Fotokemika Varycon

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Thomas Bertilsson, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I've had a very cloven relationship to this paper. The first time I printed with it was with the ADOX Vario Classic incarnation of it. I printed 35mm negs on 12x16 paper, and I filled that paper up, and I was taken away by its quality. The negs were contrasty, I printed with filter grade 3-3.5 and everything was great.
    Then I ran out of that paper and I bought a box of 8x10 Varycon. It has lasted me a good six months since I've used it sparingly. Every time I used it I thought it looked muddy and dull. Then I tried some negatives really rich in contrast again and voila - it sings again. Good black impact and very clearly defined long tonal scale.
    Some people I speak to say they hate the paper, others say they love it. I guess it depends a lot on the type of negative you're using, and how you're printing. It took me a whole lot of getting used to before I learned to use it to its potential, but now I'm happy with it.
    Plus it works in lith developers very well.

    What are other people's opinions of this paper? I'm starting to think that there are true consistency problems batch to batch.

    - Thomas
     
  2. Chris Breitenstein

    Chris Breitenstein Member

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    I use the graded version, Emaks, and I love that paper. I have found that the exposure on the negs needs to be within 1/2 stop in order to get a really nice print. Its a really great paper, but unfortunately very finicky. When you match the paper up with Ansco 130 or Amidol the exposure latitude opens up a little.

    Yours;
     
  3. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Member

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    Hi Thomas,
    I had one pack which was great, I got another one, terrible...
    Yes, there is a big consistency problem.
    For sure with lith you can get away with that...
    G.
     
  4. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Hi Chris,

    I love the Emaks graded paper too. I've used it with the 130 developer, and I have been very impressed. I made some enlargements on both G2 and G3, and I think it's the longest tonal range I've ever seen in an enlarging paper, albeit a bit on the slow side.
    Yesterday I secured a batch of 100 sheets of Azo G2, and I'll make some contact prints to compare. Should be interesting. Probably need some Amidol for that, however...

    - Thomas

     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Hi Guillaume,
    that confirms my suspicion. I think you just have to buy a lot at once from the same emulsion batch, and hope you get a good one... :sad:
    - Thomas

     
  6. John Simmons

    John Simmons Member

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    Hi Thomas, varycon does indeed need a contrasty negative in order to really bring out the best it has to offer. I have not seen batch to batch differences in contrast but it seems that in every box I get a few odd sheets that seem to have defects...(i.e. warped surface appearance, black dots that appear in skies during toning, etc...) this only seems to affect 1 out of every 10-20 sheets in the box... Some may consider this terrible consistancy but when you take into consideration that I can get 400 sheets of this paper for the same price as what I pay for 250 sheets of my next favorite paper (ilford MG Warmtone)...it seems a no brainer to me. I really like this paper.

    Regards,
    John
     
  7. Jersey Vic

    Jersey Vic Member

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    The consistency problem seems to extends to single boxes. About 1 in 3 sheets of the box I am using has a white line (well, a 'lighter' line) running through the highlights in my lith prints. I thought it was the neg until I flipped it. Considering the time spent making a lith print in Varycon (slowww) I can't afford this BS. Anyone else have this problem?
     
  8. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Member

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    I had great experiences with Emaks. My first box of Varycon was a bust -- it did not respond to VC filters and printed pretty much everything at Grade 4+. I just bought a second box of the stuff, in hopes that it was a bad batch. Sanders
     
  9. Kobin

    Kobin Member

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    I've been working with Varycon lately in Donald Miller's original PPPD developer. I didn't much like the results in Ilford Cooltone or Neutrol WA, my standard store-bought developers; I found the paper to be slow and below grade two when printed straight in these developers.

    I've modified my split-printing technique so that the low contrast exposure is made without a filter and the high contrast exposure is made with a grade 5 filter. I've become very happy with the results, and I like the very neutral gray tones of the image.

    K.
     
  10. Pat Erson

    Pat Erson Member

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    Any update on this paper? Have the consistency issues been solved?
     
  11. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    I bought a pack of this recently, but I don't think I have any negatives of low enough contrast to use it. In one of my tests I printed a negative on grade 2 on Ilford Multigrade, Arista Edu. Ultra, and Adox MC110. These printed with what I call normal contrast, with a nice full range of tones. The print on the Varycon was very high contrast even with a no. 0 filter (I did use only a red safelight with this paper).

    Ilford filters were used, and I wonder if the Varycon filters would produce a different range.

    I find the sister paper Emaks to be of normal contrast, if not on the soft side.
     
  12. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    I can print on varycon with no filtration on a difusion enlarger. this is with acros 120 negs souped 1:100 in rodinal....
    Best, Peter
     
  13. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    If you use no filtration, are you using Varycon as a single grade paper, or can you vary it?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2010
  14. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    I just went through four boxes of 8x10 and 11x14 in a couple of weeks and had no problems. Bought from Freestyle. It is a beautiful paper, and you can't beat the price. If your negatives are "challenged" though you might want to choose something else.
     
  15. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    JMCD- I try to target the negatives for a grade 3...and that is what I get with the combo and no filtration. Of course you can vary it...it's a VC paper!!
    Best, Peter
     
  16. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    For a minute there I thought you meant "something else" like tennis or watching tv. But encouraged by your and Peter's reports of success I switched out my enlarger head, from my Aristo that has a cold blue light to my Beseler condenser with a standard enlarging bulb. Suddenly, a gorgeous print with a normal grade filter. If someone else is getting a full range of contrast with a blue light (that does work with many other vc papers) I will have to continue searching for another explanation. Otherwise, problems solved and the paper looks great.

    Okay, just checking. VARY(able) CON(trast)!
     
  17. Zathras

    Zathras Subscriber

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    If you prefer to use a diffuse light source, you might want to try a dichroic color head. Then you could control print contrast with the yellow and magenta filters, while still retaining the qualities of a diffusion enlarger.
     
  18. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Can I get a clarification here: Fotokemika Varycon == ADOX Vario Classic? I was under the impression they were different papers.
     
  19. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Varicon is the continuation of Dupont Varilour and sometimes shows a similar characteristic,that is migration of silver to the surface which can show an unusual surface effect when viewed at an angle
    Mark
     
  20. An Le-qun

    An Le-qun Member

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    I've been using F-kemika VC FB (8x10, 11x14) for the last year or so on all manner of negatives--flat, contrasty and everything in between. Great results with split grade printing (00 and 5 filters), mediocre results with no filtration. Also, FB has been worlds better than the RC.
     
  21. aaronmichael

    aaronmichael Member

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    Any news on this paper as of 2012? I have to do a 16x20 print from a 4x5 negative for a class assignment and the Fotokemika is probably the cheapest of all the options. Which is very important when you're a college student - hahah. I do realize that you get what you pay for though. Any information would be greatly appreciated!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2012
  22. Gadfly_71

    Gadfly_71 Subscriber

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    My experience with Varycon runs hot and cold. I think it's a wonderful paper... for portraits. For landscapes and the like it's been awful. The details in shadow areas are very muddy and it doesn't really respond well to VC filtration. Its saving grace is its low price. It's possible that the graded paper is better, but I've never used it.

    Oh, air dry only BTW. Belt/drum style print dryers are out as the prints tend to stick to the cotton belt (in my experience).

    -Andrew
     
  23. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    I printed some 4x5 negs onto 16x20 Varycon gloss last year and the results were very good. I was using a colour head and Dektol. Print colour was good and didn't require any toning.