Forte quality control

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by shyguy, Jun 18, 2005.

  1. shyguy

    shyguy Member

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    I have been using Forte FB Polygrade and Polywarm for quite some time now with good success. The other day I opened up a new 100 sheet box of polygrade and it printed out with dramatically different results than the preceding box. This is the first time I have seen this. I have heard that forte has had these issues but I have never experienced it.

    For what it’s worth this box was purchased prior to their restructure and subsequent shortage of product in the market place.

    I am curious if others have run into issues like this with Forte.

    S.
     
  2. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    I made a huge purchase of Forte just as the s...t hit the fan . I bought the PolyV and PolyWT in 8x10 and 11x14. It's funny but the 8x10 paper seems to very much to me like the Bergger NB. My opinion on this is if the paper works well use it; if not dump to someone else.
    Best, Peter
     
  3. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    Can't answer whether Forte have changed their emulsions, but I have heard other comments from time to time about inconsistency. The reason it seems like Bergger (as Peter notes) is that it is Bergger. Or more accurately, Bergger is manufactured by Forte, supposedly to standards set by Bergger, but I suspect that in the wake of the financial difficulties, the two products may be identical. It's possible that with Bergger's growing reputation among photgraphers, Forte has decided to make their own brand the same. I certainly can't tell any difference between the Bergger NB and the Forte Polygrade that I have. Printing times, characteristics, tone, color-- all the same.

    Larry
     
  4. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    Your opinon(s) are shared by many. And it is a fact, though not one confirmed by Bergger, that Forte Photochemical Vac manufactures all Bergger papers.

    I use a great deal of Polygrade V FB and I have not had trouble - other than the speed of the paper varies quite a bit (more than 1/3 stop sometimes) from package to package.
     
  5. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Forte and Bergger were definately NOT same at ONE time. My feeling is that at the end before they closed up they were just pulling the merchandise from any side of the factory and putting it in boxes. Of course the upside is that the Bergger was/is about $30/box more.
    Peter
     
  6. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    That's true. There was a French company with that name that went bankrupt some years back. Bergger and Forte are separate companies today, but Forte manufactures anything that goes in a Bergger box. Bergger is really nothing more than a front office concern these days. I've even heard that their owners are actually in the USA, not France, though France is where their front office is located.
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    What was wrong with the new box?

    IIRC Sandy King has mentioned that aging/storage is a bigger issue with Forte film [I don't remember if the paper was included]. The various films produced by Forte are the same no matter the label but different handling accounts for the differences some people see.
     
  8. shyguy

    shyguy Member

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    The new box prints out quite a bit darker all else being equal. I haven't tested it enough to determine if there is a contrast shift yet. but i would say the new box is at least 1/3 stop darker, perhaps more.

    As for storage, it's been in a 72F/~22C darkroom at about 40% RH. It hasn't been there 4 months. More importantly it has been handled like the rest of the paper. It does have a different emulsion code than the last box however. i usually try to get all the same batch when i order.

    I only freeze the stuff bigger than 11 x 14 as i don't go through it very fast. I suspect i go through 100 sheets of 8 x 10 about every month, and about 50 sheets of 11 x14.

    S.
     
  9. jandc

    jandc Member

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    In the old days Forte made paper and then put the rolls in storage for several months to properly age. In the scramble to fend of bankruptcy and with the new production now proceeding they are producing the paper and cutting and shipping as fast as they can. The end result is that the paper coming out has not been aged like it used to be. The paper will stabilize in about 6 months and be much closer to the older paper in performance.

    One difference that is real is that their paper supplier went out of business and they are now buying from a new source. So the base of the new paper is slightly different than the old paper. The emulsion is the same as before and has not been changed.

    We have seen this with our Classic papers which are the equivalents of PV-G, Polywarmtone and Fortezzo and it is true of all the other suppliers getting their products from Forte. Once inventories build up again all of this should stabilize.
     
  10. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    JandC,

    Thanks for your informative response.

    Can we assume, then, that for the time being Forte is still operating and producing paper - if even intermittently?
     
  11. jandc

    jandc Member

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    We've been getting shipments from Forte for the last 3 months. They make to order and there is no problem at the present time getting any of their products.
     
