View Full Version : Brilliant Paper

18-Mar-2008, 21:04
Hi, gang.

I'm getting ready to set up my darkroom again after a move this fall. That brought up a question regarding the Zone VI Brilliant paper. I know Calumet is still selling it in 8x10 and 11x14, but is it available anywhere else in larger sizes.

This was, by far, my favorite paper with terrific range and a wonderful tone with a light bath of Selenium.

If this isn't available, can anyone recommend an equivalent in at least 16x20 if not 20x24 sizes.



Neal Wydra
19-Mar-2008, 07:35
Dear Tim,

That was my favorite paper as well. Purchase a pack of Kentmere paper from Freestyle (http://www.freestylephoto.biz/e_main.php). To my eye it looks awfully close.

Neal Wydra

19-Mar-2008, 10:40
Thanks, Neal. I'll give that a try.

All other opinions are extremely welcome.


Louie Powell
19-Mar-2008, 13:26
Tim -

Brilliant was originally manufactured by a French company as the Zone VI "house brand". When the original manufacturer opted to exit the photographic paper business, Fred Picker arranged to have a substitute made by another company. While I don't believe there was ever any formal announcement, urban legend was that the replacement manufacturer was Ilford.

I don't know who makes it today. Ilford's public position is that they no longer private label film or paper, but it has been suggested that other papers (eg, Bergger) may be made in the Ilford facility (perhaps by elves working after hours?). Of course it is well known that Ilford has bought Kentmere and is manufacturing Kentmere products in the Ilford plant.

Today, Brilliant is Calumet's house brand, so it's not available elsewhere. So the question really is what papers give similar results. My sense is that Brilliant is somewhere between Ilford MG and Kentmere Fineprint - closer to Ilford in terms of tonality, but more like Fineprint with respect to the surface gloss.

19-Mar-2008, 14:55
Louie wrong. Calumet was the one that changed the manufactures not Fred. Fred and myself stocked up on the old Brilliant. I am still using some that was made in 1982 and it prints like the day it was made.

If you want a paper that is equivalent to the old Brilliant before Calumet change the manufacture try Berg cold tone or Kentmere . If you want paper like they sell today Ilford.

You may have to play around with different types of developer and toning steps. You may even want to try gold toning the paper then selenium toning.

Alan Curtis
19-Mar-2008, 17:38
I have quite a lot of "old" Brilliant that has been stored at room temperature in Florida, I'm sure that Florida and Vermont are quite different in average temperature. What I notice is that the final print looks great, but it is about 1.5 to 2 stops faster, does this sound right to you? How much do age and storage conditions change the paper? I really liked the old stuff.

Alan Curtis
Vero Beach

Gene McCluney
20-Mar-2008, 00:20
Brilliant was made by Guillemont (spelling?) in France. When Guillemont went out of business a few people from there formed Bergger and continued with products that were contract manufactured by Forte, and now by Ilford.

Ilford (Harman) has stated that they "will not private label products sold under the Ilford brand". This does not in any way mean they will not custom coat and sell "other" products to vendors to put their own name on. They now own Kentmere, and have stated that the Kentmere relationship with Freestyle will remain. Many of Freestyles house-brand papers are made by Kentmere..this would be considered private-labeling..but of course this is not "Ilford" branded products being private labeled, it is Kentmere products. Ilford is producing the current Bergger product. These are not Ilford products under the Bergger label, but rather Bergger products being coated by Harman Technologies (Ilford)

So, Harman Technologies wants to protect the Ilford brand for b/w films and papers by only offering these specific emulsions under the Ilford brand, but they also want to survive and fully utilize their modern coating facilities, therefore they are quite agreeable to the manufacture of b/w photo products for other brands...just as long as they are not current Ilford emulsions.

Harman (Ilford) is in talks with Polaroid to explore the feasibility of taking over the manufacture of the Polaroid professional b/w materials. That would be very interesting.

20-Mar-2008, 09:15
Many thanks for all the great advice from each of you. I've got lots to think about and looks like a bunch of testing when I get things goign again. It's great to have all these experienced brains to pick on the forum.