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
Last edited by Roger Cole; 06-11-2012 at 10:53 PM. Click to view previous post history.