Black and White Paper Guide



  • Resin-coated base, neutral to cold black print tone
  • AGFA RECORD-RAPID fibre-base, warm black print tone
Agfa RC/PE papers are black-and-white enlargement papers with an emulsion support (l. e. paper), coated with polyethylene on both sides. As a result, processing solutions cannot penetrate into the inner raw paper. The advantage is that the washing and drying periods are extremely short. Only RC/PE papers allow fast automatic processing. 

Agfa fibre-base papers are black-and-white enlargement papers with traditional paper bases. Between the base and the emulsion there is a barium sulphate (l. e. baryta) coat which prevents the penetration of the emulsion into the inner raw paper. Fibre-base paper is particularly suitable if retouching or subsequent treatment is required. 

Summary: RC and baryta papers 

  • Allround B/W enlargement paper on resin-coated base
  • Speed to ISO 6846: EW - H = P 400 EH=P200 
  • Silver bromide emulsion
  • Print tone: neutral to cold black
  • White RC base
  • Contrast grades: EW (0), W (1 ), S (2), N (3), H (4), EH (5)
  • Surfaces: B 310 RC = glossy 

  •                  B 312 RC = semi-matt 
  • Developer substances incorporated 
  • Process in trays 60 seconds Development time at 20 C / 68 F
  • Mechanical rapid process in roller transport machines

  • Also suitable for activator process.
  • Professional B/W enlargement paper on baryta base
  • Speed to ISO 6846: W - H = P 250
  • Silver chlorobromide emulsion
  • Print tone: warm black (varied by developer type)
  • White baryta-coated paper base with white toner
  • Contrast grades: W (1 ), S (2), N (3), H (4)
  • Surfaces: RR 1 = glossy, single-weight 

  •                  RR 111 = glossy, double-weight 
  • Process in trays 90 seconds

  • Development time at 20 C / 68 F.

The original packaging protects the papers from light and brief exposure to humidity and fumes. 
Sheets are wrapped or welded in light-proof inside packaging, with an orange card wallet or lidded box outside. 
Wide rolls are wrapped in compound packaging and packed in a corrugated cardboard lidded box. ' 
The outside packaging alone does not provide adequate pro tection from light. Use both the inside and outside packaging for storing paper in opened packs. 

Emulsion number 

A product coding is printed on the label. It consists of the five place ABC code. This is followed by the emulsion number and some code letters serving internal inspection purposes. 
An internal order number starting with an X is printed on the second line. 
The first code line should always be given in enquiries and complaints. The second code line provides helpful information for internal investigations. 


Black-and-white photographic papers should be stored in a cool dry place away from harmful fumes. Temperatures below 20 C / 68 F and a relative. humidity of 50 % to 60 % guarantee optimum quality over a very long time. 
Open packs should be carefully re-closed after use (inside and outside packing), and should if possible not be left in darkrooms or other humid areas, but only in cool dry places. 
The natural aging process of photographic papers is greatly retarded by refrigeration or deep freezing. However, the paper must then be taken out of the cold store a few hours before use, and brought up to room temperature. 

The range 
Followinq types, surfaces and contrast grades are available: 

Paper types Extra Soft 
B 310 
B 312
The papers are supplied in all standard sizes up to 20 x 24" (50.8 x 61 cm). For professional enlargements wide rolls (50" = 127 cm wide) are included in the range list. 
The packs contain 10, 25, 50 100, 500 or 1000 sheets, depending on size. Minor variations in size are possible, as a result of cutting tolerances and stretching (to DIN Standard 4506, Part 1 and ISO 1008). 
Special versions are available on request. 
Information on the Agfa black-and-white photo papers with variable contrast are given in the Technical Data P-53-P (AGFA MULTICONTRAST PREMIUM, RC-base) and P-54-P (AGFA MULTICONTRAST CLASSIC, fibre base). 

