Kentmere Tonality (Is it Just Me)
I am exploring paper choices and recently tried Kentmere Fineprint fiber. My baseline paper is Forte Polywarmtone Plus. For neutral tones I use Ilford's MGIV fiber. Last night I printed the same image with Fineprint and Ilford's Warmtone FB Glossy using LPD as a developer. I used a Ilford 3 1/2 filter with a dichro head for both images. Ilford's WT had more tonal separation in low tones and showed improved tonal separation in zone 5 mid-high tones such a light stained concrete.
Basically, I'm not getting desired tonal separation. I don't run density step tests but is this a characteristic of the paper or do I need to increase contrast in my negatives?
Last edited by Richard Jepsen; 01-16-2007 at 10:01 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I can't give you the ultimate answer to this, but the general consensus of those who love and use this paper is that it takes a lot of practice to get to know the Kentmere paper. It seems to work and respond differently than other papers, but once you learn its quirks you'll have a very good paper. Tonal separation is not an issue I've heard of before with this paper.
There has been some debate as to how it responds to contrast filters, and I don't know if this is a continuation of that debate, but you may want to experiment with the paper some more.
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If anything, most people find it prints about a half to a whole grade higher than expected. Meaning, if you have a negative that prints at grade 2 on most papers, to get a grade 2 tonality, you'd need to set filtration somewhere between grade 1 to 1 1/2.
I have not used Fineprint VC but regularly use Kentona and Kentmere Bromide.
Originally Posted by Richard Jepsen
In VC papers IMHO Ilford MG Warmtone is hard to beat unless you want the whiter base or lith colors of Polywarmtone. MGWT responds beautifully to toners and changes of developer.
kentmere VC papers don't respond as much to filtration. This is both good and bad, if your negative will fit on the paper you can be more precise, but it is hard to rescue a bad negative on this paper. That is what ilford is for.
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Since you are exploring, try the paper with Ilford multigrade developer, Ilford filters, and keep the paper in the developer for three minutes rather than the 90 seconds recommended. I use a cold light head and most of my T Max 400 8x10 negatives developed in Rollo Pyro print well at about a 2.5 filter. I am complimented or criticized, depending on the viewer, for tending to print light. Both groups seem to compliment the range of tones and silvery texture. I have been using the paper for about 2.5 years, mostly 16x20, but 20x24 in the last four months. You might also consider how your negatives are developed, since Pyro has a very good reputation for separation.
Ultimately we are talking very subjective judgments without comparing prints side by side. Only you will make the decision and the fact that you are exploring in my opinion is the best way to get where you want to go.
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I tried some once, and it was as dull as dishwater - just a grey mess. I printed at grade 4, and yuk. I used Ilford FB MG for the same print, also at grade 4, and there was just no comparison.
Having printed on most makes and finishes of VC paper, obviously including the Ilford range together with quite a few graded papers, Kentmere Fineprint VC gloss remains my favourite. It's toning characteristics equal, or surpass others. As with most things in this game it does pay to experiment and trial papers and compounds to get satisfying results.
While I am a big fan of Kentmere papers, the comparison you performed isn't necessarily a fair one. Because different papers react differently to the same filtration, it would be better to try and make the best straight print you can with each paper, allowing the filtration settings to fall where they may.
Yes, it is your negatives. If you negatives do not reach proper density you prints will lack. I just tried some Kentmere with the recent demise of Forte and I have to say I am impressed with the overall tonal range of the paper. Have you ever read the densities of the actual negs you are using? If not, I would start there to make sure you negs are properly exposed.
Originally Posted by Richard Jepsen