Current crop of silver gelatin enlarging papers - preferences?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by TheFlyingCamera, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    I've been away from silver gelatin printing for a while. I know the landscape has changed, alot, since I last did it. It wasn't something I was terribly worried about as I was off in alt process and large format la-la-land. I've rediscovered the joy of working with roll film in the guise of my Rolleiflex, and so I'm wanting to get back in to enlarging silver prints. As I see the range of available papers, there's:
    • Ilford 300 Fine Art
    • Ilford Multigrade
    • Ilford Multigrade Warmtone
    • Bergger VC Warmtone
    • Bergger VC Cooltone
    • Foma Fomatone
    • Foma Fomabrom
    • Slavich
    • Fotochemika Varykon
    • Arista Silver Artist
    • Arista EDU Ultra
    • Oriental
    • Adox
    • Kentmere

    Am I missing any options? I'm more partial to warmtone papers than coldtone, because I can always make a warmtone paper go cold if I want to, but not the other way round. I prefer glossy/semi-gloss/pearl to matte, and I'm only interested in fiber papers. When I did a lot of silver, I was very partial to Bergger VCCB, but #1, I don't know that it's the same paper any more - they used to have Forte coat it for them, but Forte is long gone. If memory serves, Ilford is doing the coating for them now, and #2, the price has gone up (along with everything else). If I can get results that I'd like from alternate papers, I'd be happy to switch to something more economical. Please respond with opinions, and if possible, attach scans to support your contentions! Thanks!
     
  2. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

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    This doesn't fall within the range of "available papers" but the polywarmtone project is working on bringing forte polywarmtone papers back. http://www.polywarmtone.com

    I'd be interested in hearing from people who use Arista FB VC paper and like it. I wasn't that impressed during my limited use of it. I'd heard it was one of the Foma papers but someone else at my darkroom told me they compared the two and they were different.
     
  3. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Scott

    I prefer the three main Ilford fibre papers.. Ilford Warmtone, Art 300 and MG4

    Ilford paper has never let me down, its fresh, available, consistent and all three have marvelous attributes.

    I find that for 90% of all my applications one of these three papers can fit the bill.

    bob
     
  4. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Fuji VC-PE and graded-PE
     
  5. spijker

    spijker Subscriber

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    I quite like Adox Variotone Warmtone. Bright white paper base and a warmtone emulsion that you can keep fairly cool or warmer dependent on the developer. I find that it tones beautiful in selenium toner (KRST 1+9, 3-5min) when developed in Harman WT developer. Example scans in my gallery.
     
  6. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Sadly chlorobromide papers with the likes of Agfa Record rapid, Portriga and Brovira, are no longer available to enable us to print portraits like Yousuf Karsh of Ottawa.
     
  7. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    Scott- I agree with Bob, on the Ilford. There's something to be said about not worrying about availability.

    A paper which hasn't been mentioned, but may interest you is the David Lewis bromoil paper. It's matte, though (and Grade 2 only). It's non-supercoated, and fairly priced (around $100 for 100 sheets 8x10). I've only used it for my (so far) pathetic bromoil attempts, but before tanning, it was very nice. As I've only used it for the purpose of creating a bromoil matrix, I can't speak to it's toning properties.

    I have a few of the papers you've listed. If you'd like, I'd be glad to get you a few sheets of each. I think I can offer Ilford MGIV (glossy and matte), MGWT (semi-matte), Art 300, David Lewis, and Foma Variant 112 (matte- 7.5x9 inch, if I recall correctly).
     
  8. K-G

    K-G Subscriber

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    I agree with Bob on the three Ilford papers, they are outstanding all three. My personal favourite among them is Multigrade Warmtone. I have also tried a few sheets of the new Berger VC Warmtone which I feel is as good as MGWT but with a slightly different warmtone character. The new ADOX MCC 110 is also a top class paper, in between MGIV and MGWT when it comes to image tone. Perhaps a litle closer to MGIV than MGWT. It is almost identical to the old AGFA MCC 111 , but coated on a clean white base.
    Don't forget that ILFORD GALERIE is also available in grades two and three. If you have a negative with normal contrast that doesn't require split grade printing, GALERIE beats all the rest.
    Ilford 300 fine art is a superb warmtone paper for those who like a textured surface, but as you seem to prefer glossy surface I don't think it will be your primary choice.
    It is a good thing that there are still so many papers on the market that you will have a hard time to decide. Good luck !

