Fiber Paper Discussion
This Spring I ordered 50 shts of 11x14 EMAKS Grade 3, my base paper. Lucky me! I'm disappointed EMAKS is gone. So I'm back looking for another paper. I've used the following papers and note some characteristics. I have extensive experience with Ilford WT which seems the all-rounder for WT papers.
Ilford WT - buff paper base which some may feel is too yellow, does not split tone like Bergger WT
Ilfobrom Galerie - clean white paper base, long scale, strong blacks, smooth tonal changes, lower contrast in low tones vs EMAKS, better highlight separation than EMAKs, print tone somewhat pencil-like, resists fogging under bright OC safelight, a hint of WT until toned.
ADOX Fine Print Variotone - white paper base, shorter scale than Ilfobrom, more a grey tone, readily tones with resulting tone shifts, red safelight
ADOX 110 - (very glossy) warm grey tone like Agfa MCC, use for thin negs
Fomabrom Graded - paper base slightly more buff than EMAKS graded, neutral tone, not as sharp as EMAKS
Fomabrom Variant VCFB - paper base and emulsion tone similar to Fomabrom Graded
Fomatone MG Classic VC WT - very buff to yellow paper base, emulsion tone yellow vs mushroom/brown
Fomatone MG Classic Fomabrom Variant IV MG -VC FB 123 Velvet - interesting surface with warmish gray tone, OC compatible
Any thoughts on current papers still available??
I personally like Ilford MGIV (not warmtone), because it can do so many things.
1. You can get an almost neutral black and white, with very little color tint.
2. You can neutralize the tiny wee bit of green/warm tint with selenium easily.
3. You can make it incredibly warm using thiourea / thiocarbamide / sulphide toners, from a vague warmth to a full blown sepia tone. Anything is possible. Yellow to maroon.
4. You can subsequently tone it in selenium to intensify the warm tone in the highlights, and warm up the shadows quite a bit.
It is super flexible, which it's why I chose it as my main paper a few years back now. Consistency from batch to batch is phenomenal. I can bring out three or four year old notes, and basically duplicate the print I made then by just following the instructions. That's remarkable consistency, and to my knowledge the only company that can manage that.
Ilford WT - lovely paper, and I do use it for portraits because of its warmer appearance. I do not care for the greenish tint, but it tones nicely in almost any toner out there. Incredible paper. New version has a base that isn't nearly as warm as it used to be.
Galerie - amazing paper, but I do prefer variable contrast for the ability to dodge and burn at different contrast grades.
ADOX Fine Print Variotone - Isn't this rebadged Fotokemika Varycon?
ADOX 110 - The 'other' paper I would use if I wasn't hooked on Ilford MGIV.
Fomabrom Graded - no experience.
Fomabrom Variant VCFB - wonderful paper with beautiful contrast. A bit dull in the paper base compared to ADOX and Ilford, but with lovely tonality. Tones with real vigor.
Fomatone MG Classic - very warm base compared to Ilford Warmtone. Love the tonality, but the print color untoned is just too green for my taste. When I try to tone it I don't like how it tones either; it's much too reactive and gets overdone quickly.
Fomatone / Fomabrom 123 - A great compromise between regular Variant and MG Classic. That surface texture is really beautiful.
Hope that helps.
I'll throw in Oriental VC FB. I did most of my printing on this paper for a few years (with Dektol). Looks very similar to Ilford MGIV except it will tone much more dramatically than MGIV in Selenium. Even at a relatively moderate KRST dilution (say 1+10 to 1+20), it can go to a fairly pronounced selenium-purple-ish tone after the first few minutes - a beautiful image characteristic for suitable work.
These are my favorites at the moment. Not doing much with toning right now. Using dektol to develop.
Ilford MG WT; Slightly warm; always high quality.
Ilford Art 300 Good for things without crisp detail. Gentle warmness suitable for most scenes without strong detail. Highlights look great. Shadow detail is sometimes hidden by the texture. The texture is also a reason to use it in some cases.
Fomatone MG Classic VC WT; paper is too cream colored for snow scenes
Oriental VC FB; Good plain bright
For RC, the normal Foma/Arista stuff is quite good for normal output. The Ilford MG WT rc glossy is also very very nice.
Adox fine print vario classic is a Fotokemika rebrand. Adox vario tone premium vc FB warmtone is a recent paper manufactured for Adox by Ilford. It is a high quality paper with a warm grey tone on white base. Different than Ilford WT.