Marking on the labels 

Paper type  Code  Contrast grade  Grade code  Grade bars  Colour marking on label
310, 312 


Extra soft 
Extra hard
RC = orange 
310 = mauve 
312 = yellow
1 , 111 
Baryta = light blue 
1 = mauve 
111 = mauve
                                    A UPC bar code is printed on the labels (sheets). 
Surface key 

As well as the codes designating the paper types and contrast grades, the paper thickness, tint and surface are also indicated by a numerical code. 
The surface is indicated by the ones digit. 
. . 0 = glossy, natural high gloss (only for RC papers) 
. . 1 = glossy; smooth surface suitable for glazing (only for fibre-base papers) 
..2 = semi-matt 

The surface tint is indicated by the tens digit (not applicable to single-weight types as RECORD-RAPID 1 ). 
. 1 . = white paper tint 

The base thickness (paper thickness) is indicated by the hundreds digit: 
1 . . = double-weight fiber-base paper 
3 . . = polyethylene coated paper (RC/PE) 

B 310 RC  = BROVIRA-SPEED, white, glossy 
(natural high gloss)
RR 1  = RECORD-RAPID, single-weight, white, glossy
RR 111  = RECORD-RAPID, double-weight, white, glossy 
Paper design 
Base  Weight  Thickness
RC/PE paper  approx. 270 g/m2  approx. 252 m
Baryta paper, single weight  approx. 185 g/m2  approx. 150 m
Baryta paper, double weight  approx. 283 g/m2  approx. 258 m
In RC/PE papers the raw paper is coated on both sides with polyethylene. The light-sensitive emulsion is applied directly to the smooth plastic layer, and there is no intercoat. 
In baryta papers there is a layer of barium sulphate (baryta) between base and emulsion. The baryta coating stops the emulsion soaking into the soft paper, and so improves definition and print blacks. 
The baryta coating, depending on surface, is 20 - 45 g/m2. 

The light-sensitive emulsion consists of silver halide crystals precipitated in gelatine (silver bromide or silver chlorobromide mixed crystals). 
The emulsion on RC papers contains developing substances which permit fast mechanical processes to be used. BROVIRA SPEED is also suitable for activator process. 

Silver coating, 
depending on surface and grade: 

BROVIRA-SPEED - 1 .5 - 1 .6 g/m2 
RECORD-RAPID - 1 .3 - 1 .7 g/m2 

A thin coat of gelatine protects the papers from friction fog (pressure sensitivity) and mechanical damage. 


Spectral sensitivity 

(related to equal energy spectrum) 
The curves shown are related to a density of 1 .0 in reflection. The sensitivity is the reciprocal of the exposure (in mJ/m2) necessary to produce the density given. 


There is a speed rating standard for black-and-white photographic papers just as there is for film. This international standard (ISO 6846) is an arithmetic indication of the speed, i.e. half or double the number means that the speed is doubled or halved (in contrast to DIN standards in which double or half the speed rating represents an interval of 3 DIN). 

                                      EH = ISO P 200 
RECORD-RAPID W -    H   = ISO P 250 

During production of Agfa black-and-white papers, great care is taken to ensure uniform speed from emulsion number to emulsion number and from grade to grade, within the production tolerances which can be achieved. It should however be noted that slight variations in speed, caused by aging and storage, are inevitable. 
Extra hard paper grades are less fast, because they are designed for under-exposed, flat and consequently very trans parent negatives. In this way extremely short exposures are avoided. 

Maximum density 

Depending on paper type and surface, the following maximum densities at least should be achieved, assuming that exposure and development are correct. 

Paper types  Surface  Density
RC paper 
312 RC
Baryta paper 
RECORD-RAPID  1 and 111  2,30
  •  Silver bromide emulsions produce lower maximum densities than silver chlorobromide.
  • The differences for the various surfaces are mainly the result of the measuring technique. Surfaces of different types, i.e. differently matted or containing more or less texture, produce lower readings than high gloss papers.
Density curves 
Exposure:  tungsten light 3000 K, time: 4 s 
Densitometry:  read with visual filter (V ) 




Print tone 

The print tone of black-and-white photographic papers is an aesthetic feature. For technical pictures a paper with neutral black tone is usually preferred, for portraiture the choice would be a warm black tone. The print tone is a matter of taste which varies regionally. It is also subject to trends in fashion. 

