2nd Grade of Kentmere Kentona - Simon?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Shawn Dougherty, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Subscriber

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    I have found Kentmere Kentona to be among the most beautiful papers I have seen, similar in many ways to Azo and superior in color. It is a delicate paper but has been well worth any extra care in handling. The only problem I have with the paper is that is comes in only one grade. While pulling the paper seems to work well with an active developer and a water bath I've had little luck adding contrast.

    If a second, higher grade were also available I would use nothing else... Now that Ilford is going to be running the show I wonder if there is a chance a second grade would be produced? I also thought this would be a good opportunity to see what kind of interest there is here at APUG.

    All the best. Shawn
     
  2. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    Perhaps a poll, similar to the Art Classic thread would be appropriate...
     
  3. skillian

    skillian Subscriber

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    With the demise of Azo, I too use Kentona almost exclusively. I think this paper has some really special qualities and would love to see Ilford offer it in more grades. However, my bigger fear is that they will drop it from the line all-together. With all of the market consolidation that has happened in recent years, it seems like we're mostly left with graded and VC papers that are more alike than different. Although I'll probably get flamed for saying this, most of Kentmere's products seem pretty similar to stuff that Ilford already makes - Kentona and the POP papers being the major exceptions. Since most commercial users of B&W paper have moved on to digital it really leaves the fine-art / specialty market which is the very market who would appreciate these kinds of unique papers. Now that legendary papers like Azo are gone from the market, I really hope that Ilford will compliment the already excellent products they make with a few specialty papers like Kentona & POP as opposed to further consolidating the product assortment.

    Just my two cents.
     
  4. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I'm a big fan of Kentona, too. I've modified MAS amidol a bit and get plenty of variation between water baths and extended development. A higher grade would make some prints easier, though.
    juan
     
  5. JLP

    JLP Subscriber

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    Kentona is also one of my favorite papers. Another contrast grade would be great. The current a little softer and then another grade 3
    Would not mind if it was a little more glossy to, It loose a little of the magic when it dry up.

    jan
     
  6. Richard Boutwell

    Richard Boutwell Member

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    I would use Kentona more it didn't have the slightly dull surface. Maybe Ilford can make something with a little more gloss to it. Another grade would be nice too, maybe something a little softer?
     
  7. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Subscriber

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    With the current option of one grade I prefer it as is, if two were offered your suggestion would be ideal.

    As far as the surface I'm fine with the way it is now but wouldn't mind a bit if it were glossier as you and Richard suggest.
     
  8. Scott Peters

    Scott Peters Member

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    hmmm, I found the kentmere bromide 'closer' to azo, with the kentona being a tad warmer in tone...all in amidol....maybe it's the kbr that changes things?
    Oh well, I am still hopeful that M&P will come up with an AZO replacement...
     
  9. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    I'm not sure about increasing glossiness of Kentona. I'm using it as my warm-tone paper; and for cool-tones with a glossy appearance I use Kentmere Bromide. It seems to give me better resolution than Forte Fortezo, and am trying to get a similiar warmth. So don't mess with a good thing. Now a higher contrast grade would be another matter ;-)
     
  10. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    Kentona

    I haven't use the paper yet but based on some of the comments by those here who I respect I will be trying it soon.

    Just a little trick that I'm quite sure will cure your so-so gloss concerns.

    For years I used Agfa Portriga Rapid, a chloro-bromide emulsion enlarging paper (the finest ever made BTW) Portriga suffered from the same lack of gloss when left to air dry.

    Next time follow this suggestion, final wash the print and hang to drip dry, as shiny water sheets off the surface (about 10 minutes) the print is still quite moist. Have your wife's oven set at 175-190 degrees on bake and place print in oven for about 2 minutes. Right before your eyes the print will come to a gloss like you only dream about. Print should be removed from oven while it still has a slight bit of moisture on the back side of the print. Let air dry and I'm sure you'll be both surprised and pleased.

    Lastly, if you leave the print in the oven too long edges of the print will curl enough so that when you mount the print in a dry mount press the edge of the paper will crack and you'll loose valuable image because of it.

    Gloss will be achieved long before the entire paper is bone dry, remove while back is a bit moist.

    Also, even if the fiber paper you are currently using air dries to a full gloss this trick will increase gloss slightly.

    Cheers! Steve
     
  11. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I'm another former Azo printer and have found that Kentona comes closest of all in matching tonality with Azo. In fact, I like it (Kentona) better. I would very much like to see two grades of Kentona. The current grade is pretty good for a lot of negatives. But there is a definite need for a grade 3. Just yesterday I ran into this. I needed a little more contrast punch and wound up making the print with Slavich grade 3.

    Since losing Azo, I've been torn between using Slavich or Kentona as my standard paper. Right now, Slavich has two points making it more attractive. One is the option of single weight. I don't HAVE to have SW but I do like it. The second point is the availability of grades 2, 3, and 4. However, I do like the tone and tonality of Kentona and would prefer to standardize with it.

