View Full Version : Variotone Paper and what are you printing on today (May 2018)?

Eric Woodbury
28-May-2018, 12:07
This happens to me a lot. I survey a bunch of papers, pick one, and invest. About the time I need more, whichever paper I bought is gone. Bergger VCCB was one of the first. I see it is back, again and again. I like that paper very much, but it is expensive and I don't trust any more. Next it was the Variotone by Adox. It seems to be gone, too. At least in the USA. Now I'm using Ilford MGFB. It's okay. Color is not my favorite. (I like warm tones and white base without toning.) Local contrast is fine. Scale is fine. It comes in 250 sht, 8x10 boxes. Like that.

Where did Variotone go?

What are you using?

Thanks all,


Merg Ross
28-May-2018, 13:52
Yes, they do disappear! Currently, I am using two papers; Ilford Classic MGFB and Adox MCC 110/FB. The latter is a beautiful paper. Color can be modified by choice of developer, Ansco 130 is a good place to start for both papers. I purchase from B&H and Freestyle.

Good luck in your search!

Sal Santamaura
28-May-2018, 15:07
They're all at the mercy of what Schoeller offers in the way of base material. Recently I've found every one of them (air-dried glossy) to have excessive surface reflectance. Matte versions can't make good black. Therefore, I switched to inkjet. After a year of testing different printers and papers, I settled on a Canon PRO-100 and Hahnemuhle FineArt Baryta Satin. It has the best overall balance to my eyes. Dick Phillips and I have been exchanging prints during this period of experimentation. Dick selected the same combination.

Yes, the Canon uses dye-based inks with a shorter life expectancy than pigment inks. Yes, a gelatin-silver print probably has longer life expectancy than even pigment-based inkjet prints. However, my -- and Dick's -- life expectancy is far shorter than even the most fugitive inkjet print, and neither of us sells prints. Your mileage may vary. :)

peter schrager
28-May-2018, 15:39
for some reason I can't get a print on adox mcc....is it safelight dependent???
I would like to like this paper but it won't work for me
foma 132 kills all the other papers with adox wt developer..I have the prints to prove it

28-May-2018, 16:04
The Bergger warmtone paper has a slight edge in appearance over the Ilford MGFB products for me. The extra weight seems to have add dimension, but it is reflected in the cost. Both ilford and bergger papers tone beautifully and respond well to partial toning as well as full toning. I keep returning to Ilford MGFB Classic due to cost and availability and the overall quality and consistency. I use a variety of developers too but find I like warm tone developed in LPD, and non-warmtone developed in PF 130 (Similar to Ansco 130).

28-May-2018, 16:12
Therefore, I switched to inkjet.

Two of my all time favorite print processes are Lith and Platinum/Palladium. For Platinum/Palladium, we are most lucky to have many fine papers out there that a have been available for years and show no signs of being discontinued. With Lith another story altogether.... Started Lith printing in the 1970s using Kodak's Kodalith A & B developer with Kodalith single weight paper. When Kodalith paper was discontinued, bought up all I could afford and used it for years. When I ran out, kept on trying other papers. None in my opinion were a great substitute for Kodalith paper. Started to Lith print again a few years ago and currently available materials I've found to be terrible. Also switched to print digitally. Coming up with a workflow took me months to develop. Fortunately I had a few original negatives still around and the Lith prints I printed from them on Kodalith paper back when to use as starting points. I would have given anything for a step tablet that I had made Lith prints from, but that was a dream not to be had. So far have been using an EPSON 4900 with Epson's Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte (Enhanced Matte paper). Now starting to test papers to find one that is most like the original Kodalith paper that I had started Lith printing with.

28-May-2018, 16:38
I'm still printing with Variotone. It isn't stocked by anyone in the US it seems but I was able to special order it with Freestyle. I ordered several boxes and packages of it I keep refrigerated to have a constant supply.

Robert Bowring
29-May-2018, 04:16
Oriental vc fiber based paper has worked very well for me for a long time. Tones very nicely with selenium toner.

bob carnie
29-May-2018, 05:46
I am very happy with the Ilford line up of papers, I prefer matte paper, I also like the foma 131 for lith printing

John Layton
29-May-2018, 08:05
What I find critically important - to the extent that I always consider myself to be on a learning curve...is that the materials I choose are those that are consistent in both their availability and in their responses to specific scenarios of exposure and development, and are also consistently responsive to a reasonable degree of "tweaking" (plus/minus development, different developers/dilutions, toning, etc.). Demanding/assuming such consistency can feel very frustrating these days...especially with respect to planning ahead for future projects. With these aspects in mind, I've found Ilford papers (for me: MGFB Classic and MGFB-WT) to fit my needs nicely.

As for achieving warm(ish) tones on a white base with MGFB...I've found that Moersch ECO 4812 (available at Freestyle) does this for me, although YMMV. Have not yet tried a warm(er) tone developer with MGFB - but probably won't, as I happen to like the slightly warm whites of MGWT in 4812, unless I'm wanting to cool things off a bit - in which case I'll soup the MGWT in Moersch SE-6...a combo which I continue to find stunning for certain images.

Greg Y
29-May-2018, 10:26
Like others I have dwindling amounts of various papers. I like Oriental warmtone & Foma Variant 123 a lot. Have a stack of Ilford Classic & Warmtone (which i like a lot).... Forte Polygrade warmtone (only 11x14 left). A bit of precious & magnificent Fortezo 2&3. & some Lodima & Azo. The Foma papers give me rich prints without a lot of extra effort. Ilford I have to work harder with. The old Brilliant & Forte Warmtone... like the Joni Mitchell song "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.".....had beautiful highlight separation....Usually in PF130 or BW65 or LPD.

David Karp
29-May-2018, 11:25
My favorite paper is Adox MCC 110. I liked the paper OK when it was made by Agfa, but did not care for the base. The whiter base of the Adox product makes a huge difference.

I know I don't always like the mainstream offerings. I really liked Kentmere VC FB. I liked it a lot. My second favorite paper. I was happy with Oriental VC, Ilford MG, Arista.Edu Ultra FB VC (Foma), all in glossy. But my favorite paper all time is the Adox MCC 110 glossy.

Ted R
29-May-2018, 12:20

Drew Wiley
29-May-2018, 14:06
I work mostly with Ilford MGWT. It has real punch to it and tones magnificently, visibly better than Adox 110. I use seveal toners, often on the same print. My preferred developer for either of these is 130 glycin. But I also used Ilford MG Cooltone in Amidol at times for, you guessed it - cold neutral blacks. It
takes a second-row seat to Polygrade V; but I have none of that left, and it has a lot more snap than MGIV. I used quite a bit of Kentmere Fineprint VC for
awhile, when it was still around. Oriental's quality died long ago; and all of their VC products were disappointing compared to their original graded bromide
Seagull. But overall, VC papers have dramatically improved, seemingly in inverse proportion to the disappearance of premium graded papers.

30-May-2018, 05:47
Almost through my stash of ADOX Variotone. I use Ilford MG Classic, Seagull VC and lately Bergger CB.