View Full Version : What's up with Forte?

12-Dec-2005, 23:39
have reports of its death been exaggerated?

one of the reasons i didn't bother building a darkroom in my new place is that they went under, and my dear love fortezo was lost. but i was just in b+h photo today, and the shelves were stocked with it, and now i see they have a website and totally new looking packaging:


is it really the same company and the same paper? is anyone using it?

Eric Biggerstaff
13-Dec-2005, 08:54
Last week or so I got the infrequent "John Sexton Newsletter" and he reported that they are back in business and have been shipping paper to Omega Satter. I guess it is his backup paper now that Kodak has pulled out of the B&W paper market so once his supply of Polymax is gone he is moving to Forte.

So, perhaps the future is looking better for Forte.

tim atherton
13-Dec-2005, 09:04
Paul, if you hunt through APUG there is a lot of info on this. As far as I can recall they never quite died, were rescued by a mixture of local investement and investement from the US (?) and have been back in business with only a short break.

I think they are now tending to do runs on an as-and-when-required basis rather than continually. But J&C is keeping a good stock of their range (usually slightly renamed) and are heavily involved with their rebirth.

Christopher Perez
13-Dec-2005, 09:24
Which Forte paper is Sexton using?

I tried a couple of Forte's warmtone papers, but realized I need a red safe light, not the orange lights I currently own.

I didn't see Forte's neutral/cold tone papers on the shelf when I purchased the warmtone materials. What did I miss?

Eric Biggerstaff
13-Dec-2005, 09:49
Christopher -

My guess is he has both, but he mentions he used the Agfa because of it's slightly warmer tone which gave him options when using the Polymax - so perhaps he is working with the warm tone version of the Forte. Here is the link:


When I re-read the newsletter it is not clear he is using it as his backup, but my guess is that he does.

Heck, I am sure he has been testing a LOT of papers recently.

Colin Graham
13-Dec-2005, 18:21
I've been using the VC FB about ten years or so....Seems like the same paper to me. Although I've heard that they age paper a bit so not sure if the supply I have have know is new or not. It looks great in Ansco 130, a tad green in dektol, very sensitive to selenium. They changed the packaging a few years ago (depending on where you got it from) . Also, the new edu from Freestyle is supposed to be Polygrade V, it has the Made in Hungary label.

Donald Qualls
13-Dec-2005, 19:00
There was a period earlier this year when Forte was rushing shipment from their warehouse to meet demand, with the result that some of their papers weren't responding the same way as previous batches, but that situation seems to have been resolved by a) letting the paper stand for a couple months to finish aging, and b) getting things stabilized at the plant so they can meet demand with ongoing production instead of trying to rush orders out the door.

The big long term change, I gather, is that they (like Efke and Foma) are requiring larger minimum orders for custom cutting and are batching production of custom orders, which results in longer lead times for non-standard sizes and rebranding orders -- both sensible cost control measures aimed at keeping the companies profitable in the shrinking B&W market, but both tending to lead to "out of stock" conditions at resellers that, in turn, might engender panic at the end user level. All indications, however, from those who deal directly with them, are that Forte is in good health and will continue to supply us with films and papers for the foreseeable future.

Given I've just found out how good Forte 400 aka Classic Pan 400 is, that's a good thing. :)

Clayton Tume
14-Dec-2005, 02:17
Two years ago I ordered some custom cut film from Forte through my supplier. Every six months they would reorder it when it failed to arrive. Two months ago it turned up, my supplier said they'd only reordered it a month previously and were surprised how quickly it arrived. They said most orders are shipped promptly now and the turmoil of the past few years is behind them.