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ghoonk
8-Apr-2013, 04:21
I've been shooting with a Linhof ST V for over 2 months and love the process and the output (scratched film aside). I've recently acquired an Omega D5500 enlarger with Ilford Multigrade 500 head, with intent to print my 35mm, Xpan, 6x6 and 4x5 film to 4x5, 8x10, 16x20 and possibly 20x24. However, I'm a little overwhelmed by the different kinds of paper that is available out there.

I'd like to stick with Ilford paper for the time being as I'm trying to strike a balance between availability and value for money. Given where I am as a newbie, I'd like to get my hands on some 4x5 and 8x10 to start with, and Ilford Multigrade IV seems like a good place to start. Question is, should I go with RC or FB? I understand that RC means Resin Coated and Fiber Based. RC is supposed to be easier to wash, while FB is supposed to be tough to work with but the results are great. Is this correct? All I understand about RC and FB have come from http://photo.net/black-and-white-photo-printing-finishing-forum/00LmdC so far, but my research into this has become a little frustrating for a newbie.

In digital printing, I usually stick with matte for my B&W prints due to framing challenges with internal reflections from the glass.

I'm also pretty close to picking up a Nova B&W Slot Processor for 8x10 or 16x20 due to space constraints (bathroom darkroom) from Ag Photographic in the UK, and was wondering if you guys have any recommendations as to the best and fastest way to wash paper prints after they are out of the fixer.

Any help or advice, or even links to useful resources online would be very very much appreciated

Robert Bowring
8-Apr-2013, 06:10
I would go with the fiber based papers. Ilford makes fine papers but there are other good ones out there. Try several until you find the one that looks best to you then stick with it. It maybe only my opinion but I have always found RC papers more difficult to work with. FB papers are not that difficult. Read up on archival processing techniques. Work out a system that works for you. I use a good print washer to wash my prints. There are several different ones available and you can usually find some for sale on e-bay or craigslist. They are not cheap but really save time and effort in the long run. I would get the largest one you have space for. One thing to consider is that when these washers are full of water they are heavy. Make sure you have a strong support holding them.

MIke Sherck
8-Apr-2013, 07:23
My own personal prejudice is that I don't like RC paper, not because I'm worried about archival properties but because I don't like the way it feels (slick, like plastic,) or smells (like plastic) and is much too shiny for me. That said, yes, it's a lot easier to process (wash) than is fiber paper. But I like the "look" of a print made on fiber paper better. Your mileage may vary: get a small packet of 8x10 of each type of paper, make some prints and make up your own mind.

Mike

ghoonk
8-Apr-2013, 08:29
Right - RC papers are harder to work with? Why do you say that? I have no experience with either, and FB looks to be the more expensive one

I was thinking of picking up a bulk box of 1000 sheets of RC Satin Multigrade IV in 8x10 and use it for normal prints and possibly contact printing (4 sheets of 4x5 on an 8x10). Anything worth printing on the 'good stuff' will end up on FB paper (being more expensive anyway). I was looking at RC simply for the ease of 'getting it done' - washing is 5 minutes, vs 30 minutes on FB. Almost in the same way that I shoot a lot of my stuff on Delta 100 at the moment because it's cheap and I learn to work the Linhof properly (which was good, as I lost 2 frames to being careless and forgetting to close the shutter before pulling out the dark slide, and 2 more when I forgot to zip up my changing tent before loading the film - mistakes I will not make again!) - Delta 100 is great for 'practice' (though others may argue that Shanghai or Lucky film might be better for practice), and when I get my act together, I'll be shooting Acros all the way. In this sense, I was looking at RC to get things going, then moving to FB when I get my workflow down pat (and learning how different exposure time and development times affect the look of the image, and how to use the Ilford Multigrade 500 head to control contrast)

I could be wrong, and that's why I'm here and asking and learning as much as I can about getting started on the right foot. If FB is the way to go, then maybe I should order only FB and master that paper from the get-go.

Here's the paper washer I was thinking of getting - http://www.ag-photographic.co.uk/paterson-fiber-print-washer-12x16-776-p.asp. Alternatively, something like this (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Versalab-Archival-Print-Washer-16x20-New-/230944873050?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35c5631a5a) might be more cost effective:

Robert, what do you use for a print washer?