I did not know Oriental was still made. So it's Oriental G that ended production at Ilford. Nice to know Oriental VC FB tones better than MGIV.
I like the warmtone papers for their open shadows and emulsions which cool off in KRST.
I think Adox MCC is the best paper out there right now. Ilford MG is the most predictable but I prefer, slightly I might add, Oriental VC. I like it the most at the moment, but given the price rise recently I will probably use Adox MCC in the future. Fotokemika Varycon is the most flexible overall but it seems as though it is sadly gone. It really likes a thick negative though. That paper can be twisted upside down if wanted. If I had beaucoup bucks I would buy all they had left just for insurance.....
If you look at my website, the images The Way (To Nowhere) were printed on Oriental VC with slight selenium toning. The M images were printed on Kentmere WTVC (R.I.P.) with sepia toning. When I go through the prints I already have I will probably print those on either Foma Matt paper or Kentmere VC matt in the future (due to their post toning treatment). I would be fine though if the only paper left standing was Ilford.
I think the Kentmere Fineprint VC paper is still available. I've used this paper in the past and like it because it seems to get a bit contrastier at the highest filtration than the Adox MCC 110. It has a neutral image tone on a white paper base. Toning characteristics depend on the filtration. Prints made at low to medium contrast tone well but not to fast in selenium. Prints made at higher contrast settings tone progressively more quickly. At the highest contrast, the paper tones quite rapidly even in a rather weak solution of selenium toner. I'll be using more of this now that graded papers I like are gone.
I'm still trying to find a source for Slavich graded papers, which I liked quite a bit when Freestyle was importing. I am mourning the demise of Emaks... (as will as the old Seagull G) and biting the bullet and buying Ilford Gallerie and slowly switching to VC papers.
Adox MCC tone and contrast are similar to Agfa Multicontrast Classic. I remember how much people lamented the demise of MCC. Adox MCC 110 has that Agfa slight warm/black pencil lead tone. 110 is a fast paper with short toe and brilliant whites. Works well with thin negs developed for a condenser light source. MCC 110 paper surface is very glossy; think Kentmere Fineprint.
My limited experience with Fotokemika Varycon was the unique paper surface was nice and a thicker negative was required for full tonal balance revealing strong blacks. Oh well, its now gone.
Fomabrom Variant IV MG does have an Agfa MCC 118 like paper surface. The paper has reduced curl similar to EMAKS Graded. I am looking at one image printed on two different papers; one Ilfobrom Galerie and the other on Fomabrom Bariant IV MG. The Galerie print has sparkle, more mid tone separation, brighter facial tones, deeper blacks and over all higher contrast. The Fomabrom has a semi-matt creme-yellow paper base. The Fomabrom paper tint is similar to Fomatone MG Classic and (new in 2009) Oriental WT emulsion. The old Oriental WT was similar to Bergger WT.
Fomatone MG Classic and Fomabrom Variant IV MG have a warmer paper base than Ilford WT. Ilford WT has richer tonality. The ADOX Fine Print Variotone Premium in KRST will cool off low tones while leaving mushroom high tones. Variotone Premium's ability to tone reminds me of Bergger or Forte Polywarmtone.
Looking at the print Fall 12 Freestyle Photo Supply Catalog, www/freestylephoto.biz, I don't see Oriental or Slavich listed.
Ilford Art 300 is a very nice paper , I am using it now for my show work.
Also Ilford MG4 matte- this paper is becoming a favourite of mine , it multi tones beautifully, without toner I think the paper sucks.
Bill Schwab showed me some tricks with the Ilford matt paper that makes the images sing.
Ilford Warmtone glossy- this is my all time go to paper but the two above papers are the ones I am using for my personal work.
One has a lovely texture and thickness that is a treat to work with. The emulsion is identical to Ilford Warmtone so no wonder I like it.
The Matt paper is a surprise for me , it really has changed my outlook on printing.
For me, as some may know, is Ilfords Warmtone. I mostly use films developed in Pyrocat then printed on Warmtone.
To me, there is no other combination that gives me what I look for in a print. IMO, Selenium toner is a must with this paper. (Examples attached)
Attachment 57503 Attachment 57504 Attachment 57506
Ilfords MG4 is a very fine paper as well, I use sparingly when I am looking for very black blacks & very white whites and as stated earlier, it tones very well.