The tones for black-and-white photographic papers are: 

  • neutral black

  • BROVIRA-SPEED (silver bromide emulsion) 
  • warm black

  • RECORD-RAPID (silver chlorobromide emulsion)
The print tone is basically a characteristic of the emulsion. It depends on the size and structure of the processed image silver. Larger silver grains produce a colder tone, and finer granular structures a warmer tone. The print tone can be changed within limits by development and special treatment. 
The print tone of black-and-white photographic papers can furthermore be influenced by the following factors. 
  • The papers harden during lengthy storage, and generally the print tone tiecomes slightly colder.
  • As the developer is exhausted, the print tone may be affected to a greater or lesser degree.
  • Slight contamination of the developer with thiosulphate makes print tone initially slightly. warmer. Strong contamination produces a change to a cold tone, and also an increase tendency to fog will be observed.
  • An inadequate intermediate wash or a very exhausted stop bath can result in a change in tone in the high density areas (to blue).
  • Too long fixing times, changes in concentration, and contamination of the fixer affect the original print tone.
  • Fibre-base papers treated for too long in the soda finishing bath, or washed for too short or very long times (several hours) may be subject to changes in tone.
  • Air and hot drying result in varying print tones (hot drying distinctly warmer). At extremely high drying temperatures the high densities may "burn out". The result is a drastic change in tone.
Printing range 

The printing range of a photographic paper is the term for the difference in exposure between a defined maximum and minimum density. This "contrast-forming capacity" of the paper grades could be represented arithmetically by the ratio of the threshold exposure to maximum exposure, e.g. 1 :4, 1 :10, 1 :32. It is however usual to state the printing range logarithmically. The logarithms of the numerical ratios given above are: R 60, R 100 and R 150 (in accordance with ISO Standard 6846). 
The printing range is then the greatest exposure range in which details can be distinguished both in shade and in highlights. It provides information on the negative contrast utilising the entire grey scale from white to black - which can be represented on a photographic paper. 
Soft grade papers have a wide printing range. They can cope with a great density range in a (hard) negative. Hard gradation papers-that is with a low printing range-are suitable for low contrast negatives with a narrow density range. 
 R 150  R 130  R 110  R 90  R 70  R 50
 -   R 150  R 120  R 90  R 70   -
These figures are means for ready-to-use papers, depending on age, storage and processing. 


The metallic (black) print silver is converted to a single-colour image by toning processes. The print silver is either replaced with coloured metals, or coloured metal compounds accumulate on the silver grains. Toned photographs are especially durable with long storage lives, because these silver complex compounds are less subject to breakdown by environmental factors. Toning is the best print silver stabilisation method. 
Only photos which are correctly exposed, developed to specification, fixed in really fresh fixer and well washed are suitable for toning. In principle any black-and-white paper can be toned, however warm tone papers produce the best results. 
Toning can be either direct or indirect. Direct toning converts the silver image to a different silver compound in one operation. With indirect toning the prints have to be bleached first. A new image is produced in a second bath, but it consists of a differently coloured silver compound. 
The simplest method is toning with VIRADON. It has the advan tage over other toning solutions of not affecting the gradation of the prints. In some cases the prints have to be exposed slightly darker. 

Direct toning 
(1 part VIRADON + 50 parts water)
1 - 10 min 
(depending on intensity required)
Stop bath * (10 % sodium sulphite solution) 
* only necessary if after-toning in the wash is to be prevented 
 1 min 
Final wash (as given for RC and fibre-base papers) 
Indirect toning 
Bleaching: 44 BL bleach* 1 + 3 
(1 part 44 BL concentrate + 3 parts water) 
* Process 44 (Bleach for colour reversal film processing)
 2 - 5 min 
or Bleach (AGFA 501 formula): 
500 ml 10% potassium ferricyanide solution 
100 ml 10% potassium bromide solution 
400 ml water 
 5 min 
Wash (running)   5 min 
(possibly stop bath as for direct toning) 
 3 min 
Final wash (as given for RC and baryta papers)
Process temperature: 20 C / 68 F. 
If the aim is just to make prints stable for storage (image silver stability), the direct toning method should be used since it changes the print tone very little. Indirect toning produces much warmer print tones (yellow-red). 
BROVIRA-SPEED 310 (RC high gloss paper) is less suitable for indirect toning, since this method may result in a matter gloss in the dark to black print areas than in the lighter areas. 