I am also looking to get the Nova slot processor to handle development of print sizes up to 12x16 (although I think this would handle 11x14 properly - 12x16 may need some trimming) : http://www.ag-photographic.co.uk/nova-bw-12x16-slot-processor-2077-p.asp

ROL
8-Apr-2013, 09:12
Other than postcards, I believe the smallest paper you will find is 8x10. You can cut that down to size. Most people start with VC RC papers, Ilford being a fine brand. But cheaper papers are also worth considering, if budget is a concern. Just try to stay with one brand initially in order to reduce the amount of variables while learning DR enlarging and processing. Processing RC in the beginning will limit unnecessary time spent over the processing (e.g., developing) trays, allowing you more time to fine tune the fine art of printing under the enlarger.

Fiber has always been considered the "professional's choice", whatever that means, for traditional DR silver work. I'm not sure that anyone cares anymore, what with the acceptance of "plastic" papers in both traditional color work, and machine replicated "pigment" prints. If/when you decide to begin using fiber, you will then have to begin considering graded papers as well (my favorite), glossy or matte surfaced.

I was shamed into moving over to fiber early in my printing career. I only use RC in 8x10 (old 250 sheet boxes of Ilford from going out of business sales) for printing 120 roll film onto contact sheets, because it is cheaper than wasting equivalent fiber paper for a non-archival proofing purpose. However, I proof all LF negatives directly onto fiber (usually an inexpensive Slavich or FOMA grade 3), as it is easier to establish whether any prospect negative is worth taking to the next level as a possible editioned fine art print in larger sizes (fiber paper).

Many of the finest "automatic" print washers ($$$) are based on the fill–and–dump method of archival cleansing. You can manage this for yourself in a single tray by ensuring proper changes of fresh water, without undue cost.

FWIW, I began linking my own DR technique articles (http://www.rangeoflightphotography.com/pages/techniques) in posts at Photo.net, in an effort to assist posters some years ago. I was admonished as some sort of commercial interest for doing so by the moderators. I have not been back to the site since. You are welcome to visit my site at any time during your learning process, where you may decide for yourself whether my intent is anything less than altruistic. Ironically, the same can certainly not be said of photo.net itself.

Robert Bowring
8-Apr-2013, 09:14
It is just that I prefer the feel of FB papers. They seem to be easier to handle in the chemicals for me. To me the RC papers are harder to handle. They seem more stiff and seem to stick to the trays sometimes. Like I said that may be just my opinion. Maybe I have just gotten so used to FB based papers that everything else feels strange to me. I have several print washers. Zone 6, Versalab and a Paterson like the one you are looking at. All work differently but all seem to work well.

ghoonk
8-Apr-2013, 09:28
I'm a sucker for matte / semi-matte, so that's one variable looked at. The choice now falls between RC and FB, and your point about RC being easier to deal with was one thing I am considering. That also means that I improve my technique and understanding of exposure and development times on contrast without burning a huge hole in my pocket, but it also means I have to relearn all that with FB.

Your site hosts a wealth of knowledge and it's giving me a great starting point to get this going. Next up, i need to get my hands on a burn card. I very much suspect that's not coming with my enlarger :( I'll probably need to get more card paper and get a cutter handy to cut out shapes i need. Either way, starting point is to get ONE print out.

bob carnie
8-Apr-2013, 09:40
If you use matt paper for inkjet then I think you would like Ilfords Art 300 for silver prints as it has a lovely matt surface.

ROL
8-Apr-2013, 09:54
Dodging and burning can be done with anything. My cards are rejected mat board, some in use since I began printing. I've use cardboard, fiber paper envelopes and all manner of suitable objects, including body parts :eek: (mine) – making the appellation "hand-made" print, in some cases quite authentic. Really, just go out but the cheapest wood pulp mat board you can find, preferably black on one side (toward the paper), white on the other (toward your eye), in several sizes and cut to purpose. This is my only purpose for cheap art store mat board, as it is stiffer and easier to use and cut than proper rag based mount board (actually used for mounting prints).

Peter De Smidt
8-Apr-2013, 11:21
I greatly prefer FB over RC paper, but I'm not sure you'll be able to easily develop FB in your Nova. They made a special holder and slot processor for that.

C_Remington
8-Apr-2013, 13:19
RC is not easier to work with. That's baloney. If you think you want fiber paper, just start there. I'm sure you'll figure it out quickly.

1,000 sheet box of paper? Are you crazy? I think of many reasons why that is a bad idea.

