Portriga Rapid substitute?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by PHOTOTONE, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    I have been using up my very very old stash of Agfa Portriga Rapid, and I was wondering what current enlarging paper (graded or multigrade) comes closest to giving the same "look" and "depth"?
     
  2. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    Quite simply, there isn't one!

    If you indeed have an "old Stash" of Portriga, i.e. before 1988 then you have been treated to some of the finest enlarging paper ever made. The micro-contrast in the shadow areas is second to none!

    In 1988 Agfa was forced to make a "minor change" to the emulsion, they removed the Cadmium due to its manufacturing impact on the environment. There is a long story that goes with this and subsequent warm tone papers not worth going into here.

    I once did an ad campaign for Agfa and took my fee in Portriga Rapid, fortunately I still have some of the pre 1988 paper and will continue to use it sparingly. Chloro-Bromide papers such as Portriga tend to have better keeping properties when frozen than ordinary Bromide papers.

    I have tried many papers since and of the papers which still remain in production that Bergger graded Warm Tone and Ilford Multicontrast Warm Tone Fiber Base to be as close to my liking as is currently available.

    I use GAF 135 developer, which is a warm tone developer mixed from scratch, I try to keep my developing times to less than 1 minute and use Potassium Bromide as a restrainer if needed, generally speaking these tricks will enhance the warmth of most enlarging papers.

    That said, no trickery is needed with the older Portriga, out of the box it is a glorious enlarging paper!
     
  3. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    I agree with Steve and remember the ads. I still have miniscule quantities of Portriga.
    While Forte PW-17 is no Portriga substitute, it does have a very similar base surface and colour.
    Of course with Forte out of biz that's gone too.
    Mark
     
  4. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    While I am also using the last of mine, I've found that Fotokemika Varycon papers give me the closest look to the old Agfa papers from the 30s-40s.

    Simply stunning results. In fact, I've learned they make a crystal-surface version of the paper not available here, but I'm planning on picking some up when I go to Europe in a few months.
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The Brovira and Portriga formulas were very close together. They both used bromide, chloride and iodide in making a simple emulsion. The big difference seems to have been the curve shape, as the tones of the two silver images would be very similar. This would place both of them in the same category of Kodabromide paper from Kodak.

    I think that any AgCl/Br/I emulsion would probably give similar results unless there is an additional something in the way they added an overcoat, or a special support they used.

    Agfa coated on schoeller baryta support. It may have been specially tinted and may have had a special overcoat.

    Good luck finding your dream paper.

    PE
     
  6. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I'm not intending to move this thread off-topic but it stimulated a thought for a suggestion: I'd like to see a discussion thread about the basic types of B&W papers, ie, silver-chloride, bromide, chloro-bromide, ect. In all my readings (which are far from all-inclusive), I have never seen such a treatise and I've always been a little stumped when discussions on these basics get going.

    Maybe I'll start the thread later today unless someone more informed wants to get it going.
     
  7. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Yes, my small stash of Portriga is from about 1979 or earlier. I would be very interested in the "story" about this.
     
  8. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    And yet..the "look" of the prints are radically different between Portriga and Brovira of the same period..also the keeping and ageing qualities are different. The unexposed Portriga keeps better over the years. I have boxes of Portriga and Brovira purchased together, kept together, probably late 1970's, and the Portriga is just fine (a little Liquid Orthazite in the developer to minimize age fog), but the Brovira does not seem to be generally salvagable.
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Support, overcoat and addenda probably contribute to this character difference between papers. IDK.

    Azo is characterized by being coated on a specially tinted SW baryta with a warm tone pigment added to the support. No other current paper support that I have seen can reproduce this subtle effect.

    I would have to do a lot of research to give you more detail, but superficially, they are quite similar.

    In fact, early on, each grade of paper was a mixture of the high contrast and low contrast emulsions in different proportions to give the final desired grade. This is often true of a given type of paper.

    PE
     
  10. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Strangely enough I have 30 year old Brovira with no fog, my Portriga is mostly a bit newer but I suspect Ron is correct and if Portriga was compared with the same surface in Brovira they would be very similar other than the colour.
    I don't worry too much about fog these days, I just use it up for lith prints where the fog often just doesn't show up or else as a lovely pink.
    Mark
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I would like to add to my previous information.

    In the formulas I have Brovira is an ammonia digest emulsion and Portriga is not. In addition, they were coated on different supports.

    They are both AgCl/Br/I although Portriga appears to be a 'converted' emulsion. This would serve somewhat to substitute for the ammonia digest in Brovira in changing crystal habit.

    In my work, both ammonia digest and straight emulsions with no ammonia give rather similar tone in the developed silver, but the curve shape is different and the speeds are different.

    PE
     
  12. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Strangely enough I have 30 year old Brovira with no fog, my Portriga is mostly a bit newer but I suspect Ron is correct and if Portriga was compared with the same surface in Brovira they would be very similar other than the colour.
    I don't worry too much about fog these days, I just use it up for lith prints where the fog often just doesn't show up or else as a lovely pink.
    Mark
     
  13. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    I`m not aware of a direct substitute from another manufacturer in terms of graded papers, but I have found Ilford Multigrade Warmtone FB in semi-matte to be an excellent paper for portraiture for which Portriga was popular for.
    Multigrade Warmtome semi-matte also tones very well and is a suitable surface for hand colouring.
     
  14. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    As well as the Forte PW and Ilford WT, ADOX fineprint would also be worth a look.
     
  15. maxbloom

    maxbloom Member

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    Old thread, I know. Would anyone be able to tell me how I might check the date of a pack of Portriga Rapid? I've got access to some old-looking stuff but don't recall seeing any such markings on it.
     
  16. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    There is a relatively new paper out distributed through Freestyle. The Slavich line has some interesting WT chlorobromide graded paper that is supposed to look and behave like papers of the 70's. It has high silver content and a silky eggshell finish, not unlike portriga. I have ordered some as the price is unbelieveable from Freestyle. $15 and change for a 25 sheet 8x10 pack. It's called Bromoportrait 80. It's also Double weight unlike the colder tone and unibrom variants that are single weight.

    There has been a few threads on Slavich paper and apparently it is a sleeper paper, but the reputation is slowly getting out. It could well be the best deal out there. Reports say it bahaves similar to Forte's older polywarmtone. (Which is a positive step!)

    I am going to try some with lith when my package arrives next week.
     
  17. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    The packaging of the early 80s portriga had blue stripes on the lable. I think it was 2 blue stripes. When they "new and improved" the paper in the mid 80s they changed the lable. I think there was an older lable in the 70s.
     
  18. maxbloom

    maxbloom Member

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    Suppose the only way to find out is just to fog test the stuff. The packaging looks old but I don't recall seeing any blue stripes. I'll have another look. It's grade 3. Drool.
     
  19. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    Max,

    Describe what the label looks like, dark blue or sky blue, if sky blue does it have any black and orange markings with in label?
     
  20. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    The really old paper [pre 80s IIRC] has little Agfa logos printed on the back of every sheet.
     
  21. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    All the Portriga I have ever used including the not so good stuff from the 90"s has the little AGFA logo faintly printed on the back of the paper.

    Steve