use intermittent agitation
check FIX periodically with ‘HYPO-CHECK’ but do not discard until exhausted

5 minutes in running water with intermittent agitation
HOLD in water for batch processing later
RINSE 5 minutes in running water with intermittent agitation
FIX 2 half the minimum timewith SPRINT ‘SPEED’ FIXER
use half the time recommended by the paper manufacturer
5 minutes
in running water with intermittent agitation
FIXER REMOVER (perma wash) 5 minutes with continuous agitation


60 minutes in Archival Vertical Print Washer place prints back-to-back in the washer,

gently on a clean, hard surfacewash the squeegee first to avoid contamination
DRYby placing them face-down on the drying racks.

FLATTEN by placing the prints under a pile of heavy books or - put them into a Dry Mounting Press in the Finishing Area,