Agfa MCC alternative

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Thomas Bertilsson, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Hello, I cannot find any previous posts or discussion on what might be used to replace Agfa MCC. I am mourning the demise of Agfa, and its brilliant films, papers, and chemistry.
    I have found a film substitute in Ilford FP4, and Kodak Tri-X, film and paper developers of various kinds, but the MCC paper I'm having a tougher time with.
    My most recent test was with Kentmere Fineprint VC in 11x14, and the tone of the paper is a clear, crisp, brilliant white. I am used to a warmer, slightly yellow cast of the Agfa MCC. I also liked better how the Agfa paper handled changes in filtration. Not that the Kentmere is bad, not at all, but it's no Agfa MCC.
    I have very limited funds in purchasing new papers and materials, and cannot afford to test every other paper out there. I need my prints to look a certain way, and was wondering if anybody could tip me off on a paper that will give a similar look to that of the Agfa MCC.

    Thankful for help,

    - Thom
     
  2. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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  3. Terrance Hounsell

    Terrance Hounsell Member

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  4. agGNOME

    agGNOME Member

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    huggyviking,
    Have a look at Kentmere Fineprint VC, Fine grain semi-matt. It's comparable to Agfa 118 with regard to the texture. It differs in that it is more neutral than warm and that the base is white by comparison to Agfa 118.

    Kentmere also makes a Fineprint warmtone version (same texture as fineprint neutral) but, is warmer than Agfa 118 and also with a yellower base....too yellow for my taste.

    Agfa 118 was unique. I like the Kentmere Fineprint just as much if not more.
    As far as Agfa 111 that's easy to replace. Just about every manufacturer does a glossy warm fiber paper. But, while were talking about Kentmere they make a nice glossy F.B. named Kentona.
     
  5. agGNOME

    agGNOME Member

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    Oh yeah, forgot to add that if you liked Agfa Neutol (neutral, not wa) then you
    may want to try Edwal Platinum II. Similar liquid concentrate with no metol.
    good luck, Cameron
     
  6. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Thanks guys. I am currently experimenting with the Kentmere Fineprint VC, and I have two problems. The tone of the paper is very neutral, almost white, and I'm looking for a warmer tone than that. It is also near impossible to keep it flat in the easel, as it's seriously warped out of the box (less of a problem, but still).
    Next adventure, from what I can discern, will probably be Ilford FB warmtone. I have also tried the paper they offer at Fine Art Photo Supply, and I like it quite a bit, although it's a bit colder in tone than the Agfa. Anyone know who manufactures that paper?

    Thanks for your input,

    - Thom
     
  7. Jerry Thirsty

    Jerry Thirsty Member

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    Hi all,

    I have been trying out a bunch of papers to replace MCC 111, and thought I would provide my results. All of the papers are the VC, FB versions, exposed with the same negative, no filtration on an Omega Super Chromega D Dichroic II head and developed in Ethol LPD 1:3 (no toning). I don't have an analyzer, so I used test strips and tried to match exposure from paper to paper by eye; there is some variation but I think it's close enough to be useful.

    In my opinion, from coldest to warmest:

    Kentmere Fineprint Neutral
    Bergger NB
    Oriental Seagull
    Ilford MG IV
    Forte Polygrade V
    Fomabrom Variant III
    Agfa MCC 111
    Ilford MG IV Warmtone
    Forte Polywarmtone/Bergger VCCB
    Kentmere Fineprint Warm

    To my eye, Ilford MG IV Warmtone was the closest match to Agfa 111. The Fomabrom is also quite close. The incremental difference in warmth between consecutive papers is pretty small except for the jump from Ilford Warmtone to Forte Polywarmtone.

    Other comments:
    - To my eye, the Oriental Seagull was the most neutral.
    - The Kentmere Warm looks quite odd to me; it has by far the warmest paper base, but when I look at the shadows and try to ignore the paper base they look fairly neutral. I don't care too much for the stippled surface, but I can imagine some types of photos that would probably look great on the paper (like old-timey portraits I suppose).
    - The Bergger VCCB and Forte Polywarmtone are supposedly the same paper, and appear close enough that could certainly be true. Their exposure times matched as well, but these two papers are considerably slower than all the rest. The Bergger NB and Forte Polygrade V do not look quite the same (although to be fair I don't recall anyone ever saying they were). The Bergger has a whiter base to my eye.
    - The Fomabrom appears to have lower than average contrast with no filtration than the other papers. I'm also concerned about getting high contrast on this paper because the filtration table in the data sheet specifies 200M to print grade 4 (using the Kodak family), and my enlarger maxes out at 170M. Also, the table gives the same magenta value for grade 5 as for grade 4, which would seem to be saying there is no grade 5.

