Sorry to be asking about RC paper in such august circles, but...
I normally shoot 5x7 tri-x and fuji acros and print 11x14 on Bergger warm tone fiber paper. Although I love this paper, it costs about $2 a sheet and I don't have the wherewithall to use this for my work prints. I can use about $50 worth in a "productive" week.
I'd like to start using RC paper for proofs, initial evaluation, and work prints and switch to the Bergger only if the negative merits it.
Can anyone suggest an RC paper and finish, e.g., satin, glossy, etc. suitable for my purpose?
I am sure we are going to get into the Ford vs Chevy thing here, but for what it's worth I really enjoy using Agfa RC MG paper. I find the blacks to my liking and the tonal range suits my style. I have been using it for about 5 years after getting disappointed with Ilford products (RC that is). I really loved the "mood" of the Ilford fiber papers that didn't seem to come across in the RC stuff. Not having to use fiber print dryers, curling prints etc was enough of an advantage for me to go to RC.
Now that I am doing mainly LF I might give the fiber base papers another go, although I love the split printing in MG. Pardon my ignorance but do they have MG in fiber papers these days?
IN any event here is the link to the data sheet for the Agfa product. I also use the Agfa chemistry.
Yes, the fiber paper market is pretty heavily weighted with variable contrast materials. I use Oriental Seagull VC and like it very well. Others have said that the Forte variable contrast fiber paper is very good. Bruce Burnbaum, John Sexton, among others use that paper. Howard Bond used to use Ilford Multigrade fiber, I am not sure that is what he still uses.
I'd rather eat worms than drive a Chevy... oh yeah, try Forte Polywarmtone RC.
Agfa but it seems hard to find for those in the US so order from Canada and pay about 50% less then B&H's prices for RC paper.
I've been using Ilford Multigrade IV - Portfolio (or whatever the heck it's called - I rarely look at the packages anymore) for some time now. I *love* the "Pearl" surface.
There has been a sort of "mini shortage" of the stuff here in the Boston area ... apparently a few others agree with me.
One thing I have noticed about the Ilford Papers - there seems to be a very good uniformity of grades (at least the different emulsion layers that make up the grades) and exposure speeds between lots and sizes ... far more uniformity than I've seen with other papers.
So ... there you go ... *I* like Ilford ... and I drive a Ford Taurus.
For prints that I intend to give away unmounted, I like Ilford MGIV RC Portfolio. It's heavy stock with an attractive surface.
For proof sheets I use Ilford MGIV RC Glossy, because it's cheap and functional, and I like a glossy paper for proof sheets.
Thanks everyone. I guess I will give Ilford another go.
I absolutely gave up on RC paper years ago. I figure that it is better for me to work with a material that I can learn to know very well and so all of my printing is done on Oriental Seagull VCFB, with the exception of my contact prints on Azo.