Resurrecting old materials...
After five years of printing only on RC paper, I've recently become inspired to get back into FB printing. I guess that part of the reason I've stayed away from FB printing was the assumption that my favorite papers were no longer available, which I think is essentially true.
Anyway, I did a quick inventory of the small stash of FB papers I had accumulated before moving to Texas six years ago. Of greatest interest to me were the two packages of Forte Polywarmtone and an 11X14 paper box labeled "AGFA MCC 111 taken from paper safe".
For reference, I made a straight print of a 35mm negative on Ilford MG RC Warmtone, the only paper I've used for several years. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that paper from an opened box of 8x10 Forte Polywarmtone printed the same negative beautifully, about a stop slower than the MG RC (as expected), with lovely clean whites, a bit more contrast than the MG RC, and the gloriously brilliant print surface I had forgotten about. The 8x10 box looks to have about 85 sheets in it, and I've also got an unopened 50 sheet box of 11x14 of the same stuff.
Unfortunately, the AGFA MCC 111 didn't survive. When I packed for the move six years ago, I apparently couldn't come up with an 11x14 black plastic bag, and had to use a regular two piece box, which I taped as tightly shut as possible. Regrettably, a whole lot of photons found their way into this box, and the contents are unusable.
Before I quit working for the day, I noticed an unopened bottle of AGFA Neutol WA developer which I had dated when I bought it, 11/00. I assumed it had spoiled in the seven years it's sat on the shelf, especially since the original packaging didn't include a foil seal on the top of the bottle.
I though the Neutol was worth a try, so I mixed up a small trayful and printed the test neg on the Forte paper. I got another pleasant surprise - the Neutol had every bit as much energy as the fresh Ilford MG developer I used for all the other prints, and the print color on the Forte Polywarmtone prints was warmer, richer, noticeably more pleasing to my eye. I'm amazed that a liquid developer concentrate would hold up for seven years!
My understanding is that both of my favorite papers of yesteryear (Forte Polywarmtone and AGFA MCC 111) are no longer available, but I do see the AGFA Neutol developer still listed at Freestyle.
So, I've got enough lovely paper on hand to last me for a while, while I'm auditioning the FB papers that are still in production.
I knew I'd need my FB print washers someday!
East Snook, TX
Look out for the New Adox MCC111 which has been test trialed by a no of APUG members it's made by Fotoimpex and is based on the Agfa formula.
Also look out for the new Bergger Warmtone papers, made for them by Ilford.
Hi, Ian -
Thanks for the suggestions - I had heard rumblings about the ADOX MCC effort. You say that some of the APUG folk have actually had their hands on this paper?
That's encouraging! I hope it's available soon.
I'm sure I'll be taking a look at both of these papers in the coming months.
East Snook, TX
Roughly, 300 miles from Turkey, TX (home of Bob Wills)
Gary, I'm hoping that the Bergger Brilliant Ton Chaud FB will be a good replacement for Polywarmtone
Oh and BTW Turkey's in Asia Minor