Print silver stabilizer 

AGFA SISTAN protects prints from changes of the image silver caused by environmental pollution. This first becomes apparent as reddish to yellowish-brown discolouration of the highlights, and may eventually destroy the complete print, due to the image silver being changed into collodial silver. 
The sources of pollution are mainly industrial and car fumes, fumes from heating oil, ozone, synthetic paints, compressed coarding, non-acid-free cardboard, glues and adhesives tapes, freshly cut PVC, brittle rubber and all substances giving off peroxide. 
The properly processed prints are placed after the final wash for one minute in a solution of 25 ml SISTAN + 975 ml water, and then dried. Up to 2 m2 of paper can be treated in 1 litre of SISTAN solution. For further information on print silver stabilization see "Toning". 

Processing in trays - RC Paper 

Processing sequence  Process solution  Process times 
20 C / 68 F  25 C / 77 F 
Standard dilution 1 + 4 
Economy dilution 1 + 6 
Standard dilution 1 + 7 
Economy dilution 1 + 11 
50+- 10 s 
75+- 10 s 

 60+- 10 s  
 90+- 10 s  
60+- 10 s

 30+- 10 s 
 50+- 10 s 

 45+- 10 s 
 60+- 10 s 
 45+- 10 s 

Stop bath  2 % acetic acid  10 s
 20+- 10 s   
40+- 15 s 
Wash  running water, over 12 C / 54 F 
running water, under 12 C / 54 F
 2 min. 
 4 min. 
Choose exposure times which produce prints with optimum density in the given developing time. Slightly longer developing times (up to a maximum of 3 minutes) are not as a rule critical. 
The specified fixing times should if possible not be exceeded. 
The ADAPTOL, AGETOL LIQUID and METINOL developers and the AGEFIX and ACIDOFIX fixers can also be used, bearing in mind their special features. Other standard black-and-white paper developers and fixers are also suitable (for further details refer to the Technical Data sheet P-56-C). 


RC and fibre-base papers behave differently during develop ment. RC papers react very quickly in the developer. After just a few seconds the image has been developed to the point where the remaining time merely serves to build up maximum densities. 
Fibre-base paper reacts more slowly, the image is built up progressively, and thirty seconds longer is needed to produce maximum densities. 
The specified developing times must be kept to. They are 90 seconds for baryta paper, at 20 C / 68 F. The developer sub stance incorporated in RC papers permits the time to be cut to 60 seconds. 

  • For papers with a neutral black tone we recommend the positive developers NEUTOL NE, WA and BL, and the developer concentrates MULTICONTRAST DEVELOPER, NEUTOL, NEUTOL LIQUID NE  and WA.
  • For papers with warm black tone the best developers are NEUTOL WA and the concentrates NEUTOL or NEUTOL LIQUID WA.
When papers with neutral black and warm black tones are processed together, the developers recommended for warm tone papers should only be used. 

Stop bath 

A 2 % acetic acid stop bath is recommended for all B/W papers, and is mixed as follows: 

  • 1 part acetic acid (98 %) + 50 parts water or
  • 1 part acetic acid (60 %) + 30 parts water or
  • 1 part acetic acid (30 %) + 15 parts water
Instead of acetic acid a 4 % sodium disulphite stop bath may also be used. 
The stop bath stops development. This prevents post-develop ment and the formation of yellow fog. It also neutralises the alkaline parts of the developer in the photographic layer, and so prolongs the fixer's life. 
It is imperative to include a stop bath with warm tone papers and when hardener-fixer is used. 

Processing on roller transport machines 

Black-and-white RC papers are also suitable for processing on machines using the roller transport system, if the solutions are properly replenished. For the processing conditions see the P-56-C Technical Data brochure. 