    I don't mind the surface texture; from a "normal" viewing distance, I can't see the difference, even viewing it side by side with a print of the standard glossy surface.
     
  12. joefreeman

    joefreeman Member

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    I too would like to see another grade (higher or lower) of kentona. A lower grade would have the benefit of maybe using negatives made for alternative processes.
    I did just recently acquire a mamiya 7, and though I'll use P.O.P. for contact printing those negatives, I would like to enlarge some of them. When I do, I'm going to use kentona. Two grades would make life a lot easier.
    I'd also like more of a gloss. Steve had a great suggestion concerning the oven, it does work great, but how nice would it be if we could eliminate that step?
     
  13. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear All,

    Just to let you know, I have read the thread:

    I will ensure marketing are aware of your wishes, obviously its very early days so I will come back to you when I have something to say.

    Regards

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
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  15. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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    I must be in the Twilight Zone. I tried that Kentona and it was so contrasty I called it crap and threw it out. What? do you have to use a water bath development to get normal contrast? I don't get it. Maybe it was my Aristo VC head that threw it off.
    dp
     
  16. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    I've been through two packs of Kentona and I won't bother with it again. The first pack obviously had emulsion defects because there was a pattern of spots on every print in the exact same location on each piece of paper. It didn't matter which negative and if I tried other papers, the spots weren't there.

    The second time around was this past summer. After I finished my printing session I noticed that the borders were yellow and so were the highlights. I mixed fresh fix for that session and followed my routine as I always do so I didn't know what to think until I read somewhere later that warm temperatures have an effect on Kentona. I haven't been able to find that article or thread or whatever it was I read, though.

    Regardless, I'm done with it. There are too many other papers I like to continue to waste money on one that doesn't work for me.
     
  17. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Subscriber

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    Simon,
    Thanks for taking notice. I'll be looking forward to any announcements.

    Steve,
    Thanks for the EXCELLENT tip about adding gloss to prints.

    dpurdy,
    I've never enlarged onto Kentona, I've only made contact prints. Now that I think about it everyone I know that loves and uses the paper makes contact prints.... maybe there is something to that.
     
  18. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    Although it's still another step, it at least keeps the paper and chems away from the food preparation- you could look into getting a ferrotyping plate. Another option would be the old stick-the-print-inside-a-clean-white-t-shirt-and-iron-it trick. That brings up the gloss quite nicely with many papers. Until I had drying screens in a rack, that's how I used to "flatten" my 16x20 prints on fiber paper when I lived in a rental apartment with an old stove. I once tried to dry a print in the oven- I was about 30 seconds late pulling it from the oven, and the paper had singed on the back in the pattern of the oven rack where it was in contact. Great way to throw away $10 worth of photo paper.
     
  19. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Kentona used to be available in Grades 2 & 3, because of very low sales Kentmere cut back to just the one grade about 20 years ago, at the time I had been planning to use it exclusively.

    When Freestyle began selling Kentmere paper 2 or 3 years ago they listed 3 grades of Kentona on the Kentmere US website. (The website is Freestyle's, and had no input from Kentmere). I asked Kentmere about this at a trade show but they weren't sure but said if there was sufficient demand and the production run was pre-ordered it could probably be made.

    So the reality is if US wholesalers/retailers thought they could sell other grades of Kentona then Kentmere/Ilford would be in a better position to look at re-introduction. (The UK market is too small) It is a very nice paper quite different from others on the market.

    Ian
     
  20. gbenaim

    gbenaim Member

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    I wrote someone at Kentmere re the availability of Bromide in grades other than 2 outside the States, and she explained that Freestyle are the only ones who carry it and buy the whole run. Maybe a similar arrangement can be made for Kentona via FS if enough people let them know of their interest.

    GB
     
  21. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    What needs to be remembered is Kentmere have always been a small company and never felt it necessary to really expand, they had a good solid business making a profit so why rock the boat.

    I doubt very much Kentmere paper was sold in the US until more recently, and Kodak withdrawing from the B&W paper market has changed the balance significantly for Kentmere & Ilford.

    It'll be interesting to see what the Ilford/Kentmere/Bergger triumvirate means to the choices of papers available in 6 moths to a years time

    Ian
     
  22. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Subscriber

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    Indeed...
     
  23. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    KENTMERE manufactured photo paper has been sold in the US for decades, going back to the 1960's at least, but under the LUMINOS brand name.
     
  24. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    True but only recently sold as Kentmere, the volumes sold as Luminos can't have been that high, Kentmere's total sales for the paper and packaging division together were only around £8 million ($16 million & rising daily). The packaging division is highly successful but not part of Ilford's buyout.

    Kentmere have always had a niche in the market, their products are excellent so there's a lot of room for expansion.

    Ian
     
  25. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    KENTMERE manufactured photo paper has been sold in the US for decades, going back to the 1960's at least, but under the LUMINOS brand name.
     
  26. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Not correct Luminos papers were made by another company before Kentmere, and I think they originally manufactured B&W papers themselves, probably in Europe - I think the link was Tura in Germany.

    Ian
     
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