Ilford Multigrade Art 300 first impressions

Wanting to try the full range of Ilford paper products I ordered a box of Multigrade Art 300 paper.  These are my first impressions:

The feel: Pulling the paper out of the box it felt like thick card stock but softer like construction paper. There is not much difference between the coated side and the uncoated side under a red light except for a hint of sheen so I had to guess which way was up. Ilford’s paper packaging is consistent with single outer box and paper stored in an inner black bag and the coated side is usually facing upward.

Exposure: It took almost 1.75 stops more exposure than the contact and test print of the same negatives on MGFB Classic. However this is similar to MGFB Warm tone paper.

Tone: My initial prints were done with an Ilford grade 2 or 3 contrast filters. The color is a flat matte grey without deep blacks when wet, unless you overexpose the print until blacks take over visually. Whites are more of a dull textured eggshell . Contrast improved with split grade printing of about 1/3rd grade 0 and 2/3rds grade 5. The texture of the paper is very noticeable in lighter mid tones such as water falls so perhaps not the best choice for those. The color is about the same as MGFB Warm Tone but the matte and texture give a different look than the glossy warm tone. 

My process: Developed in Ethol LPD 1:2 for 2 minutes, Kodak indicator stop bath 30 seconds, Ilford rapid fix 1:4 for 1 minute, into a water bath for a few seconds then into main wash tray.  Prints tend to sit in the wash tray until I get 6 or 7 in the tray (15-30 minutes)  and then I move them to a slotted print washer where they get at least a 30 minute wash in running water.

Upon washing a couple of the prints had damage to the emulsion on the edge. I’m waiting for the prints to dry and will likely try toning in selenium this week.

Update 8/5/2017 – I do not really like the texture and matte finish of this paper. It does sepia tone well however. I even attempted to use it for bromoil process but did not have much luck. I may find a use for this paper but I don’t think it will become my first choice.

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