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  1. #11
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    Some love it, some hate it. Use a red safelight. Some of my negs just flat out sing with this paper, on others, it is finicky. JMO

  2. #12
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I have a similar experience to Jason; sometimes I get glowing prints with Varycon and other times I cannot print on it for the life of me. Most of the time it's rewarding and it does respond very well to different developers. I use it with a dilute Ansco-130 developer at high temperature and a developing time of three minutes to reach maximum black and have the most impact.
    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Simmons View Post
    Hello, I have extensive experience with this paper and it is essential that your negatives be fairly dense and contrasty to get good results with this paper. There are some quality issues with this paper (the few odd sheets with bad surface defects) but this is tempered by the price of the paper.

    I would not say that the base is warm as it appears pretty white to me but it does not contain any brighteners like Ilfords MGIV. I use dektol and get nice tones...especially after split sepia/selenium toning.

    Look in my gallery and you will see many images printed on Varycon and I would say that contrast is not an issue. This is just one of those papers where you are going to have to tailor your negatives specifically for it to achieve optimum results.

    Regards,
    John
    John,

    What you say makes a great deal of sense to me. Two of the three negs I tested with were either quite flat (needed No. 3 1/2 to print on Forte Polywarmtone) or were stained (developed in Pyrocat-MC, which produces a brown stain).

    I did print a somewhat denser and contrastier neg and the paper seemed to respond somewhat better.
    Digital Photography is just "why-tech" not "high tech"..

  4. #14

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    I'm getting lots of good information here - thanks.

    Can anybody take a stab at the general contast range (e.g. soft grade 1 - hard grade 3) that is attainable with this paper? It doesn't seem to have much range, but I'd be curious as to what others have found.

    Thanks once again and happy New Year!
    Digital Photography is just "why-tech" not "high tech"..

  5. #15

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    In my experience, toning is 100% essential for this paper. In the beginning I did not like it at all, and It took me one year and almost the complete box to learn how to handle this paper. Also: use a strong developer, not the "economical" dilutions, and give it time in the developer.

    I use Viradon (approx. 1:100) for 1-2 minutes. The tone-shift is minimal, but the deep tones completely change their character. Without toning, the blacks and dark greys are muddy and flat, which might work on an "artistic" shot, but looks lifeless most other times. After toning, you almost can walk into the picture. This might also be a source for different opinions on Varycon, because people who tone routinely never stepped into this problem.

    I do not have any personal experience with selenium, but I guess this might also work well.

    So, for a optimum print on Varycon FB, print a littel brighter than normal (just a hair), and then pull the blacks down by toning. As with all FB papers, it needs to completely dry before you can really judge the print.

    Varycon is the closest substitute for Agfa MCC I've found so far. Not in the highlights (where the Afga MCC was more brilliant), but it gives the same gorgeous "paintery" look in the shadows.

    This paper now has become my favorit, but it is still a good idea to have a box of Kentmere or Ilford by hand for the negatives where it just does not work.

    Regards
    Georg

  6. #16
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    In response to range. I think this paper actually has an incredible range, it's proven by the fact that it needs negatives of high contrast to exhibit the range. If you think you're getting muddy and low impact in the blacks, try to dilute your developer and leave it in for longer. I will admit that it's hard to reach d-max, but with extended development times it's entirely possible (I use three minutes in 1+3 Ansco-130 or 1+2 Dektol), and I trim my exposure time accordingly. That really helps in bringing out the blacks of this paper.
    I'm just now getting into toning it but it really seems to help it along even farther to become one of my favorite papers for standard b&w printing.

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  7. #17
    Lachlan Young's Avatar
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    I really like this paper - however it is really slow, and indeed on more than one occasion, what I thought was a lack of contrast turned out to be a case of not exposing the paper for long enough - it also needs a good three minutes in the developer, plus a dip in toner as others have said.

    Have fun!

    Lachlan
    "A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous...got me?" Captain Beefheart

  8. #18

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    Has anyone used the Fotokenika Varycon filters? I tried both Ilford and Dupont filters, with the Ilford number 5 filter I got a grade 3 or 3 1/2, with a Dupont number 10 I got a 4 or 41/2, but the number 9 and 10 Dupont filters are cyan and really dark. The Dupont number 8 is mengneta and prints a 2/12or 3 and seems to compare with a number 3 Ilford, but prints at about the 1/2 the time of the Ilford 3. Varycon seems to have only 6 filters as opposed the Ilford set of 11 or 10 for Dupont. I am wondering if a Varycon filter set will make any difference. This may be mood point as I really like Slavich and Kentmire.

  9. #19
    Andrew Moxom's Avatar
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    Alden, Slavich will not disappoint.

  10. #20

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    what i like to do with varycon is to expose for a regular developer, then immerse it to the lith dev and wait until the infectious development starts. since the paper is underexposed for lith, mids and highs are almost invisible. when the deep shadows are done i wash it briefly and then just put it into the standard print dev to get the rest of the tonal spectrum. this 2 bath approach may not work for everything but i really like what i'm getting - rich deep blacks - then maybe a just a little tonal 'gap' - then pleasing long mids and then not too bright highs. if on the particular negative aren't stronger shadows, i help paper/lith developer with overexposure and then i try to snatch for mids/highs in regular positive developer.

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