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  1. #11
    dpurdy's Avatar
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    I used to use the Portriga and I haven't found a graded paper to replace it. I tried the Kentona and it was much more contrasty in my system and it is more brightened. the Emak is closer in contrast and perhaps you should give that a go as it is relatively inexpensive. But I come closest to the look of the old Portriga with Oriental VC WT FB processed in Ansco 130. You could also give Ilford WT VC FB a try. I still have a lot of the old portriga prints to compare my new prints to.

  2. #12
    Rolleijoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kristopher_lawrence View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I need some advice. I have been doing darkroom work extensively for about 8 months.

    I used mostly Ilford and Agfa (my favorite!) resin coated variable contrast papers. I was really pleased with the results. However, I just tried a sample of old (prob 20 years +) agfa grade 3 fiber paper. I was stunned with the results.

    I found that the gradation between shadows and highlights to be absolutely lovely. I my eye, they seem better than using multicontrast papers/filters. I found that the hightlights are more difficult to block (in a condenser enlarger) too.

    First, is my perception pretty common, or am I completely crazy?

    Second, is this lovely tonal range due to the fact that the paper is graded or that it is fiber?

    I will definitely make the move to fiber and/or graded papers, but what sould I look for? Will multicontrast fiber paper give me these results or I should go for graded?

    I would also have impressions on fiber papers, I don't like glossy finish, I prefer semi-matt. But since a lot of graded fb papers seem to be glossy, I am wondering is the glossy finish is the same as resin-coated ones.

    Going back in the darkroom,

    Thanks for your answers to this bunch of newbie interrogations,

    Kris
    That older Agfa paper was magic (which is why we all screamed & hollered when Agfa film/paper went under).

    When living on Maui for 3 years I used Agfa Brovira grade 3 because the light is practically constant on the island, so I knew what my negatives would look like.

    As long as you can control the light to give consistent results, then graded fiber is the way to go.

    Rolleijoe
    If the lens doesn't read "ZEISS", then it just isn't.

  3. #13
    jmcd's Avatar
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    As for me, I find it much easier to get excellent prints on graded paper. I like Slavich, Kentmere, and Ilford.

  4. #14

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    Gee, I haven't used graded papers in a long, long time, and maybe it's time I tried some. Most everything I shoot wants to print at around grade 2 or 3 anyway, so stocking paper won't be that much of a burden. I doubt that I'd ever truly give up on variable contrast papers though. The ability to fine tune the contrast using the yellow/magenta filters on my color head makes any perceived inferiority trivial by comparison.

    Should you make the move to graded papers? By all means try them out. You may like it, or you may not. Only you'll be able to decide.

  5. #15

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    Hi everyone,

    After reviewing about 100 prints, I think I will go for graded paper. 90% of the time I have used a contrast filter between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 for printing on RC VC paper. The only exceptions are where I screwed the exposure. (I make a point of guessing it with my Rolleiflex...). So here's my question:

    Is grade 3 FB paper roughly equivalent to 3 contrast filter on MC?

    If, so, since my negatives seems to be constitent, I think that graded paper won't be to hard to use. I still can stock up a pack of Fiber VC just for exceptional cases where I need a higher or lower contrast.

    Thanks for your advice,

    Kris

  6. #16
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Paper grades aren't terribly uniform. Emaks middle grade (3 from Freestyle) is about 2-1/2 compared to MGFB IV. Oriental G2 is closer to MGFB IV grade 2.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  7. #17
    Trey's Avatar
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    Wow, you lucked into some Portriga? Lucky!

  8. #18
    Mick Fagan's Avatar
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    Going with graded fibre, or any other graded paper is simple.

    You will decide which paper is the best for you, then you will empirically alter your film development and/or exposure, so that you get negatives that print perfectly (or nearly so) on your chosen stock.

    Mick.

  9. #19

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    First, you're not crazy. The old Agfa graded papers were excellent. Their RC stock was also several cuts above average. The problem will be to find something reasonably good in comparison. That might be either RC or FB, graded or multigrade. It's not a simple choice of graded FB versus something else. The RC and mutigrade papers are quite competitive with graded FB papers these days. As for the look of FB glossy paper, it is different than RC glossy. When air dried it has somewhat less surface luster than RC glossy, but more than luster or semi-matte paper.

  10. #20

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    High quality fiberbased papers are still around because of what you and others have found out, i.e. it's worth the extra time and effort in exchange for picture quality. You can (with processing machines) get a dried RC print in some 90 seconds or so. This compared to FB where the wet part often counts hours. Drying, flattening, mounting ... say a couple of days or so...
    As you keep learning you may find that one type of paper isn't the best match for all your pictures. You may need a different tone or a different curve (simplified: shadow OR highlight contrast). Then there's the whole new concept of split-grade printing...
    The Portega Rapid papers were famous for their qualities. They havn't been around for a long time, which could also be said for a great number of other good papers. I don't want to rub it in, but when you're out of the stock of Portega Rapid you will probably have a hard time to find a good substitute. Some will say Forte PolyWarmTone, by the way no they won't, as Forte doesn't exists anymore either... and the story goes on and on and on... Btw, Fotoimpex in Germany (http://fotoimpex.de) still have some Polywarmtone left.
    The big problem is that several plants (film & paper) have closed down due to the digital revolution. The market value is down to a few percents of what is was say some 10 years ago.

    Personally I love the old type of paper. RC paper is good for the first working copy to see what the picture looks like, but then I change to fiber, graded or multigrade. Most of my old favourites are not available any more and Bergger is very expensive...

    //Bj÷rn

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