I like matt too. I use Ilford MGIV FB Matt and I also like Fomatone MG Classic 132 Matt. The latter has a warmtone in the finish. It's another variable if you wanna deal with that.

I also use Ilford Art 300, but, hate it for portraits.

bob carnie
8-Apr-2013, 13:27
Funny you say that as I just completed two shows that were portraits on Art 300 and it worked nicely.
I also found it great for still life subjects.


RC is not easier to work with. That's baloney. If you think you want fiber paper, just start there. I'm sure you'll figure it out quickly.

1,000 sheet box of paper? Are you crazy? I think of many reasons why that is a bad idea.

I like matt too. I use Ilford MGIV FB Matt and I also like Fomatone MG Classic 132 Matt. The latter has a warmtone in the finish. It's another variable if you wanna deal with that.

I also use Ilford Art 300, but, hate it for portraits.

C_Remington
8-Apr-2013, 14:03
Funny you say that as I just completed two shows that were portraits on Art 300 and it worked nicely.
I also found it great for still life subjects.

Really?? Do you have these up anywhere local in Toronto?? I've love to see them.

I must be doing something wrong.

bob carnie
8-Apr-2013, 14:12
Yes Contact Photo Festival - Thurs May 2nd at Arta Gallery in the distillery district- shows up for two weeks-

Salina Kassam - 25 pieces Laura Paterson- 25 pieces

Laura's work will also be in Riverside California in the fall, all Art 300 portraits.



Really?? Do you have these up anywhere local in Toronto?? I've love to see them.

I must be doing something wrong.

Colin Robertson
8-Apr-2013, 16:12
RC paper is cheap, quick to process and wash and dries flat. It's fine if you shoot small formats and make a lot of contact sheets. Because it's flat it's also east to file contact sheets alongside sleeved negs.
Fibre paper is beautiful to look at. Richer blacks, more delicate highlights. Once you use it you will NEVER want to print your serious work on RC again. However, it takes longer to develop to get the full benefit of it's tonal range. Washing- running water, hypo clear, running water again. If you then tone, you have to repeat. Just washing the goddam things can take a while. And FB papers dry curly. They can be flattened, but it's another task. Fibre papers typically cost more too.
Interestingly, Ilford Warmtone Fibre (Gorgeous) is one stop slower than Ilford RC multigrade. So, if you have an unusually difficult negative to print you can 'rehearse' it on RC, get a print plan, then open up one stop and make the final print on the Fibre version. Of course, cost may not be any kind of issue for you.

C_Remington
8-Apr-2013, 16:20
Just to be clear, Salina and Laura are the photographers and you printed their images on Art 300 and the pictures will be displayed at the Arta gallery for two weeks starting on 5/2?

Hope I got it right.



Yes Contact Photo Festival - Thurs May 2nd at Arta Gallery in the distillery district- shows up for two weeks-

Salina Kassam - 25 pieces Laura Paterson- 25 pieces

Laura's work will also be in Riverside California in the fall, all Art 300 portraits.

ghoonk
8-Apr-2013, 23:07
Dodging and burning can be done with anything. My cards are rejected mat board, some in use since I began printing. I've use cardboard, fiber paper envelopes and all manner of suitable objects, including body parts :eek: (mine) making the appellation "hand-made" print, in some cases quite authentic. Really, just go out but the cheapest wood pulp mat board you can find, preferably black on one side (toward the paper), white on the other (toward your eye), in several sizes and cut to purpose. This is my only purpose for cheap art store mat board, as it is stiffer and easier to use and cut than proper rag based mount board (actually used for mounting prints).

Oh good, I've got lots of leftover boards that I can use from days when I was building up B-flags :)

ghoonk
8-Apr-2013, 23:11
RC is not easier to work with. That's baloney. If you think you want fiber paper, just start there. I'm sure you'll figure it out quickly.

1,000 sheet box of paper? Are you crazy? I think of many reasons why that is a bad idea.

I like matt too. I use Ilford MGIV FB Matt and I also like Fomatone MG Classic 132 Matt. The latter has a warmtone in the finish. It's another variable if you wanna deal with that.

I also use Ilford Art 300, but, hate it for portraits.

