I don't see the gray paper on the site anymore. My guess is that it didn't sell. I didn't see any reason to be interested in it myself - maybe if they'd included a sample pack of 5 sheets with a pack of 25 of the white, some of us might have decided we liked gray highlights.
At any rate, got around to printing on the regular stuff. Looks nice, once it dries - before that, it looks almost like any regular FB paper. Impressions: it's not cold but not particularly warm. It's cooler than MGWT FB, with both developed in Ilford WT developer, though most papers would be. Nor does it respond to brown toner like a true warm paper. MGWT loves that stuff, so much so I've gone to diluting it 1/8th the dilution on the bottle, down from the 1/4 strength recommended here by Drew Wiley. Toning the Arista for the same time in the same solution produced no or only very slight color change. That's not a knock, just an observation. I didn't expect it to be a really warm paper. But I printed the same portrait on both it and MGWT+brown toner, since I was ready to print that negative.
It's about one and a half stops slower than MGWT, again with the same developer and again just an observation that makes no difference at all. I detected no fog with my Patterson OC safelight suspended several feet above my trays with white cardboard above and behind it to reflect the light from those directions down, plus a Jobo Maxi-Lux LED set for black and white on the dry bench and shining on the (white) wall. Both safelights are connected to the enlarging timer which also reduces exposure to them.
It can be hard to tell the emulsion from the back of this paper. For a full sheet it's not too bad because there's a very slight curve toward the emulsion, enough to use for that determination anyway. But after cutting two test strips I wasn't at all sure about the third, now about 1/3 the width of the paper, one. I frankly had to guess which was emulsion side and guessed right.
Dry down is more with matte papers but since I don't normally print on matte papers I was still a bit surprised, albeit in this case it worked to my advantage. The blacks, which are rich when wet, dry to what you'd probably expect on such a paper. The result of this is an apparent large decrease in contrast as the blacks dry and lighten while higher values are less affected. In my case, using the same MG filter (#3) the print looked considerably more contrasty than the MGWT (FB glossy) when wet, and like I'd have to make another, I just didn't have time. But after it dried the contrast is considerably less and it's actually a pretty close match in contrast, though still slightly higher (see the highlights on the face, hand and collar), for the same grade filter on MGWT FB glossy.
I think I'm going to really like this paper, albeit for a minority of my images. In hand it also has an (expected) tactile feel that's impossible to translate in a scan or words but gives it the feel of something old, and a bit of a look as if it were part photograph, part charcoal drawing.
Here's my first print on the stuff, an available light 35mm portrait of one of my friends.
35mm Tri-X, EI 1600, developed in Diafine. Ricoh XR-7, Pentax 50mm F/1.7 lens, exposure unrecorded but most likely wide open to f/2.8 at perhaps 1/30th or so. As mentioned above, very lightly brown toned but it really doesn't change anything without a lot more time, a lot stronger toner, or both.
T. Allen Greenfield 1 by Roger Cole, on Flickr
For comparison, here's the same image on the Ilford MGWT FB glossy, toned 50 seconds in 1/8th strength brown toner:
T. Allen Greenfield 1 - MGIVWT+Brown Toner by Roger Cole, on Flickr
Wonderful review Roger!!! I had noticed the same about figuring out which side to print on, it was easy with full sheets, and normally I do test strips on full sheets, but this time I cut them up and a few times printed on the wrong side since telling which side was which was next to impossible, I finally realized that I should just mark the back with a light pencil a B for 'back', that has since worked. I have run into similar toning, or lack thereof toning, I put a sheet in gold toner for I believe 10 mins and cant see any affect on the print vs the untoned. Next time I am going to heat my gold up to 105 and let it sit for a while and see if I get any impact. It feels so wonderful in hand and agree that it has an aesthetic of print v charcoal, which for me and some of my prints is a joy....
Pls post more of your tests!
Will do Andy. To be fair, I use VERY dilute brown toner because MGWT responds so strongly to it. I LOVE the look I get with dilute brown toner and MGWT. I can go stronger/browner if I want, of course, easily getting what looks very much like a regular sepia toned, but with a light touch on it I get rid of the slight green cast and move it to a slightly warm brown, which I find quite nice for portraits, old wood etc. This is what I used above - that's 1/8 ounce of toner concentrate in a quart of water. OTOH, I also toned some Arista Private Reserve Pearl (aka Adox MCP 312) with the same regimen and, while I don't like the color produced, it certainly does change color.
