View Full Version : So sad, what to replace Agfa Multicontrast Classic

Nick Morris
19-Dec-2005, 12:55
After trying a number of papers, I had finally decided that Agfa MCC was the one, especially the semi-matt. I was really getting comfortable with it. Now it's gone.
You who favored Agfa MCC semi-matt, what are you using now? Is it really similar?
Thank you.

Eric Biggerstaff
19-Dec-2005, 15:24
Have you tried Brilliant VC? I understand it is similiar.

John Layton
19-Dec-2005, 17:47
Yes, but is Brilliant VC available in anything larger than 11X14 lately? Just got to really like this paper and now I can only find this in 11X14 and smaller. Bummer!

19-Dec-2005, 18:18
Is Brilliant a brand or a particular paper? Who makes it? Who sells it?

Colin Graham
19-Dec-2005, 18:36
Calumet I believe

Oren Grad
19-Dec-2005, 18:49
Brilliant is a private label, which Fred Picker originally put on a graded paper from Guilleminot in France. Calumet bought it from Picker along with the Zone VI brand, and shifted to other manufacturers when Guilleminot went under (ultimately to sort of re-emerge in hollowed-out form as Bergger).

The last rumor I head was that the third generation version of Brilliant VC - the current one - was manufactured by Ilford. I don't know whether that's true. The last time I tested some, a few years ago, I thought it behaved a bit like Ilford MG IV FB, except with a more warmish image color; other than being a bit on the warm side, it didn't remind me of Agfa MCC at all.

The graded Brilliant was discontinued a while ago. On the Calumet web site, all that's left of the VC is 8x10 and 11x14, and only in glossy surface. The name is primarily used now for a line of inkjet papers.

Eric Biggerstaff
19-Dec-2005, 19:24
Well there you go!

I use Ilford MG FB IV and Ilford MG Warmtone. The Agfa always seemed to fall somewhere in between these papers in terms of tone, which I understood the Calumet / Zone VI Brilliant did as well. This is why I thought it might be a good one to check out if you were an Agfa fan.

Off the top of my head I cannot think of another paper which is just a little warmer than neutral.

Oren Grad
19-Dec-2005, 19:38
Just to be clear, to me image color is one of the least important things about a paper. Characteristic curve shape is much more important, because it determines what sorts of negatives can be printed without heroic manipulation. The Brilliant VC III that I tested had a distinctly longer toe than MCC, as well as a poorer Dmax untoned.

Oren Grad
19-Dec-2005, 20:04
By the way, JandC has recommended Adox Vario Classic FB and Fomabrom Variant III FB as suggested replacements for MCC among the products they stock:

www.jandcphoto.com/index.asp?PageAction=Custom&ID=21 (http://www.jandcphoto.com/index.asp?PageAction=Custom&ID=21)

I don't know whether this recommendation is based just on image color or on other characteristics instead or as well.

Nick Morris
20-Dec-2005, 05:58
I wondered if Ilford Warmtone would make a suitable replacement. I had the sense that maybe its a little too warm. I tend to favor matt papers, and some paper makers are limiting availablity to glossy. I have a supply of Forte's Polywarmtone semi-matte w/ an ivory base. For some negs and images, I like it a lot. I really like the ivory base. But its definitly not Agfa MCC. I haven't been able to get good blacks from the Forte, weak in the Dmax. I'm currently dismantling my darkroom for a move, but I plan to try it with nelson gold toner, maybe pre-toning with selenium. Selenium alone doesn't do enough to bring out the black. Agfa just seemed to respond so well to selenium and/or nelson gold toner. Thank you for your comments. Misery likes company.

Oren Grad
20-Dec-2005, 07:51
Ilford MG FB Warmtone is warm all right, gives excellent Dmax even without toning, and is very responsive to toners. It's coated on a yellowish base with lots, and I mean lots, of brighteners. The effect can be a bit much sometimes, though I wonder what the stuff will look like years from now when the brighteners have died. In any case, it's one of my standards, and I do think it's worth a try. I have tried the semi-matte surface, BTW, and found it too flat for my taste, but if you liked the Agfa in that surface you might not mind that.

John O'Connell
20-Dec-2005, 09:19
I switched from Ilford Warmtone MG to Agfa MCC semi-matte about two years ago and was pleased. I wouldn't go back to Ilford given my problems with it in the past (massive LCA problems with my enlarging lenses). I'd consider it acceptable for contact printing in the glossy version because you can achieve a nice DMax then.