The plan was to use RC for contact prints, FB for the actual prints. I live in Dubai and shipping is generally a b**ch, so I tend to buy my stuff in bulk and get it over and done with. The only reason to go with RC was the cheaper cost for 'non-production' stuff like contact prints and getting the hang of things. If that doesn't really make sense, then I'll just spring for FB to start with and stick with that. Formatone sounds like something worth trying out, and I have heard nothing but good things about Art 300 for pretty much anything (it is, however, an expensive paper for someone who is just learning to print)

ghoonk
8-Apr-2013, 23:16
RC paper is cheap, quick to process and wash and dries flat. It's fine if you shoot small formats and make a lot of contact sheets. Because it's flat it's also east to file contact sheets alongside sleeved negs.
Fibre paper is beautiful to look at. Richer blacks, more delicate highlights. Once you use it you will NEVER want to print your serious work on RC again. However, it takes longer to develop to get the full benefit of it's tonal range. Washing- running water, hypo clear, running water again. If you then tone, you have to repeat. Just washing the goddam things can take a while. And FB papers dry curly. They can be flattened, but it's another task. Fibre papers typically cost more too.
Interestingly, Ilford Warmtone Fibre (Gorgeous) is one stop slower than Ilford RC multigrade. So, if you have an unusually difficult negative to print you can 'rehearse' it on RC, get a print plan, then open up one stop and make the final print on the Fibre version. Of course, cost may not be any kind of issue for you.

you hit the nail on the head - the serious work was meant to end up on FB, and the RC was meant for contact printing, to get the hang of printing, and yes, for coming up with a print plan.

I think you guys pretty much confirmed my suspicions about paper - there's the 'general purpose' stuff (RC) and the 'good stuff' (FB), and it looks like it's inevitable to stock both. I've been told that 250 sheets sounds like a lot, but it's not really - for every print, I've been told to expect to use 1 to 2 sheets as test strips, then after getting the main exposure right, the 3rd sheet will be used to develop a print plan, and I'll probably get it right on the 4th or 5th sheet. That pretty much works out to 50 prints if I'm lucky. Is that about right?

Captain_joe6
8-Apr-2013, 23:47
It's not even that there are 'general purpose' papers and 'good stuff' papers, its simply that people need to admit to and accept that RC is not fiber and fiber is not RC. Certainly, the core concept of their function is the same (to generate a photographic positive), but the argument that people are trying to persuade you with is essentially, "oh, you don't want the Toyota, you want the Honda instead, its much nicer."

What I don't get about so much of the world, photographic or otherwise, is that people convince themselves of one of two things, sometimes both: a) that because they are a novice, they should be working with novice grade materials, or b) better materials should only be reserved for 'special' purposes.

Lets dispel.

A) Go look at some prints, in person. Talk to people. Figure out what RC paper looks like, and figure out what fiber paper looks like. Decide where you want to go, and then go there. A lot of people, a truly amazing amount, will tell you things, and give you conflicting information, and try to pull you this way or that, but whatever you find that works for you, just stick with it and you'll be ok. Many is the time when someone has rebuked me with "So-and-so has forgotten more about photography than we'll ever know..." and my response has been "Then they must have forgotten that they're wrong."

B) If you're going to put in the effort to setup to take a picture, then to develop a sheet of film, then decide that you want a print of that image, you've already decided that it is special enough to end up looking however you want it to look. You decided that when you decided it was worth it to take the picture in the first place, or at least thats the hope.

I hope that this all helps. Photography is dangerous as a communal activity when the question is for opinions over fact, since opinions, well, we all know the saying about them...

;)

ghoonk
9-Apr-2013, 05:21
So far, here's what I've been told about RC vs FB.

"See the prints you get from the 1-hour developing lab down the road? That glossy print and how it curls? That's RC glossy. Now go to a gallery and see the prints. See the texture of the paper. you can't explain it but it looks so much more elegant, like art. That's FB matte."

Personally, I'd prefer to stick with fiber based over resin coated. Even when I print digitally (Epson 3880), I prefer to print to art or rag any time.

Here's my workflow today (digital) - shoot, select, post-process, print 4x6 proofs on my Canon CP900. These proofs go on my wall for a few months. My wall is split into 3 columns, and everything starts out in column A. Over the course of 3 to 4 months, I start moving images that I like and these go into column B. Sometimes, stuff in column B get moved back to Column A, other times they progress to column C. Stuff in column C then go though another round of post-processing, prepping for printing, etc and then end up being final prints.

