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  1. #1
    Michael Slade's Avatar
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    Skool me on the current high-quality FB papers

    I've been out of B&W printing for almost 7 years, and got back into it today in a unique way. Started printing my 12x20 negatives on an old box of Oriental VC 16x20. I started with about 20 sheets, they still looked great after all these years carting them around the country.

    Trouble is, I've learned today that the paper is currently a different 'formula' and isn't what I am used to.

    So...my question to the printing guru's out there is what are the good current B&W fiber printing papers.

    I'll be ordering some shortly, and wanted to get the opinions of the hard-core printers here.

    I like a slight texture, don't mind a creamy base at all, super glossy doesn't really appeal to me, but the Oriental I have is a smooth finish and I like it a lot.

    Skool me oh masters!

    EDIT:

    Looks like this might be better asked in the 'paper' section. Doh!

    I'll ask it there too.
    Michael Slade

  2. #2

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    I got in on the tail end of the Agfa 111 and 118 availability from Freecycle. I fell in love with those papers, especially the matte finish. Of course they are discontinued and only a small stock is left. Would love to hear what other recommendations people have.

    Sunny
    "Never assume that children will remain where you last saw them." --From the Lawn*Boy Operator's Manual

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Slade
    I like a slight texture, don't mind a creamy base at all, super glossy doesn't really appeal to me, but the Oriental I have is a smooth finish and I like it a lot.
    If you came one year ago I would say to stock up AGFA MCC. But now my favorite fiber paper is Fortezo (graded) or polywarmtone. (I use Fortezo in grades 2 and 3.) It's a very good paper and responds to difference in print developers very well. I use glossy surface on both papers and air dry the prints.

  4. #4
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Slade
    <snip>I like a slight texture, don't mind a creamy base at all, super glossy doesn't really appeal to me, but the Oriental I have is a smooth finish and I like it a lot.
    The two I'm somewhat familiar with are MGIV-FB Warmtone (creamy base, gloss and semi-matt) and Kentmere Fineprint VCFB Warm (creamy base, interesting semi-matt finish). I really the Kentmere paper with the right subject, usually natural ones: flowers, fruit etc - probably good for portraits too but I never do those so can't say for sure. I liked the Forte Polywarmtone too when I tried it but found it very slow, ending up with exposures in the couple-of-minutes range for 12x16" prints. If you do mainly 8"x10" or so, give it a try too.

    Cheers, Bob.

  5. #5

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    Oh yeah Fortezo and Polywarmtone are slow. Fortezo is like ISO P80 range, while neutral tone multigrade papers are 4x to 8x faster. My enlarger has a powerful light source and good condenser system so I didn't mind the slow speed.

    I make bromide end chlorobromide emulsions myself, and my experience is that it's a lot easier to make slow (P150 and slower) paper that responds to toning exceptionally well. I can make fast papers like P1000 or higher but they take much longer toning time to give me the color I like. So... I do appreciate that Forte continues to make beautiful paper that looks inferior on the catalogue spec!

  6. #6
    Michael Slade's Avatar
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    I loved the Forte I was printing on years ago, and thought I had some boxes of 20x24...alas, they were empty.

    These are going to be all 12x20 contact prints, and long exposures don't really turn me off, so paper speed isn't an issue. What's a few more seconds of exposure by the time I get to printing right?

    Thanks for the tips so far...I'm taking notes.
    Michael Slade

  7. #7
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Slade
    I loved the Forte I was printing on years ago, and thought I had some boxes of 20x24...alas, they were empty.

    These are going to be all 12x20 contact prints, and long exposures don't really turn me off, so paper speed isn't an issue. What's a few more seconds of exposure by the time I get to printing right?

    Thanks for the tips so far...I'm taking notes.
    In that case, definitely try the Forte: contacts = no vibration probs!

    Cheers, Bob.

  8. #8
    Craig's Avatar
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    If you want a graded paper you might try Ilford Galerie.

  9. #9
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    My favorite enlarging paper is currently being sold as J&C Nuance graded. It's made by Efke, and has been sold by them as Emaks, but it's also been branded as Cachet Expo RF, Maco Expo RF, and J&C Exposition. It responds well to amidol in my experience (though Donald Miller said he had some fogging problems at first--could be an amidol issue or a water issue, I suspect), and tones beautifully, and I use it for contact prints for formats larger than I have Azo for.

    But really, all the premium papers are very capable, and what you should do is invest in a 25-sheet pack of each of them, and make a set of reference prints on each paper from a few different negatives. This will tell you much more than you can learn on an internet forum.

    New Oriental is different from old Oriental, but it's still a nice paper--my second choice after Nuance and Azo.

    Galerie has the whitest base of any current paper and is still a fine paper.

    Fortezo--a bit greenish for my taste, but lots of people like it, and it can be toned to other hues.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  10. #10
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Bergger VCCB warmtone variable contrast, developed in something other than Dektol. Either the new Ilford Warmtone/Cooltone developers, or Ansco 130.

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