The image tone between the two papers is radically different, by the way. Ilford Warmtone is a classic greenish warmtone paper than changes radically in selenium; Agfa MCC is a coldtone paper that doesn't change color much at all.

Well, goodbye, Agfa MCC. Hello Bergger and extortionate paper prices!

Oren Grad
20-Dec-2005, 09:31
Ilford Warmtone is a classic greenish warmtone paper than changes radically in selenium; Agfa MCC is a coldtone paper that doesn't change color much at all.

This is consistent with my experience. MCC was distinctly warm when it first entered the market, but became more neutral in later production. If you're very into the look of the current MCC, MG FB WT will definitely represent a change.

Re LCA problems, I've heard about this before; it may depend on the lens brand. I've not had any problem with modest enlargements (up to 5x for 35mm negatives, less for 120 or 4x5) on MG FB WT using my EL-Nikkor glass.

Austin Moore
20-Dec-2005, 10:19
Ilford warm tone sucks

Mark Sampson
20-Dec-2005, 11:57
LCA problems? Now what?

John O'Connell
20-Dec-2005, 12:49
LCA = Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration

LCA is a lens flaw that only shows up with VC papers. Some are papers are better than others, some lenses are better than others, sometimes you get a perfect storm where the paper and the lens just don't like each other. Like my older six-element El-Nikkor and Ilford MG Warmtone: a match made in the dumpster. Oh, for an Apo El-Nikkor!

The news about Agfa MCC is terrible for me, actually. I have a half-completed project that I was using MCC for.

Nick Morris
20-Dec-2005, 13:06
Michael, I 've gotten results from Ilford Ilfobrom Galerie in glossy surface very similar to Agfa MCC glossy, particularly when lightly toned in selenium (diluted about 1/15-20), for about 4min. Sorry I don't have my notes, they're packed for the move. This was with the later Agfa MCC, which, as stated above ,was more neutral than warm. I started using Agfa about the time they changed it. The market (me, that is) needs both the warm and neutral versions of that paper. Wonderful, wonderful papers. By the way, Ilfobrom Galerie in matt is a very nice paper. I haven't worked with it much, and would like to use it more. The glossy did not seem to respond to toners very well, but I didn't work with that paper enough to see what it would do. B&H doesn't seem to stock the matt; wonder if it is still available in matt? They may have limited the grades to #2 and #3 in glossy. Thanks to all for the responses.

Mark Woods
20-Dec-2005, 15:06
LCA --
Could this also be visible in contact prints from the glass used to hold the neg against the paper? I have a pattern that shows up in the mid tones that looks like a scalloped storm. The negs are fine, but I've finally determined it's the glass I use. It's also showed up in some prints where I use the glass for a neg carrier.


20-Dec-2005, 17:20
give the forte papers a try

i really like the warm tone paper and its really really heavy

agfa was ok, but had a great price

i think the forte stuff is a lot better (and unfortunately pricier, but hey...)

Oren Grad
22-Dec-2005, 10:00
Mark, I'll second Michael's point. Sounds like Newton's rings. It often takes some tinkering to find a way of suppressing Newton's rings when contact printing in a particular darkroom, since they're really sensitive to things like humidity and the exact pattern of pressure exerted by a given setup. The quarter-inch glass arrangement mentioned by Michael sometimes works for me, but not always. I'll be experimenting with a vacuum frame to see whether that helps.

As for Newton's rings in enlarging, you need to use an anti-Newton textured upper glass in your glass-sandwich negative carrier. I think every enlarger vendor offers that at least as an option. If not, you should be able to get a suitable piece from here:

www.fpointinc.com/glass.htm (http://www.fpointinc.com/glass.htm)

Gary L. Quay
30-Jan-2006, 10:04
Freestyle Photo is selling Kentmere papers now. I have used the Agfa MC Classic, and had good results, and I find that the Kentmere Finegrain VC SM comes really close. You may be interested to that Maco bought the remaining stocks of Agfa paper, and is selling it on their web site.

30-Jan-2006, 12:19
Kentmere Fineprint VC Warm has a semi-matt (they call it "Finegrain") surface that you may like if you prefer a semi-matt finish. Very warm. The non-warmtone version is also available with the same surface.

James Hemphill
23-Feb-2006, 21:42
Anyone tried Adorama's house brand fiber paper. I heard it is a slightly warm nuetral paper. I ordered some today and hope it might replace my love for the Agfa classic 111, But I dunno. It's cheap!