Testing New Papers and Developers

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by photomc, Dec 10, 2003.

  1. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Have searched through the different discussion, could have missed them, But would like to here what people here think of the following papers and developers.
    Papers: Agfa Classic, Berger, Forte, Ilford, Seagull, and Zone VI (I know Kodak makes paper too!)

    Developers: Edwal Ultra Black, Edwal Plantinum II, Zonal Pro Warm Tone, Ilford Universal.

    What combinations to you prefer - warm tone combo, cold tone combo?

    Would like to find a starting point to find my own combinations (currently using Ilford MG and WT, using Ultra Black, ZP Warm tone, Platinum II and Ilford Universal).

    Thanks
    Mike Castles
     
  2. lee

    lee Member

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    Hi Mike,
    I am partial to warm tone papers. I have used Ilford and Seagull and Berger and Forte and some Zone VI (which is reported to be Ilford MGIV) I have used Agfa Classic but it goes flat on me too quick. I prefer a mixture that I make called Defender 55. It is simular to Dektol but does not give a green tint. That said that is for my enlarging papers. As one might surmise from this forum Azo and Amidol is the contact paper of record. The big problem with Seagull and Forte is that you have to have it shipped in as no one has it on their shelves. Seagull has an impossible requirement for the dealers to commit to when signing them up. NO one wants to do that anymore except the big boys (B&H and Calumet).

    If you are happy with the look you are getting stay with it. Every one of the papers and developers you mentioned are quality materials. It just boils down to how you want your stuff to look.

    lee\c
     
  3. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Mike,

    There are several excellent papers and developer combinations available today. A great deal depends on the photographers preference as well as his or her vision.

    My personal choices are JandC Polywarmtone Classic, Seagull VCFB, Seagull graded, and Azo for contact printing. My developer choices are Dektol, Zone VI print developer, and Amidol.

    The JandC paper has the ability to vary tone from warm to neutral depending on developer. With Amidol it can become almost cold. This paper has the guts to print a black. It also has a tonal presence that many papers do not have and coupled to that the price is favorable.

    I have used the old Zone VI Brilliant (graded). I am not sure that the new paper is the same paper of old.
     
  4. mikepry

    mikepry Subscriber

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    Mike,
    I am currently involved in a rather large printing project and dare I break all protocol and say I'm NOT contact printing on AZO!!!!!! I know it's hard to believe but there are other papers out there that work really well. I am using Forte "Fortezo Elagance Grade 2" with Zonal Pro HQ Warm Tone and the prints are just stunning with this combination. I love AZO but it isn't the end all for me. This is a project that is portraiture and I wanted a rich warm tone and I got it. I'm sure there might be something better but I really like this combo so I'm hanging with it.

    Regards,
    Mike
     
  5. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Hi Mike,
    Like many others, I've chased the tail with various combinations of developers and papers.

    I found that using both Dektol and Selectol-Soft was a good combination. Slip the print into the Selectol first until the highlight develop, then into the Dektol to finish it off. Good combo with many papers and economical.

    However, in the interest of trying to simplify life, and not having to hunt/peck with various papers looking for the "right" one, I've settled into using the J&C warmtone. Ilford WT is extremely good also. Forte WT was great but its slow; nearly two full stops slower than Ilford WT.

    Amidol is undoubtedly the best developer I've ever used. Second is Agfa Neutol WA. It produces results nearly identical to Amidol and is not as expensive as Amidol.

    As I move more into 8x10 contact printing, Azo is the way to go. As life becomes simpler, I'll continue to make a few enlargements from my remaining 4x5 filmstock until it runs out, mostly printed on J&C , some on Ilford WT. Amidol for the fine prints, Neutol for the proofs.
     
  6. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    For neutral tone: Seagull or Ilford MGIV in Dektol.
    For colder tone: Add 6-15ml of a %1 solution of Benzotriazole
    1ltr dektol.

    For warmer tone: Forte warmtone in Zonal Pro at various dilutions or Agfa
    Nuetol WA. Also Use the regular Forte with various
    dilutions of selenium to provide tone or sepia tone.



    Of course the best thing is to select one or two and try them and then over time get some sampler packs or minimum size packages and try different ones. I have a couple of negs that I use just to compare papers, developers and processes. Everytime I try a new paper/developer combo I get those two negs out first thing, make the prints and then file them away with notes on the back. Easy to compare differences that way.
     
  7. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    For neutral tone: Seagull or Ilford MGIV in Dektol.
    For colder tone: Add 6-15ml of a %1 solution of Benzotriazole
    1ltr dektol.

    For warmer tone: Forte warmtone in Zonal Pro at various dilutions or Agfa
    Nuetol WA. Also Use the regular Forte with various
    dilutions of selenium to provide tone or sepia tone.



    Of course the best thing is to select one or two and try them and then over time get some sampler packs or minimum size packages and try different ones. I have a couple of negs that I use just to compare papers, developers and processes. Everytime I try a new paper/developer combo I get those two negs out first thing, make the prints and then file them away with notes on the back. Easy to compare differences that way.
     
  8. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Thanks for the input everyone..Guess you could say I am currently looking for a combination that will help me get that extra 'Wow!' factor. Think I have some negatives that I can use as you suggested Jim68134..good idea.

    Lee...you are correct, locally if it isn't Ilford or Kodak, the choices are mail order (internet order). Have a hard enough time finding Rodinal locally (need to try the stuff from JandC).

    Don, you are dead on when you say there are several good combo's out there..just working on finding what works and what my own vision is...sounds strange doesn't it?

    Thanks everyone, this is the next best thing to sitting around with a group of good friends and drinking coffee while having these discussions...
     
  9. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    Fortezo in Beers/Amidol
    Kentona ditto
    Ektalure ditto (still have 80 sheets, warmer with Amidol, like the Kentona).