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  1. #1

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    Portriga Rapid substitute?

    I have been using up my very very old stash of Agfa Portriga Rapid, and I was wondering what current enlarging paper (graded or multigrade) comes closest to giving the same "look" and "depth"?

  2. #2
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Quite simply, there isn't one!

    If you indeed have an "old Stash" of Portriga, i.e. before 1988 then you have been treated to some of the finest enlarging paper ever made. The micro-contrast in the shadow areas is second to none!

    In 1988 Agfa was forced to make a "minor change" to the emulsion, they removed the Cadmium due to its manufacturing impact on the environment. There is a long story that goes with this and subsequent warm tone papers not worth going into here.

    I once did an ad campaign for Agfa and took my fee in Portriga Rapid, fortunately I still have some of the pre 1988 paper and will continue to use it sparingly. Chloro-Bromide papers such as Portriga tend to have better keeping properties when frozen than ordinary Bromide papers.

    I have tried many papers since and of the papers which still remain in production that Bergger graded Warm Tone and Ilford Multicontrast Warm Tone Fiber Base to be as close to my liking as is currently available.

    I use GAF 135 developer, which is a warm tone developer mixed from scratch, I try to keep my developing times to less than 1 minute and use Potassium Bromide as a restrainer if needed, generally speaking these tricks will enhance the warmth of most enlarging papers.

    That said, no trickery is needed with the older Portriga, out of the box it is a glorious enlarging paper!
    Real Photographs are Born Wet !
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  3. #3

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    I agree with Steve and remember the ads. I still have miniscule quantities of Portriga.
    While Forte PW-17 is no Portriga substitute, it does have a very similar base surface and colour.
    Of course with Forte out of biz that's gone too.
    Mark
    Mark Layne
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    and Barbados

  4. #4
    Rolleijoe's Avatar
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    While I am also using the last of mine, I've found that Fotokemika Varycon papers give me the closest look to the old Agfa papers from the 30s-40s.

    Simply stunning results. In fact, I've learned they make a crystal-surface version of the paper not available here, but I'm planning on picking some up when I go to Europe in a few months.

  5. #5
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    The Brovira and Portriga formulas were very close together. They both used bromide, chloride and iodide in making a simple emulsion. The big difference seems to have been the curve shape, as the tones of the two silver images would be very similar. This would place both of them in the same category of Kodabromide paper from Kodak.

    I think that any AgCl/Br/I emulsion would probably give similar results unless there is an additional something in the way they added an overcoat, or a special support they used.

    Agfa coated on schoeller baryta support. It may have been specially tinted and may have had a special overcoat.

    Good luck finding your dream paper.

    PE

  6. #6
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    I think that any AgCl/Br/I emulsion would probably give similar results unless there is an additional something in the way they added an overcoat, or a special support they used.
    Chloro-Bromide papers such as Portriga tend to have better keeping properties when frozen than ordinary Bromide papers.
    I'm not intending to move this thread off-topic but it stimulated a thought for a suggestion: I'd like to see a discussion thread about the basic types of B&W papers, ie, silver-chloride, bromide, chloro-bromide, ect. In all my readings (which are far from all-inclusive), I have never seen such a treatise and I've always been a little stumped when discussions on these basics get going.

    Maybe I'll start the thread later today unless someone more informed wants to get it going.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Sherman View Post
    Quite simply, there isn't one!

    If you indeed have an "old Stash" of Portriga, i.e. before 1988 then you have been treated to some of the finest enlarging paper ever made. The micro-contrast in the shadow areas is second to none!

    In 1988 Agfa was forced to make a "minor change" to the emulsion, they removed the Cadmium due to its manufacturing impact on the environment. There is a long story that goes with this and subsequent warm tone papers not worth going into here.

    Yes, my small stash of Portriga is from about 1979 or earlier. I would be very interested in the "story" about this.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    The Brovira and Portriga formulas were very close together. They both used bromide, chloride and iodide in making a simple emulsion. The big difference seems to have been the curve shape, as the tones of the two silver images would be very similar. This would place both of them in the same category of Kodabromide paper from Kodak.
    PE
    And yet..the "look" of the prints are radically different between Portriga and Brovira of the same period..also the keeping and ageing qualities are different. The unexposed Portriga keeps better over the years. I have boxes of Portriga and Brovira purchased together, kept together, probably late 1970's, and the Portriga is just fine (a little Liquid Orthazite in the developer to minimize age fog), but the Brovira does not seem to be generally salvagable.

  9. #9
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    Support, overcoat and addenda probably contribute to this character difference between papers. IDK.

    Azo is characterized by being coated on a specially tinted SW baryta with a warm tone pigment added to the support. No other current paper support that I have seen can reproduce this subtle effect.

    I would have to do a lot of research to give you more detail, but superficially, they are quite similar.

    In fact, early on, each grade of paper was a mixture of the high contrast and low contrast emulsions in different proportions to give the final desired grade. This is often true of a given type of paper.

    PE

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by PHOTOTONE View Post
    And yet..the "look" of the prints are radically different between Portriga and Brovira of the same period..also the keeping and ageing qualities are different. The unexposed Portriga keeps better over the years. I have boxes of Portriga and Brovira purchased together, kept together, probably late 1970's, and the Portriga is just fine (a little Liquid Orthazite in the developer to minimize age fog), but the Brovira does not seem to be generally salvagable.
    Strangely enough I have 30 year old Brovira with no fog, my Portriga is mostly a bit newer but I suspect Ron is correct and if Portriga was compared with the same surface in Brovira they would be very similar other than the colour.
    I don't worry too much about fog these days, I just use it up for lith prints where the fog often just doesn't show up or else as a lovely pink.
    Mark
    Mark Layne
    Nova Scotia
    and Barbados

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