Film Friday: Ilford Multigrade Resin Coated Papers

For today’s final Film Friday of 2022, I selected Ilford printing photographic paper, but there is a slight difference: I chose three packs of paper in two different sizes.

It has been a few years since I last bought any Ilford paper. As I am returning back to the darkroom, I thought it would be a great idea to stock up on some.

The Prime Suspects, all for a purpose: My recent buys from Parallax Coop in Brixton

The Ilford papers are all Multigrade Resin Coated (or MGRC for short): Portfolio in glossy – 3⅞ x 5⅞ inches; Warmtone in glossy – 5 x 7 inches, and finally Deluxe in pearl – 5 x 7 inches. Ilford had recently updated and improved their printing papers for the first time in years.

I decided to break the bank by buying the Portfolio papers, however the unique 3⅞ x 5⅞ inch size was my original choice; I initially wanted 4 x 6 inches, however Parallax didn’t have it in stock at the time. The size purchased is known as the ‘postcard size’, ironically on the back of the papers had the postcard layout with lines to write the address and a box to place the stamp on.

I doubt the dent would affect the papers. The box does feel heavier than expected even though its small size

I went through the sample print swatches at Parallax when I came across the Portfolio paper. I was curious to see what it was like, plus I wanted to try other Ilford papers even if it included going over my budget. The Portfolio did draw me in because it produces deep black tones since it was glossy, also it would be useful to produce high quality prints for exhibitions or public displays. I will have to do a few tests with the pack at some point in the near future. Fortunately it comes in a pack of one hundred, which will probably last me for quite a while.

The Warmtone paper has been my ‘go-to’ for printing for the last couple of years. I bought it in both pearl and gloss, mostly in the 8 x 10 inch size. The paper has a ‘warm’ tint when used for printing, almost reminds me of using an orange filter. Printing with this paper in gloss, the finish is smooth especially the deep tones and shadows. Weirdly enough the Warmtone paper doesn’t come in Satin, but something similarish semi-matte in fibre based.

Warmtone Ways: 5 x 7 inch paper is the way forward, I find it easier to print with and ideal for travel photography, capturing the finer details

Last but not least, the Deluxe in pearl. One of the first darkroom papers that I ever used when I began darkroom printing at university back in 2012. It was my usual printing paper, in sizes 8 x 10 and 5 x 7 inches; sometimes 25, 50 or 100 papers in a pack.

Slightly cheaper than getting the 100 pack, just a spare in case of emergencies

For ole times sake, I decided to purchase a 25 pack in pearl – the new edition, 5 x 7 inches. I don’t think I will open them just yet, not until I finish the old original pack first – yes, there are still a few papers left when I did feel the black carbon bag. There might be a difference in quality with both the original and updated papers. Worth doing my own Tried and Tested with them.

Fun fact: the original paper marked ‘£7.42’ was bought from Silverprint, when they were in London around circa 2012-2013. So now the price has hiked, selling a pack of 25 for £11.51 from Parallax

That’s it!! I haven’t done a Film Friday for months, I thought I would post my final entry this year with something different to film and technically darkroom printing is similar. It’s good to share and explore other elements of photography.

I would like to wish all my readers and everyone a Happy New Year!!

Take care and stay safe in 2023