Fotokemika Varycon VC FB glossy

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by ymc226, May 11, 2009.

  1. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    Just started printing and had some Fotokemika Varycon VC FB glossy to compare it to my usual Ilford MG FB glossy. The Fotokemika seems very slow (3-4 times) and needs much more contrast (3.5 as opposed to 2.0 ) to get an image I like. I also can't get the deep blacks. Is this just the paper characteristic or is there additional technique involved. I am using Ilford MG paper developer. The glossy seems matte-like in comparison to Ilford FB papers. Has anyone used the Fotokemika matte papers? How does it compare?

    Also, according to the description on the Freestyle webpage, I tend to agree that the images look "old style" or is my opinion biased based on the ad?
     
  2. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Varycon

    indeed this paper has the old time look to it...that's what makes it special
    you have to dial in your negatives to work with it but I always develop for a grade 3 contrast level with my fuji acros and never have any problem either with a grade 3 or vc paper....your negs do not have enough contrast...believe me there are some major blacks in this paper....to me this is the best paper out there right now....make some negs with some extra contrast and reprint...
    you will be suprised at what this paper is capable of....
    Best, Peter
     
  3. RobertV

    RobertV Member

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    Have you checked out your darkroom light for this new paper?

    It sounds like the paper is fogged a bit, no deep blacks etc. Yes, the paper is much slower then Ilford MG FB.
     
  4. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    I am using the red safelight not the orange OC so I think that issue is covered. How long should I let it sit in my Ilford MG developer? Usually, I let my Ilford MG FB prints sit for 2 minutes. Does the Varycon need more time and will it improve the blacks?

    By the way, my Ilford MG developer has turned rust colored (opened it about 8 months ago and used half). It still worked on my Ilford paper so I used it on the Varycon as well.
     
  5. ath

    ath Member

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    Yes, try to develop longer and in fresh developer. Some papers react more to exhausted developer than others.
    I have no experience with Ilford MG developer, might be that a traditional developer is a better choice for this paper.
     
  6. Philippe Grunchec

    Philippe Grunchec Member

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    Varycon is a great paper! Yes, it does need AT LEAST 3 minutes in the developer to get good blacks... but then!!!
     
  7. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    I like developers that have a long shelf life since I don't get to print that often. What developer would work well with this paper and still store well?

    Has anyone used the matte version?
     
  8. Philippe Grunchec

    Philippe Grunchec Member

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    I use Tetenal Variospeed or Moersch products... or my own brews!
    I use both glossy and matte (very matte) surfaces.
     
  9. PVia

    PVia Member

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    Use Ansco 130 1:1...extremely long life.

    And give that print some time in the tray. Two minutes is way too short, even for Ilford!
     
  10. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    Thanks for your suggestions. Since Kodak Dektol is easy to get for me (and cheap), would it work well with this paper and would there be any difference compared to fresh Ilford MG developer if I let it sit long enough? What dilution?
     
  11. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Isn't this one of the papers that requires a red safelight?
     
  12. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I'm not sure if it works any better or worse with Fotokemika papers than other developers, but I've found DS-14 lasts a good long time. I use it with its matched replenisher. It takes me a few months to work through 1 liter of replenisher (I also use working solution in 1-liter quantities), and I've never noticed any change in working properties. For a while I made regular test prints to track this. IIRC, I went through two full replenishments before I stopped tracking it.

    DS-14 is the mix-it-yourself predecessor to the commercial Silvergrain Tektol. I've tried Tektol, and it works much like DS-14, but I can't speak to Tektol's longevity.
     
  13. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Yes, it definitely does that!

    I agree with Peter Schrager that Varycon is exceptional paper. A paper developer that lasts a very long time, and can even be replenished is Ethol LPD. It's fantastic stuff, and replenished it will last practically forever.

    But you really have to tweak your negatives to eek the maximum out of the paper. There are some serious blacks to be had with this paper. Further, if you bleach it back slightly with dilute bleach, (1:10, Kodak Sepia = potassium ferricyanide + bromide), for about two minutes, and then dunk in the sepia bath, you can get some really glowing highlights.

    Good luck, and make sure you use a red safelight! You will not get good prints unless you do. The orange OC one will not do.

    - Thomas
     
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  15. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Sorry Thomas....not quite clear....might you go over the bleach and the sepia sequence and chemicals again....
     
