View Full Version : Adox Bergger Foma and the rest

Herb Cunningham
8-Aug-2005, 10:55
After much labor and $$ my darkroom is almost finished. I have a Durst 184 8x10 with a Dichroic head, and am about to get back into
printing via enlarging as well as some AZO printing.

the darkroom has a ten foot ceiling, so I can print pretty big if need be.
Most of my work is b/w landscapes, will not be doing any color except maybe E6 someday, no prints.

I used to use Kodak papers and Dupont also, if anybody remembers their crappy variable contrast offering.

Now it appears after 50 year hiatus from darkroom work, that I am in need of wisdom about which paper is favored by the serious guys, which benefits most from toning, and since Oriental Seagull is now Cachet, how does it stack up against the cheaper papers.

I will most likely be printing 8x10 and 16x20, with the occasional poster size when I get my rusty skills up to speed.

The question is: what's your favorite for rural scenes - especially derelict old buildings and incredibly flat vistas, my current project.

Might as well throw in your choice for portraits in b/w as well, what the heck.

Many thanks for the advice

Eric Woodbury
8-Aug-2005, 10:59

I looked at a dozen papers some 2 years ago. I was looking for VC, a little warmth without toning, and bright whites. Also wanted deep blacks. Bergger VC CB was the winner. Not cheap, but a beautiful paper. I haven't used any stock from the new coatings.

8-Aug-2005, 11:38
It probably doesn't matter what you pick -- in 6 months it won't be available anyhow! Personally, I like Agfa's Multicontrast to substitute for my old favorite Agfa Portriga Rapid (note that I said substitute -- nothing will replace it). Develop in Amidol or Ansco 130 for incredible shadow and highlight detail and great DMax. I don't know how it tones -- I just fix and wash it.

jonathan smith
8-Aug-2005, 11:42
Ilford Galerie

Kevin Crisp
8-Aug-2005, 12:09
Oriental Seagull is now Cache?

Jerry Flynn
8-Aug-2005, 12:32
At one point some years ago, I think I heard that Cachet was marketing Oriental Seagull. I don't think the Oriental Seagull that I buy now under that brand name has anything to do with Cachet, who have their own line.

BTW, I used to like DuPont Varigam (not Varilour). I thought, for my taste, was the best VC of it's day.

If you are looking for bargans, you might look into the papers private labeled at Freestyle in LA. They are apparently Kentmere papers form England. I tried the graded version and thought it seemed colder and contrastier than Ilforg Galerie. It toned well.

David A. Goldfarb
8-Aug-2005, 12:36
My favorite enlarging paper is now sold as J&C Exposition graded. It is originally Efke Emaks, and has been sold as Maco Expo RF and Cachet Expo RF graded. According to J&C the grade designations have shifted so the former grade 3 is now called "Normal." It comes in three grades (used to be 2, 3, 4, now something like soft, normal, and hard), responds very nicely to amidol, water bath control, and tones well.

For contacts, I use Azo until it runs out or something better comes along.

MIke Sherck
8-Aug-2005, 13:15
Back when Oriental Seagull reorganized and exited the US market, New Seagull was formed to replace it. After Oriental returned to the US market, New Seagull changed to Cachet. New Seagull/Cachet has changed paper suppliers several times and I don't know who they are using today, but it isn't the same as Oriental Seagull. I believe that the concensus is that Oriental Seagull is the same as it used to be, but I could be wrong: it's too cold for me and I don't use it.

Paper formulations change more often today than you may have been used to 50 years ago. Even if you find a paper you like there's some chance that sooner or later it will change. A common lament you'l hear often is either that someone's favorite paper has disappeared, or that it has changed. The market is very fluid these days.

For what it's worth, I'm currently using Ilford Warmtone for a warmer look and Kentmere for more neutral images. I also like Forte a lot, but it doesn't keep very well in my darkroom: if I don't use it within a month of opening the package it goes bad (turns yellow and fogs.) Probably humidity or something.

Doug Howk
9-Aug-2005, 08:04
My two favorite papers are Kentmere Bromide for cool tone prints & Forte Fortezo for warm tone prints (the latter developed in Agfa Neutol Wa). Depends on the image as to which I choose. Rural scenes with a nostalgic effect may benefit from a warm tone, whereas an image that contains some bright whites would benefit from a cool tone with crisp whites as Kentmere Bromide provides.

Scott Davis
9-Aug-2005, 10:54
I was a major devotee of the Bergger papers, until they changed paper stock. I went looking for a new paper to replace them, since they not only reduced paper weight from 320gsm to 260, but raised their prices. While I haven't tried toning any of it yet, I have found a new paper I think I will replace the Bergger with entirely... Kentmere. It is a wonderful neutral-to-cold tone paper, and very fast. It also has a better contrast range - the response to changes in filtration (I print my VC papers on a dichro enlarger) is excellent.

For another fun, very different paper, try the Foma papers. They're very slow, but give a similarly sharp response to vc filtration and nice clean blacks, crisp details, and pure highlights.

Both are available from Freestyle. The Kentmere is significantly cheaper than the Bergger or the Foma.