Questions on Enlarging Papers

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Klainmeister, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    As many know, I'm back in the darkroom as of this weekend (!!!!) after a long hiatus while I moved states, finished college and found some work.

    Well, I need to buy some paper soon and I wanted to get some thoughts from everyone. In the past, I used Ilford Multigrade Warmtone with pretty solid results, although I think I've somewhat moved more towards the neutral tone recently. Anywhoots, I want to be consistent as possible--no more chasing this and that for the perfect setup--rather, I'd like to commit to a product and get comfortable with it to reduce variables.

    Questions:
    -I plan on using fiber for my portfolio and for any sort of framing...should I even bother with RC papers or should I just use fiber exclusively so I can learn it best?
    -95% of my negatives are pyro-stained (PMK and Pyrocat) Acros 100, so has anyone found a paper that they like with that combo in particular? Not to emulate, but just some ideas?
    -Any general recommendations for papers? I'm open to trying something new, but I'd like to here experiences. Warm-neutral tone is preferred, since I mostly do Southwest imagery.

    Thanks guys
     
  2. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    It's really up to you.... I use both RC and Fiber.

    I recently went to a museum displaying journalistic photographs from 1980s and little earlier. It was amazing to see RC prints lasting 25 years with no degradations. 35 year prints showed some yellowing but not too bad. I'd be happy with this kind of performance. I have both framed here at home. For non-critical viewing, having them behind glass, they aren't that much different.

    I like Ilford MGIV and use it for RC and FB. The neutral tone ones do not take brown tones very well. At best, they become slightly warmer. For most of my images, that works. Ilford WT paper gets really warm.

    I'm sure you are going to get all kinds of ideas, recommendations, and opinions. My suggestion would be to start with RC and go though a pack or two, then re-evaluate your options. I don't know about you and your skill levels, but my first 200 sheets or so (after returning to darkroom after few decades), the quality issues/concerns weren't the paper or texture itself. It was ME.
     
  3. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Ha yes, I already know the problem will be ME.

    I feel the same with the Ilford WMT....after I went through 50-100 sheets a few years ago, I realized after I used all the paper, that I didn't care for how warm it was afterall...Whoop! I want to get a lot of opinions because I like to know what tools are in the shed.

    I'm considering some Arista.Edu FB papers to get back into the swing of things. Save a few bucks and allow me to experiment.
     
  4. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I don't have ANY personal experience but Adorama's store brand paper seems to have a solid following. I'm going to have to try it myself soon. I tried Arista EDU RC paper and I did not like it. The base was thinner than Ilford and took quite a while before image appeared (compared to Ilford).
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    get some sistan ( now called AG-STAB )
    to stabilize your prints. they say the rc prints will last that much longer
    if that is used.
     
  6. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Oh interesting....I didn't even know Adorama had it's own. I wonder what the base is?

    Shame to hear about the Arista, I had heard it was Foma 112, which is a paper I have seen in person and liked quite a lot (also had a master printer at hand).
     
  7. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Apparently, who actually makes the Adorama paper is a top secret.... A rep only said it's European. I know it's not Ilford.

    Another thing I didn't like about Arista RC was that it tended to separate quite easily. 5 minutes in water caused edges to come apart. I had no issues with tonality. I have to packages of 25 left. You can have one for shipping if you really want to try it. (it's RC though)
     
  8. trexx

    trexx Member

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    I am not a fan of Arista RC, either. But I have found a use for it. Paper Negatives.
     
  9. martyryan

    martyryan Member

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    the Arista EDU ultra papers are very good and I like the print color better than Ilford MG. The Adorama is also a very good paper, I will bet that it is Harman made, like Ilfords papers the instructions include a chart for speed matching filter settings with color heads.

    Marty

    P.S. I am speaking of the fiber papers from both brands.

    Marty
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2011
  10. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I have had great results with Adorama's paper, both fiber and RC.
     
  11. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I tried the Adorama paper last week, for the first time. Very impressed... My normal paper is Ilford MGIV fiber matte, which I still prefer (it has good tooth for hand-painting) but, for the money, the Adorama is a real bargain.
     
  12. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    eddie,

    Would you care to describe the difference in detail? I'd be very interested in knowing what you found out.
     
  13. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    They're actually quite similar. Any differences I describe are small. The Adorama seems to have a slightly whiter base. In sepia and selenium they tone similarly. I haven't tried gold toning, or hand coloring with them yet.
    I added a 25 sheet pack of 5x7 (matte/fiber) to an order I was placing. It was $6.50 well spent. I plan to order more, once I determine how it hand-colors.
     
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  15. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    My vote is for Ilford Multigrade FB. I've used that for many years with excellent results. I recently tried the Ilford Warmtone and was well pleased although in Dektol it was not as warm as expected. I try to keep to one paper in different sizes since to me it maintains a consistency in a portfolio. For a different look I do pt/pd. Personally I stick with FB paper. In the past I tried various papers including graded papers each of which had slightly different characteristics however, my feeling is that regardless of the paper it is the image that counts.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  16. K-G

    K-G Subscriber

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    One paper that you definitely should try is Adox MCC 110 , I think it is called Adox Premium MCC 110 at Freestyle . I have very limited experience from Ilford MGWT but I regard Ilford MGIV as a top quality paper and still I think Adox MCC 110 is even a litle bit better. It is close to neutral but with a touch of warmth in the image tone with Dektol and similar developers. It is very close to the old Agfa MCC 111 but with a brighter white emulsion.
    Also rember that Ilford Galerie is still made in grades 2 and 3 with the same outstanding quality as before.
    What a situation to be able to choose between several excelent alternatives instead of of having to pick the least disastrous as we too often are forced to.
    Good luck !