It's a process that keeps me honest. In this respect, I wanted to look for an affordable way to print contact sheets so that I could do this for my personal work, and FB seemed like an expensive and time consuming way to do contact sheets or proofs, and certainly seemed like an expensive way to learn. Of course, I'm assuming that I'm not going to learn as fast as I should. I can get basic development done right so far, and I'm working on getting 'cheap' 4x5 film (currently using Ilford Delta 100, but planning to switch to Shanghai or Lucky film) to test the effects of longer/shorter development times on contrast, highlight, and shadow detail. I won't end up using many of these prints, but they will give me a way to learn without using the more expensive B&W film that I prefer (e.g. Acros).

This is the approach I had planned with printing - get something 'cheap' (1000 sheets of RC?) to learn how to do a basic print. Then using a properly developed negative, determine the ideal baseline exposure for the print, then find out how development times affect contrast, tonality, whites, blacks, highlight and shadow detail. Once I have developed proper technique, then I'll move on to FB.

At least that was the plan.

I had planned to get my paper from B&H or Adorama, and Ilford seemed like the logical way to go. The only developer I can get my hands on here is Ilford Multigrade, but if any of you have any recommendations on 'cheap' paper to start with, and developer that I can use, I'm all ears :) Really not that much in the way of choices over here in sunny and sandy Dubai :)

Patrick, thanks for the viewpoint. It does make sense, and I'm glad that you guys have all chimed in.

Here's what I have coming in for my prints now :

a Nova B&W 10x8" slot processor
a Paterson 10x12 fiber print washer
a Paterson safelight

After getting my hands on a Jobo 2500 tank, reels, and a Uniroller, I don't want to go back to the old invert-every-minute way of developing film :)

Assuming I stick with printing to 8x10, that just means all I need now is paper. What's a good fiber paper to start with? I'd like to buy them in 250 sheet packs, and learn to work with ONE type, rather than mess around with different ones. Besides, shipping's pricey and gets cheaper per pack with every pack i buy anyway

This is what I planned to get: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/79204-REG/Ilford_1770427_Multigrade_IV_RC_DLX.html

This is what I might end up with: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/122841-REG/Ilford_1833919_MG_FB_IV_DW.html, seeing that B&H is out of stock of anything Foma. 200 sheets ought to do it?

This is something that might be good for practice : http://www.adorama.com/VBF810100M.html (probably buy 200 sheets or something)

Does this make sense?

ROL
9-Apr-2013, 10:25
I've used ...including body parts :eek: (mine)

Just a point of clarification here. One particular variant of this is also known colloquially as the "third hand dodge". :D:eek::D

swittmann
9-Apr-2013, 13:12
Well, just a thought, ghoonk, what if you do not like RC glossy... Then you end up with 1,000 sheets of paper you do not like... If I were you, I would start with a smaller pack, like 100 or 200 sheets - although I understand that you have to import the paper and that is expensive.

That being said, your thought of concentrating on one paper first sounds like a good one. If you select a paper that is responsive to various developers and toners, then you'll find that you already have a LOT to discover and play with :)

Good luck and have fun! :)

Sandra

John Kasaian
9-Apr-2013, 13:31
It's best is to experiment with whats available---that's what 25 sheet packs are for. Back when there were real live camera shops that had darkrom supplies there were sample booklets so you could see examples of what the different papers looked like. I don't know if you can still get them or how much they'd cost, but perhaps a note to Ilford or Foma would get you one. I don't know if Slavich is available in your part of the world, but they make a very nice FB paper (sadly I understand it's no longer available in the US)
Resin coated papers are pretty easy to work with and use less water when washing. They used to be (and maybe still are) finicky in response to toning---its been a long time since I played with them. I'm a FB guy.

Peter De Smidt
9-Apr-2013, 16:18
As I said before, you will have problems using FB paper in a regular Nova processor.

Regarding paper surface, while I love rag matte inkjet papers, I've never seen a matte silver gelatin paper that I like. I prefer Air-dried FB Glossy by far.

ghoonk
10-Apr-2013, 00:59
@Sandra - you're right. I've bunked the idea of 1000 sheets of RC. Probably a bad idea. I've since switched the idea to using Adorama's FB paper - 250 sheets for just $100 looks like a good starting point. Order hasn't been placed yet, but I might see if the lford dealer here has 8x10 in 25 sheet packs

@John - No sample packs hereabouts but I do have an Ilford dealer here. Prices seem pretty fair, and you're right, it might make sense to get a pack of 25 to start with, assuming they have 8x10 in stock. The Ilford dealer here has stopped ordering paper and sheet film as there is little/no demand for it. At least they carry chems (Ilfosol 3, Ilfostop, Ilfotol, and Rapid Fixer) for now, so that's fine with me. I have 2 bottles of HC-110 concentrate, so that should last me awhile as well.