  12. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    I bought a box of Forte paper (8x10, 100 sheets VC fiber) about eight months ago and was immensely disappointed. The stuff was totally flat and lacking in contrast. I vowed not to buy any more ever. But, I just ordered some J and C 16x20 paper and understood it to be made by Forte, so I'm hoping that it will meet expectations. But....do I understand that the Forte paper I bought might have aged to the point of being usable? Wow...that would be very cool!!
     
  13. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    This is not a new prolem, I stopped using Forte papers 10 years ago because of inconsistencies. At the time I spoke to the production director at Photokina about this problem his attitude was that I would just have to accept the inconsistencies.
     
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  15. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

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  16. jandc

    jandc Member

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  17. shyguy

    shyguy Member

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    out of pure curiosity, do they (Forte) or you (Jandc) store that paper as it ages in any special type of climate? Eg. refrigerated , frozen, room temp??

    S.
     
  18. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

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  19. jandc

    jandc Member

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    It's stored by us at around 50 degrees F. Forte has a cool storage room where they store their master rolls. Once it's cut it typically is out the door in a short time.
     
  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Jon at J&C is very helpfull as usual.

    I have very fresh Polywarmtone paper which I recieved from Berlin a few weeks ago. Actually it prints OK but is a lot warmer (brown) toned and reacts very rapidly with selenium toner. But it will settle with age.

    Luckily I still have a few hundred sheets of older paper before I need to use it.

    Ian
     
  21. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Is there ANY way to get a hold of some 5X7? Is there ANY way
    to get a hold of any single weight? A tougher challenge: Is there
    ANY way to get a hold of any 5X7 single weight?

    I don't understand the lack of interest in those two on the part
    of suppliers. Small prints, 5X7 and under, are very nice for many
    situations. Single weight was much used in the past. It is
    quicker to process and dry and did sell for less.

    I'm only interested in Graded Papers. I would support a large
    purchase of Graded paper only. A few years ago I opted out of
    a less well lighted VC darkroom and now use a more well lighted
    Graded darkroom. Perhaps an email? Dan
     
  22. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    the title to this thread is an oxymoron.
     
  23. jandc

    jandc Member

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    I can get you all the graded 5x7 paper you want. It's just a matter of having it cut to that size. However, this is for double weight. Single weight is a problem because manufacturers don't make it and having it made custom requires a lot of up front money in a special production run which likely would not be recouped. If you want to order some in smaller sizes send me an email a sales@jandcphoto.com.
     
  24. jandc

    jandc Member

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    I hear Kodak screwed up their entire production run of Azo grade 2 a few months back due to unanticipated changes in their gelatin supply. It made it all the way into production and the sales channel without being dealt with by Kodak.

    As supplies of the raw materials for the products we use dry up and fewer and fewer vendors remain you will see more fluctuations in the future than ever before. If the likes of a Kodak with all their labs, chemists, engineers, multi million dollar coating machines etc can't deal with the fluctuations what are the smaller manufacturers to do?
     
  25. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    So are you saying there is no real hope for consistency?

    I'm sure that's not what you are trying to say, but it kind of comes off sounding like that.
     
  26. jandc

    jandc Member

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    That's exactly what I am telling you. It's only going to get worse. Think about it. As manufacturers of Gelatin, film base, paper base consolidate their businesses and discontinue products not in high demand the industry will have to make due with what is available. In the past you had Kodak and the other big players driving the production of these materials in huge quantities. Now that Kodak and the others don't need as much and are not buying as much gelatin, paper or film base many of these factories will discontinue products or close up completely as we've seen with several paper manufacturers. Companies will be forced to buy gelatin that may not be ideal for photographic use because that is what's available. None of the current players in Europe can afford to buy Gelatin paper and film base in the huge quantities they did in the past. So they have to order more often in smaller quantities. Sooner or later the stuff they were ordering gets discontinued and they have to make a switch. It's going to happen over and over again because the film industry is contracting. Yes, the manufacturers will try and do whatever they can to keep lot to lot variations at a minimum. But it's going to be an almost impossible task as more and more variables change.

    Somewhere down the road It's going to end up being up to the end users to be able to adjust their processes to the materials that are available. In the long run it's probably a small price to pay for the continued availability of the products.