I'm going to try the Arista stuff in both much stronger brown toner and in selenium. I keep selenium mixed at 1+19 for use with MCC 110 and some other papers, but my guess is this stuff will take a much stronger solution.
I think they have a winner here. I hope they decide to continue supplying it, and in 16x20 size too. I'm not set up to print larger than that and I can always cut down smaller from 8x10 - I think some images would look extremely nice printed to 5x7 on this.
Great idea about marking the back - I'll start doing that next time I use it!
Agree that they have a winner here! Love the dead matte look of it and stark whiteness of its base. When I put a MGIV FB and a Arista Silver Artist next to eacher (untoned/same paper dev), the Silver Artist is a hair more stark white, which for me is a joy. Just a beauty of a paper.
Oh and the gray is still around....I think Guillaume bought some too. I think my next pack will be the gray. I have some really high contrast negs that might be a bit more controlled on the gray base.
Check below if you are thinking gray....
Weird, if you navigate directly to the paper through their menus they don't list the gray:
I have a further report on response to brown toner, or rather lack of same.
I made three identical prints of the image linked below on this paper. I had some full mixed-by-the-label strength brown toner I'd mixed up the week before for different paper. My darkroom temperature was 75F, liquids about a degree cooler as usual so 74. I toned one of the prints for 10 minutes with no change. I've always found my very dilute brown toner is only good the day it's mixed but someone here had reported much better keeping qualities at full strength so I had gone ahead and tried this. Seeing no change after 10 minutes I mixed up a totally fresh batch and toned for another 10 minutes.
While the prints were wet I could convince myself I saw a very slight color change. The Silver Artist was still cooler than untoned MGWT, but looked slightly warmer than the untoned Silver Artist. Slightly. After washing and drying I can no longer convince myself that I can tell which is the toned print. One looks to be very slightly lower density when they were all exposed at the same exposure and developed in the same tray of developer one right after the other, so that might be the result of toning. It's so slight it would only be noticeable in direct side by side comparison and even then I'm not sure of it.
This paper just does not respond to brown toner. I may try bleach and redevelop sepia next. The texture and look of this paper cry out for a way to make it at least slightly warm tone.
All that said, it still has a really nice look for some images. Here is the one I was working from (un-toned) posted to Flickr in a pretty high res scan. If you right click and select the largest size you can see the surface texture pretty well. I liked this because the occasional lens flare of the Yashicamat seemed to work for this image. I'm thinking of re-titling it "The Light of Music" because the flare looks like he's blowing light right out of the sousaphone.
JazzMusician1 by Roger Cole, on Flickr
For those who instantly liked this then faced the prospect of never getting any more with the demise of Fotokimeka, in the current industry snapshot I just received from Freestyle Eric Joseph says:
"We are currently in research and development with Foma to continue production of our Arista Silver Artist Series papers utilizing Fomabrom and Fomatone emulsions on 100% cotton fine art paper base. But until then, we have the original Fotokemika produced paper coated with Fotokemika Varycon variable contrast black and white emulsion available in limited sizes and quantities in BFK Rives Grey, BFK Rives Cream and Platine White."
I don't see any of these papers he ways they have on their web site, except the Silver Artist in gray, but maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. He told me in a previous email when I asked about Silver Artist as Efke was dying that no one else could coat paper as thick as what they were using. Maybe Foma will be able to, or maybe they can make something very similar that's just a bit thinner.
:(Bought some of this paper a few weeks ago. Began testing it last eve. There are black marks in straight, mechanical lines across the prints (11 x 14) that are not unlike inkjet printer marks where the rollers of the printer have become contaminated and produce straight, mechanical lines across the print, including the border areas (under the easel leaves). These black marks extend the the entirety of the width of the 11 x 14. They are not always in exactly the same place but generally so. There are several lines, not just one.
Jim - Welcome to Apug! Sorry to hear of the issue! I'd be sure to give Freestyle a call for a replacement. I've not printed from this second batch that Freestyle started shipping out recently (Oct/Nov). The first batch was BFK Rives base paper and the new stock is Arches. Both were coated at Fotokemika, who I believe no longer coats b/w paper. Let us know your outcome!