View Full Version : Bergger Paper half-weight?

Scott Davis
1-May-2005, 17:45
Does anyone else here use Bergger papers? I just opened a new package (emulsion lot# 46983) of the 8x10 VCCB (variable glossy warm) and it is HALF the weight of the old double-weight paper. It feels thin and flimsy like a single-weight paper, and it won't lay flat in my easel without extensive use of the blades to mask off large borders. I am truly afraid for my new 16x20 paper that I recently purchased but have not yet opened. If it is that thin, I can't print on it for exhibition. Does anyone out there know anything about this, and if it is true across all paper sizes, do you have any recommendations of a product I can switch to that I would find comparable?

John Sarsgard
1-May-2005, 19:27
I got some a couple of weeks ago and had just the same reaction. It was 11x14. Until all the recent hassles resulting from Forte's insolvency, I have printed almost entirely interchangeably on Forte polywarmtone and VCCB, and gotten results that are almost indistinguishable. I am aware that some parts of Bergger's production were contracted to Forte (maybe most or all of these papers) and I could hardly tell them apart. It appears to me that since we still don't have new supplies from Forte, Bergger must have found another vendor to do whatever all Forte was doing for them. Not only is the new VCCB much lighter, it also doesn't print the same as the old VCCB. When I print with the new VCCB with the same filter as the old (and Forte was the same) the new results have about the same blacks and highlights but a smaller range of midtones. Comparing the old and new papers side by side, I would always pick the old one, and I think you would too. Forte is on the way soon. J&C Classic polywarmtone is the same thing, and they still have it in some sizes. They say the new production will be available within 4-5 weeks. I'm not switching to the new VCCB.

Henry Ambrose
1-May-2005, 19:56
oh no................
VCCB is my favorite.

Scott Davis
1-May-2005, 20:12
After letting it soak in the wash for an hour or so, it feels almost the same thickness as my last bits of original Bergger - maybe it will dry out fluffier and be indistinguishable as an end-product. I think I'm still going to give some alternatives a try - a friend of mine from Australia has been a big Kentmere fan for some time, and now I see it is available here, as is Foma. I'll get a little of each and post my results.

Tom Westbrook
2-May-2005, 06:00
Funny you should mention that. I just opened a new box of 11x14 Kodak Polymax Fine Art F DW and it too was on a lighter weight base than the package before that (the new one has an expiration date of 11/05, the thicker stuff expired 4/05). I wasn't too concerned, but it also seems the back is coated with something that doesn't take pencil markings very well--that's the most annoying part of the change to me. Didn't have any problem with flatness. Soaking didn't make any difference to the feel of it. FWIW, it feels about the same weight as Agfa MCC now.

2-May-2005, 07:56
Polywarmtone used to come in what they called museum weight. This was heavier than double weight. I think that they may have offered both weights for a time. The other Forte papers like Polygrade, Bromofort and Fortezo used the thinner double weight. The Bergger VCCB I used was on the heavier weight. Maybe Forte dropped the museum weight to standardize papers and so did Bergger. Filter response is a different thing. Maybe someone who does step wedge tests will be comparing the new batch to the old.

Scott Davis
2-May-2005, 10:48
Here is what I wrote to Bergger and their response:


Thanks for your support of Bergger Products, as it's been customers like yourself that have given us success in the US market.

If you're not aware, the B/W business has been in the worst turmoil of it's history, with many suppliers filing bankruptcy or simple discontinuing offerings of base materials.

Due to strong environmental regulations in the European Union, our supplier of base material, who also supplies nearly every other manufacturer, has reduced the overall thickness of base materials. Bergger VCCB was coated on heavyweight of 300gms/m. It was reduced by 13% to 260 gsm/m. Certainly not a single grade paper.

Frankly I was a little insulted in the notion that we stopped production for 2 months only to reduce our paper thickness. We were at the mercy of suppliers that could not produce our production is simply why we had to halt production. This is and continues to be a very trying time and we hope to greatly improve our position in the next few month. We are not the only paper supplier that has a reduction in paper weight, but I understand and empathize with you.

As always, Bergger has been dedicated to supplying the best products on the market. If you are not pleased with your purchase for ANY reason, simply return them to your dealer and have them contact me, as I will give you a credit or refund as requested.

With Best Regards,

John Horowy
Vice President of Sales
Bergger Products, Inc.

At 05:37 PM 5/1/2005, you wrote:

Dear Sir or Madam;

I have been a loyal Bergger paper user since you introduced it to the American market. I print all my exhibition prints on your paper. I just opened a new package of your 8x10 VCCB finish variable contrast warmtone paper, and to my horrified dismay, it is not a double-weight paper. It is single-weight. The paper is so thin as to be unacceptable for my exhibition prints. It is flimsy and it does not lay well in the easel. My customers have come to expect the quality and feel of your heavy paper, as have I. I recently ordered three boxes of 16x20, which I have not opened yet. I wondered why it took almost two months to get my paper. Now I think I know why – you changed the manufacturing and did not tell anyone. I am now extremely afraid to open even one box, for fear that this will be the same paper. Please inform me if the paper weight is the same in the 16x20 – if it is, I would like to return this paper unopened and get my money back.

Many thanks for your assistance in this matter.


Scott Davis

While I empathize that their supplier changed paper stock, part of the reason I was paying a premium price for their paper was the paper itself. I don't think it is fair or right to charge the premium price they charge for their paper if their paper is now the same as everyone else's.

Sidney Cammeresi
2-May-2005, 13:09
That sucks. Are there any American companies similar to Bergger producing paper? Hopefully, they would not be affected by these rules of the European Hippiedom that prevent us from buying products that we want.

tim atherton
2-May-2005, 13:40

You mean like mercury batteries?

The reality of course is that there is no US producer I know of equal to Forte, Bergger, Kentmere, Foma or such willing to produce products for the US market - guess no one down there cares that much about it?

Of course, if there is such an operation in business, I'm sure they are free to go ahead and pollute the wonderful pristine environent you might one day enjoy photographing. Though I imagine usual practice would be to outsource such production to second or third world countries like Mexico or Honduras or Nicaragua which don't have such annoying stringent environmental safeguards.

(bear in mind that in some jurisdicitions in the US these there seem to be problems with environmental regualtions and even setting up traditional darkrooms... something a colleague of mine is experiencing at the present time - the city won't give the go ahead for a simple two bay traditional B&W darkroom on environmental grounds, without a full enironmental waste plan in place that puts nothing in the city system)

Mark Sampson
3-May-2005, 09:06
As part of their continuing decline, Kodak has shut down their paper mill in Rochester. Their b/w paper production (which had recently migrated to Canada) has now been moved to Brazil. I haven't bought any Kodak papers in the last 6 months or so, now I don't know what to expect when I go buy more. I've really enjoyed the Polymax Fine-Art double-weight (except for the name). I like the warmtone Bergger paper I've tried, too. I guess we'll have to be more careful handling papers when wet. Perhaps the up-side will be faster washing?