Ilford Just Announced New 5th Generation RC Portfolio Paper
I am really excited to share the brand new announcement from Ilford today.
They announced they are releasing a 5th generation version of the RC Portfolio paper. This is a welcomed announcement to me because I really loved the 4th generation portfolio paper and this new generation is even better and more substantial.
This paper is 81 years in the making. Ilford released their first generation of multigrade paper in 1940. The 4th generation (MGIV) papers were released over 25 years ago, so this new 5th generation paper is a big deal. The previous generation of portfolio papers were available in sizes from 4"x6" up to 16"x20". I only wished they made it available in roll paper so I could make my large wild horse prints on this paper.
Using everything they have learned over the last 81 years, I am confident this new RC paper is a paper that I can trust. Ilford used the latest technology in making their new RC emulsions and this new 5th generation paper was redesigned from the ground up. Ilford reported the re-design project was in development for 8 years.
Ilford reports the 5th generation papers to have a slightly warmer base tint than their predecessor as well as better, deeper blacks, improved mid-grade spacing for easier printing and more consistent contrast throughout the tonal range. I have found that to be true in my own prints in the other versions of the 5th generation papers.
There are two key parts of the announcement that really stood out to me.
"What sets MULTIGRADE RC PORTFOLIO apart is its double-weight base. It combines the rigidity, weight, and premium quality feel of a fibre-based paper with the easy printing, quick and flat drying characteristics associated with all our RC papers.
This redesigned RC emulsion closely emulates the image tone and sensitometry performance of our MULTIGRADE Classic FB paper which makes alternating between RC and fibre easier than ever."
I honestly think this new 5th generation RC paper is a game changer. Any of the old permanence concerns from the 1960's and 1970's from early versions of RC paper is completely resolved and a non issue in my opinion. Depending on your archival goals, this new paper could be a great choice for you. I personally guarantee my 5th generation Ilford RC prints for the lifetime of my art buyers/collectors. I think any claims beyond this are probably marketing hype and who is really going to know when the current generation is dead anyway.
In 2019, Ilford released the 5th generation RC silver gelatin papers in all the normal finishes and now in 2021, they released their new 5th generation portfolio RC heavyweight paper.
In both cases, I have found an improvement over the previous 4th generation papers in separation of highlights and mid tones and increased richness in the blacks and shadows. I also believe the new generation paper provides even sharper images.
For the collectors that typically want fiber silver gelatin prints, I challenge your mindset and I believe the new 5th generation Ilford silver gelatin RC papers have completely dispelled any lingering concerns with RC paper permanence dating back to the 60's and 70's.
Simply put, I completely trust my best silver gelatin images on the new 5th generation Ilford RC paper and I guarantee my silver gelatin prints on these papers for a lifetime.
Additionally, I treat all of my silver gelatin prints with Sistan as described in my B&W Fine Art Collectors Guide. I have complete confidence that my RC silver gelatin prints will last for at least an entire lifetime and probably much longer if handled and presented as I describe in my collectors guide.
ILFORD'S OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
"Despite the numerous challenges of 2020, we are delighted to share some exciting product news. We start 2021 with the launch of the brand new and improved ILFORD MULTIGRADE RC PORTFOLIO darkroom paper.
Utilising our 5th generation MULTIGRADE emulsion, this new formulation offers important advancements in product quality and performance that we are now pleased to introduce into our premium RC paper, MULTIGRADE RC PORTFOLIO.
These new papers have a slightly warmer base tint and image colour than their predecessor as well as better, deeper blacks, improved mid-grade spacing for easier printing and more consistent contrast throughout the tonal range.
What sets MULTIGRADE RC PORTFOLIO apart is its double-weight base. It combines the rigidity, weight, and premium quality feel of a fibre-based paper with the easy printing, quick and flat drying characteristics associated with all our RC papers.
This redesigned RC emulsion closely emulates the image tone and sensitometry performance of our MULTIGRADE Classic FB paper which makes alternating between RC and fibre easier than ever.
This product blends some of the best characteristics from both bases making it perfect for all printers – from students and beginners to experienced darkroom professionals wanting extra special, premium quality prints for clients, portfolios, or exhibitions.
*At launch this product will only be available in a Pearl surface finish. The 10x15cm (4x6”) size will no longer feature a postcard printed back product however, this is easy to replicate yourself by copying the newly enclosed layout template." [see full announcement]
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