I'm another former Azo printer and have found that Kentona comes closest of all in matching tonality with Azo. In fact, I like it (Kentona) better. I would very much like to see two grades of Kentona. The current grade is pretty good for a lot of negatives. But there is a definite need for a grade 3. Just yesterday I ran into this. I needed a little more contrast punch and wound up making the print with Slavich grade 3.
Since losing Azo, I've been torn between using Slavich or Kentona as my standard paper. Right now, Slavich has two points making it more attractive. One is the option of single weight. I don't HAVE to have SW but I do like it. The second point is the availability of grades 2, 3, and 4. However, I do like the tone and tonality of Kentona and would prefer to standardize with it.
I don't mind the surface texture; from a "normal" viewing distance, I can't see the difference, even viewing it side by side with a print of the standard glossy surface.
I too would like to see another grade (higher or lower) of kentona. A lower grade would have the benefit of maybe using negatives made for alternative processes.
I did just recently acquire a mamiya 7, and though I'll use P.O.P. for contact printing those negatives, I would like to enlarge some of them. When I do, I'm going to use kentona. Two grades would make life a lot easier.
I'd also like more of a gloss. Steve had a great suggestion concerning the oven, it does work great, but how nice would it be if we could eliminate that step?
Just to let you know, I have read the thread:
I will ensure marketing are aware of your wishes, obviously its very early days so I will come back to you when I have something to say.
Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
I must be in the Twilight Zone. I tried that Kentona and it was so contrasty I called it crap and threw it out. What? do you have to use a water bath development to get normal contrast? I don't get it. Maybe it was my Aristo VC head that threw it off.
I've been through two packs of Kentona and I won't bother with it again. The first pack obviously had emulsion defects because there was a pattern of spots on every print in the exact same location on each piece of paper. It didn't matter which negative and if I tried other papers, the spots weren't there.
The second time around was this past summer. After I finished my printing session I noticed that the borders were yellow and so were the highlights. I mixed fresh fix for that session and followed my routine as I always do so I didn't know what to think until I read somewhere later that warm temperatures have an effect on Kentona. I haven't been able to find that article or thread or whatever it was I read, though.
Regardless, I'm done with it. There are too many other papers I like to continue to waste money on one that doesn't work for me.
Thanks for taking notice. I'll be looking forward to any announcements.
Thanks for the EXCELLENT tip about adding gloss to prints.
I've never enlarged onto Kentona, I've only made contact prints. Now that I think about it everyone I know that loves and uses the paper makes contact prints.... maybe there is something to that.
Although it's still another step, it at least keeps the paper and chems away from the food preparation- you could look into getting a ferrotyping plate. Another option would be the old stick-the-print-inside-a-clean-white-t-shirt-and-iron-it trick. That brings up the gloss quite nicely with many papers. Until I had drying screens in a rack, that's how I used to "flatten" my 16x20 prints on fiber paper when I lived in a rental apartment with an old stove. I once tried to dry a print in the oven- I was about 30 seconds late pulling it from the oven, and the paper had singed on the back in the pattern of the oven rack where it was in contact. Great way to throw away $10 worth of photo paper.
Originally Posted by joefreeman
Kentona used to be available in Grades 2 & 3, because of very low sales Kentmere cut back to just the one grade about 20 years ago, at the time I had been planning to use it exclusively.
When Freestyle began selling Kentmere paper 2 or 3 years ago they listed 3 grades of Kentona on the Kentmere US website. (The website is Freestyle's, and had no input from Kentmere). I asked Kentmere about this at a trade show but they weren't sure but said if there was sufficient demand and the production run was pre-ordered it could probably be made.
So the reality is if US wholesalers/retailers thought they could sell other grades of Kentona then Kentmere/Ilford would be in a better position to look at re-introduction. (The UK market is too small) It is a very nice paper quite different from others on the market.
I wrote someone at Kentmere re the availability of Bromide in grades other than 2 outside the States, and she explained that Freestyle are the only ones who carry it and buy the whole run. Maybe a similar arrangement can be made for Kentona via FS if enough people let them know of their interest.
What needs to be remembered is Kentmere have always been a small company and never felt it necessary to really expand, they had a good solid business making a profit so why rock the boat.
I doubt very much Kentmere paper was sold in the US until more recently, and Kodak withdrawing from the B&W paper market has changed the balance significantly for Kentmere & Ilford.
It'll be interesting to see what the Ilford/Kentmere/Bergger triumvirate means to the choices of papers available in 6 moths to a years time