    Karl-Gustaf
     
  9. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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    Adorama sells a VC matt fiber paper with a warm tone emulsion and a bright white base. The surface is luster/semi-matt. Do a search and you'll find some informative threads. I quite like this paper, just wish the base was a bit warmer.
     
  10. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    in the latest issue of Photo Techniques Bruce Barnbaum states that Fomabrom 111 is as good or better than ANY paper he has ever used. bought a box but haven't tried it yet....
    Best, Peter
     
  11. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    Yes, ILFOBROM GALERIE FB was a major omission from Scott's list. I find it to be the best paper available today. It can be warm or neutral depending on developer. It has a surface that's just glossy enough for solid blacks but not so shiny as to make viewing light placement critical.

    With one's process under control, it's amazing how little need there is for paper softer than grade 2 or harder than grade 3. Simon Galley refers to GALERIE as Ilford's premium product. I agree and could be happy using nothing but.
     
  12. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    You might try Ilford Multigrade IV developed 1/3 the time in Photographer's Formulary TD-32 and 2/3 in Dektol. It should add just a little warmth to the otherwise neutral tonality. I used to do that with Selectol but haven't since it was discontinued. This thread was a good reminder --- I'm going to order some now.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  13. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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    You could always try to master the paint on silver emulsions.
     
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  15. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    If I wanted to deal with a hand-coated emulsion, I'd just stick to alt processes. For the purposes of this type of photography, I want the finish, speed, and ease-of-use that a factory-produced enlarging paper can provide.
     
  16. redrockcoulee

    redrockcoulee Member

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    I like Arista Private Reserve more than the Edu.ultra. Have not used the glossy surface yet though.
     
  17. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council

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    I'm a big fan of Fomabrom 123 (semi matt) and Fomabrom 111 (glossy) for everyday use. If I were printing for an exhibition I would consider others. But for portfolio and display these two papers offer wonderful capabilities.
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The substrate will most likely eliminate this for you, but I really like the Ilford MGIV Cooltone RC.

    If you combine it with toning, it is wonderfully flexible.
     
  19. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I see a lot of discussion on who makes the Freestyle house brand films, but nothing on who makes the papers and whether they are the same as the branded offerings.
     
  20. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    A "not so wild" guess would be Foma? Not many manufactures to choose from since Ilford says they won't slap another label on their Ilford brand products and Kodak paper is "no more".
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Ilford will manufacture house brand paper for retailers - the retailer just has to contract for their own, custom "recipe".
     
  22. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    You are right, but I don't think Freestyle would go that route when they already buy Foma film for the Arista EDU series. To be honest I have no concrete proof. What I don't like about buying Freestyle film is that you get used to a certain film/emulsion and Freestyle switches film/supplier or drops it. I really wish they or somebody, would leak out the real manufacture so a person would know. You'd still buy from them since that film with their name would likely be cheaper, but the original manufacture might not like that.
     
  23. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Now that you mention it, I vaguely remember one private label film being described as Ilford FP4 - after FP4+ came out. The gist of it was that Ilford (this would have been before Harmon) was willing to allow their film to be private labeled, but not their "latest and greatest".

    I don't know for sure that it's true, but it does make sense when you think of it. Keeps the manufacturing lines going, uses tried and true materials and process, but doesn't directly compete with their current offering.
     
  24. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    I can't believe Ilford would sell a sub-standard film/paper even if it didn't have their name stamped on it. I bet their special recipe is still a darn good one. They probably call it "special recipe", but just leave out 1/100th of a gram of something so they can call it that. Who knows?????
     
  25. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Whoa! I wouldn't consider FP4 (non +) substandard - even after FP4+.
     
  26. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    Indeed not. I've recently reprinted my parents wedding photographs from the original (more than half a century old) FP3 negs, and even they were not bad at all! <--- that's my British-English for 'rather good'.