    This is the first time I've actually auditioned so many papers head-to-head, and my biggest surprise was that, although I can see the very warmtone papers have their uses, I now realize that I actually prefer the colder papers. I think the Ilford Warmtone is the warmest I will go in the future (once I use up the papers I have), and I'm really starting to dig the Seagull and Kentmere Neutral.

    If there's anything I can clarify let me know,
    Jerry
     
  8. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    summation

    Jerry-that was a nice summation. Thanks for the input....I'm quite sure the Bergger CB and the Forte Poly WT that I have used are different animals. I only have old stock; maybe the stuff coming out of the factory is different now....
    The work you have done is the BEST way to learn.
    Best, Peter
     
  9. Mark H

    Mark H Member

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    While testing some different papers to replace Agfa, a friend gave me some Bergger Prestige CB (not NB). I didn't have many sheets to play with, but I very much liked the look. He has managed to get beautiful tones using sepia and selenium. Unfortunately, it ain't cheap.

    Check out Bergger specs here:
    http://www.jackspcs.com/dsberggr.htm
     
  10. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Thanks Jerry and Mark for your recommendations.

    Jerry, that is quite a lot of testing to be done. It is extremely useful information to me, as I have neither time, nor money to test a lot. It is much appreciated that you share that much of your findings. I'm more and more sure that Ilford will be the company to receive my support. I will continue with the Kentmere until I run out of stock, and see if I can learn techniques to print a colder paper to my liking. I can see how a warm paper can be too creamy for some people. It fits my subject matter and tastes, however.

    Best,

    - Thom
     
  11. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Today I printed two images, and both on two separate papers. One was Agfa MCC 118, and the other was Kentmere Fineprint VC.
    One of the images was from a fairly contrasty negative where I had to use a very low contrast filter, #0. On the Agfa paper I was able to render a perfect tone representing virtually the scale present in the negative. With the Kentmere, I had to choose between either blocked up highlights or lack of definition in the blacks.

    Am I doing something wrong, or are the papers really that different? I noticed that the Kentmere is about twice as fast as the Agfa, for no good reason, in my mind, as shorter exposure times leads to inconsistencies when making multiple prints.

    I'm not impressed. Will try Oriental Seagull next, along with Ilford.

    - Thom
     
  12. jvarsoke

    jvarsoke Member

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    jerry,

    Great job on the comparison. Nice to see some head-to-head work being done to bolster some of the conjecture floating around. Too bad there's no APUG Wiki, would be great to store this sort of information in a central place -- maybe with scanned images of all the tested papers so the eye has something to share with the mind on the topic.

    Again, saves me a bit of time.

    -j
     
  13. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I suspect the latter. The latest (November/December, 2005) issue of Photo Techniques has a review of several papers, including Kentmere Fineprint VC and Agfa MCC 111 FB. The review of the Kentmere (which doubles as a review of Arista III VC FB) reads, in part, "their contrast range was limited, going from about a soft grade 1 to a hard grade 3 -- the shortest range of any of these papers. I measured the IDmaxes at 1.84 for the Arista, and 1.88 for the Kentmere." The Agfa review claims it achieved a contrast range from grade 0 to grade 5, but it's not exactly the paper you're using, so it's possible yours would be a bit different.

    FWIW, the papers in the review that could do a full range of grades (0 to 5) were the Agfa MCC 111 FB, Ilford Multigrade FB Warmtone, Ilford Multigrade IV FB, and Oriental Seagull VC-FB II. (The Ilfords actually achieved grade 00.) The Kentmere, as noted in the above quote, produced the shortest range of grades. Bergger Prestige Variable CB, Bergger Prestige Variable NB, Forte Polygrade V FB, and Kodak Polymax Fine Art all produced grade 0 through grade 4, and Forte Polywarmtone FB Plus managed 1 to 4.
     
  14. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Well, I guess that confirms my findings of tonal range. I think the Kentmere could be used very successfully if the negs were tailored for it.

    Thanks for sharing that knowledge. Oriental Seagull, here I come, and it had better be great paper... :smile:

    Take care,

    - Thom