I just finished a weekend marathon of testing a new box of paper I got from Freestyle. Now that I burned most of it up testing, I'll have to buy another box for printing. I wanted to see how it compared directly to one of my favorites: Oriental VC fiber-based.
My procedure was to take the same negative and get as close to identical prints as possible. I selected a specific tone in the print that fell as close to Zone V as I could. It was a round rock in the middle of a wall. With each paper, I did a test print until the base exposure of the print provided identical values on that particular stone. For the straight print, I let everything else fall where it would.
Oriental is nearly a full stop slower than the Adox. I kept the F-stop the same and adjusted time for the base exposures. The Oriental print require 38 seconds at f8. The Adox came it at 22 seconds.
Oriental has a higher base contrast. The best print on the Oriental was done with no filter. This didn't surprise me much, since my film speed tests and developing time tests were done based on Oriental. On the straight prints, the Adox version was clearly flatter. The target stone was identical after numerous test prints, but when that was achieved, the brightest value of importance (a statue of a lion, nearly pure white) was a light grey, which was very unattractive and the darkest areas of import were a muddy grey. I worked my way up the scale of filters until I finally achieved a print that was nearly identical in value to the Oriental print. It required a Grade 3.5 Ilford Multicontrast filter. Going to a Grade 4 made it soot and chalk harsh. Not much in the way of gradient there! Two disclaimers here....
1)Polycontrast filters will most likely give different results, and 2) I was working with a Zone VI cold light head with a standard tube. It was never really designed for variable contrast filters, but I've had pretty good luck in the past.
Adox has a noticeably thicker base. I like that, but others may not.
The Adox is SLIGHTLY warmer than the Oriental, by my eyes. This doesn't surprise me, since Oriental is a cold tone paper and the Adox is advertised as neutral toned. But when selenium toned, the only way I could tell which print was which was from my penciled in notes on the back of the prints.
Drydown seems a bit more pronounced on the Adox. My white lion statue ended up just a smidgeon darker in the Adox print than in the Oriental. But it stayed white in this particular print. That could be an issue in other subjects.
The Adox paper dries down to a more eggshell type glossy surface when air dried.
Draw your own. But from my standpoint, I was pretty pleased with the quality of the paper, although not pleased with its relative contrast. I suppose if I adjusted negative development to assure that my negatives printed properly on unfiltered paper, I wouldn't have to fight the steep rise in contrast as you move up in higher filter numbers. I was able to get a very nice print out of the test negative, but in a later negative, while simply playing, I was unable to find a decent contrast filter that worked. 3.5 was a trifle soft, and 4 was too much of a jump. A 3 filter on the Oriental gave me the print I wanted.
Therefore, as a second paper to back up Oriental, it is an excellent candidate. As a replacement...ain't gonna happen. It does make me wait with slobbering breath for their version of MCC-111! A warm version of this would be great! I never developed a taste for Oriental Warmtone.