  16. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Very simple. Get the Kodak sepia kit. Mix the bleach, mix the toner.
    Dilute the bleach with water 1:10. Bleach fixed and washed print for two minutes. Wash thoroughly. Dunk in sepia toner for about a minute. Wash thoroughly.
    You'll see a slight warming to the highlights. Beautiful!
     
  17. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    matre Varycon

    I've used it and it is good...these are issues the individual needs to see for themselves....a really great matte paper is the foma 132 and it is not cheap but it reminds me of the forte semi-matte that is gone now....everyone here owes it to themselves to try these papers an SEEEE what they are like
    Best, Peter
     
  18. VincentM

    VincentM Member

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    Pvia, Are you refering to 2 min in Ansco 130 1:1 ? How long do you let your print in the developer? 3min or more? I also use A130 so I am curious
     
  19. PVia

    PVia Member

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    I usually give it at least 3 minutes in 1:1, and depending on what you're after, sometimes longer. Of course, this all works together with printing grade and exposure...but don't be afraid of leaving it in there to get a sumptuously rich print with great color and tone.
     
  20. DannL

    DannL Member

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    Two Fotokemika Varycon VC FB Matte examples. I really like this paper. It reminds me of charcoal drawings. Dektol.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2009
  21. mmcclellan

    mmcclellan Subscriber

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    I use Zone VI print developer with Varycon and its sister paper, EMAKS, also sold by Freestyle. Both require longer development -- I always go at least three minutes, sometimes four, especially if I'm using Selectol as well to control contrast.

    Efke papers are awesome, best in the world as far as I'm concerned. I use them all the time now and the price is excellent! :smile:
     
  22. Pastiche

    Pastiche Member

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    (jumping in a little late . . )

    just pushed some little sheets of this through the darkroom last night.. . and despite the red safelight, my blacks seem muddy at best. .. .
    I'm developing for 4 min in dektol...

    I was reading over the spec sheet that comes with it and noticed that it said "15-30 sec in stop bath, this helps reduce (eliminate?) the yellow fog.." . . . has anyone else experienced this yellow fog?

    going to go back to the DR and try again tonight... longer stays in the stop... and hope that my blacks clear up.

    ???
     
  23. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    FYI - I found Varycon to be exactly as you describe...using red led safelights and a long time in the developer. It has an interesting look as a lith print, but I couldn't get good blacks. I'm sure it is a great paper in the right hands....but clearly not mine!
     
  24. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    I have no problem getting deep blacks with Varycon....using zone VI dev 1:2 the blacks come up nicely...make your dev stronger to begin with folks!!
    Best, Peter
     
  25. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Weak blacks... The Varycon paper is capable of very deep and rich blacks. No question about it. When I see weak blacks in any paper I immediately look at the developer. If the developer is still fresh and works well with a different paper, I look at the safelight. I process a print in the dark (since it's time developed anyway), and see if the result is the same.
    Usually it's been the developer or a safelight that's not safe.

    As I stated in an earlier post, I use Ethol LPD. Replenished. I printed some today on this paper, and I got very strong blacks. If I were you in having problems with the paper, perhaps some trouble shooting would be in order?

    Good luck,

    - Thomas
     
  26. Keith Yohai

    Keith Yohai Member

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    Wow, thanks so much, I am sooooo new to all of this. I was told by analog photographers with much more experience than myself to try non variable contrast papers because I could get better tone, so I went to B&H and bought some of the 16X20 Varycon, a pack of #2 and #3. I've already used up all the #3 and am working my way throught the #2. I don't have enough experience to know what to expect and so I thought the old time look (muddy and a bit grainy) was due to my blowing up 35mm to 16x20. At the school we have orange-ish safety lights, not red. Now I know. I am browsing the B&H site right now for some good VC 16x20 paper and I guess I wont be able to buy emaks, verycon whatever other name it has, paper for now.

    I've been told that Berger is the best and by the prices I see, I am guessing that is true.

    I also bought some of the 11x14 Varycon, one pack of glossy and one of matte, and they both seem to be ok, but again I didn't know what to expect. I have noticed that the ilford 11x14 matte that I have is much nicer and so I use that and not the Varycon, now I know why. Thanks.

    Any advices on paper are welcomed.