I wouldn't discount Kentmere, they seem to be a pretty strong force in traditional photography. Easily obtained in the US via Freestyle as well.
Go Graded. There is a good selection of Graded papers
Originally Posted by rshepard
but not the plethora that exists with VC.
I can sympathize. I was quite some time narrowing
my initial selection of Grade 2 Glossy Neutral Tone FB
papers to just four. A 25 sheet pack each, $60 +. Low
S&H and very good support from Freestyle. Dan
Freestyle does offer Foma sample books. They're not for free, but they are available.
Originally Posted by Chazzy
I went through this process myself a couple of times. I think the only way to go is to buy a 25 sheet pack of each paper you might be interested in using and then try to print some familiar and unfamiliar negative to see what you like. Also, try toning some of the prints to compare, etc. I don't think there is a shortcut to testing them for yourself, except to narrow the field.
Bear in mind that now Forte has vanished. So Bergger has to find a new coating factory. (if their statement that it is not exactly Forte rebadged paper which I doubt)
I guess the Bergger papers will significantly change from what we know to ..... who knows !
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[QUOTE=jeroldharter;467995]I went through this process myself a couple of times. I think the only way to go is to buy a 25 sheet pack of each paper
I agree, I have gone though the in store samples of Ilford and back in the day the Kodak Data Guide had a sample of surfaces and tones, but until you develop your negatives in your usual developer and toner it is still a guessing game.
I made a longevity test last year and my findings were:
Ilford mg Fiber and Forte' won hands down, agfa was also very good but alas it's no more. Oriental was far behind Ilford and Forte'.
So I bought 250 sheets of Forte' WT glossy in 11X14 and 250 sheets of Ilford
MG both in fiber.
I've not had the pleasure of using or testing Kentmere as of yet.
Sure, the Oriental VC is a great day-in day-out paper, great blacks and whites and split tones great with sepia and selenium.
You won't find a paper that does everything for you. If you do, give us a call, will ya?
I did a comparison just like some of the ones described a few months ago to find a replacement for Kodak Polymax Fine Art as my supply dwindled down.
I printed a familiar and an unfamiliar negative on Ilford Gallerie, Kodak Polymax Fine Art VC (my reference, but treated like a "new" paper for this test), Ilford MG IV, Bergger VC, Forte VC, Oriental Seagull VC, and several others -- all neutral or cool tone and all glossy surface. I must have tried 10 different brands, but the only graded paper was the Gallerie. I do have limits!
Bergger became my new paper of choice in available papers. Forte also looked good. These two do not look the same to me, so I don't know that Bergger is merely repackaged Forte. I actually liked the Bergger better than the Kodak. Now that Forte is gone and the possibility exists that Bergger will change in the future, I suppose keep using Bergger until I see a difference I don't like. I could go back to Ilford Gallerie, which is a paper I can count on staying consistent and in production and which I have used with success when I used graded papers.
The bottom line is that each person has to find a paper that they like and be prepared to go on a quest for a new paper from time to time. Or go back to an old favorite.
Like most things in photography, the choice of paper is subject to religious wars. The best solution probably is to buy four or five 25 sheet packs of paper by different makers in a surface you like and then try them.