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  1. #21

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    Further paper surface tests.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Verizzo View Post
    Just last night I finally got a bit of darkroom set up in the garage. All I wanted to do was anything and I thought I would see what the Foma/Arista.edu ultra "semi-matte" surface is like.

    At this very moment I have a Kodak Photographic Papers book from the fifties open to Kodabromide N. With the Arista, I don't think you can get any more similar without the real thing. I had some paper scraps in the paper safe from 1999 that I think ARE the real thing, a polycontrast II Rapid on N. Emphasis on "I think." If I am correct, they are virtually indestinguishable.

    Tonight I hope to see what the Forte Matte and Varycon "Matt" are like.

    I am also going to weigh a sheet, 11 x 14, of each on the Ohaus. Man, that Arista is some kind of anorexic thin. I don't think I've ever seen such a thin paper, or so it seems.

    I know none of this has anything to do with image characteristics.

    Oh yeah, the weird thing about the Arista "semi-matte" is that the Foma equivalent - allegedly - is called matte. No way. It has a definite sheen and if "semi-matte" isn't right, I'd say "smooth luster." Which just happens to be what Kodak has called the N surface from time to time, although they tend to go with "semi-matte" as they are nowadays with color print paper.

    More tomorrow.
    Look, it's not even tomorrow on the east coast, the envelope, please......

    All papers are RC, nominally white base.

    I weighed a sheet of 11x14 of each paper I recently purchased, plus extrapolated a 5x7 of Kodak Polycontrast II. Yes, I found the writing on the back that says Kodak and I know by era what I was using.

    Arista.edu Ultra/Foma 22.2 grams
    Forte Polygrade V RC 25.7
    Kodak Polycontrast II 25.9
    Varycon VC RC 29.0

    So truly, the Arista/Foma is the underweight fashion model of the paper world.

    The Varycon had a totally different feel right out of the envelope. Sort of limp, more like ordinary paper. It was hard to tell the emulsion side from the other. Little would I guess what came later.

    I then put a piece of each paper right into the fixer and, uh, fixed it and dried. Again, the Varycon was very different. It took much longer to dry with the hair dryer, maybe 3:1 over the others. It was very limp, but then dried became very three dimensional. Wow, I'm thinking, this is fiber based. I looked at the envelope, and it did say "double weight matt." I've never heard that term for RC paper, but the weight per above is certainly more than other papers. I checked now on Freestyle and it definitely says RC. Is it possible that it is PE on one side only? I'm at a loss to explain this.

    As to surface finish, the Kodak is, of course, N "semi-matte." As said previously, the Arista/Foma is a virtual dead ringer, although under the blue box Foma, they call it "matte." The Varycon is matte by my definition, as they claim. The Forte is also a ringer for the Kodak N, yet they call it "matte."

    As for whiteness, here are some shocks. The whitest, absolutely, was the Arista/Foma. In second place was the weird Varycon. Oddly, though claiming no whiteners IIRC, the emulsion side is whiter than the back. Howz dat?

    Third place went to the 1980's Kodak Polycontrast II. At that age, I'm not expecting anything. The most off white, as you've guessed by now, went to the Forte, although not much worse than the ancient Kodak. I even ran this one twice. Folded over, the paper base is whiter than the emulsion side. Dud paper? Too old? I might take up Freestyle on their generous returns policy.

    Summary:

    1. Weights do vary considerably. Some combination of paper and the poly layer. Claims of so many grams per square meter do not include the poly and the emulsion, I presume.
    2. There is a lot of real world variation with descriptions of matte and semi-matte. I don't understand why marketing can't call finishes what they are. Even Arista/Foma can't get their acts together.
    3. Varycon is one weird paper. Did they put fiber base into my RC envelope?
    4. Forte came up even, um, creamier than my ancient Polycontrast. Wazzup?
    5. Mostly, don't trust catalog/manufacturer's descriptions!

    Next, actual printing of negatives! Wow, what a concept.

  2. #22

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    Extreme egg on my face...

    Looking back on my Freestyle order, I did order the FB VC paper, not RC.

    I shoulda suspected as much.

    Sorry for my error.

  3. #23
    dances_w_clouds's Avatar
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    FB

    FB paper reminds me of Toast. The place I get ultrafine is on the west coast (North America) Where we are still in your yesterday !! They are a sponsor here but I like the look and contrast of their paper (price is nice too)

  4. #24
    Leon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dances_w_clouds View Post
    FB paper reminds me of Toast.
    what on earth does that mean?

    I guess I should have been a bit more specific in my OP - this thread was started in my search for a new semi matt fibre paper.

    plastic papers are fine for work prints or contact sheets - but for a fine print, it's got to be FB all the way - well, that's my approach anyway.

  5. #25
    Gary Holliday's Avatar
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    Sorry I missed this thread the first time round Leon, but my suggestion would be Adox polywarmtone FB or RC. Which is of course Forte...clean whites, almost sepia in WT developer. It is available in the UK via Retrophotographic from fotoimpex.de.

    I'll be placing an order shortly in 9.5x12.

  6. #26
    Leon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Holliday View Post
    Sorry I missed this thread the first time round Leon, but my suggestion would be Adox polywarmtone FB or RC. Which is of course Forte...clean whites, almost sepia in WT developer. It is available in the UK via Retrophotographic from fotoimpex.de.

    I'll be placing an order shortly in 9.5x12.
    thanks Gary - is that the same as the "Adox Fine Print Nuance Warmtone FB 9.5x12" "? another one to try - I thought the forte paper was no more - are Adox making it to the same formula or is it old stock repackaged?

  7. #27
    Gary Holliday's Avatar
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    Repackaged and they have plenty of it apparently... nobody wants it for some reason.

    I have yet to try the Nuance paper but as it's fixed grade I doubt I ever will.

    http://www.adox.de/english/ADOX_Pape...rs/Nuance.html

    http://www.adox.de/english/ADOX_Pape...lywarmton.html

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Holliday View Post
    Sorry I missed this thread the first time round Leon, but my suggestion would be Adox polywarmtone FB or RC. Which is of course Forte...clean whites, almost sepia in WT developer. It is available in the UK via Retrophotographic from fotoimpex.de.

    I'll be placing an order shortly in 9.5x12.
    Gary I got quite excited by your post so I emailed Nigel at Retro. He informed me as it was made by Forte it is no longer in production. This is just residual stock he has found and when its gone its gone.

    Great pity for I really liked this paper.

  9. #29
    BWKate's Avatar
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    Leon,
    I think dances w cloud is and has been talking about Computer Paper NOT Photographic Fibre paper.
    Would love to try the Fomatone MG out. When you say it's slow how slow is it? Compare the Ilford MG glossy Fibre to the Fomatone to give me an idea.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by BWKate View Post
    Leon,
    I think dances w cloud is and has been talking about Computer Paper NOT Photographic Fibre paper.
    Would love to try the Fomatone MG out. When you say it's slow how slow is it? Compare the Ilford MG glossy Fibre to the Fomatone to give me an idea.
    I tend to split grade - so my soft exposure would typically be about 4-5 secs on MGIV FB, about 7-8 seconds on MGIV FB Warmtone and about 20 - 25 on the Fomatone. I like to keep my lens stopped down to about f11 as that is it's optimum for sharpness, so I'm loathed to open up. I like to do heavy burning in the hard exposure and on the foma paper I found I was often above 80-90 seconds for sky burns - very uncomfortable on the back!

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