Processing in trays - Baryta Paper 

Processing sequence  Process solution  Process times 
20 C / 68 F  25 C / 77 F 
Standard dilution 1 + 4 
Economy dilution 1 + 6 
Standard dilution 1 + 7 
Economy dilution 1 + 11 
 90+- 10 s 
 110+- 10 s 

 90+- 10 s 
 120+- 10   
 90+- 10 s

 70+- 10 s 
 90+- 10 s 

 60+- 10 s 
 90+- 10 s 
 60+- 10 s 

Stop bath  2 % acetic acid 30 s
 60+- 20 s   
120+- 30 s 
Soda intermediate bath  see below 
Wash  running water, over 12 C / 54 F 
running water, under 12 C / 54 F
 30-40 min. 
Choose exposure times which produce prints with optimum density in the given developing time. Slightly longer developing times (up to a maximum of 3 minutes) are not as a rule critical. 
The specified fixing times should if possible not be exceeded. 
The ADAPTOL, AGETOL LIQUID and METINOL developers and the AGEFIX and ACIDOFIX fixers can also be used, bearing in mind their special features. Other standard black-and-white paper developers and fixers are also suitable (for further details refer to the Technical Data sheet P-56-C). 


The fixers recommended are: 

  • MULTICONTRAST FIXER (liquid fixer concentrate)
  • AGEFIX (fixer concentrate)
  • ACIDOFIX (acid fixer salt, in powder form)
The fixing times listed in the tables depend on the paper type used (emulsion, silver coating), temperature agitation and condi tion of the fixer solution in use. The shorter fixing times apply to fresh fixers, the longer times to used solutions without replenish ment. Excessively long fixing produces bleached highlights and prolongs the final washing time of baryta-coated papers. Proper fixing ensures that the prints are durable. Consequently fixer solution in use should be regularly checked for composition, since rises in silver content, dilution, and variations in acidity (pH) impair the solution's action. 

Soda intermediate bath 

A soda bath (1 % sodium carbonate solution) can be included for fiber-base paper, between fixer and final wash. This ensures that the fixer is washed off the paper surface faster and more thoroughly. This not only cuts down the final washing time by about 30 %, and in particular it increases the prints' durability. If a hardener-fixer is used, the soda intermediate bath is not recommended. 

The final wash is an extremely important factor for print durability. Depending on agitation, temperature, and water input and output, the washing times are as follows: 

  • Resin-coated papers 2 - 4 minutes
  • Baryta papers 20 - 40 minutes
  • Baryta papers after soda 15 - 30 minutes

  • intermediate bath
RC paper washing times are much shorter than the times for fibre-base papers, because the polyethylene coating prevents solution penetrating the paper surface, and so only the emulsion has to be washed. 
Too long washes can cause RC prints to curl. 

Activator process 

The developer substance incorporated in the emulsion of AGFA BROVIRA-SPEED paper also enables activator processes to be used (e.g. AGFA RAPIDOPRINT). 

Process on "DD 3700" RAPIDOPRINT machine: 
activator G 182 B  15 seconds (at 22 C / 72 F)
fixer G 386 C  15 seconds (room temperature)
wash  2 x 15 seconds 
drying  control setting 2 
Darkroom safelights 
The following safelight filters can be used for processing black and-white photographic papers: 
G 7 (yellow-green)  for direct working area illumination 
(1 5 watt lamp, distance 2/z ft / 75 cm) 
Y 7 J (yellow-green)  for indirect working area illumination 
(25 watt lamp, distance 8 ft / 2.50 m)
Too bright darkroom lighting and/or too long exposure flatten contrast and fog the paper. If different safelight filters are used, the instructions for lamp power, distance between lamp and working surface, lighting angle (direct/indirect) and period of exposure must be followed. 

Sodium vapour lamps, e.g. Osram Duka 50 Universal, are also suitable. However the following test should be made to check whether they can be used. 