@Peter - any idea what the issue is with Nova processors and FB? Also, how do you present glossy prints? I've been down the line of glossy inkjet prints and always hated the internal reflections. Given what you just said, it might make sense to get 25 sheets of matte Ilford to try and then take it forward. One of those YMMV situations, I suppose....

ghoonk
10-Apr-2013, 01:12
I greatly prefer FB over RC paper, but I'm not sure you'll be able to easily develop FB in your Nova. They made a special holder and slot processor for that.

You're right - the Nova Monochrome is for RC and not FB. Thanks for the heads up, you just saved me from a wrong purchase!

ghoonk
10-Apr-2013, 02:42
Looks like I can get my hands on the standard Ilford RC 8x10 glossy here for the same price I get it from the US off the shelf. Saves me a huge bundle in shipping. Might make a good start while the rest of the FB paper makes its way here. I'll see if they can order in the 8x10 matte in fiber as well :D

Peter De Smidt
10-Apr-2013, 07:59
Air-dried glossy, fiber-based, silver gelatin prints are not as shiny as glossy inkjet prints. I dry mount the SG prints. RC glossy sg prints have about the same gloss as glossy inkjet prints.

The problem with FB paper in a standard Nova is that the paper will flop and stick to the sides, and there's a chance that the Nova clip pins will rip out. Nova's FB slot processor had trays instead of clips, and the slots were angled. This meant that the paper always stayed on the tray, and hence it wouldn't stick to the walls. Somewhere I have one of the trays and a Nova clip. I was going to make my own FB slot processor, but I've never gotten around to it.

Note that while I, and many others, prefer FB SG papers, I know people, including people who's work I admire, who liked RC paper, usually a type of semi gloss. I often used RC paper for proofing.

Cletus
10-Apr-2013, 10:08
ghoonk -

So I see you've received almost as many different answers to your question as there are people here! I still think the predominating opinion is pretty much the same: Use easier to work with and less expensive RC paper for 'work prints', contact prints and experimenting, then when you come upon a negative that you can envision as a Fine Print, switch to Fiber. This is generally a good practice and I think it's what most experienced printers will tell you.

As for inexpensive and perfectly usable RC paper, look up Freestyle.biz and their Arista EDU lines. 250 sheet box of 8x10 ~ $100. Not bad. 1000 sheet box doesn't make sense to me unless you are a commercial production lab and I don't think they exist anymore. All you'll do there is restrict yourself if you find the particular finish, or weight or some other characteristic doesn't suit you. I usually buy my RC in 100 sheet boxes - YMMV.

Ilford is a nice choice for FB papers, as are many others in many different surfaces. I came across Oriental Seagull some time ago and now I use nothing else for finished prints (with the single exception of Ilford Warmtone occasionally). You'll find all this out yourself by just doing it for a while, but the precept of using RC for workprintng and FB for finish printing should save you some money, headaches and time. (And water! You are in Dubai after all!) :)

ghoonk
13-Apr-2013, 09:47
Yes, the feedback has been diverse, but it's helped me figure out how to move forward. I've managed to secure 2 boxes of Ilford Multigrade VC RC (100 sheet box) in 8x10 size. I'll be using this for my contact prints as well as to get the hang of things. I've put in an order for a 250 sheet box of Ilford Multigrade VC FB in 8x10 size so I can start printing the stuff that's worth going for. The Arista EDU paper seems to priced similar to the stuff Adorama sells, and I'm wondering if it's the same thing

Peter's right on the Nova though - looks like they have two models, one is built for FB, while the other (the Monochrom) is adapted for FB, with the former costing in the region of GBP600, vs the Monochrom at around GBP150. Ag-Photographic has yet to get back to me with a shipping quote, and I've just had enough of their customer service, or lack thereof

I'd love to know where you're getting Oriental Seagull FB from - I can't seem to find a source online for the stuff. Incidentally, a lof of the stuff I'm been shooting is moving towards a grittier, high contrast look, and I've been thinking of trying Lucky or Shanghai 4x5 B&W film. Has anyone tried these films in 4x5? Thoughts?