AGFA Multi-Grade Classic Replacement

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Terrance Hounsell, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. Terrance Hounsell

    Terrance Hounsell Member

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    This post was prompted by word of AGFA's demise as there is one product of theirs that I will sorely miss. I have been using AGFA Multi-grade Classic as my printing paper of choice since its inception and would appreciate advice on a SIMILAR replacement. The features that I am looking for in a fine art B+W printing paper are as follows:

    a. fibre base
    b. heavy weight, preferably greater than double weight
    c. variable contrast
    d. very slightly warm tone
    e. glossy finish, (natural gloss not high gloss)
    f. tones well
    g. bleaches well
    h. available in 16" X 20" size
    i. stands up to washing. (the one fault in AGFA MG Classic was poor mechanical properties when wet)

    I would like to support Ilford as they seem to be in the Monochrome film, paper, and chemistry for the long run. However, their MGIV doesn't tone very well and doesn't bleach at all.

    Is anyone familiar with Kentmere? From the chat on the web it seems that their heavy weight paper is only available in grade 2.

    I have less than 200 sheets of 16x20 MG Classic on hand so I must find an alternative by the New Year. It would be nice to find a similar paper because I will have to adjust my many print "recipe" (data) sheets when reprint requests come in.
     
  2. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Ilford do Warmtone a fibre paper that fits your requirements and is designed to tone. Fotospeed also do Legacy which is similar to the spec you listed. Fotospeed papers are available from Freestyle in the US.
     
  3. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Kentmere Fineprint VC meets most of your requirements except (b): it's normal double weight & (d): depends on developer. In (now defunct) Neutol WA it is somewhat warm. A few mins in a brown toner (like, erm, the now defunct Viradon New...) will give warmer tones. Not had a problem with localised bleaching of MGIV (with Farmer's) but I agree that selenium and gold often only have a small effect. I prefer the Kentmere to MGIV FB in any event: it's more adaptable.

    I don't use Afga paper or film but I just realised the loss of Rodinal, Neutol and Viradon is rather annoying! Just as well there are replacements available...

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  4. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    This is a bit of an aside so I hope it isn't rude to ask it here... what about buying up lots of the paper and freezing it? It would keep quite well wouldn't it?
     
  5. david b

    david b Member

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    Just start buying Ilford papers.
     
  6. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    I am not sure that the color of the paper will suit you, but I have been using J&C Polywarmtone for a while now. It has a white base, very warm emulsion, and is triple weight. It also takes selenium nicely, but I have not tried Sepia. It is manufactured by Forte and is supposed to be the same as their museum weight polywarmtone. Another option is Forte polygrade V, it is double weight, so it is not quite as heavy, and has a kind of greenish cold emulsion, but takes selenium strongly and warms up beautifully. The base isn't as warm as the Agfa, but warmer than Kentmere or Ilford. I have found that it bleaches really fast when I tone with sepia, so that might be what you are looking for as well.
     
  7. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    My vote would be for Legacy as the base is more neutral than Ilford FB, which is quite warm (I'm not that keen and cold subjects can look odd on this paper). Like MCC Legacy is neutral when you use a neutral dev and a touch warm in warm devs. It also has a similar finish with a smoother gloss than the Ilford WT, which has more texture. Legacy is like MCC in that you can produce convincing slightly cold/neutral images along with warm images on one paper.

    Legacy seems to be cheapest thru Fotospeed and outrageous thru Silverprint, tho I have not looked in while.

    Tom
     
  8. Terrance Hounsell

    Terrance Hounsell Member

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    On the basis that I want to support Ilford before they go the way of the other Photo Giants I am giving their products serious consideration. It is also the easiest to get in my area.

    That said I find that the MGIV warm tone is too warm. ANY SUGGESTION FOR COOLING IT DOWN ? I must say though that if you can stand the intense warmth it split tones very well in selenium.

    The regular MGIV is too cold. ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR WARMING IT UP? My main concern is that I have had little success with bleaching it. One day I was pissed off and left a print in the bleach and walked away to have lunch. 40 minutes later it was still no where near as bleached as the AGFA MG Classic. This is a real concern as I do a fair amount of local bleaching. I am about to switch over to Lynn Radeka's formula (www.maskingkits.com) which I believe contains an acid to accelerate the Ferricynanide. [i'm going to e-mail Lynn on the subject].

    Thanks for the input, I appreciate it and I'm not discounting the non-Ilford papers yet.
     
  9. Terrance Hounsell

    Terrance Hounsell Member

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    I should add that I am using Dektol or D-72 (home made) as my paper developer.
     
  10. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've used the Ilford MGIV in an ansco 130 equivalent (Photographers Formulary B&W 65) with very nice results. Not too warm. It's a soft developer, so I find I migth need to give the paper a quick exposure on a 5 filter to get the blacks where I want them.

    Good luck!
     
  11. dlin

    dlin Member

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    Terrance, with regards to Ilford MGWT, you might be able to cool the image down a bit by using a cool-tone developer. I have been using a phenidone/ascorbate developer with benzotriazole as the restrainer, and the prints are noticeably less "green" than when developed with a neutral or warmtone developer that uses a lot of potassium bromide. A shorter duration in the toning bath with a more diluted selenium toner will avoid the drastic color shift as well.
    Unfortunately, there isn't anything to do about the warmer base of MGWT if you don't like that quality. Hope this helps.

    All the best,
    Daniel
     
  12. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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  13. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Use a cold-tone developer; the Darkroom Cookbook has several formulas, and use benzotriazole rather than potassium bromide as your restrainer in the developer. BZT always gives colder tones than KBr.

    Phenidone/Ascorbic Acid developers with BZT will sometimes give colder tones than Metol/HQ developers, but not always, depending on what else is in them.

    Larry
     
  14. photomc

    photomc Member

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    I liked the Agfa papers also, closest I found to my own liking was Forte. But since it seems hit or miss with them, will try the Ilford MGWT with Benzotriazole a try...Thanks Les, once again you are a gem.
     
  15. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    no more AGFA MC FB in stock

    Before thinking about the potential replacement, have you started to buy the AGFA MC FB in stock? I'm still thinking about using this paper for my portfolio for a series of photos.

    In Japan, where I live, the distributor has no more stock of this paper, and all the major retail stores are holding back theirs on the shelves. One chain store I went to yesterday wouldn't even transfer it from another store, which means I might have to drive around the entire country and dig every store to find it!

    If the worst comes worst, I might switch to Fuji Rembrandt graded paper (perhaps grade#2) as a replacement because of it availability as a domestic product... sigh.

    How are the situations in your countries? Is there still plenty left to use?
     
  16. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Les, out of curiosity, do you know which company makes Legacy VC paper for Fotospeed?
    I remember reading some years ago that their lith paper was made for them by Sterling and then Sterling disappeared.
    Both of those papers should be suitable alternatives although I think I would tend to lean towards the Ilford product.
     
  17. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Try both legacy and ilford WT as they are quite different. Legacy has wonderful depth to it and is my favourite of the two but you might prefer the ilford for your work.

    The legacy base is a touch thin so be careful with bigger prints. Splits nicely in selenium too.
     
  18. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Keith I do know where Legacy is made but have been asked not to divulge the source, sorry. The Sterling factory in India has been demolished and I understand has been replaced by a shopping centre, Sterling Lith was an excellent paper. Legacy is different from Ilford Warmtone and I would suggest that you try both.
     
  19. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    I can understand that, I don`t blame Fotospeed for keeping the source a secret.
    Thanks for replying.