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  1. #1

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    Seeking paper advice

    Hoping to have a darkroom set up in a month or so, once again. A lot has changed in the B&W world since my last in 2000, as if readers here didn't know that. I'm having fun figuring out the particulars of equipement and chemicals, but paper selection is causing fainting spells.

    Once upon a time paper manufactureres would provide samples of their stock. I treasure an old Kodak sample book from maybe 1950, oh, what a journey. A dozen or so contact papers alone. Every surface you could imagine. Even odd purposes. Ever hear of Translite? I feel safe with "glossy", but what is semi-matte and fine lustre and Pearl? (OK, I do know Pearl first hand.) And all the other variants that words can't do justice to?

    What I would like for my knock-about paper is a VC RC with barely warm tones in a Kodak N surface. This is what the old Polycontrast and a few others were, and I loved it. The white was still white, not warm or ivory. The black, in Dektol, was native warm, but no hints of red or green.

    And of course, low priced! Is the Foma/Arista Edu Ultra Semi-Matte anything like this? I understand that it is DI, so I'm not sure how much tonal manipulation is possible.

    Then, I would like the same tonal possibilities in a VC fiber. I can't afford "the good stuff", but OK with Ilford and similar. Also Kodak and Agfa but.....

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    I just tested the Foma RC paper against Ilford's Multigrade Deluxe RC last week. The Ilford is about 20% slower than the Foma and has slightly higher contrast. The Foma paper is physically thinner than the Ilford, and does curl quite a bit...it's noticably more flimsy than the Ilford. Image quality is comparable to the Ilford. I have no problem making work prints on the Foma, but I use AGFA fibre base for final prints. I suppose I should test the Ilford, Foma, & Bergger FB papers as my stash of AGFA papers is slowly running out.

  3. #3

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    What about color and surface? (NT)

    Guess the system forces me to write something here.

  4. #4
    23mjm's Avatar
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    My suggestion is to figure out which papers you might like like Ilford, Kentmere, or what ever then buy a 25 pack of each is 8X10 and see for yourself. If you find a paper you like good, if you find you don't like a paper, well use it for contact sheets. You could even buy 5X7 to save money. Paper to me is a very personal thing. I love Agfa have for years and really miss it. Kentmere is very nice and now is what I use. Ilford MG not so much, but like the Cool tone paper, but it's spendy.

  5. #5

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    Thanks, but that's what I was trying to avoid...

    I am on an extremely tight budget being the full time caregiver to my aged, Alzheimered, cancerous parents. Well, both aged, one with all of the afflictions.

    So, does anyone know if the foma paper semi-matte is near the tone and texture of Kodak N, old Polycontrast? Or if not, what might be?

  6. #6

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    I can offer recent experience with Ilford and Foma products.

    Years ago I used Polycontrast regularly. My memory is that it is similar in tone to Ilford's Multigrade IV products (both RC and fiber) with a neutral/cold tone developed in Dektol.

    I find the Foma products a little warmer in tone, more like my recent experience with Agfa MC 310 Premium (no longer available) or older experience with Brovira.

    I always use glossy surfaces, so cannot comment on E surfaces.

    The Foma products require a red safelight vs OC for Ilford and Kodak papers. I now have both in my darkroom. OC filters will fog Foma papers slightly.

    The Foma products cost a little less than the Ilford. I like them both for the different tones produced. Comments relate to Fomaspeed 311 and Fomabrom 111.

  7. #7

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    Thanks, Loren!



 

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