    Karl-Gustaf
     
  17. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    my 2cents are Ilford Warmtone fibre only, Dektol 1 1:5 with selenium tone.
     
  18. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Funny you mention that....that's exactly what I used to use. It's definitely still going to be my focus moving ahead--to eventually return to Ilford and probably that setup--I just needed to learn more control before I kept buying. I think now I am going to do a mix of Adorama and Ilford and see how they compare, which will also allow me to make mistakes/adjustments with the new setup. Also, probably buy a small pack of the Adox MC as well, since it seems to be highly regarded by the fellow above.

    Thanks
     
  19. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    I recommend having one standard paper with one or two addition brands when the contrast curve of your standard paper is not adequate. If you are using a stained negative, I understand graded paper is the better choice. Contrast filters tend to reduce the contrast of pyro negs.

    I get consistent results using a major branded paper vs re-branded paper selling at a discount. You get what you pay for most of the time. Ilford FB WT is a very nice product but has a creme paper base which may not work for your portfolio or framing. ADOX MPC 310 RC delivers the old Agfa print color and contrast. It has a white base with strong blacks which don't haze. The glossy has a ferrotyped finish and the semi mat is a fiber, silk finish.

    I happen to like EMAKS graded, Cachet's premium exhibition paper. Fiber is nicer in the hand, often has better low tone separation, easier to dry mount (does not melt), and arguably more archival.
     
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  20. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Yes, but I see a couple hundred to get me back into the swing of things. Then move onto something like Ilford or Adox. Frankly, I used to do fiber and putting a selenium toned fiber Ilford next to the same process only RC showed me that fiber was the way to go in regards to portfolio or presentation work. The sad thing then was I didn't have many good negatives....now that I have negatives who knows.

    The warm tone was intriguing for a while, but for some reason my "vision" of my work fits the neutral tones better. Just how it is.
     
  21. Grainy

    Grainy Member

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    A few weeks ago I bought a 100 sheet package of the new Oriental Seagull VC-FBII. So far I really like it, have used it for both normal prints and lith prints. I'm thinking the same as you, I'm going to use this paper for a while to learn "everything" about this paper and get consistent results. If I still like it after 100 sheets I don't know, but after about 10 sheets I really like it.

    The RC paper I have in stock will be used mainly for contact sheets.

    And I just have to add a comment. I recently got a bunch of old paper for free (from early 1970s). Today I tried on of the types for the first time. Agfa Brovira BH 119 grade 5. Guessed the exposure, made a straight print and put it in the lith developer. Waited for the right moment and then stopped the development. I immediately fell in love with it. The print came out perferct with just the right look. Too bad that the paper is out of production...
     
  22. ROL

    ROL Member

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    I think you're on the right track. Most people, and the digital folks, won't care about whether your work is on fiber or not. However people interested in, and certainly those who love, traditional photography, will. If the intention is to show your portfolio to any of these latter folks, you will have hobbled yourself "professionally" by not showing fiber. And then there are all those conflict–inducing issues of "archivability" and "beauty".

    Never found film or development even remotely correlated to enlarging papers. An appreciation of light and composition is.

    Fomabrom (graded fiber) is warm and fairly inexpensive. Slavich Unibrom is cheapest and some of the only remaining graded fiber true cold tones currently on the market. Both are capable of producing fine prints, although they are little thin – not actually double weight. I love the new "neutral" Oriental for its unique warmish tone, when I desire it over my usual cold–tone preference.

    I don't see the correlation. This is your personal preference, driven by your personal visualization. I am sure that I am not alone in that an overwhelming amount of my Am. Southwest prints are cold, selenium toned, enlargements (older Oriental Seagull).
     
  23. Monito

    Monito Member

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    It was always my favourite paper. Rich blacks for me, in Dektol.

    I'm only getting back into enlarging again and would like today's knowledgeable practitioners (as Adams puts it) to recommend the closest paper to Brovira #3 and Brovira #6.
     
  24. K-G

    K-G Subscriber

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    I agree that Brovira was a wonderful paper. I still have some 10 - 15 sheets left and I am desperatly looking for negatives that are good enough to print on them.
    The old Ilford Ilfobrom was also a paper that could give very good prints with litle effort. It's too bad that my printing skill didn't quite match these papers when they were available.
    As for today we still have some very good options and when I have used up whatever papers I have right now, my new paper selection would be as follows :

    1. Adox MCC 110 in various sizes as my standad printing paper.
    2. Ilford Galerie in 9 1/2 X 12 inch size , grade 2 and a litle moore of grade 3 . This is mainly for images that dont need extrem high or low contrast or split filter printing.
    3. Some of the less expensive fiber papers in 9 1/2 X 12 size for contact sheets. There it's moore a question of whats available to you at a good price. It could be Foma, Slavish, Kentmere or some other brand.

    I only choose fiber papers, even for contact sheets, both for the look and feeling of them and for simplifying my work flow ( developing-stop-fix1-fix2-rinse-HCA-final rinse-drying ).
    It can also be noted that this spring the Australian/British journal Silvershotz in their volume 7 , edition 3 , named Adox MCC 110 the best silver gelatine printing paper of the year and they regard it as one of the best papers that they have tested during the last tventy years.

    These are my 13 Swedish oere ( comparable to 2 cents at current exchange rate ).

    Keep printing !!

    Karl-Gustaf
     
  25. HelenOster

    HelenOster Member

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    If you need any advice or after-sales support I'm right here: Helen@adorama.com

    That'd be me!
     
  26. BBarlow690

    BBarlow690 Member

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    I use Arista EDU RC for proofing. It's the cheapest I can find, and way good enough for proofs. I get the big box.