  • First briefly expose a sheet of photographic paper evenly over its complete surface, and develop it at once. A slight grey fog must be visible.
  • Expose a second sheet for the same time, and then expose it to the darkroom light. Mask steps on the sheet with black paper for thirty seconds, taking at least three minutes for the complete sheet. Then process.
  • The light is safe when sheet 1 and sheet 2 have identical grey values.
  • If the stages of brightness differ on sheet 2, the denser grey level on sheet 1 indicates the maximum time the paper can be exposed to the safelight concerned. 
This test only establishes safety for fogging. Too long exposure to a safelight can however also shift the contrast to "soft" by invisible pre-exposure. For this reason two prints of a negative with medium contrast should also be exposed for the same time. One sheet is developed immediately, and the other after being exposed to the safelight concerned for the specified time. If both prints have the same gradation, the light is competely safe. 
If the second print is softer, remedy this by reducing the lighting power, increasing the distance from the working surface, indirect lighting or a safer filter. 


RC papers 
Hot air drying up to 85 C / 185 F. 
The following drying methods are possible: 

  • Special infrared dryers, or equipment in which heated air is blown on to the moving prints.
  • Drying in RC paper dryers which blow warm air on the prints passing through.
  • Hot air drying in cabinets.
  • Air drying on racks (first wipe the print surfaces with a damp cloth to prevent drying stains).
Hot-drying of RC papers on drums or in glazing presses is not possible. 

Baryta papers 
The high gloss papers RECORD-RAPID 1 and 111 have hardened emulsions, and can be hot-dried on drums and in glazing presses. 
In practice the RECORD-RAPID high gloss paper is also dried on heated presses with the emulsion facing the fabric, to produce a matter surface. This method should however only be used, particularly when paper is fresh and not completely hardened, if 

  • a hardener-fixer solution is used
  • the temperature of the glazing press is not higher than 70 C / 158 F
  • the drying fabric is not stretched too tight
  • the drying fabric lets water vapour through, i.e. is not clogged with gelatine residues (if it is, it can be cleaned with enzymes, e.g. Biolase made by Hoechst AG Frankfurt or Papain made by E. Merck Darmstadt).
When high gloss papers are air dried at room temperature, the gloss may vary between the different types and grades. The degree of variation depends on the paper's age and the processing and drying conditions in the lab. 

Print finishing 

Marking stamping and retouching fibre-base papers is quite simple. RC papers on the other hand can be dealt with as follows. 
The following special pens are suitable for marking back and front: 
Pelikan Markana 33  Pelikan, D-30177 Hannover
"Ouickpoint" slide marker  Loersch, D-47639 Straelen 
OH-Lux  Faber-Castell, D-90547 Stein 
Lumocolor Permanent  StaedtlerMars, D-90419 Nurnberg 
Edding 400 and 3000  C.W. Edding, D-22926Ahrensburg
Ball-point pens are also suitable for marking the backs of prints. 

(spotting) is possible with standard retouching paints. Use a moist brush. Work on the prints if possible when they are wet, to avoid matt marks. It is more difficult to scrape RC than fibre-base papers. The standard transparent and opaque retouching paints, as used for fibre-base papers, are suitable for spraying. 
Special black and blue stamping inks are supplied by Guten berg Werk mbH, D-55122 Mainz for RC papers. 

Liquid glues  
Bicoll G 6  Bretschneider, D-57684 Unnau 
Efbecol-Pla 12 Branding, D-31275 Lehrte 
Planatol AD 94/5 B  Planatol-Werke, D-83022 Rosenheim 
Cold adhesive films/foils
Gudy products  Neschen, D-31675 Buckeburg 
Lomacoll  Lohmann GmbH, D-56567 Neuwied 
Permaprint  Morgan Adhesives, D-50735 Koln 
Artmount  Korn-Sallmetall, D-42766 Haan 
Certoplast  Hilsdorf, D-55411 Bingen 
Hot adhesive foils 
Hot adhesive tissue 204  Hilsdorf, D-55411 Bingen
Ademco D 5  Dry-Mounting GmbH, D-59929 Brilon 
Colormount  Seal, D-70806 Kornwestheim 


Artzone Index We express our gratitude to * Agfa Gevaert Hellas for giving to us the permission to present the above material. 

Concept and Design by Elias Eliadis
Copyright 1998 Black & White Art Zone. All Rights Reserved. 
First published date 15 July 1998 


Paperzone Index
* Agfa-Gevaert S.A.  
16 St. Gonata str. P.O.Box 42017 Peristeri GR- 121 10 ,   
Tel: +301 5763200 Fax: +301 5744900